Friday, November 20, 2009

A Note on Passion

I have grown rather frustrated at times with my inability to find a life’s passion. Why can’t I find something that I want to become absolutely excellent at? Instead I find myself wanting to experience the world. One goal of mine has always been to run a business, and I have tried to pursue skillsets to help me in that role.

The problem was that I couldn’t find something that I wanted to be truly excellent at. So this sliver of doubt creeped in and frustrated me to no end. Steve Pavlina talks a lot about synchronicities and the fact that the world around you shows you what you should be doing. It’s a little out there and yet I see situations where I get little hints that I’m on the right path. This week for example as I struggled with discovering passion an explosion of ideas that supported my current path came to the forefront.

I downloaded and read the getAbstract version of On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis. Bennis mentions that leaders progressively grow and develop professionally and personally throughout their lives. Leaders often have a wide range of hobbies and activities they engage in. This allows them relate to many different types of people and a wide base of knowledge is a strength. This was refreshing because I’ve been so set on finding out the one thing that motivates me. Instead I always end up engaging in and enjoying many activities. Bennis supports and encourages this idea of well roundedness.

Scott Young wrote an article this week about pursuing several passions. Within the article is a blog post by Scott Adams the creator of Dilbert. Adams states that the reason he succeeded wasn't because he could write jokes better than comedians or draw better than artists; rather when you combined his skills: knowledge of the business world, writing jokes, and drawing he offered a skillset that no one else could match. In pursuing several passions you can become proficient at many that develop a unique perspective and skillset unmatched by your peers. Adams goes further and mentions that the one thing he tells all graduates is to focus on your speaking and writing skills. Regardless of what you career you decide on these skills will serve you well. I’ve spent a great deal of time on public speaking (through toastmaster’s and work related activities) and writing (work as well as this blog). The hours I’ve spent are extremely important to where I want to go in the future.

If you have a passion, pour yourself into that passion. The people who are the very best at what they do have put the most time into honing their craft. It is estimated that it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something. It takes much more to be one of the very best. If instead you are like me and don’t seem to have one passion. Then increase your knowledge base and skillsets by engaging in lots of activities. Become well read in many areas and be able to understand and communicate with all types of people. Additionally, work on your speaking and writing skills as they are crucial in any vocation. Renaissance men and women can bring groups of talent together and create an environment where exceptionally talented people can achieve fantastic results.

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