The Blog

Purpose, Passion And Profit

Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do. With such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.

~Vincent Van Gogh

Confucius is credited with first saying, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s all very romantic and inspirational – and it’s also something of a fairy tale. Turning what you love doing into a real world career involves more than simply converting your passion into a paycheck. While it’s a soul-satisfying and joyful experience much of the time, it certainly isn’t sunshine and roses every single day.

When something you love becomes your job, the way you relate to it fundamentally changes. The need for careful planning, discipline and attention to a host of mundane day-to-day tasks will always be there, no matter how much enthusiasm you bring to the enterprise. Focusing on making work not feel like ‘work,’ does little to help you tackle these facts of life. In fact, this strategy often magnifies any sense of overwhelm or frustration, and can leave you feeling disillusioned rather than inspired.

Choosing a career you love and living with passion begins with understanding what you value.  Consider what work means to you, what you want from it mentally, physically, socially and spiritually.  Do you desire the financial freedom to choose how, when and with whom you work? Is spending time with family and friends a priority? Do you want a less stressful, healthier lifestyle? You might discover what you’re passionate about by taking a trip to a place you find interesting. Be adventurous and go somewhere exotic, or just explore what there is to do in your own hometown.

Once you better understand your priorities and talents, have the courage to start building your dream right away, or as Joseph Campbell put it, “follow your bliss”.  It is often nothing more than our own fears that hold us back from choosing the life and career we love. Whether you're an employee or the boss of your own business, passion and connection with your core values will always play a critical role in feeling content, competent, valued, and inspired in your work.

Life Is Like A Cup Of Coffee

Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

~ Matthew 6:25

The following is a story by an unknown author.  Please enjoy and share it.

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.  Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.  Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen, and returned with a large pot of coffee.  He also brought an assortment of cups…porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal…some expensive, some plain looking, some exquisite…and told them to help themselves to the coffee. 

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:

If you noticed, all the nice looking, expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.  While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee.  In most cases it is just more expensive and can even hide what we actually drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups. And then you began eyeing each other’s cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee…the jobs, money and position in society are the cups.  They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.  Savor the coffee, not the cups!  The happiest people don’t have the best of everything.  They just make the best of everything. 

Live simply. Love generously.  Care deeply.  Speak kindly.

Exploring The Private Sea

Be a Columbus to whole new continents and worlds within you, opening new channels, not of trade but of thought.  Every man is lord of a realm beside which the earthly empire of the Czar is but a petty state, a hummock left by the ice.

~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden 

The stories of great explorers of history never fail to fascinate and inspire us.  By venturing into the unknown, over land and sea and even beyond the bounds of planet Earth, these courageous risk-takers opened up new worlds and immeasurably enriched our lives.

Exploration is not an enterprise for only a few adventurous souls, as the ancient philosophers of many traditions knew well.  The pursuit of self-knowledge was considered the most noble, and challenging, of human activities. According to the Greek writer Pausanias, the aphorism "Know Thyself" (Gnothi Seauton), was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Socrates expanded on this maxim, teaching that the unexamined life was not worth living. The Chinese master Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching, “To know others is wisdom; to know one’s self is enlightenment.” And Proverbs 4:23 admonishes “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life.”

Thoreau echoes these sentiments in the concluding chapter of Walden:

If you would learn to speak all tongues and conform to the customs of all nations, if you would travel farther than all travellers,….even obey the precept of the old philosopher and Explore Thyself.  Herein are demanded the eye and the nerve.

To experience all that life has to offer, you must leave the shores you know and head for new horizons of personal growth and self-awareness. Without a willingness to take this risk, in spite of fear and uncertainty, you resign yourself to a life of mediocrity in a familiar port of call.

Pulling away from the dock and setting sail for the life of your dreams takes courage. Out beyond your comfort zone, you might encounter turbulent squalls and intimidating waves. But with each challenge you meet, you will be a step closer to discovering new people, new opportunities and a fulfilling life rich with possibility.

Your Most Expensive Habit

Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.

~W. Clement Stone

How much do you think fear has cost you? Go back five years and change your mindset. Take away all your fear of rejection and failure, and imagine living those five years forward in a different, less tentative way. Where would you be now? What would be happening with your finances and your relationships, your time freedom and physical health?

Fear can literally cost you cash. Even if you’ve found a measure of financial success, old fearful attitudes about money can still keep you from reaching your full potential.  For example, you might say you desire to be financially free, but the subconscious voice of scarcity and lack whispers, ‘It’ll make your life more complicated,’ or ‘You don’t deserve to be wealthy’ or ‘You don’t know enough’ or ‘God (or your mother or the government) wouldn’t approve.’  That negative voice may block you from recognizing and seizing on growth opportunities, and create a seemingly unbreakable glass ceiling on your income.

This ‘song’ never ends until you change the tune – by taking action. You first need to decide on something you want to do, and then simply go and get it done.  Don’t let fear of failure or of rejection stop you from implementing your plan. You will always face unknowns when doing something new. While those unknowns might seem scary, remember that no one ever knows absolutely 100% about everything in advance. The big Silicon Valley tech companies are always releasing updates for their products. If they were afraid of failing and waited until things were “perfect” before launching a product of any kind, they’d never release anything ever again.  Needless to say, they wouldn’t stay in business very long!

So you don’t need to know it all - you just need to know enough to start. You’ll learn the rest of what you need to know by taking action. The act of doing it will do more for your learning than endless planning and thinking about it ever will.

© Clear Simple SOULutions LLC 2019