Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Keys To Happiness #1 Finding Your Passion- Part 1

I decided to start a new series on what I thought true happiness is/ where does it come from. It’s a question that I as someone in my late 20’s find myself constantly asking. Right now in my life I see a road of several paths that I can take. Here is part 1 of the journey.

Desire reveals design, and design reveals destiny.
-John Eldredge, “Wild At Heart”

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books. Eldredge really explores in depth the the idea of what it means to be a man and explores how to live one’s life. I highly recommend this book. It’s a classic.

What were you made to do? What are you passionate about? In today’s society we often find ourselves going after money and then assume we will abandon our career for our passion as we get older. This is a misnomer. Anyone who is both successful and happy loves what they do and does what they love. A study was done on people of various income levels and one question was asked:

1) How much money do you need to be happy?

The participants would then be given an examination to test their happiness (tested contentment, goals, health, etc.) and what they found surprised them. Regardless of income level the group would on average name a price $50,000 more then the previous bracket. In reality, after an income of $40,000 anything above that did not add to the happiness of the individual. In fact, it was found that as long as people had even a little bit to spend on whatever they desired they could be content. Let’s look at some case studies:

Richard Branson
Ideally, since 80 percent of your life is spent working, you should start your business around something that is a passion of yours. If you're into kite-surfing and you want to become an entrepreneur, do it with kite-surfing.

Look, if you can indulge in your passion, life will be far more interesting than if you're just working. You'll work harder at it, and you'll know more about it. But first you must go out and educate yourself on whatever it is that you've decided to do - know more about kite-surfing than anyone else. That's where the work comes in. But if you're doing things you're passionate about, that will come naturally.

-Richard Branson

Branson is the owner of the virgin brand is worth approximately $2.4 billion, but he didn’t start that way. Branson began his business selling records out of the back of his car in London, England. In fact, for several years he didn’t make much money at all and lived in the car from which he sold his records. Yet when you read interviews with him you realize that he loved what he did then as much as he does now. It’s always been about running the business, seeing the next big idea, and expanding the brand. That’s Branson’s passion. According to Wikipedia, Branson has started over 360 companies under the Virgin name. Obviously, not all of them are successful, but success isn’t the goal. Success is merely a by product of the passion he pursues.

Abraham Lincoln
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.
-Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln is considered by many to be the best president in the history of the USA. Lincoln was known for always doing what he thought was right regardless of the consequences. He had a passion for his country and for the greater good of the United States. Lincoln was well to do, but not rich. Respected, but not revered. In fact, Lincoln lost his first attempt at election in 1832 when he tried to run for the Illinois General Assembly and almost left politics altogether. The only thing that brought Lincoln back was a stirring passion for the American Ideal. In fact, Lincoln traded his prominent and successful position as a lawyer for the life of a politician. Lincoln is most famous for his steadfastness during the Civil War and his unwillingness to compromise for what he thought was right. He never sought success or fame. He focused on one thing. The greater good.

Jesus Christ
It’s funny how the real principals of business, happiness and life are timeless. I am most familiar with the Bible and I want to use it here and throughout my series because none of these concepts are new. We just don’t put into practice what we inherently know.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
-John 15:11

Jesus offers a strong contrast to Branson in that his final net worth was zero. He died without an asset to his name. And yet he is considered by many (Christian and non Christian) to be one of the most joyous people to ever walk the earth. Jesus had a message; one that he ultimately died for. What a great example of someone who gave up everything and poured His entire being into pursuing a cause. Never once do you see remorse or wanting, because at all times Christ has a passion, a cause, and a desire. To save humanity.

To be continued… On Thursday we will read part 2 of pursuing your passion. Which is application.

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