Making a Living vs. Making a Difference

art of encore living Jun 13, 2022

"Make a living" is a funny phrase. What does it really mean?

For most if us, it means whatever one does to earn the money necessary to provide for life's essentials like food, clothing, and shelter.

But of course, if you're reading this you can cover much more than the essentials with your paycheck.

And what do you do with the excess?

I know that for too long, I was guilty of spending what was left over on extravegencies and distractions that had little meaning and brought me no joy.

Does that sound familiar?

If so, I don't think it's our fault. It's what society makes available and what it programs us for.

However, if we are lucky enough to wake up from the emptiness of the "pursuit of happiness" (AKA "the happiness trap"), we have a responsibility to rethink what our lives are really all about.

In the first half of life, most of us define ourselves, and are defined by others, by what we do to make a living (and how much we make doing it).

As we enter the second half of life, many of us begin measuring our worth by the difference we're making.

What difference are you making?

I think that before any of us can answer that question, we need to ask, "what's the difference only I can make?"

So, what's the difference only you can make?

I think it begins with defining who you really are, what you're really good at, and where you really belong.

The difference only you can make lies at the intersection of those three elements.

Fulfillment meaning and joy come from engaging in an endeavor that leverages your values and talents done with and for those who share your values and need your talents.

Are you ready to move from making a living to making a difference?

(The Art of Encore Living provides a process built with insights time-tested by ancient philosophy and spiritual traditions and scientifically vetted by modern psychology and neuroscience. Visit to learn more.)

Scott Perry, Encore Life The Art of Encore Living

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