There is a quote by Nelson Mandela that reads,
“You’re playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great”
This statement could not ring more true. How many of us know people who have enormous amount of talent, but fail to act on it out of fear of failure or even fear of success.
I recall a recent conversation i had with a young man who was just finding his way in the world. He approached me and inquired as follows, “being a life coach, what do you think i should do with my life?”. For years i asked myself the same question. The answer I believe has two parts to it.
First, what can you do to bring the most to the world. Our world is always in need of help in many different areas. A sense of Contribution is one of the basic human spiritual needs. If you feel what you are doing does not matter you face two challenges. One, the ability to get up and do it when the weather is too cold, or too hot, or too wet. Perhaps when you have had too much the night before, or not enough. Two, if you feel what you do does not make a difference you lose your feeling of self worth. Your spirit begins to die. The “who cares if i don’t show up anyway”.
The second question we should ask ourselves when deciding our lot in life is what do we enjoy. If you are going to do something 40 hours a week (or more) it should be something you enjoy. Something that stirs our soul. When we are doing something we enjoy we tend to work harder and do a better job.
When I tell people this they often find these two in conflict. I knew a man who really liked to paint. He told me painting brings me a sense of fulfillment, but i don’t think my paintings contribute anything to the world. What the world needs is people living their dreams. People of passion who are full of love for life. These people tend to be kinder and contribute more than those who are doing a job that they think is important but doesn’t speak to their soul.
Ok, but what about making a living? Obviously that is important. I advise people to break down what needs their passion fills. In the case of the painter he should pursue a job that fuels his creativity while he markets his paintings. Sometimes we must begin our dreams as hobbies.
So ask yourself those two questions. “What can i contribute?” And “what do i enjoy?”. Often what you enjoy will be the area on which can contribute the most.