Today, I want to inspire someone to pursue their dreams, no matter what those dreams consist of. So, today I’m talking about what so many of us confuse with our dreams or our purpose, and that is the pursuit of success. As always, this is my experience and my understand of all this, and I am fully aware that it belongs to me, right now, and is mainly a reflection of my experience. Many of you will likely feel different about my conclusions. To those of you who feel the same, and to those of you who feel differently, please share your story, your conclusions, your feelings. You will touch someone out there who hasn’t yet have found the voice to speak about it. An then, you will have inspired someone, and also helped me with one of my dreams… to inspire someone.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
― Lao Tzu
First, can we take a look at how we define success in most of the world? Let’s be honest, their is one measuring stick that most use and that is money. Wealth equals success & accomplishment to most people, and it often plays a defining role in our happiness. Yet, when you ask most people what they want in life, the top answers are usually: Happiness, Love, Purpose, then money follows somewhere down the line. Nic Marks brilliantly sums this up in his Ted Talk: The Happy Planet Index. Through very compelling stats he calls to a change of mindset, an affirmative action to change how governments and individuals evaluate success, based on the intangibles we most desire, not the stuff we accumulate. Look at what we are measuring to define success. Does it include what makes us happy, curious, caring, loving, loved, and satisfied? If money weren’t a consideration, what would you absolutely love to do?
Second, I get butterflies in my stomach at the thought of going to Africa or South America and helping people in need. I don’t always know exactly what i could do to help, and I am aware that imposing what I think is needed is very patronizing. However, the possibility of going and building schools, digging wells, and teaching whatever I can is a very pleasant fantasy. When i think and let myself feel, I realize what I really want to do is meet amazing people and tell their stories. I’ve often wondered if this is selfish, because my curiosity is what fuels all my passions, and I would be getting so much pleasure in the process, I can’t see clearly what I would be giving back. Maybe just listening to them, really listening to them with genuine love for their stories and lives is what I’m giving. Maybe helping people share their amazing skills, and to be a voice of encouragement is my gift to them. Watching Bunker Roy describe how his passion is literally changing the world by giving the voiceless a voice and an opportunity to share their skills inspires me deeply. From him I learned that people in need are far smarter than we ever imagined. It’s given me a greater “Why” for my desire to help, and I believe I’ve found somewhere local to start: Pierrefonds – La Corde
Third, to paraphrase Elizabeth Gilbert in her “Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creative” talk, Wherever you rightly live is your home. Or in the context of today’s article, that one passion that consumes you the most, that drives your fantasies, your passion, your happy feelings, that is your purpose, that is your true self, that is always where your home is. She explains the answer to the question “what do I do now that I’ve accomplished this goal?” Do you go further, reach higher, change direction, or try something completely new? Her suggestion in many ways mirrors Nic Marks’, in that she suggests we look at what drove us to choose this goal in the first place. That passion is our home, our purpose, and that is what we must do next to stay true to ourselves. In her case it is writing. She decided to write with all her passion and not worry about the outcome. It’s what drives her to be a novelist. What is the driving feeling you hope to accomplish in this pursuit of success?
Fourth, What if you don’t have a passion? What if you have no earthly clue what your purpose might be? What if you don’t now, and never really have had only one all consuming, fire in the belly, desire in your life. What if you are the kind of person, like me, who has had tons of things that have driven your curiosity? You want to do a bunch of different things, and sometimes, the desire to do some of them just dries up. Does that make us failures? Absolutely not! Watch Elizabeth Gilbert – The Curiosity Driven Life: I only recently fell in love with a part of who I am, and started to self-identify as a Multipotentialite. My ever-changing curiosity has been responsible for learning more things than I can remember. It continues to bring me a compliment that even one me my wonderful wife, and that is that I am able to converse with almost anyone about almost anything. For those things I know nothing about, I get deeply curious about and that has been why people like talking to me. I ask them to teach me, to share their experiences with me, to talk about themselves to me. Here’s a truth I’ve learned from most of the thought leaders I’ve read… People want to be heard, listened to, and talk about themselves. AND, the people who listen to others tend to be prized above all others.
Finally, there is no limit to what you can do, as long as you share it with others. We never know what little word, or small gesture might impact the people around us. So be whatever you are at this very moment and allow that to unfold in whatever direction it may take. You may find one true calling, or you may find a thousand of them. Just make sure to share them with others, because someone out there will get inspired by what you do, what you say, or how you lead your life.