Ming the Mechanic:
Doing things that work

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Doing things that work2003-08-29 11:42
picture by Flemming Funch

There's an ongoing conundrum I have in my life, about how to both do good things that need to be done, and also happen to make a living from it.

Let me address it from a different angle, and provide an answer, even though it isn't one I entirely like.

I will often lean towards the new agey concept that if I just put good thoughts and works out into the universe, I will naturally be supported or rewarded in return.

It is a bit like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it into the ocean, and hoping somebody will find it and that something comes back. And if I'm in a bit of a hurry I'll just kick out a whole bunch of bottle messages.

I happen to have done that enough to know that it works. However, it is also very indirect, the results are unpredictable, and they happen by a timing I don't control.

Now, the more sensible, practical and grounded alternative is that I more directly create that which I want to happen.

If I want water, should I sit and pray for it? Should I write extensively about my problems finding water? Or should I just dig a well?

If I want to go to the movies, do I sit down and make positive affirmations, and visualize that somebody will come and take me to the movies? Or do I just get on the bus and go to a movie theatre and buy a ticket?

Things happen when you do something that makes them happen. Some activities are much closer to the target than others. If I want water, starting in the desert might be a bad idea. If I want to bake bread, a screwdriver is not the best tool. If I want my garden to grow, writing doesn't help.

Same thing with money. You make money by doing something that makes money. Duh. Certain activities in certain settings make money. Others don't. If you want money, you need to do some of those activities that make money, in the manner and in the environment where they happen to work. You are free to invent something new, but it has to work.

One of my skills is as a computer programmer. That can be a potentially lucrative and rewarding thing to do. However, that doesn't mean that if I just start programming, I'll automatically be rewarded handsomely. Not any more than a ditch digger will be rewarded for just starting to dig. You need to dig in the right place, a ditch that will be useful to somebody, and they have to agree to compensate you for that.

There's a structure to making things that work. Not just one structure. The trick is to find the structure that works under the circumstances. If you need to build a bridge over a chasm, you need to analyze the geology, the wind conditions, and many other things, and you need a considerable amount of knowledge and tools to create the right design. And considerable skill and manpower to actually build it, with the proper materials and techniques. Then the bridge will work, and you can drive over it. If you screwed up one of the steps, or your plan wasn't connected with the real world, it just wouldn't work.

So, some of the ways NOT to make money are:
  • don't do anything
  • don't make up your mind what you'd want to do
  • don't make any moves towards what you'd like to do
  • become skilled in something that isn't very needed
  • pick a profession that is badly paid
  • go somewhere where your skills aren't needed
  • don't mention to anybody what you can do
  • don't feel like working
  • don't ask for money when you do something
  • demand conditions that aren't available
  • sit down and wait
  • complain a lot
  • don't contact the types of people you'd like to pay you
  • don't do a good job when you have one
  • do something else than what is needed

    You get the point.

    It is a disconnect I know very well from my work as a counselor. Many people aren't getting what they want, because they just haven't connected A to B, and they didn't notice. "I'd really like to go out with Joleen, but she's not paying attention to me", "Well, did you ever try talking to her?", "..eh, no".

    So, the short answer is:
  • get clear on what you want to do
  • make sure it is possible and needed
  • find out how to do it
  • find out where best to do it
  • go and do it
  • if it isn't working, learn why and adjust your approach

    Very simple. So, as to money, money isn't made by being a nice guy, or even by doing good work. It is part of it. But money is made by making a profit, by getting something cheap and selling it for more. If you don't know how to do that, you hook up with somebody who's doing that, with you as part of the input or output. Which is called a job, or a contract, or a pension, or whatever.

    The how-to is often hidden, particularly when we're talking about money. The people who know how will often not tell you, or will give you a cover story. The cover story will often sound like the new age supported-by-the-universe story. I.e. that they're just thinking positive, doing good work, and money just flows to them. Not to put it down. Being positive and doing good work is great. But the secret is often that, under the hood, something else is going on. People did some much more specific things to arrive at where they are at. Maybe some of them are coincidental and can't easily be repeated. But often there's a specific structure to what people do or did in order to make their lives viable. Not any one universal structure, but many different structures. All of which you can learn from. There's always some key details there.

    I'd personally much prefer if I didn't have to figure out money making. I'd much rather just walk around and do what I'm inspired to do in life, and then receive a stipend from Universal Resources. It isn't fair.

    There's obviously several schools of thoughts here. What I'm talking about here is the approach of figuring out the HOW and then doing it. That is contrasted with the approach of emphatically ignoring the how, but concentrating on the WHAT. Build it and they will come. Dream the dream well enough, and the details will fill themselves in. Each school of thought is a little distasteful to the other.

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    29 Aug 2003 @ 15:01 by jmarc : Thanks for a fine article Ming
    I am trying to apply some of these same concepts in my quest to move out of this inner city apartment i live in, to a more country setting.Got. To. Get. Motivated. Fine, helpful writing.{http://us.st5.yimg.com/store4.yimg.com/I/demotivators_1752_3216}  

    30 Aug 2003 @ 01:49 by shawa : Hey, guys!
    If Ming´s ideas are so good, and helping you - why don´t you send him some money ????  

    30 Aug 2003 @ 13:01 by ming : Keys to Money
    It is similar for me. I can easily notice that people who get rich do certain things to get there. Like, speculating in the stock market, or selling something that looks very attractive but isn't, or manipulating the circumstances to gain an unfair advantage. But whenever I've attempted to get into the mindset of, for example the stockmarket, it just doesn't work for me. What has worked for me is, as well, to do something good for others, without thinking much about money. That doesn't mean, of course, that whenever I do that, it works. Just that what has worked has had that kind of format.

    And I must admit that most of the time what has worked for me is to do my good deeds separate from the money making. OK, my money making normally has to involve doing something useful for others, which they feel like rewarding me for. But the things I really care about, they have usually been done on a backdrop of acquiring my life support elsewhere. Like, NCN was created at a time where I had a 9-5 job with plenty of free time, and what allowed me to put a lot of energy into it at the time was exactly that there was no need to make it profitable in any way.  

    1 Sep 2003 @ 03:41 by shawa : Andy
    Fantastic question!  

    1 Sep 2003 @ 17:54 by ming : Specific good works
    Andy, yes, very good question. And, in line with my article there, I must admit there isn't anything horribly specific that I'm somehow kept from doing because of lack of financial support. My experience is that if one gets clear enough on what to do, a way will tend to form. I do not remember any specific good work project I've really wanted to do that I didn't do. Difficulty appears mostly when one is fuzzy about it. Like, part of what I'm expressing here is my own fuzzy sense that I ought to do some other things, and I'm not very clear on what they are. If I were very clear on what I wanted to do, it would be a lot easier to help me, and a lot easier to devise a way of getting there.  

    1 Sep 2003 @ 18:12 by ming : Network Marketing
    James, well, I think solutions are to be found the region of networks doing business, or networked business, or each individual being a business. Which might be a re-invention of network marketing like it should have been. But I've never met a traditional network marketing organization that didn't give me a bad taste in the mouth sooner or later. Free Agent Path sounds good. Yes, it is about empowering oneself to work as a free agent. And I'm all for thinking like a millionaire and being one's own boss. I try to dip into that kind of thing once in a while, and usually have gotten disappointed to find that the great sounding rhetoric covered for just the opposite of what it was talking about - signing up under somebody else, throwing your energy selling some abitrary product, so that the people at the top can be good examples of benevolent rich entrepreneurs. But there's something to it, somewhere, and of course the answer is that we're each empowered business people, working freely in a network. I just haven't run into any acceptable way of doing that yet. Something like xpertweb is what I'm leaning towards.  

    2 Sep 2003 @ 04:17 by shawa : Andy
    Alignment with some archetypal line is a +.
    By that I mean, that what you offer must be in line with a real need, at some level - for your effort to be worth your while and people´s. And there are not so many different needs at a simply human level. So WHAT could it be that MOST - if not all - human beings need ?  

    2 Sep 2003 @ 13:00 by ming : Clarity
    I feel a role in helping others get clear on what they're here to do, and help them having places where it can happen. So, that can range from being an individual counselor or coach to creating internet environments for people to collaborate in, to maybe being some kind of organizational consultant. Everybody needs to feel good about what they're doing, and to become better at what they're doing, and to find some people to do it with.  

    2 Sep 2003 @ 18:53 by ming : Making it happen
    Well, I already have. The issue is more how to get clear on what the next evolution is. At other points in time it has been more obvious to me that I was doing something useful in that regard. Now that is much more fuzzy, and I feel the winds of change.  

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