Last week, I stumbled across economist Larry Smith’s TEDx talk titled Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career. I can’t seem to stop watching it. Not only is he hilariously engaging, but he raises a few very strong arguments for finding and pursuing our passions. Please watch it. I’ll wait…
I know, I know. We all believe in the concept, but…
I don’t know what my passion is!
I know what my passion is, but it’s impossible to make a living at it!
If I decide to do something I’m passionate about for a living, I might get sick of it!
I may not be passionate about my “day job,” but it pays the bills and lets me pursue my passion(s) in my spare time!
If it was fun, they wouldn’t call it work!
Pursuing my passion would be selfish!
I have a family, a mortgage!
Who do I think I am? I don’t deserve a great career!
Is passion really that important? Don’t some of us have legitimate reasons not to pursue passion in our careers? Isn’t compromise a necessary part of life? Or are these just the lies we tell ourselves, over and over, because we are afraid?
What do you think? Wherever you stand on the passion spectrum, please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
Go for it, kid.
“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”
Last week, I was delighted to see a new post from one of my favorite downshifting bloggers MrWoodpecker on A Good Day To Live. He raised a very important issue that I have also been struggling with for a while:
At what point does the quest for “self-optimization” cease to be positive and helpful, and start to feel like we’re constantly beating ourselves up?
When are we finally GOOD ENOUGH?
Are we there yet?
How did we cross the line from personal growth and self-improvement to addiction?
It’s easy to get hung up on fixing what we think is “wrong” with ourselves and our lives:
- Save even more money (another one of my addictions)!
- Eat healthier!
- Work out for an hour every day!
- Maximize efficiency!
- Squeeze the most out of every minute, every hour, every day!
Oh, the guilt! Why can’t we just be happy and enjoy the here and now, just as we are? As MrWoodpecker advises, remember the middle way. It’s all about BALANCE, my friends. We can still grow and improve, but every once in a while it’s important to look back at how far we’ve come, and be thankful for where we are now. Remember how very, very lucky we are to even have the time and capacity to worry about these kinds of things.
Relax! We’re doing great.
Last May, I made a conscious decision to take the summer off from this blog, and from writing in general. I worked at the post office as little as I could get away with. We took a few short road trips to coastal Maine and the White Mountains, walked and hiked with the dogs, and enjoyed time with friends and family. We made leisure a priority.
But as much as I enjoyed my endless summer vacation, I really missed writing. I forgot my own advice. Downshifting is all about BALANCE, making time for the things that are important to you. For me, writing is absolutely one of those things. Without it, I felt like my equilibrium was off. I carried a vague sense of dissatisfaction, like I was drifting aimlessly through my days. Another lesson learned.
In September, my second cousin passed away from ALS. She was 52 years old. Until now, I had foolishly operated under the assumption that I had unlimited time. I’m 44 now. I plan to live to be 100. Plenty of time to accomplish all the things I want to do, right? No sense of urgency. No need to rush.
My cousin’s death really made me think, what if I don’t have as much time as I thought? What if my life suddenly ended next week or next year? Would I be proud of all that I had accomplished, or regret all the things I never finished, or even started?
The term Downshifting means slowing down, but it also implies that we are still moving forward, just in a more mindful way. Even if I only write for 15 minutes a day, I still experience a deep sense of accomplishment. Making steady progress toward a goal (like writing a book, perhaps?) is a fundamental part of happiness. Striving to live up to our potential is key to the pursuit of personal fulfillment.
Don’t we all deserve that?