|Character & Contribution Values, integrity, finding your purpose, living your purpose, serving the greater good, making a difference, changing the world, charity, polarity, lightworkers, darkworkers|
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|11-28-2011, 06:51 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
A Step by Step Method For Finding Your Passion and Living Your Biggest Dreams.
[ABSTRACT: This is my first post on the forums, but I've been a lurker and a reader of Steve's stuff for many years. I wrote this in a moment of inspiration. I don't know if this will resonate with anyone, but I hope it will help some people. I'm going to have to post this in three parts, as it's super-long. :-) ]
I have been where you are.
I have wondered, ďHow do I get from where I am now to where I want to go. And, for that matter, how did I even get here?í
Not knowing what you want is painful, knowing what you want and not knowing how to get it, is more painful still.
There was a time in my life, not long ago - when I didnít have any of the answers. But I was committed to finding them. Itís strange, we learn so much as we become adults: Geometry, English, Foreign language, Accounting, General Education, etc... but no one seems to be teaching life. No one is telling us how get where we want to go. How to achieve our dreams.
So, weíre sold the dreams of society. The dreams of other people. And without a laser-like focus on our own ambitions, we accept those dreams (the dreams of others.)
Maybe youíre living the life your parents wanted you to live. Maybe youíre living the life you fell into. Maybe youíre living the life you thought you wanted, or the one that was easiest.
Iíve lived all of those lives. All of them sucked. I didnít enjoy any of them. And they were all painful.
Youíre reading this because youíve reached a breaking point. A point at which youíve decided youíve had enough.
Enough of the Status Quo.
Enough passive acceptance of what you have.
Enough wishing, longing, and wondering.
You want to live for something. You want to contribute to the world, to offer something of value, to help people, to enjoy that contribution and to sustain yourself with it.
This post is for the young, the hurting, the wanderers. The people who feel like they just canít get ahead or like they just canít find what they want. Itís for the people who have too many passions and for those of you who canít seem to find out what youíre passionate about.
It is not a complete guide on how to transform your desires into the perfect career. But rather, how to set yourself on the path that leads you to the life that you came here to live. The brilliant existance that has been sitting dormant inside of you. The life that, in spite of your best efforts at stifling it, is trying to crawl out - to release itself into the world.
I am going to show you how to live your dream. The big dream. The one that matters most.
Four years ago now, I was sitting alone in my apartment - wondering how I had ended up with a life that I neither wanted or understood.
A breakup with a long-time girlfriend left me searching. Searching for something else to do with my time. Searching for a new escape. Searching for a different future.
Thatís when I realized that ultimately, I had no sense of myself. I didnít know what I was passionate about, I didnít know what I wanted to offer the world (or what I could offer), and I didnít know what to do with myself.
I was empty.
I was unhappy.
Looking back, I realize now that those feelings were created by two corresponding functions. First, I wasnít able to see what was already beautiful and wonderful within the life that I had. And, secondly, I had no idea what sort of life I wanted to have. Nor did I realize I had the power to change and create it.
I am not going to fill your head with a bunch of B.S. and useless, surface level tactics for achieving your dreams and goals. The paragraphs that follow hold within them the pearls of wisdom gleaned from 3 years of trial and error, pain and frustration, work and reworking.
Those were frustrating times. And, the years of searching that followed lead me down plenty aimless paths and dead ends.
But ultimately, Itís about what comes after all the hard stuff. Itís about getting your life figured out, and what happens once you do.
Figuring out where the crossroads between your passions, values and gifts lie is not a simple or easy process. You are not going to have this sorted out by the end of the evening. And I would not, for any reason, try to convince you that it works that way.
This stuff is hard work. And you will have many breaking points. Points where you feel like giving up, points where you feel like youíre getting nowhere. Thatís ok. Push through them.
This is, however, a straightforward and somewhat linear process that will guide you from where you are now to where you want to go.
Itís about figuring out what you want, and empowering you to move in the direction you want to go.
My Current Reality
So what did I finally discover about myself, after all that searching? I wanted to inspire other people with my life. I wanted to take away the pain other people are enduring as a result of not being on their path, as a result of not being able to get where they wanted to go. And, I wanted to do it by telling my story - by showing them.
I am now riding my motorcycle across the world. It has been an incredible experience, and, if I can do it (with the limited resources I have at my disposal) you can follow your dream too.
You will discover that your limitations are rarely physical in nature, but rather, psychological, sociological, or emotional. And, let me tell you right now: You do not lack potential. You lack certainty, confidence, courage, and the willingness to fail. On the plus side, all of those things can be acquired relatively easy (and theyíre free to obtain). The gateway to your dreams, your goals and your best life is not physical, but it is daunting.
Step 1: Find Your Passion
I have already written about this extensively. So, it would seem silly to reiterate my beliefs and experiences here.
READ THIS: How to Find Your Passion [ This is not a plug. That article is the compilation and union of knowledge I gained from no shortage of sweat and tears. I hope you find it valuable. When youíre done reading, come back here.]
I say find your Ďpassioní instead of your Ďpurposeí, because I believe that these are two different things. In my experience, passion trumps purpose because it already embodies it. Knowing what your purpose in life is doesnít point you in a direction or give you actionable stepping stones towards a more fulfilling existence. You can know what your purpose is, and still be highly dissatisfied.
Knowing what your passion is, however, will direct you towards fulfilling your purpose. ďFollowing your bliss...Ē as Joseph Campbell once said.
Through that process, you live your purpose (and it doesnít much matter if you know it conceptually).
Actionable Item: Go do something you enjoy. It doesnít matter what it is or how long you engage with it. Just experience it fully and have some fun.
Step 2: Learn to Breath
Rome wasnít built in a day. Most people will not be able to nail down their deepest passion(s) in a short amount of time. So, since this is a process, you are going to have to chill out and learn to appreciate it.
Learn to breath. Go for a walk. Forget about this stuff for a while. And make a point of doing that repeatedly. Maybe every day.
Itís ok not to know whatís next or where youíre going. Itís ok not to know how to get from A to B. Itís ok to be uncertain. Thereís beauty in uncertainty. And, if youíre quiet and still, you will see that beauty. In fact, that empty space is where dreams are born. Enjoy it, go into it. Do not resist the empty space. It is your cocoon. Your Fortress of Solitude. The empty space, the uncertainty, is your most precious gift. It is the place from which you will create a new world. And thatís a brilliant and awesome place to be.
Donít you think? :-)
Actionable item: Go find a quiet place where you can be totally alone. Sit or lay down, uncross your arms and legs and breath deeply in and out 20 times. Now, go for a walk while you continue to be conscious of your breathing.
Step 3: Forget The Past
The past binds you to a similar present. Let it go.
On this journey, the journey towards a more congruent and powerful life, there is no space for the past within you. The past contains many lessons; keep them. It holds many regrets and mistakes; release them.
You no longer have any need for it. The past binds you and traps you. Come into the space that is today. Come into the discomfort, the uncertainty, the fear. Learn to love a hot cup of coffee, a conversation with a friend, or the sun on your face. These are the essential components of life. It is these moments that you are here to experience. You are where you belong. No passionate career, job, or experience, will complete you. And the past will never satisfy you.
Actionable Item: Go appreciate something thatís happening right now. Experience it fully. Enjoy it. Smile.
Youíll figure out where youíre trying to go.
|11-28-2011, 06:54 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
Step 4: Start Anywhere
There is no secret sauce. No magic recipe.
There is no linear path or perfect order of operations. This isnít algebra; it certainly isnít science. Itís art.
"Modern man is conditioned to expect instant gratification but any success or triumph realized quickly, with only marginal effort is necessarily shallow. Meaningful achievement takes time, hard work, persistence, patience, proper intent and constant self-awareness. The path to such success is punctuated by failure, consolidation and renewed effort. It is wet with the tears of emotional breakdown. Personal reconstruction is art. Discovering one's self, one's talent and ambition and learning how to express it is a creative process so may not be rushed. What's the hurry?" ~Mark Twight
Bruce Mau, a brilliant designer from Canada, wrote this manifesto for design process, however, it is also remarkably useful for your search. But, for the moment, weíre just going to focus on one of his points.
There is no correct starting position, no perfect entry point. No civilized or logical negotiation of the process. This is mad hatter, chaos theory - the butterfly effect in physical form. You move, you act, you feel, you become introspective, you adjust. And, you continue until the world begins to move in your direction, until you begin to feel inspired, or, until you die.
Do not obsess about what to do next. This is not how you discover your deepest passions. Instead, act. Move. Experiment.
Actionable Item: Go rock climbing, write a manifesto, paint a picture, make a phone call, eat some ice cream, visit a hostel, take a photo, sing a song. It doesnít matter. The end is irrelevant.
Do not think about how you can get paid for this, how you can do it full-time, or, whether or not itís ďworth whileĒ.
Do. Enjoy. Do again. Learn what you love. Go into it as deeply as you can.
How this process played out for me...
I knew I wanted to work online and own my own business. I did some writing, I did design work, I started blogs, I studied passive income, I researched, I read, I dabbled. None of things yielded the returns I was hoping for. But, all of them taught me things. And, with each endeavor I learned what I did and did not like about different mediums, business models and experiences.
I am passionate about motorcycles. I do not know why. Up until 2 years ago I had never owned one. No matter. During my passionate search, I went out and bought one. I validated my passion by experiencing it. Riding motorcycles is awesome. Still, when I first started riding. It was just for pleasure. There was no larger purpose, aim, or connection with the rest of my life.
I love travel. I had never traveled extensively before my current endeavor. But, every time I left home, I never wanted to return. New places and experience excite and motivate me. I enjoy the challenge, the thrill, the taste of a new location. But, I knew and was aware of this long before I knew what to do with the interest. It was just something I thought about, like most people, I would say, ďI wish I could travel more.Ē
Step 5: Assume an Inquisitive Nature
You cannot do this on your own. To a degree, circumstance, change, destiny, God, your guides or the butterfly effect (whatever you believe in) will play a role. Make yourself an empty vessel.
Allow new information to enter your world. Start conversations with strangers. Wander through book stores. Consume things that you find intriguing. You will, in time, make discoveries and come upon information that formerly, you did not have.
These experiences will affect you. And, while they are somewhat out of your control, you can increase the likelihood of synchronicity by being available, being active, being social, being hungry and being empty. That is the state in which you will make discoveries.
It is not a state of anxiety, but a state of calm and quiet waiting. An inquisitive nature.
Actionable Item: For one hour every day. Make yourself empty and do some of the activities listed above. Do not seek while you do them. Do them for their own sake, and listen to your heart.
Step 6: Let Go of Expectations (Yours and Others)
This process will involve a significant and sometimes severe redefining of yourself. If, you are afraid of what you might lose as a result of becoming someone different, you have already sunk the ship. You must, in every way become utterly and totally independent as an individual and a contributor. You are the spring of knowledge, your worth flows out into the world. You do not seek water, like a pool at the bottom of the waterfall. You are the spring. The giver. The creator.
You must learn to self validate, or you will quit.
Validation does not require success. Instead, validate yourself with your failure. Let your mistakes prove to you that you are moving in the correct direction.
ďIf you arenít failing, you arenít even trying.Ē
I believe the only way to experience courage and self validation is to start breaking norms. Start moving out of what you and your friends think is normal, accepted, or predictable behavior from you.
Actionable item: Write a blog post that resonates with you (but violates norms or what your current social network believes) and share it publicly. Say hi to strangers, engage them. Go fail at a sport or any activity, in front of people. Go dance alone. Go tell someone theyíre cute. Do something that other people will be critical of you for, then, let it not matter.
Step 7: Build the Pyramid
Every goal, every dream, every endeavor, has specific and logical stepping stones that will get you from where you are now to where you want to go. There is a path out there that is both direct and efficient. However, it is almost impossible to know what that path is.
One common way for people to break through this barrier is to copy the work of others. The thinking is, ďIf it worked for someone else, it can work for me.Ē This is true (to a point), however, you will likely discover that only a fraction of someone elseís knowledge will be applicable to your situation. You must also learn to think for yourself. Start by building your pyramid.
Get a piece of paper and draw out a pyramid like the one above. Anything you want in life is built out of smaller and simpler achievements. Once the major stones are laid at the base of the pyramid, other small bocks get layered on top. And, eventually, you can place the final stone, the goal, at the peak. You will have reached your goal.
For example, learning a language is a process that will require a number of building blocks. The peak is fluency, where you are able to converse normally in a language that is not native to you.
Hereís what a language learning pyramid might look like:
Now itís time for you to draw a blank pyramid and then start filling in the blocks with what you THINK will get you where you want to go. Unfortunately, you will be wrong. The blocks will be labeled incorrectly, and your pyramid will be inaccurate. Thatís ok. The point is to get something down, so you can start working. So you can start acting.
Here is the pyramid I created for getting myself mobilized, and traveling the world on my motorcycle.
Now that Iíve achieved that goal, hereís what the actual steps were:
See how different they are?
The first version of your pyramid will be a half-conjured guess, at best. More likely, it will be totally inaccurate or useless. It doesnít matter. Build it anyway, you can come back later and replace the ill-fitting blocks. The pyramid is your guide, your plan, your point of action that will move you to your next logical location. It doesnít have to be correct, it just has to exist.
Actionable Item: Decide what you want most. Draw your pyramid. Start acting on the blocks at the bottom.
|11-28-2011, 06:57 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
Step 8: Adjust the Stones
You will, in short order, find that what you are doing isnít working. Stop doing it. Try something else. Repeat this process enough times and eventually you will make some headway. Headway generates initial results, initial results generate reward, reward generates momentum, momentum put human beings on the moon and carved the Grand Canyon. Do not underestimate it.
As you progress, you will realize that some of your blocks are misplaced, inaccurate, or unnecessary. Remove them, and add in the ones that are working. Youíre slowly building a logical guide to your dream BY MAKING MISTAKES AND EXPERIMENTING!
That IS the process. Failure. Restructuring. Repeating.
Learn to love it (or at least accept it) or learn to never change anything. Itís your choice.
Action Item: Take enough action within a 2 week period to make some changes to your pyramid. Try some things, adjust.
Step 9: Set a Date
It would be unwise of you to pursue your new endeavor haphazardly, without any sort of logical or set endpoint. If you just kinda, sorta move forward, your will defeat yourself. There wonít be enough pressure. You wonít crest the hill.
Races are timed. There are competitors.
Elk fight for mates.
Effort, failure, and timetables are woven into the fabric of the universe. Everything has itís start and end. Itís a circle. Make your goals and dreams a part of this circle. Do not pretend, that if you pursue something without any real focus, that you will make it where youíre going. Setup some consequences.
Lions only have so much energy. If they donít catch the gazelle after a certain amount of attempts, they go hungry. Everything is gain or loss. Their world is real, and so is yours. Donít let 5 more years drift by where nothing actually happens. Where youíre working the same job, are still single, are still broke, or aimless. Get focused. Set a date for completion.
Pick a point in the future that you think is a reasonable amount of time for you to complete your goal. Now, increase that amount of time by 50% (you will probably underestimate the amount of effort necessary).
Thatís your date. And, when it arrives, you ship.
Maybe that will mean moving to a new city, quitting your job or breaking up with someone. I donít know, but you have to have a firm date.
You will not feel ready when the time comes. And it will likely appear to you, at that point, that you simply cannot move forward with your plan.
Actionable Item: Move forward anyway, boldly, and with as much confidence as you can muster. You will sort out the details as you progress, or you will fail miserably in the process. Either result is ten times better than delaying - inevitably.
ďIn any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.Ē ~Theodore Roosevelt
Step 10: Meet the Resistance
When the date nears and the hour is upon you, you will meet your largest dragon yet. If you thought the effort up until this point was difficult, you havenít seen anything yet.
You will make mistakes that cost you time, money and effort.
You will sabotage yourself.
You will lose focus.
You will lose heart.
You will feel like the very universe itself has shown up to stop you. You will feel like giving up.
In Seth Godinís book ďLinchpinĒ, he talks about the Resistance. A force stemming from your very physiological makeup, that will attempt to sabotage any sort of extraordinarily positive change within your life. When your ship date gets near, you will feel this force. It will be difficult. You will feel like quitting. But, you have to push through it.
Do not resist the resistance, for that will only make it stronger. It is the self-affirming ego that creates this disconnect within you. It needs safety, it needs continuity of personality, present and future. It cannot allow change to occur, or heavens forbid - growth. And, at every turn, it will put into action any step that will serve to dislodge you from your current path.
Accept this reality. This is your cross, your burden. It is your struggle to bear. Mt. Doom rests at the end of your journey, not at the beginning.
Actionable Item: Keep moving forward. Be methodical. Accept the difficulty of your situation.
Step 11: Take The Risk
When the time comes, you jump ship. You publicize, you market, your leave, you buy, you show up... whatever the end-result is that you were looking for - you do it. And, you do it knowing full-well that it may backfire and blow up in your face. You do it knowing that youíre ok with that.
Anticipation of failure or the Ďworse-case scenarioí is usually as painful or more painful than the reality. Donít punish yourself by experiencing your failures twice. When they happen (and they will), be there for the occasion, for the first time.
Go to the Olympic trial, ready or not. Market the business. Email the clients. Publish the manifesto. Leave the country. You must go.
Few things in life are totally irreversible. If it doesnít workout, you can get a new job, boyfriend, business, etc...
Youíve got to be willing to jump ship, or youíll sink with it.
Actionable Item: On your date, do your thang.
Step 12: Failure is Not Optional
You do not get to do big things without screwing up. You will not lose the training wheels and then never fall of your bike. Bruises, bumps, missteps and skinned knees are the name of the game. Theyíre the fabric of what gets you from A to B. The process by which you move forward.
Donít resist the process. Donít resist failure.
Laugh at it. Enjoy it. Shrug off your awkward moments and utter letdowns, they are only as big as you make them. No one else cares.
Actionable Item: Go fail at something - intentionally. Go skiing and fall. Go try something youíve never done. Go write a song and sing it on a street corner, put out a hat and make no money. Get use to the feeling.
Step 13: Repeat: There is no End-point
If you arrive at your goal and achieve your dream, you will become a changed person. And, as a result, you will develop new passions and new dreams. This is normal, and to be expected. However, there is a very real risk in accomplishment of our ambitions. There is, the risk that you will simply move onto the next goal or task, living forever in a state of seeking. Spinning the hamster wheel because you donít know how to stop or what else to do.
Itís folly. You cannot achieve anything in life because everything of worth is already inside of you. If you follow your goals and passions, with grim determination and succeed, you will quickly find wanting once again grows within you. And, with that wanting will come dissatisfaction.
There is no magic pill that will make you happy. And nothing, externally, will give you what you ultimately seek.
Seek it for the challenge. Seek it because you believe in contributing. Seek it because thereís nothing better to do. Seek it because itís all you know. All you believe in.
But donít seek it because you need it, or, because you think it will make you happy. You will be left with more of the same, and find that you have only completed one cycle of a circle that never ends. The circle of dissatisfaction.
Satisfaction lies within.
"Your internal state is most paramount. If you become overwhelmed by mental discomfort, external things will not help at all. However, if internally there is love, warmth, and kindheartedness, external problems can be accepted and faced more easily." ~The Dalai Lama
|11-29-2011, 02:00 PM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2009
What a timely post!
I've just scanned it soo far, but steps and 10- 13 jump out the most to me. I've accepted step 12 but still battling 10 and need to suck it up to get to step 11. I love the pyramids also.
It will take me a while to completely read and digest this. Expect a post sometime soon.
Thank you soo much for the reminder!
|11-30-2011, 12:41 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
You must have read my mind or post early today! :-) Just a few hours ago, I asked the same question, ' how to find your purpose!' I am at the point where I am ready to do something I am passionate about, just not sure what that is yet. I tend to have my hands in a little bit of everything, I guess that makes me a generalist; but I am ready to find that one thing that I am good at - my speciality.
Thank you for sharing this valuable information with us JohnnyDeez.
|11-30-2011, 08:52 AM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2007
JohnnyDeez, welcome to the forum. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this and share your experience/knowledge with us.
There is a lot of valuable advice written here.
It is definitely worth a re-read to digest it all but I enjoy how clearly you have laid this out and the actionable items.
I need to memorize step #10. For me personally, step #10 is my biggest obstacle and wins every time. Thanks for the reminder.
I'm looking forward to reading other posts.
|11-30-2011, 02:10 PM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
|11-30-2011, 02:14 PM||#11 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
|11-30-2011, 02:18 PM||#12 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
I am also the the type of person who tends to generalize and spread myself thin. (But I enjoy absorbing new things and then moving on.) You might be interested in the book, "Glimmer" by Warren Berger, as it speaks to this phenomena, and identifies it as a good thing. (We're just slow starters)
Remember, your 'purpose' is a moving target. Don't obsess over the perfect outlet, keeping experimenting and do what resonates with you most. Eventually you will create your own unique combination of talents, passions and skills. But, that can take many years. Enjoy!
|11-30-2011, 02:21 PM||#13 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
"What if people don't like it?"
"What if it bombs?"
"What if I look stupid?"
After a while you get use to this mental rigamarole and you learn to do it anyway. Good luck!
|11-30-2011, 05:40 PM||#14 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2009
Johnny - have you come across Cap'n Bob Webb? He did a motorcycle journey across South American (from Panama to Columbia) with a couple of friends.
I used his downloadable book, Men Mud and Motorcycles as a teaching textbook when I was teaching English to older men (as most of the English-teaching stuff is written for kids or young adults). It was a great read, especially it took them 3 goes to finally achieve it!
Tools to help you become a Super Achiever
|12-01-2011, 07:12 PM||#15 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
Iím really glad that you took the time to post such a helpful long post. That was exactly the article I was looking for. I have read it all, it took me some time but it was worth it
You described me (and many others) well in your first post. That is exactly the position that Iím struggling with since a year or so.
I donít know what Iím passionate about, I donít know what I could offer to the world, I donít know what career I should choose. Iím just lost. And itís really painful.
I would say that Step 6 is the hardest. Letting go of expectations, and self validation. Itís easier said than done.
And struggling with depression while regretting past mistakes was a complete waste of time. It never helped me in the process of getting from A to B, however it held me back.
Anyway, Thanks for sharing this with us
|12-02-2011, 08:37 PM||#17 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
|12-02-2011, 08:40 PM||#18 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
I truly hope I was able to help you on your path - in some way. PM me if you want to chat.
|12-02-2011, 08:47 PM||#20 (permalink)|
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Sylmar, CA
With two women in Colorado, I'm in the planning stages of a workshop to be presented in March for creating with your intuitive wisdom through drumming, drawing and storytelling.
I'll be presenting/facilitating the storytelling portion.
This is a first for all of us; and again, your posts are exceptionally timely and inspirational.
|12-03-2011, 05:43 PM||#21 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
|12-04-2011, 03:40 AM||#22 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2011
I don't know why but I may have something related to this forum...
There's a video in that link that shows how setbacks doesn't stop people from expressing their talents. Developing passion can make you a better person and it doesn't need money or anything. Develop your passion because it makes you happy just like Sung-bong choi
|12-04-2011, 09:54 PM||#23 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2011
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