What’s your passion?
Such a simple question but, very difficult for many of us to answer.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized my own… am I’m not a young man 🙂
I’ve had the opportunity to mentor college students in the last few years and it’s really been striking how much trouble they have answering that question.
Of course, I remember when I was in their shoes. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. As many of us do, I was going through my early life following what my parents and others said was the right path for me.
Of course, in spite of their earnest wishes for me, they could never know what was in my heart. Only I could.
It’s tragic really… When you’re in school, you’re surrounded by such vast resources for exploring your interests and expertise in virtually any endeavor you can imagine. But, most students don’t take advantage of all of that opportunity.
What I hear them say often is…
“I want to get out of school, work for a few years and get some experience. Then I’ll know better what I want to do with my life.”
And that does sound reasonable. But, those of us who have reached “a certain age” know that it doesn’t often work out like that.
In reality, you take your first job out of school and continue to follow this predetermined path that other say is the right way forward. You get married, start a family, get a mortgage, etc. and before you know it, your career has chosen you.
I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss’ podcast. He’s often referencing “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I recently read The War of Art and highly recommend it! It’s a great perspective on unleashing the inner creative genius we all possess. In it Pressfield quotes W.H. Murray of The Scottish Himalayan Expedition –
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.”
The idea is don’t fall victim to procrastination. Start today. Even if you’re not sure you’ve chosen the right path. The best way to know for sure is to begin the journey.
I recently had the opportunity to read another book that makes this point most effectively! Ben Gothard’s “CEO at 20: A Little Book of Dreams” is a short book that lays out how Ben started his own successful business at the age of 20. He shares his story and provides great recommendations for finding your own path and executing your plans.
What a great example of the benefits of starting now! Ben’s a young man and already in a position to see the world as full of opportunities. He can look in his heart and find gems and turn them into reality.
Is it that he was lucky? Does he have a special talent? Probably. But, I think most of all, Ben was given the gift of being able to overcome the fear of failure that we all suffer from. He acted in the face of it.
We may not all have “instant success” but, once we begin the journey, the right path will appear. Standing still seldom leads to enlightenment.