When I chat to people about the concept of finding and following their passions, some are dubious or downright indignant – “but you need to work to eat, not run around having fun!” (or words to that effect). There are also often comments about it being “hard work” or that you have to be “very lucky” to be successful at doing what you love. The thing is, finding and prospering from your passion, or multiple passions is very much a case of embracing the concept of yin and yang, if we may visit Eastern philosophy for a moment (albeit in a simplistic fashion). Really, it involves attracting what you want to be doing with your life as well as pursuing it. Both pull and push. Sound paradoxical? Stay with me on this one.
Imagine for example that you want to be a great artist, but you are currently working another job just to pay the bills. The Yin involves the fostering of your creative abilities – looking after yourself, getting inspired by other artists, daydreaming….navel-gazing, if you will. Some don’t ever get beyond this point! The Yang is the more active – it involves practicing, honing techniques, making contacts at galleries, sourcing materials and doing framing, showing your work and handling the “business side” of art. Some only do this and wonder why there is so much toil and struggle, and it just doesn’t seem like fun anymore. So, in embracing both sides – the yin and the yang, you can be in the right “space” or mindset for what you want to create or achieve as well as take the appropriate actions necessary. We have all seen people who work so very hard, nose to the grindstone – yet opportunities seem to elude them.
Others though, seem to have the Midas touch. They have often also worked hard – practiced or trained – but they have chosen to embrace both sides of the equation. In western culture, we tend to think more is better…which tends to tip us much more heavily towards the yang side. More activity, more contacts, bigger, faster, quicker, go-go-go! And then we wonder why we are ineffective, stressed out, prone to injury or upset and left wondering what the hell happened. I have found it can be difficult to convince someone that time spent in quiet contemplation, just being…can be just as valuable as doing, often even more so. Sometimes a solution to a problem just seems to appear – while having a bubble bath, or sitting quietly in a beautiful park. Try it – cultivating some silence and solitude may provide more benefits to a problem than beating your head against a wall. The ones who are successful on their own terms seem to be those who have learnt to embrace both the yin and yang of their passions. They are reflective and “in tune” as well as being responsive and active, therefore seeming to have the right opportunities come “out of the blue” at just the right time. Look around… people are prospering from their passions everywhere you care to look! Are they all mega millionaires or billionaires? Some are.
Richard Branson famously said that you have to find and do something that you are passionate about. And Bill Gates said “What I do best is share my enthusiasm.” Others find that their passions, the things they love to do, provide them with the energy to do other things in their lives that provide money and/or time to indulge their passions. You don’t have to derive a huge income from your passions to be ‘prosperous’ – embracing Yin-Yang is a great start.