Hi to all. Hope you are enjoying a wonderful spring. I have been running silent here for a few months. Mostly busy with life as my daughter just got married and now preparing for NFL draft this week with son George (will add more of an update on those subjects in follow up post). But all is good and well. Also not looking to just blab on for the sake of filling space and/or just sharing details of my life, which does not seem to be all that interesting. All that said, I have missed the keyboard and have hit on a few things I believe worthy of a comment or two.
The blooming trees! This time of year always amazes me with the way the trees bloom. It seems like they pop unexpectedly and then within just a flash they are gone (kind of like life right?). But while they are here they smell so wonderful and are so very beautiful. Something to be enjoyed and appreciated while they are with us for such a short time.
Second, my 40th high school reunion is coming up and it is a reminder to me of how fast time goes and how we are aging. All good but I remember distinctly being at my 10 year and seeing the people there for their 40th and thinking WOW that seemed like it would never happen to us! Oh to be young and foolish again! But here it is and I am glad I am here and able to attend.
But thinking about coming back and seeing people I have not seen for many years it makes me realize that I have not done a very good job of staying in touch, or just maybe paying attention to the the lives of others that at one time in my life I knew pretty well. Maybe that is true for many but I listen to some of my friends and they seem to know so much about so many other people. Now, I was never one to know every detail about very many people. But as I think about this I think maybe just kinda of paying attention a bit more, knowing a little bit, being available and/or supportive in some way would have been possible. Not sure exactly but as I have moved around a lot it seems that all of those moves made it easy to fall away from folks and move on with life. I think looking back that this was to my own detriment because the older I get the more I realize again and again it really is all about people. It is the people that make our lives rich and for that we need to pay attention and be present. Anyway, looking forward to seeing people and hope to be better at all of that down the stretch!
As some of these recent life events have been arising in my own life I have been trying to pay particular attention to my perceptions of them, where I am at in life, and life in general. Just seeking to be intentional in all I do and to make active choices about my life. So I work out, meditate, and try to find a bit of clarity in all the chaos. Sometimes it works and other times it does not.
Part of this effort is to read some other authors for insight, wisdom, and suggestions. Some of it is good and helps, and others not so much. But getting a reaction and stimulating thought is a good thing and for me that works. I recently read an article about passion, entitled "Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ Is Bad Advice." This was posted by Aaron Orendorff on Thursday April 13th, 2017. I do not know Aaron at all and am sure he knows his stuff in many areas. So these are just some random thoughts that made sense to me.
I was drawn to this article because so many of the other self-help articles and books encourage you to just that, to find and follow your passion. That is, the place where your passion, skills, and abilities, meet the needs of the world and then go after it. "Do what you love" they say, and the rest (money, happiness, other?) will follow. So an article that suggests that this is not good advice drew my attention. In addition my own life has most frequently been lived at the edge of passion, seeking to find that which stimulates, energizes and invigorates and then try to go live there. That has worked well for me in some (most) cases but admittedly not so well in a few others, but it is who I am and has been my life.
In this article on passion, it basically gives you 7 things you should do instead of finding your passion. These include:
1. Not Passion, Purpose;
2. Not Passion, Picking;
3. Not Passion, Practice;
4. Not Passion, Planning;
5. Not Passion, Positioning;
6. Not Passion, Peripheral;
7. Not Passion, Perseverance.
OK, so I want to start out by saying I think the author is absolutely correct in the items he has identified as being important as we engage life, new jobs, activities, whatever. These are all quality life skills and important. It is hard to be successful without practicing most if not all of these traits. So all good on that.
Without reviewing the entire article I would say this (and these are my very brief and likely inaccurate summary of his points):
(1) YES you need a purpose and to have a mission beyond yourself.
(2) YES you need to be selective about what you say yes to for if you say yes to everything it eventually means no.
(3) YES you need to practice a skill set to achieve not just competency but greatness.
(4) YES you need to have a plan with goals and action steps and all the rest.
(5) YES you need to position yourself and stay connected with networks and the like.
(6) YES you need to see beyond your own little slice of the world and see the bigger picture.
(7) Yes you must work tirelessly and overcome obstacles as they arise. YES to all of it.
HOWEVER, (you knew this was coming right?), being one who has tried to track his passion over many years, this advice sounds so much like every steady, secure, established individual I ever spoke with about an idea I had, a dream I had, a new direction I was thinking about taking in my life. "Easy there Bruce, take your time, think this through a bit." "Develop a plan, set goals, take small steps"....whatever. I do not begrudge any of those I spoke with in my life who I asked for advice from, no matter what they told me. I am so very grateful for all of the input, suggestions, and feedback I got back. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I am grateful and blessed. That said, I am sure most of you who tried to help me felt I did not do a very good job of listening as I usually still went full speed ahead! But thank you for trying. : )
But my nature is of the spirit, intuitive, a risk taker, adventure and all that goes with it. And this is not about right and wrong. This is about being true to yourself and there are a million different ways to do that. But for me it has always been about listening to the spirit and my heart and doing what they call me to do. And in my life with those things it did not have very much to do with a list of 7 principles to follow. It had all to do with PASSION! If I believed my heart and spirit were in the right place then I trusted that the universe had spoken to me and was calling me to something else. Even if I did not have a clear plan. Even if all the pieces were not in place. Even if it was not perfect and was scary, I knew it was the right thing to do and so tried to do it.
So I offer this not so much as a critique on the article, but as another perspective. I still believe passion is the heart of it. It is the core. Dream and dream big. Visualize even what you cannot yet articulate into a plan. Trust your intuition, listen to your heart, know yourself and follow your spirit. And then, go, go, go.
Do all the planning you can, connect and network all you can, see broadly all of the forest along with your trees. Do it all but if the passion is there then all the rest will come. In my experience, where people drown the passion with all the tiny steps the 'experts" tell you do to before you say yes I am not sure the passion can or will survive. And again, everyone is different and we all must pursue our dreams in ways that are appropriate for us. And that will be different for each of us. So listen, consider, dream, trust, but make up your own mind and do what is right for YOU. It may be all of that but it may not be, and that is OK. Enjoy the blooms!