The Buddha once said “If you hate your job, leave. If you hate your hate, leave that too”.

I couldn’t help but think about the sentiment of this quote when I read this. In it the author seems to suggest that if you work in advertising, like I do, you are never going to be happy; that you will always be grumpy.

I don’t agree.

I believe that grumpiness [or any other emotion we experience] is a choice we make depending on how we interpret what is going on around us and inside of us. I know it might not feel like a choice sometimes but lets consider, just for a moment or two, that it is. A choice, that is.

The immutable Law of Cause and Effect tells us that if something happens, something else will happen as a result. For every stimulus there is a response. For every cause there is an effect. In the words of Victor Frankl

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

So, when we apply the Law of Cause and Effect to ourselves as human beings, we might begin to think of ourselves existentially as taking a life position that means we are either “at cause” or “at effect”. When we are at cause we place ourselves at the center of our own power – things in life happen because of something we did, or did not, do. When we are “at effect” things happen to us.

At cause it is impossible to say “She made me feel angry” or “He made me feel glad”. What other people do or say is simply what other people do or say. What you do with it, how you interpret it and the meaning you make of it is all yours.

The problem here, though, is that we human beings are meaning making machines. We are all having our own subjective experience of reality. We can’t not give our experience meaning.

The way we do that is by deleting, distorting and generalizing our experience through a number of unconscious filters [for example our memories, our values, our beliefs and attitudes] in order to “make sense” of what is happening to us right now and to predict [or hallucinate] how we think our immediate, mid and long term future is going to pan out.

These perceptions and predictions become our reality. And because we like to be right, we continue to reinforce these perceptions and predictions with our own self talk, or we will go out and find people who will collude with us in order to reinforce our perceptions and predictions.

And these perceptions and predictions become the lens through which we look at [and judge] the world around us. So, [and I make my apologies to him when I say this], I think The Buddha kind of got his thinking muddled.

I think leaving your hate is the first step. Once you’ve let that go, you might just be freed up enough to realize that you don’t hate your job at all. It was just the lens you were looking at it through.

A Course in Miracles puts it quite nicely,

“Projection makes perception. The world you see is what you give it, nothing more than that. But though it is no more than that, it is no less than that either. Therefore, to you it is important. It is the witness to your state of mind, the outside picture to your inward condition. As a man thinketh, so does he perceive. Therefore, seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about it. Perception is your result, not a cause.”

Remember, you are who you are today because of everything you have [and have not] been, everything you have [and have not] done and everything you have [and have not] had…not in spite of those things.

I invite you to challenge your perceptions and predictions. Are they accurate? How do you know? Are you making meaning using an out-dated reference system? Are you unaware of the choices you are making?