Illustration: Ashley Siebels
As you scroll through your Facebook feed, Instagram your latest meal, or banter on Twitter or text message during the day, what are you avoiding?
Chances are, it’s work.
But it’s not because you’re lazy. Or rather, it’s not only because you’re lazy. Work isn’t satisfying us, argues a video uploaded by The School of Life.
The reason: our minds like to wander over many different topics, as we did when we were children, making many of us happiest when we are “generalists,” learning and opining about everything under the sun. But the modern workplace requires that we do one type of thing, and do it over and over again — turning us into specialists. After a while, all that repetition means we’re not growing any more — and that means we get bored, and turn to distractions.
While, as kids, we may have pretended to be everything from Arctic explorers to rockstars, as adults we commit to a career that goes down a single path. “Each one of these so-called games might have been the beginning of a career, and yet, we had to settle on only a single option, done repeatedly for over 50 years…We are so much more than the world of work ever allows us to be,” the narrator says.
No matter what your job title is, the concept of not getting to wear every hat you’ve ever wanted to wear in your lifetime applies to everyone, according to the video.
“Everyone could’ve found so many versions of happiness that will elude them,” the narrator says, “In suffering in this way, we are participating in the common human lot. We can be sure that whatever we do, parts of our potential will have to go undeveloped and die without ever having had the chance to come to full maturity for the sake of the real benefits of focus and specialization.”
The video names great thinkers on opposing sides of the political spectrum, including Adam Smith and Karl Marx, so there’s someone for everyone.
So if you’ve ever felt uninspired at work and in life, here’s one explanation — and it acts as a reminder to expand your interests outside of work, because if you want to be happy, your job cannot be the only meaningful thing in your life.