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Pursuing your passion

In Children and Family, Health, Opinion, psychology, sociology, Uncategorized on March 18, 2017 at 9:36 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

I once read that great things are unique and unconventional. I’m certain that’s true and in order to achieve great things we, ourselves, must be equally unique and unconventional. We have to step outside our comfort zones. Or, as is often the case with me, run screaming outside them and be willing to screw up big time and embarrass ourselves in the process. To do any less will mean perpetual mediocrity.

I used to believe that everyone searches for purpose in life. But, what I’ve learned in my nearly half-century on this earth, is that there are people who just don’t care. That’s not meant to sound harsh, I just mean that day-to-day living is, for all practical reasons, their “purpose.”

Still, some can find meaning in the most superficial of accomplishments however self-serving others might see them. Achieving great things means different things to different people, some more superficial than others. But it’s all in how you look at it.

In my experience, finding that sense of self-worth is incredibly difficult and a constant personal journey for me. I have no real answers to how to get there, but I have discovered that the path begins with three steps – locate your passion, apply your talent and help others. Let’s look at the details.

First, “locate your passion.” According to Dictionary.com, the most accurate definition of the word “passion” in this context is, “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.” Such as, “he has a ‘passion’ for music.”

My friend Jim Karns, and the rest of “The Brothers & Co.” and I find some of our purpose in bringing laughter and music to others.

This is probably the most difficult part of the process because even the very concept is ambiguous. I know it’s always been hard for me to nail it down and then figure out how that fits with work, family responsibilities and goals.

Finding your passion requires a great deal of personal exploration, reflection, and trial and error. The journey to discovering your passion is the search for that one “thing” that makes you forget to eat or go to the bathroom.

Whenever I hear someone talk about “passion,” particularly related to an occupation or job, it usually comes from some crunchy granola-type artist or non-profit worker. I’m not sure I’ve ever found a single, motivating passion in my life. I have several, all of which have equal importance to who I am. I’m still working on it, and it’s very likely to be a continuing effort of weeks, months, or even years.

Second on my list is, “apply your talent.” Here the idea is to take whatever talents you have – natural or learned, yes there are both – and apply that skill and energy to your passion.

For example, let’s say your passion turns out to be writing. You’ll probably first want to decide what kind of writer you want to be. Do you pen Shakespearean drama, or do your talents flow more towards “Fifty Shades of Grey?” What makes you want to write? What kind of writing makes you want to sit down and just let the stories flow onto your computer screen, to the exclusion of everything else? That’s where applying your talent to your passion really comes into play.

Third, and possibly the most rewarding and important of your first steps, is helping others. As you achieve a certain level of awareness and success, it becomes more important for you to share your knowledge and understanding with those less accomplished.

This in no way implies that you have to be an expert or have every aspect of your life’s pursuit nailed down. It just means that you should try to help those who may not be as advanced in their search. Mentoring is one of the most rewarding of experiences to come out of this process.

Mentoring is not the only way to help people while continuing your personal growth. I’ve found that volunteering to work in an organization or for a cause that falls within your passion interest can also be incredibly valuable to both the beneficiaries of the effort and to yourself.

Giving your life more meaning by pursuing a personal passion is not easy and it’s certainly not right for everyone. We only get one life and one future so don’t waste it.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd.  More at gerydeer.com

 

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Don’t talk to me about, “life.”

In Health, Opinion, psychology, Religion, sociology, Uncategorized on May 28, 2015 at 11:10 am

Deer In Headlines

Special Edition 

By Gery L. Deer

dih-logo-SE“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ― George Carlin

No kidding, don’t talk to me about life. I don’t have a clue what to tell you. It’d be great if I could suddenly sound like one of those know-it-all high-dollar advice columnists but, really, they’re full of it too.  You’d have more luck following the meaningless advice from inside your next fortune cookie at the local Chinese restaurant.

Advice columnists, TV experts, so-called “life coaches,” or your favorite self-help author or motivational speaker must be infinitely smarter than any of us regular folks. After all, they motivated your money right out of your wallet; genius, wouldn’t you say? In reality, one can tell you what to do about the perils and promises of life except you.

Life is one of those subjects about which I have never felt confident offering an opinion, nor should anyone else. The very idea that anyone has it figured out or could possibly understand the complexities of someone else’s situation is not just ridiculous, it’s a little insulting.

Special, personal hat tip to the late author, Douglas Adams, who helped to put this writer's perspective into focus.

Special, personal hat tip to the late author, Douglas Adams, who helped to put this writer’s perspective into focus.

If anyone could actually manage such a thing, it would mean that there is nothing inherently special or unique about our lives. It implies that everyone lives a sort of cookie-cutter existence, with no peaks, valleys or crevices, and that’s just silly.

Life is complicated. It cannot be sorted out with an hour on the psychiatrist’s couch or because of some nonsense from a self-help book. We all have to iron it out for ourselves. That’s not to say we don’t need some help sometimes, but it’s not going to come from something you saw on an infomercial at 3 o’clock in the morning.

Even religion offers no answer to such multifaceted issues as, “What should I do with my life?” Religion also guts your wallet without providing a single, concrete solution. In fact, without an incredible level of ambiguity, religion couldn’t exist at all.

Your faith may provide you with peace of mind, but leaving everything “in God’s hands,” is a little like letting go of the wheel while barreling down the highway at 70 miles per hour. I’d say He probably expects you to steer. And, to be fair, science has no solutions either.

For those empirical folks out there, Charles Darwin might have been able to tell you how animals changed over the millennia, but he had no clue how the evolution of your life should proceed. Sometimes you just have to work things out on your own.

Life coaches, support groups, psychobabble – it all comes down to the person you see in the mirror. Everyone has an opinion about your life, but before taking it, you need to look at the source of that information. What kind of shape is their life in?

It’s always puzzling when someone takes marriage advice from a friend or relative whose relationships are a wreck.  That’s kind of like asking a demolition derby driver to teach drivers education. They know how, but the results might be less than desirable.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) once said, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” That is probably the best way to look at your world. Occasionally we’re looking too hard for answers to difficult questions with straightforward resolutions. But you won’t find your answers in a self-help workshop or in an advice column.

When standing at a fork in the road, there comes a time when you have to pick a path and start walking. You put one foot in front of the other, get moving and own it, whatever the outcome. If you do that, on your terms, at least you’ll know it was your decision to go left instead of right, to charge ahead instead of turning back. It will be yours, because we are responsible for the paths our lives take and, after all, the journey is the real destination. Make it a good one.
Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com