… Here we have 2 diametrically opposing worldviews: do we have a natural, God-given talent that we need to tap into, or is it just a matter of CHOOSING SOMETHING (anything) and then putting in the hard work?
The big missing ingredient I see in this whole equation is PASSION.
… That thing that you keep being drawn to, like a moth to the light.
… That thing that you couldn’t NOT do, even if you tried.
… That area that switches you on, where time just slips away from you.
(By the way: Don’t feel any passion for anything? Learn how to drive raw passion here)
What Your Passion is Telling You…
Your passion is pointing towards something that you very likely have the potential be world-class at. That area you are drawn to is something that you very likely have a natural gift for – a natural inclination for.
The key point here though is that talent alone won’t carry you – you have to step into your craft and hone it (often with the fervour of a wild man chasing freedom). But it points towards a potential for greatness. Therefore your passion has great intelligence built into it.
That which mysteriously calls to you seems to already know that you have a hidden potential for it.
Your 4-Lane Highways vs. Your Barren Wastelands
In his book “First, Break All The Rules” Marcus Buckingham talks about how we all have “4-Lane Highways” within us, as well as “Barren Wastelands.” Our 4-Lane Highways are the areas where we naturally thrive. They are also the areas we get intrinsic enjoyment out of doing that activity. Our Barren Wastelands, on the other hand, are our areas of weakness where not only are we not very good, but we also hate it.
And this is the key: The stuff that we love doing and comes as easy as breathing, are often the areas that we have the potential to absolutely thrive at:
- Speakers come alive as they give speeches.
- Writers thrive as they put the words to paper.
On the flipside, the attempt to make one of your “barren wastelands” your full-time vocation is just to put it bluntly, the stupidest approach you could take. It is an uphill battle, facing the wrong direction. The son pressured into doing law (even though he LOATHES it) isn’t going to suddenly develop a strong passion for it one day… no matter how hard he tries.
And yet this exactly what our society teaches us: that we have to STRUGGLE and GRIND in order to produce something worth producing. We’re taught to “strengthen our weaknesses.” We’re taught that if it’s easy, it’s valueless.
But what about Jay-Z who said he can write a million dollar rap song in 15 minutes? (Seriously.)
Passion and FATE: Your Passion Chooses YOU
Therefore here’s where fate steps in: we don’t choose what we love – it chooses us. Conor McGregor’s love for the fighting game is what ALLOWS him to reach that level of obsession.
As Arthur Schopenhauer put it, “Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.”
In other words: you can will what you want, but you can’t will what you will. You don’t choose desire, rather it mysteriously chooses you.
The Lesson? Step Into What You Love – Even if (Especially if) Right Now You Suck At It
Feel excited / passionate / drawn to something? Step into it – even if you suck at it right now. Hone it. Beat on your craft. Settle in for the long run, and develop that skill/talent.
You don’t need to quit your job or go live on a park bench in some “risk of it all” approach, but rather invest the best hours of your morning or evening into developing this potential.
Know that hard work can turn poor quality into genius level work – and often faster than you might imagine.
Trust intelligence of your passion.
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