John has graduated with a Law Degree from Trinity and gone on to qualify as a solicitor. John was thrilled to get a good position in a small law firm doing conveyancing. Things were going really well initially and he loved the feeling of having money and going for drinks with his colleagues in Temple Bar on a Friday evening. Only six months into the job, John was let go due to the downturn in property market. He was gutted as he had just bought a new BMW on hire purchase. He didn’t know how he would ever make the repayments.
Author: Ken Robinson
Penguin Books 2009, 260 pages
This book is aimed at anyone interested exploring their own potential and the potential of those around them. It is about how passion, imagination, creativity, values and luck influence on career decision-making. Sir Ken Robinson is one of the world’s leading speakers on the development of education, creativity and innovation. In his book he shares a wide range of stories of how people such as Paul McCartney, Paolo Coelho, Meg Ryan, dancer Gillian Lynne and screenwriter, Matt Groening found their ‘element’. He describes ‘ the element ‘ as ‘the place where the things you love to do and the things you are good at come together’.
Ray was a construction worker who had been unemployed for four years. Understandably, when we met, he was feeling very low. He said that when he first arrived for Guidance he felt “tearful”. He said that he had expected his visit to Guidance to be a form-filling session, however, he found it like Counselling. After the session, Ray said “it was the best thing” he had done in years, “as I would still be in the town scratching my head, still trying to make up my mind about the future”.
I recently worked with a group of adults returning to learn I.T. Skills. They ranged in age from 20-67 years. On their first day, they were understandably both excited and scared. We teased out their concerns by using a format devised by Alan Richardson called ‘High Dream/Low Dream’.
I asked the group what their ‘high dream’ would be; what would the successful completion of this course mean for them? How would they feel afterwards? How might their lives be different?
An ‘attitude of gratitude’ can raise our happiness index and sense of well-being. A few months ago, I made a decision to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, to count my blessings and keep a written record of them. The act of gratitude allowed me to savour the present moment and things such as:
In the last few months many of the people I have met have had a close brush with death . . . heart attacks, strokes, cancer, traffic accidents. Meeting people who have stared death in the face brought to mind Buddha’s saying: “Of all mindfulness meditations, that on death is supreme”. Steve Jobs put it well when he said “Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent….”
These days it is not unusual for people to be stressed and anxious about their future career prospects. Many of the people I meet on a daily basis feel trapped in unemployment and powerless to get ahead. Coupled with this, the media is constantly bombarding us with negative messages about recession, cutbacks, redundancies and a lack of jobs.