To antithesize yesterday’s post a bit, you must not be too quick to surrender failed projects. Give obstacles their due perspective and time before you put your hands up and walk away. If you’re stringing a project along because you’re no longer interested in it, then mark it a failure and leave it be. But if you’re stringing a project along because of obstacles you cannot overcome, take an extra minute to consider the whole thing. What will it take to overcome this problem? Can you do it alone? Do you care enough to inspire the resources of others to help you? If you do not care enough to try and inspire the world with your work, walk away. If you do care, don’t give up and figure it out.
Quitters give up because they don’t care enough. Do not be a quitter. Pick projects you believe in and believe in them until the deeds are done. The second you stop believing, you lose.
Weeks in a row of sleepless nights. Stress, conflict, strained relationships. No social life, terrible diet. Racked brain, philosophical despair. All in the name of a project. Pushing for a huge deadline, kicking and screaming. Crossing the finish line at 4am and dropping dead to a deserved full night sleep. The punchline? Waking up and wanting to do it all over again. If that’s not passion, I don’t know what is.
…with genuine passion as your alley. Your passion must be sincere; you will not overcome the steepest obstacles if you merely lust over the hype train. With a true fire burning at heart, nothing can stop you. The destination may look or feel different than you projected, but the passion helping you get there will not let you down.
If you do not believe in what you are doing, you are unlikely to succeed. No level of responsibility, compensation, or flattery can change your mind. Only you can tap into the higher context of your personal values and goals. Only you can know what makes your heart tick. Figure out what you believe and you can find your place in the world. If you truly believe, nothing can stop you.
You could die tomorrow. Probably not. But who knows. Today may be your last. The activities, tasks, and adventures before you may fill your final chapter. Coast through it if you want. Or face it with a mortal passion. Accept every challenge, job, and event as if you will never get the opportunity to do it again. Pour your heart and soul into it. Give it all you’ve got.
If you find the work unworthy of your mortality, you better find something else to do before it’s too late.
I’ve seen a lot of relationships collapse because partners failed to compete with the work or passion of their significant others. Especially in Hollywood, where living the dream and working 18 hours per day takes priority over all else. There are two different kinds of people – those who live for life and those who live for their dreams. The former tends to put people first; the latter tends to put the mission first, whatever that mission may be. There’s no right or wrong, better or worse. But when you are trying to engage in an intimate relationship with another person, it is very important to identify the type of person you are with. The disconnect comes when one party invests first in the relationship and the other invests first in the mission. You can fight the disconnect all you want to. But when a person’s love is unwavering or his or her mission is unwavering, you may never win. If the mission comes first, you need to fall in genuine love with the mission. Or move on.
Pay attention to the moments in life where you lose track of time. Most signify passion, joy, or discovery. Take note of the people, activities, and environment; cherish and hold them close. The variables of these moments should be tracked, preserved, and repeated as often as possible. Only within moments so rich can you defy the power of time itself.
Believe it or not, I do not think very hard. I am a creature of intuition. I let my mind wander all the time. And I use it to my advantage.
Like involuntary dreaming during REM sleep, daydreaming taps into your subconscious. Without focusing your mind, various images, ideas, sensations, emotions and reactions will crop up and fill the thought void.
Stare into space. Let your consciousness drift. Then sit back and listen. Track your thoughts. Where do they wander? A memory? Another project? Someone special? Something specific? An abstract concept?
Take note of your mental journey. Journal if you need to. Keep an eye out for repetition and redundancy, especially recurring themes or concepts. Pay attention to and follow patterns – they can shape your values and interests. Core values and interests will help frame your subconscious and offer macrocosmic insight into your heart’s brightest fires.
What is the common denominator? With enough practice, you should be able to identify a common thread through all of your mental wanderings. Weave this thread through the conventional world and you can chart a personal campaign to feed the fire. Relationships, careers, literature, conversations, invention, art, food and travel can all take part in bringing your true passion to life.
The first step to feeding your soul is to learn what your soul likes to eat.
Justin Hamilton alerted me to this figure of speech over dinner last night. The ordeal with general education, I think. One can learn a little bit of everything or learn one thing really well. Which direction should you choose?
In the business world, niche is king. It is much smoother to specialize, carve your name, and turn a profit. Expert a trade skill and you will never have a problem finding a job in your field again. A specialist is far more straightforward than a generalist – more simple to rationalize and far easier to market.
The risk? You can get boxed in, branded, stuck. Known as a great musician, it will be difficult making your name in other art. Known as a great assistant, you will have trouble being seen as anything but a great assistant. Known as a talented comedy writer, you will never be taken seriously. The list goes on. Think you might want to change gears later in life? Be weary of specializing. Mastering a skill is great for those who prefer simple lives, terrible for others who live to explore.
Being a “jack of all trades” heightens your exposure to a wider variety of crafts, trades, fields and skill-sets. You have more options and therefore a broader opportunity to discover your true passion and talent. You may never be the best at anything specific, but you know a lot about the world and can be a broad resource. You can be the center of it all, a leader. Great leaders can speak the language of their collaborators and must understand the all of the trades involved. I would argue “jack of all trades” status is a prerequisite to leading strong teams.
Master of none? How about mastering the jack of all?