One of life’s most challenging aspects is the emptiness of our day-to-day activities, especially once we’re grown and we are supposed to be what whatever we told people we wanted to be when we grow up. There was a promise of richness in those dreams, as if when we achieve a coveted career or position, our lives would somehow seem fuller. The sense of emptiness that many of us experience instead is what the Buddha called suffering, the unsatisfactory nature of all phenomena.

Thankfully, the Buddha had a solution for suffering and a way to fill the void. He explained to us that the type of job you do is not what makes life fulfilling. Richness comes from actually being aware of the progression in your life instead of being preoccupied with what it will be in the future or lamenting what it has been in the past.

There is a subtly to this idea because the Buddha did not say we should not strive to be good at and progress in our worldly endeavors. On the contrary, he encouraged lay people to be skilled at their work. What should be avoided is the wrapping up of one’s self worth in a constant comparison of his worldly achievements compared to others. Instead, we should devote our energy to being mindful in the present moment as we go about the tasks necessary to grow and improve our businesses. That way we can enjoy the whole process.

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(1) Change Your View of Life, E. Freedom from Craving