What's Your Version of a Passionate Life?
I talk a lot about helping people find their passion, or live their dream lives. For many, the ideal is “Ikigai” - a Japanese term meaning “reason for being,” beautifully illustrated here:
Today I’d like to challenge you with a rather contrary question: is it okay to not have a clue what you want to do with your life? Is it okay not to have a clear purpose?
Does it really matter if you live a life that marries passion, profession, mission and vocation? I think to a large extent it can make the life experience richer and more fulfilling, but there seems to be a perception that once you’re in the Ikigai state, a passionate/purposeful/meaningful/satisfying/joyful life will be all rainbows and butterflies, always doing what you love, always being in the flow state and having all the answers. It’s not! There are still challenges and they’re just as big (or bigger) as the challenges we face if we are not living in the Ikigai state.
It may be that our perception changes when we’re in the Ikigai state: if we’re doing what we love to do then it may be easier to cope with those challenges.
The Thrill of Not Knowing
It may bring some comfort to have life neatly and predictably mapped out, but there’s also an incredible exhilaration to not having any idea what’s coming next.
There’s also a certain beauty to not knowing what you’re passionate about.
We’ve all been asked, “What would you do if money were no object?” As if we would want to spend 24/7 doing that one thing! Passion can be defined in this context of Ikigai, as an activity that generates some marketable result (for example, a passion for designing easy-to-manufacture containers for oddly shaped items could result in Ikigai, because of the benefits it would bring to people around the world).
But what about a more nebulous passion for learning and exploring life? How’s that going to pay the bills or enrich the world? And yet, is it not a life of passion to not narrow your focus to one passion or talent and instead exploring it all? Could a life of passion be a choice that you make, that has nothing to do with monetizing what you love to do?
Some What Ifs
What if you just decided that life is one big “I don’t know” and your only job, your only real passion, was to explore all of the aspects of life that intrigue you at the moment?
What if you didn’t narrow your focus to one passion and try to achieve Ikigai using that one passion - what if you explored it all, as spirit moved you, and made many tiny contributions? Would that not be a pretty awesome life?
What if you came to a state of being where you decided to be happy “here and now,” in your current vocation (assuming you work with some cool people, your job is stimulating and you can pay your bills comfortably)... and then spent your free time on your passion(s) just for the sheer joy of it, with no intent to monetize any of them?
My point is this: it’s okay to not know. It’s okay to be a perpetual beginner exploring all of the interestingness that is life.
- It’s okay not to settle for a predictable career, if the idea of that drives you nuts.
- It’s okay not to become an entrepreneur, if that scares the heck out of you.
- It’s okay to have a mostly mundane job if it brings you comfort and gives you the energy and opportunity to play in your off time.
- It’s okay to ditch it all and make what you love your living.
- It's okay not to get all stressed out about having to monetize something you don't want to pursue as a full time job but are extraordinarily good at.
- It's okay to have a secret knowledge of what you're passionate about, but not want to develop it.
- It's okay to keep a curious eye out for emerging passions... dive into them headfirst for a while... and then move on
It’s okay for you to live your life according to you. Period.
Think On It
Now. With that said, if you’re not living life the way you want to, or you have no clue what your passions are, can you find a way to find your Igikai? Yes!
Think about aspects of your life that you do like. What can you do right now, to dip your toes in Ikigai? What can you share? What can you learn? What can you teach? Do you have to do it all in one big chunk ("one" passion) or play with various contributions and passions as you feel like it?
Can you decide to be happy right now, with life as it is? Can you be grateful for what you have and what you're doing now? Can your happiness itself maybe lead to Ikigai, just because of all the awesomeness that naturally comes from being happy?
I Don't Have the Answers
I don't have the answers for you, because I'm not you. Only you know what floats your boat and gives your life meaning. I'd say, do more of that!
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There are many sessions that empower you to be okay with a particular direction, or being a lifelong learner and exploring as many potential passions as you can. A Monthly Subscription Membership will give you these tools, at a FRACTION of the regular price.