When did life become business?

Kathy Krugerhappiness, perspective, work-life balance30 Comments

There’s a saying ‘it’s just business’ – which is just a lame excuse to justify less than nice ways of behaving towards people – a way of saying ‘it’s ok to treat you badly because it’s just business, it’s not personal’.

This saying really bothers me, because really, everything is personal and it’s not nice to not be nice. We feel as people – we love and live as people, not entities that can be bought and sold and merged and downsized.

I believe business is always personal (or should be), but I don’t believe personal should be business.

And yet it’s become that way.

We’ve taken the business ‘ideals’ of efficiency and productivity and even profits and applied them to our personal lives.sb

Busyness is really business. So when we say that our lives are always busy, we are saying that we are treating life like a business, calculating its ledger. And who doesn’t want a personal life that counts?

We’ve scheduled our personal lives – our hobbies, pursuits, social media posts and even our play.

Face time and Facebook – there’s an app for that – even if there isn’t one for face-to-face time.

But it’s more than the over-structuring and over-scheduling of our lives.

It’s an overall attitude of busy-ness and a business attitude that time is money, that everything should serve a purpose. And even when it isn’t about the money, it should still serve a purpose or it doesn’t have any meaning.

It’s an attitude that play should be about learning, that cooking should either be about culinary creations or a creating a perfect nutritionally-balanced diet. That everything we do should be spelled out on a mind-map first to ensure it fits with our long-term vision and leads to our soul’s desire.

It’s getting serious when we turn soul-searching into a business (opps that would be the personal development/spiritual industry, which does serve a purpose).

I have a blog and should be treating it like a business.

What is my blog’s ROI (that would be return on investment, for non-business types)? Let’s just say it’s in negative territory (if you count the $).

What is the marginal utility of reading my favourite blogs or Jane Austen or the Bhagavad Gita – will my enjoyment diminish over time as economists say it should or can I just keep on loving something I enjoy, you know, just for the fun of it?

What is the return on my investment of uninterrupted time playing Lego with my son– a brighter child, his future lucrative career in architecture, his ability to financially support us in our dotage?

What is the meaning of something if it doesn’t make my soul sing?

Now well that’s a good question!

Practically there is ‘business’ to attend to and sometimes that makes us busy. Not everything is going to make our soul sing the Hallelujah!

But not everything has to have a serious soul-purpose either – joy touches our soul lightly, spontaneously, serendipitously – it’s not strategic, it can’t be business planned and it is not experienced simply as some step in a larger spiritual quest.


The pragmatic business approach


The soulful approach

We need less busy-ness.

We need less business in our personal lives – and more joy.

We need more soul-searching – but we don’t need to make a business of it.

We need more businesses with soul (and soulful purpose).

And we need more understanding that while purpose is important it doesn’t equal meaning – that meaning is found in joy and soulful business, in love and play, in overcoming challenges and sometimes on purpose – it is found in whatever makes our soul sing.

Fa,la,la,la,la, lah la,lah,lah,lah

Do you sometimes feel you run your life more like a business than a life? Do you find meaning without purpose? Linking up with Essentially Jess for another IBOT.

Namaste sign off_edited-1



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Kathy KrugerWhen did life become business?

30 Comments on “When did life become business?”

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Jody – you know people really do schedule updates – business pages schedule all the time. There are even apps for it, but you can do it right in FB.

  1. deb dane

    Thought provoking Kathy. I think there is a fine line with the personal development stuff. I cringe when I hear people say they are “failing” at some personal growth they are striving for. You are not being graded and there is no timeline to follow like a schedule. Just because you set a goal for the year does not mean it must happen in 12 months. Just as one person might devote tons of time to a task and finish fast another may be working on many things or choose to go slow or need much deeper work to get there. You only fail (if ever) if you abandon something you truly want simply because you have failed to meet an expectation (ties in with my own post today so maybe I am now talking to myself lol). Xxx

  2. Vanessa

    I know the advice is to schedule time for this or that to make sure you do it, but honestly, I hate that idea with passion. Good on people who it works for but while I accept the need and usefulness of scheduling during the work day, when it comes to my downtime, I will do what I want to, not what I have to. If I add another “have to” to my life then it just becomes depressing, frankly.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Here, here Vanessa – scheduling can and does work, especially when we need to block out chunks of personal time but we are so close to losing any spontanaity in our lives.

  3. Min@WriteoftheMiddle

    Amazingly timely post for me Kathy!! I am torturing myself lately over how ‘doing what I enjoy and enjoying what I do’ is not earning me any money yet and that has made doing what I enjoy not so enjoyable at all any more. I haven’t picked up my camera in many weeks because of the pressure I feel to earn money from my photography. When I left the corporate life (where I earned a very good salary but was miserable) to rediscover myself and find what I loved to do, I did so with a new philosophy that my life was not be driven by the almighty $$ but that I would do what I love to do and love doing it … yet I have been drawn again into the pressure of earning an income. It is guilt and all me that puts this pressure on myself. Money IS necessary in order to live and at the moment my hubby is the only one earning. Yep – I feel guilt *sigh*.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      It is hard, but I bet you have earned ‘your share’ over the years – you know guilt won’t get you anywhere expect back to being miserable! I’m with you in that I don’t make any money from my writing (per see) and none from my yoga yet – I’m working, but dreaming and working towards something else too.

  4. EssentiallyJess

    I know that I do often account for most minutes of the day. I’m always thinking about the things I should be doing. And you’re right, that’s probably not the best attitude to have.
    You have given me lots to think about.

  5. Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions

    “What is the meaning of something if it doesn’t make my soul sing?”
    I really liked this line. I think this is one of those questions that you could ask yourself about everything you do in life if you are not sure if it’s something you should be doing or not. I think I need to write that down actually! I like your thinking.
    (Visiting on behalf of #teamIBOT today x)

  6. Tegan Churchill

    Lots of things to think about in this post. I think that the best businesses combine the best of both worlds. I go to a subway regularly because of the customer service I get there. The food is usually consistent across all of the stores but this one makes every single one of their customers feel like they are the most important person at that moment. I think it’s important to do this in life too, when we are interacting with others. We need more connections and less distractions.

    1. Kathy Kruger

      You’re right Tegan – businesses with soul, and just friendliness, deserve to succeed. We need to change our ‘business’ attitude to personal lives, but we definitely need more businesses with a personal attitude.

  7. kirri white

    I’m taking these words with me “And we need more understanding that while purpose is important it doesn’t equal meaning – that meaning is found in joy and soulful business, in love and play, in overcoming challenges and sometimes on purpose – it is found in whatever makes our soul sing”. Amen sista xx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Thanks Kirri – glad you got that to take away. I hear the sentiments echoed all the time, yet we still get stuck on purpose and goals and plans. Amen back at you.

  8. mummywifeme

    I’m not a fan of that saying either. So many times I’ve been upset over something at work and come home to Dave and he’s told me oh well, that’s business. It’s not. It’s just rudeness. I am definitely striving for less busy-ness in my life. I don’t know that I am succeeding too well at the moment though. I keep saying after Christmas. It is something that I’m conscious of though and working toward xx

    1. Kathy Kruger

      Consciousness is the first step isn’t it. I think when we try to manage a blog (and family, and work) and try to make it a bit of a business it gets harder not to blur business-like thinking into our personal lives – harder to just BE not DO. Worse when we take home rudeness and work worries.

  9. Sonia Life Love Hiccups

    Oh man you have nailed it! This is me… I do get so busy at times that I run my life like a business… which is sad really. The one upside is my business is personal in that I deal with the most gorgeous people day in and day out so I dont encounter too much of the ‘just business’ attitude … thank GOd! Here’s to less business and more joy xx

  10. Kathy Kruger

    Glad it resonated Sonia – it does seem like you’ve found a balance between business and home, even if that means (over) scheduling everything more than you would like. Maybe the secret is to be hyper-alert for joy in any moment we can grab it.

  11. hugzillablog

    Yes, this is an excellent post. More and more there is this tendency to “bottom line” everything, like some things aren’t worth doing just because they bring you joy. Bugger that. It’s not all about money.

  12. Maxabella

    This post really resonates with me. I don’t like the ‘it’s just business’ saying in business, let alone in life. It shouldn’t exist at all. For far too long people have been cowardly hiding behind ‘business’ when they do rotten things and I wish we could all rise up and tell people to just be nice. Why doesn’t nice make business money anyway? In any case, I won’t put up with that in life, not at all, never, ever. x

  13. Bec @ The Plumbette

    Kathy this is a great post and it’s convicted me a bit of my old ways. For me everything had to have a purpose and as a result it sucked the life and enjoyment out of a lot of activities. I don’t like that saying in business let alone in personal lives. Businesses would reap a better return if they treat people nicely and how they deserve to be treated.

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