In this amazing lecture by Alan Watts, he asks “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you REALLY enjoy spending your life?” Watch the short video and read the full transcript after the jump.
Transcript of “What if money was no object” by Alan Watts:
What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like?
Let’s suppose…I do this often in vocational guidance of students. They come to me and say, “Well, uh, we’re getting out of college, and we haven’t the faintest idea of what we want to do.”
So I always ask the question, “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you REALLY enjoy spending your life?”
Well, it’s so amazing. As a result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say, “Well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers. But as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way.”
Or another person says, “I’d like to live an out-of-doors life and ride horses.”
I said, “Do you want to teach at a riding school? Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do?”
When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do. I will say to him, “you do that, and forget the money. Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You will be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is STUPID! Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.”
And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much. Somebody’s interested in everything. And anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others who are.
But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on doing things you don’t like and to teach your children to follow in the same track. See, what we’re doing is we’re bringing up children, and educating them to live the same sort of lives we’re living, in order that they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing. It’s all wretch and no vomit. It never gets there!
And so therefore it’s so important to consider this question. “What do I desire?”
If you enjoyed the lecture, here are some books by Alan Watts we recommend:
The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety
The Way of Zen
Become What You Are