Fixation and pleasure-point analysis of careers

Many of us get fixated on a particular interest that can cost us regarding turning our ideas and dreams into reality. This brilliant article talks about this phenomenon of fixation and how it can be resolved by carefully analyzing our pleasure points in our jobs/careers.

One key thing that can go wrong in our thinking about a career is that we get fixated on a particular kind of job which – for one reason or another – turns out not to be a promising or realistic option. It may be that the job is tough to secure, it may require long years of preparation or it might be in an industry that has become precarious and therefore denies us good long-term prospects.

Here we call it a fixation – rather than merely an interest – to signal that the focus on the job is proving problematic because we have an overwhelming sense that our future lies with this one occupation and this occupation alone – while nevertheless facing a major obstacle in turning our idea into a reality.

One of the results of this ‘fixation’ is confusing infrastructure development for skill development. For instance, one of my friends who love reading and is a voracious reader decided to start her own bookstore. She was so busy setting up the infrastructure and business model for her bookstore that she forgot about her actual pleasure, reading. She has never read a book in the last two years and now, she is so busy running her bookstore business that she hardly finds time to read.

Similarly, another friend of mine is a musician. He loves to play guitar and wanted to set up a little music studio at home. For the last two years, he has been focussing on his day job so much so that he could make enough money to build his studio (infrastructure) and then he can play guitar in peace and release albums. What eventually happened was, he hardly touched his guitar in the last two years and lost in touch with the art of playing guitar. Now he has a beautiful studio equipped with everything but, he cannot play guitar like before. He thinks he can fill this gap in his skill level by buying more stuff (technology, tools, etc.) in his studio instead of just resuming his guitar practice.

Pleasure-point analysis can help resolve this issue of fixation.

Investigation reveals that the pleasures we are seeking are more mobile than initially supposed.

The pleasure-point analysis is not an exercise in getting us to give up on what we really want. The liberating move is to see that what we want exists in places beyond those we had identified.

The surprising, liberating side of pleasure-point analysis is that it reveals that it can never be a particular industry sector that is the key to finding a job we can love. Because when properly understood a pleasure is – thankfully – generic and can, therefore, indeed turn up in many different and initially unexpected places. Careful knowledge of what we love sets us free.

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