After high school I faced a dilemma there was nothing I enjoyed as much as the rush of basketball, the strategy of Yugioh, and watching repeats of Brad Pitt’s performance as Achilles in Troy. I needed an antidote, something to make me feel alive, maybe the solution was finding my passion. Depression ensued, followed by dropping out of college, with the hopes of discovering myself. Four years later, I I am here to report that I still have not found myself, I must say, I am elusive.
The other night, overlooking the ocean, sipping an Old Fashion with Rye,I began to ponder, I have accomplished many things, read a profuse amount of books, traveled to multiple countries, got in the best shape of my life, dated and lived with beautiful intelligent women, learned to sell, negotiate, perform on stage, and finally return to college to finish my B.A. in Psychology. All of these were quite unexpected and enjoyable.
Maybe its time to revisit this idea of passion.
Google Founders Larry page and Sergey Brin met in a Stanford phd program where they collaborated on a tech project called Backrub, which failed majestically. Bestselling author Robert Greene worked close to 50 jobs and didn’t get his first book published until he was in his 40s. Steve Jobs was an aspiring Zen Monk, bare foot college dropout, who was quite fond of acid, and hippie communes. The above men are all geniuses, the point is, their careers were seemingly unpredictable.
What you do now is not what your career will be, what you study or don’t study in college is not a life sentence. In that case, it would be wise to follow former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s advice
the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
From the moment our ancestors stared into the sky, contemplated their existence, and decided to create a world better than the ones they were born into, we have been seekers of purpose. Our evolution depended on the creation of skills, technologies, and systems of thinking. Our species thrive on the collective activity of a group and, dedication of individuals to acquiring complex skills. Our innate desire for purpose is deeply biological.
Our evolutionary ancestor was not born to be an actor, investment banker, or tech entrepreneur, neither were you. So stop thinking that your passion is hidden in a special crevice deep inside you waiting for a magic time to reveal itself, Stop thinking that a muse will come down and speak with you about the reason your on this planet, or that one day you will meet your career soul mate and from then on everything will be roses, daisies, and red wine.
Most likely you’re going to have to try a lot of things, make stuff up, and commit to it.
French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre writes “man is condemned to be free” totally responsible for his decisions and his life. There is no guide, life is simply what you make of it, and if you fuck up…. Well that’s on you.
Scary, maybe… But no doubt beautiful, because you’re free to create yourself, design a lifestyle of adventure, excitement, intellectual pontification, or whatever gets you going.
On the Howard Stern show, Jerry Seinfeld was explaining how it never gets easier. How it is all work. He joked that “your blessing in life is when you find the torture you’re comfortable with.”
The stigma, that we should love every second of what we do is false. Initially learning a skill is tedious and consuming.
If we want success, we continuously push ourselves, feel uncomfortable, doubt our work, achieve and then prepare to repeat it all over again.
Think about lifting weights, when you first start, your weak, it’s painful, and your form sucks. Persistence is key, soon you are lifting heavier and for longer durations. The task of going to the gym, to lift weights becomes habitual, the more time and energy invested in the process the better results. What initially was a form of masochism, becomes enjoyable, girls notice you, your confidence surges, and endorphins light up your day. You begin to perfect your diet, rest properly, and purchase the necessary supplements. Although this is more work, money, time, and sacrifice you happily oblige. This is the cycle of accelerating returns.
One might even decide that lifting heavy things, throwing them on the ground and repeating is a passion, a career. Something they want to pursue for the rest of their lives, even teach others the intricacies of the craft.
I have a friend who wants to be pursue a creative career. He is talented, smart, and has the time and opportunity to work on his craft. When he finished school and decided he was going to stay home and pursue it full time he froze completely. (Suddenly, faced by the difficulty and pressure of pursuing a creative passion. It was no longer a fun hobby, it became his career, and with it pressure, self doubt, and fear of failure.)
If you have no reason to believe you can turn your passion into a career, because no one has shown interest, you never earned money from it, and haven’t developed the proper work ethic or skill set, then at this point its a hobby or a dream. Something to work at, grow from, enjoy and challenge yourself with, but not a career. Trying to turn a enjoyable hobby, or idealistic dream into a full time career too soon, can be daunting and self-defeating. Especially if you have not developed the discipline to treat it as one. The question becomes If am working a job or pursuing a degree, how do I find the time necessary to pursue my passion? Here is the best advice I have ever received on that topic by Spiritual Teacher David Deida
Spend at least one hour a day doing whatever you simply love to do—what you deeply feel you need to do, in your heart—in spite of the daily duties that seem to constrain you. However be forewarned: you may discover that you won’t, or can’t do it; that in fact, your fantasy of your future life is simply a fantasy. Most postponements are excuses for a lack of creative discipline.”
It’s possible that your dreams just don’t pan out, or you need time, maybe you need to pivot and find something else. Take a leap of faith, this could mean failing, or embarrassment, It could also mean that you meet the love of your life, future business partner, or a career you love. Do not give up on the search for a passionate life, just don’t stop living passionately in the meantime. Genius inventor Buckminster Fuller once said “when he works on problems he never thinks about beauty. He only thinks about how to solve the problem. Once he is finished, if the solution is not beautiful then he knows it is wrong.”