One or two points about identity and making money

WEDNESDAY, 4 JULY 2012

I previously thought that to say, “I’m a lawyer” should not be seen as a statement of identity. It is just how you make money. I figured if you wanted to mention your job, it would be more correct to say, “I make money as a lawyer,” than to say “I am a lawyer.”

Then, over the next few years, it became increasingly clear to me that how you make money is a fairly important part of your identity – sounds reasonable enough, but it is still the kind of discovery that I had to make on my own, at my own time. You can thus not say, “I am X” and “I make money with Y” and expect the one to have nothing to do with the other. “I’m a lawyer” is not a statement that represents a person’s entire identity, but it is certainly an important aspect of who that person is.

The other great discovery was to be expected. If you do not know who you are as a money-maker, you will find it a challenge to make money.

Also good to take into consideration the opposite: If you have gone through the process of sorting out, discovering, and choosing how you want to make money – and then in a way or ways that suit your personality and talents, you will most likely find yourself placing fewer obstacles subconsciously in your own path.

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What to do then with what Karl Marx wrote, that in a more ideal world it would be possible to do one thing today and another tomorrow – to plant vegetables in the morning, catch fish in the afternoon, take care of your cows in the evening, and after dinner make a speech about a political treatise you have read, without ever becoming a vegetable farmer, a fisherman, a cattle farmer or a politician?

Perhaps Marx assumed that one would not need to make money in an ideal world. Yet someone would still have had to hunt or plant vegetables. Someone would still have had to fish. Livestock and other animals would still have had to be fed. And someone would have had the ability to form an opinion and criticise the opinion of others. So, in Marx’s ideal world, if you had been competent in any or all of these areas, you would have proceeded to do these things, without any focus on occupational identity. Remove money from the story, and expect things to look different.

MONDAY, 9 JULY 2012

I believe in myself – or, I certainly have what can be described as positive self-esteem (rather important seeing that without positive self-esteem you are 98 meters behind the other athletes in a 100-meter race). I also know that this is to a large extent a performance, but that it is important because the performance has practical value. In truth, there is much more uncertainty. It must be so if you want to be honest.

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