I believe that there is an implied occupational hazard when working in finance or economics.
Financial advisors or economists know that there is a conscious need to constantly seek out areas where the returns are the highest – often in terms of material goods, possession, or profits to be made.
There is also the constant end-of-period analysis and comparison – this month’s figures against last month’s; this quarter’s return on investment versus the last’s; or simply, the company’s performance against the competitors’.
In the book The War of Art that I’d told you about previously, the author Steven Pressfield explains that there are two ways that anyone with a creative calling can define himself – either hierarchically or territorially.
While these may seem like large management concepts, what Pressfield means can be summarized simply.
When we choose to define ourselves hierarchically, we value ourselves based on the perceptions of others, and evaluate our happiness based on our pecking order (whether it be in the society, the office, our high school or even at home).
The person who operates in this manner makes decisions based on their impact on others, and how his decisions can gain him more acceptance or admiration from his peers, subordinates or superiors.
This results in a vicious cycle, because his fulfillment is external, and when external circumstances and opinions change, so does his value of himself. This is fatal, and anyone with a calling should try to steer clear of this.
What Pressfield advocates, is for us to define ourselves and operate territorially, which means for us to work in the fields of our destiny and calling.
The person who acts territorially will work on his craft regardless of approval from others, and knows that whatever effort he puts in will be given back in full.
An artist (or writer, or actress or dancer) is most fulfilled doing his or her own thing – whether it is out pitching in the baseball field, or swimming laps in the community pool, or writing drafts after drafts of a book that is ready to be written.
The artist who defines himself territorially feels most comfortable in her own territory, and when he focuses on what he is meant to do, his worth depends on no one else.
As I told you earlier, my education in finance and economics results in the occupational hazard which leads me to constantly compare myself with my peers, those under me, and those above me.
This is hierarchial definition, and I want to push myself to start operating territorially.
I know that this gift of writing that I have is to be used for good – for the positive influence of those who read what I write. Not for the numbers of page views or ad impressions or Pinterest shares or Facebook likes.
I know that when I put on paper the thoughts that are brewing inside and are demanding to be written, I will be fulfilled and satisfied.
If you’re someone who does creative work, try operating territorially for a change.
Let’s fight the war of art together.
On a brighter and lighter note, it’s finally Spring here in Argentina!
To celebrate one of my favorite seasons, here’s a recipe for colorful stir-fried egg vegetable noodles.
Fresh, vibrant vegetable noodles that are a pleasure for the eyes and great for the tastebuds, this is one dish that you can whip up in practically no time!
All you need is 30 minutes, a julienne peeler to shred the veggies into thin noodles, some eggs, and you’ve got a delicious and healthy meal!
P.S., if you’ve never used a julienne peeler before, I strongly advice you to invest in this one – I bought it a year ago and it’s probably one of the kitchen tools that I use most, definitely worth every single penny!
- 4 large carrots, sliced into thin noodles with a julienne peeler
- 3 large zucchinis, sliced into thin noodles with a julienne peeler
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- Siracha, optional
- Being by slicing the carrots and zucchinis into thin noodles, using a julienne peeler
- Beat the eggs, and in a large pan or wok, make an omelet, flipping over once the top is cooked
- When omelet is cooked, remove from pan/wok and slice into thin strips
- In the same pan/wok, heat up a little oil, and stir-fry the vegetable noodles for about 10 minutes
- Once softened, pour soy sauce over the vegetable noodles and mix well
- Divide noodles into four equal portions, garnish with sliced egg, and serve with siracha