One of the blessings of what I do is that people share their deepest longings and darkest fears with me. I am the repository of many confidences and know the turmoil that lurks beneath many shiny ‘success’ stories.
One problem, in particular, bedevils many.
They toil in jobs that they mildly dislike, or feel disenchanted about and sometimes even hate. They would like to follow their ‘passion’ but feel stuck because ‘they need the income’ and can’t see how their ‘passion’ can provide this.
In my last blog – “What a Fool He Was. Or Was He?” – I spoke about someone who found a solution to this dilemma by walking away.
I also said that another solution is to really like – not ‘pretend like’ – what you actually do.
The question is how do you ‘like’ or even ‘love’ something that you have spent so much time decrying as something you are stuck in, something that you have to ‘endure’ because of some external consideration such as money or stability or security.
The way to do this is to change the way you think!
Here is a truth that you may not wish to hear, but think about it all the same.
Passion does not exist in the job. It exists in you!
And if you cannot ignite it within yourself right where you are now, you will not find it outside.
We find what we do distasteful for a number of reasons – the task is boring, or meaningless, or too tough/easy. Or we don’t like the person(s) with whom we are involved. Or we resent the time demands. Or we feel that too much is being put on our plate or whatever.
Each of these is a ‘thought in our head.’
It is important to recognize this. Clouds in the sky will be blown away and replaced with other clouds. Our thoughts will similarly dissipate to be replaced with others. They have no power to drag us into dark emotional domains unless we give them that power.
Try this yourself. Next time you find yourself resenting something at your place of work see how much of your resistance is because of your mental chatter going “I don’t want to do this. Why do I have to do this? It is a waste of time. It is beneath me. I should be doing something else. Etc..”
See how strong your preferences are and how they drag you, willy-nilly into dark places.
Can you start seeing your situation as a training ground to gradually stop being so wedded to your desires? Would this possibly lead to results that are far better than you could have ever imagined?
Many decades ago my boss, who was president of the largest entertainment conglomerate in the world, reminisced about his career.
When he graduated from Harvard Business School he joined a brokerage firm that was not his first choice because that was the only job he could get. He was an analyst but did not get to cover the then prestigious industries like automobiles or pharmaceuticals. Instead he was given the entertainment industry.
In those days it wasn’t even considered an ‘industry’ and he was pretty much the only one covering it. This was not what he wanted, but he accepted it, more grudgingly than cheerfully.
But strong willed entrepreneurs like Steve Ross, Lew Wasserman and Charles Bluhdorn built up holding companies like Warner Communications, MCA and Gulf & Western and all of a gradual sudden he was the premier analyst covering this emerging sector.
My boss was candid and humble. He recognized the role that ‘luck’ played in his ascent and he was grateful.
Here is a very powerful and instructive quote from Rumi:
“When I run after what I think I want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if I sit in my own place of patience, what I need flows to me, and without pain. From this I understand that what I want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. There is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.”
And there is indeed a great secret in this concept.
I will say more about this in a future column.
If you would like to learn exactly how to ‘think differently’ and experience the change this brings to your life, you should consider enrolling in my “Creativity and Personal Mastery” program.
A new one begins in September. The syllabus has been extensively revised and is worth reading in it’s own right. If you find that the syllabus resonates with you, then I recommend rearranging your life so that you can take it.
If the syllabus does not call to you with a deep insistence, then it is not right for you at this time.