Find Your Passion?

It seems like all millennials and everyone who speaks to millennials talk all about passion.

“Find your passion”

“Follow your passion”

“Do what you’re passionate about and the money will follow”

Personally I don’t feel especially passionate about very many things so I was beginning to think that I was missing something. So I decided to look up what passion actually means. Here’s the definition:

  • a strong, barely controllable emotion; enthusiasm, obsession, fixation

Now I get it. Now I better understand so many young people. We are being told and telling each other to follow our passions constantly. But being a passion driven person seems to be a huge sign of immaturity.

Read the definition again. Do you really want to be an obsessive person with barely any control over your emotion(s)?  I don’t.

Contrast this with conviction:

  • a firmly held belief or opinion; assurance, confidence, certitude

That sounds more like something that I can get on board with. I’d much rather be a confident person who firmly holds to my beliefs.

Passion is flakey. Conviction is steadfast.

Passion is easy and immature. Even my cat can muster up passion. This very morning her passion for her tuna cat food woke me up at 530am. On the other hand, conviction must be developed. You don’t wake up one morning a convicted person. Someone who would rather die than renounce their faith has conviction. Every day people die for their convictions. Passion often kills people. How many times have you heard the news describe some terrible event as a “crime of passion?” The answer is a lot. I’ll help you with the tough ones.

I think that passion focus is part of the reason why my generation tends to be pegged as flakey and flighty. Passion comes and goes. Remember when everyone was “passionate” about the whole Kony thing? It was all I saw on Instagram and Facebook for a while. And by a while, I mean like a week. Nobody is talking about it now. I don’t even know what happened with the whole thing. I honestly can’t keep up with all the things I am supposed to be passionate about. Right now it’s immigration and equal pay for women. What will it be in 6 months? All this bandwagon passion cannot be healthy.

What I find frustrating is that many of the issues that people are so passionate about are actually good and legitimate things to be concerned about. Obviously women deserve equal pay as men for doing the same jobs. In some cases, they probably deserve more for having to put up with us.  Who will be the people who are actually doing something about this in 6 months? Only the convicted people. People with confident certitude stick it out. That’s what who I want to be.

Do you have passions? Great! Put in the effort to develop them into convictions because convicted people change the world. Passion can only take you so far. It’s pretty far but not far enough.

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What If You Were President?

What would you do if you were president of the USA?

It seems like everyone has their opinions and ideas. Lots of people talk and act like the president is going to save or ruin their lives. But guess what? No politician will fix your life. When was the last time a politician did something that legitimately impacted your everyday life in a positive way? In my short life time the only thing that I can think of is lower gas prices but even now they aren’t lower than they were when I first started to drive.

No one is going to swoop in and save you out of your circumstances. That’s not how life works. But… there is a way to improve and you play a big role in it.

Did you know that you are the president of your own life?  You can make things happen that benefit you and your family. You can keep your promises.

You can choose happiness. Yep! It’s a choice. Our Constitution doesn’t guarantee our right to happiness but rather guarantees our right to pursue it. We have to go out and catch it. The Amazon Prime guy isn’t going to show up on our doorsteps tomorrow with a box of real happiness (although many happy things do come in Amazon boxes).

Have you ever literally pursued something? I ran cross country in high school and did my best to pursue those ahead of me but I never caught very many of them. Pursuit is hard work. It’s easy to be cynical. Negative. Mean. Passive aggressive. Try choosing a positive happy attitude and you will see how much work it is. Truly happy people are strong, hard working people.

Also, your circumstances are COMPLETELY irrelevant. Does the name Viktor Frankl ring a bell? He is a world renowned psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz and various other Nazi death camps. Frankl lived through the most horrible torture in human history and this is what he writes in Man’s Search For Meaning:

Even though conditions such as lack of sleep, insufficient food and various mental stresses may suggest that the inmates were bound to react in certain ways, in the final analysis it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone. Fundamentally, therefore, any man can, even under such circumstances, decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually. He may retain his human dignity even in a concentration camp.  

And…

everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. 

So you’re upset about something the President-elect said or did and your going to be upset or scared. Or maybe someone said something mean to you because of the color of your skin and now you’re angry and ready to tear down “the system.” Maybe you’re sad because some people earn a lot more money than you and you feel like you should have some of it just because.

Are you kidding me? Seriously. Just stop. It’s time to grow up. Viktor Frankl lived through a Nazi death camp and has a better attitude. Probably the most horrible thing imaginable happened to this man and he realized that through all of it he still had a choice: he could choose to have a good attitude. I’m talking to myself just as much as you. The other day someone cut me off in traffic and I got mad but then I remembered what this man lived through and immediately felt completely stupid. And I was right to feel that way.

So it’s time for all of us to grow up and realize that we are the presidents of our own lives. We can choose happiness and hope for the future no matter what. It’s hard, but all good things are. It’s time to do what you have to do. Impeach that bad attitude and elect a good one. Take charge of your life. If you let someone else row your boat they will take it somewhere you don’t want to go.

 

A Reason Is Not An Excuse

As I’m writing this, I’m reading Dr Townsend’s book The Entitlement Cure and it is challenging me big time. I need to hear what he’s saying and I know SO MANY people who could benefit from this too.

Something that really stood out to me right off the bat was his statement on page 35:

“A reason is not an excuse.”

A reason and an excuse are two different things with two different means but it is so easy to get confused. I know that I do it from time to time. In the context of this book, the “reason” someone might have an entitlement attitude is because of the way their parents raised them but it does not “excuse” their attitudes and behaviors. Dr Townsend points out that each person is 100% responsible for their behaviors and attitudes.

We are all responsible for our own behaviors and attitudes. No matter how we have been treated. No matter who has said mean things to us. No matter how things fell through in your life. We are responsible for our responses. Just you. Just me.

Regardless of what I’ve been through, I know that someone with less than me has dealt with worse circumstances and been wildly successful. I have to remind myself of this regularly or else I get all “woe is me.”

So many people have not allowed their reasons to be their excuses. Chances are you know some of these people. It’s likely you are one of these people in some capacity. You can do it. I can do it. Let’s do it together.