The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
Some time recently, I was discussing the topic of relationships with a dear friend. She commented on the drama she always seems to encounter when dealing with the men in her life. She wondered aloud why even men she thought were just friends had expectations of her that were more in line with an intimate relationship. From where I stood, it was obvious that there was something wrong with the picture she was painting. Though she said she and her current “friend” were indeed "just friends," I knew that she was not addressing the real issue. I knew from previous conversations that both she and her “friend” really wanted something more than just friendship, but had decided it unwise given their individual situations. They decided, in effect, to move forward and build a relationship built on a lie-never fully addressing the underlying motives, and unexpressed desires that each one was bringing to the relationship.
Until she addresses the real issue of the type of relationship both she and her “friend” really want from each other, everything they do will be just a façade. I explained that any relationship entered into under false pretense is doomed to difficulty. Attempting to solve any difficulty while avoiding the bigger picture simply compounds the deception and creates drama. I told her that operating under the wrong premise and missing the big picture was like being on the Titanic during its last hours and asking people for directions to the shuffleboard contest!
Similarly, many of us will, in fact, miss the lifeboat of happiness because we don’t realize that the big-picture-truth is that we’re on a sinking ship. That sinking ship and that lie that many of us labor under often comes from what others have defined us to be. We've been deceived. We haven’t been told the truth about ourselves, so we cannot ever really be true to the truth of ourselves. Consequently, we live our lives chasing an illusion of happiness within a life that’s going nowhere but down. The greatest lie that you live is that of someone else’s perception of who you are.
Have you ever thought about what your life would have been like if your parents and teachers had encouraged you to follow your gift of sports prowess, or your penchant for art, or your love of animals rather than push you to be an accountant or an engineer or a lawyer, or something more practical? It’s an interesting thought to ponder. But don't spend too much time pondering and regretting, because it really doesn’t matter. I'd like to suggest to you that there’s no such thing as a wrong decision. There are no mistakes. There are simply choices and opportunities to grow and learn. Every single decision you’ve made, or that was made for you, has contributed to you being here at this very moment reading this article, hopefully ready to make a change in your life. Everything you’ve learned along the way-even the unhappiness and frustration you've experience-will help you to discover your passion and incorporate it more fully into your life. In fact, if you decide to pursue your passion, as the journey evolves, you may find yourself thanking your parents and teachers for giving you the opportunity to discover who you want to be by having successfully shown you who you are not. Sometimes your greatest growth comes after experiencing a situation that simply confirms for you the reality that you don’t want.
So don’t beat yourself up over the decisions you’ve made. As a wise man once said, "Pity not the man for the challenges he faces, but for the lessons not learned in his responses." The tragedy is not that in the past you were steered in a direction that was not toward your passion. The tragedy will be if you allow yourself to keep going in that direction once you recognize the power you have in the present. Everyone will learn their lessons eventually. For some people it will take a little longer (maybe several lifetimes). Others will recognize the lessons in an instant, get themselves out of there, and move on.
With that said, hopefully you are now ready to look at the big picture, and to discover your own personal truth-to find and pursue your passion. In addition to the personal fulfillment of living a life of truth, there is another compelling reason why you’ll want to look seriously at turning your passion into profit as route to success. That reason is basic survival. You may not realize it, but your survival on both a financial and mental level is in the balance. In case you haven't realized, the game has changed. In order to prosper in this new era, a new strategy with new activities will be needed. Here are some tips for what that strategy should include.
In his book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, author Robert T. Kiyosaki shares the secret of why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. What keeps the poor battling in poverty is their failure to create assets that generate money. When most average people get some extra money, be it a pay raise or lottery winnings, they immediately seek to buy things that end up increasing their liabilities. They buy gas-guzzling cars, tax-draining homes, and indulge in expensive habits that deplete their earnings and put them in a worse position than before. The key to wealth is to focus on building assets that generate wealth so your money works for you to create more money. Kiyosaki lists as his choice of assets to invest in: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, income-producing real estate, notes, royalties and your own business. A business that can generate money without your presence is one of the best and most liberating and lucrative assets to own.
Create multiple streams of income
In times past, it was possible to sustain a family on a single stream of income. As society changed, the era of the two-income household was ushered in. Both mom and dad now had to work just to maintain the same standard of living. As things continue to change, unless mom and dad create more streams of income in addition to what they’re currently making, their standard of living will start to slip away. Economic uncertainty brought about by technological advancements, a declining labor market, and inflation makes it more necessary than ever to have one or several "plan Bs" in place.
Diversification doesn’t only apply to your stock portfolio anymore. To survive you need to create additional streams of income each strong enough to support you should any one dry up.
Seek sanity and stay healthy
It’s often said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Many people continue to deny their passions every day, showing up to a job that offers them no fulfillment, while expecting some day that something miraculous will happen to bring them happiness. It’s the ultimate in self-deception and insanity to expect an outcome of truth from a life lived as a lie.
Now, I can’t actually prove this, but I’m sure you intuitively know this to be true as well that people who are doing what they love live longer and happier lives. Studies do show, however, that stress (the regular stress of being in a job you hate, perhaps?) can dampen the immune system’s ability to fight off disease. Studies have shown, also, that having regular social interaction with others may be as important to your health as good nutrition and exercise. And guess what? Making new friends is often easier if you are doing something you love and interacting with others who share your interests.
So, as this first month of the new year passes, and as you work on maintaining any resolutions or goals you may have set for yourself, don't forget to include honoring your passion and your purpose as being the bigger picture of it all. And, learn from the mistake of my friend, and don't enter into a relationship with life with an unexpressed dream. The only way for life to give you what you deserve is to ask of it what you desire.
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Until next time, remember, success is a journey, not a destination!-Walt
Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of over two dozen books including Turn Your Passion Into Profit. Walt offers coaching and workshops to help people pursue and profit from their passions. Originally from the island of Jamaica, Walt has grown several businesses in the US, and now makes his home here on Saipan. To learn more about the Saipanpreneur Project and Walt’s philosophy and formula visit www.saipanpreneur.com and www.passionprofit.com)