The question we all want the answer to.

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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby Tituba » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:08 am

jims - what a great post! Please post it in Success Stories as more people will see it.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby Flacker » Fri May 18, 2012 7:45 pm

I'm just now reading through this post and have found some very insightful information. Still, after reading several responses (including Barbara's insightful input), my question is... how do you know when your passion should be more than a hobby and perhaps, more of a career? (I might post a separate topic on this b/c it seems like it's veering slightly away from the original question.)
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby jims » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:50 am

That's a good question about going for a hobby or a career. I've had a great interest in astronomy, but I never became a professional. However, I did manage to do the things astronmers and space scientists do: teach, give talks, do research, publish results, play with a planetarium, go to conferences, and read journals. However, I did not get paid and often had to supply my own funds. Maybe, one should ask oneself how important money and having stuff is. I like to do, rather than have. Some people have to have a new fancy car and a huge house to be happy. I want just enough shelter and food to get by. I would rather save money by walking and baking my own cookies, then spend my extra money on activities that I like to do. Maybe, I am alone with my strange ideas. Just about everyone in my town seems to own huge houses and multiple new cars--so I'm an odd ball. It's been my experience that a lot of stuff requires a lot of time to take care of. I wanted a swimming pool, until I got one and had to take care of it on a daily and seasonal bases. I've often owed two cars, but there was twice as much work to be done in keeping them on the road. Now, if one loves to tinker with cars then that's OK. I did not like taking care of things, but I loved working in the yard and garden. Everyone is different. I think we need to be true to our own natures. Some of us obtain a lot of self-esteem by displaying all the stuff we have acquired. I get a lot of self-esteem by showing what I know or what I can do. My self-esteem rose when I lost 100 pounds and started to run marathons. However, few Americans seem to love exercise (except here in Colorado). Again, one has to go for our true dreams.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby jcjm » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:30 am

I haven't posted for quite a while, but I'm glad to see my original post is still going.

I've been busy trying to live the dream instead of figure it out.

From what has transpired over the years since the original post, I have found that as you get older, it is easier to do what Barbara suggested.

As soon as you separate money and passion instead of combining them, it gets a whole lot easier. Its very hard to get paid really well for doing creative things, you can spend years or decades being a starving artist. But if you separate your making money and your passion, it becomes a lot easier.

This is how I can make money easily so I can have the time and money for my passion. Actually, isn't that what retirements about. Income stream that allows you to have the time to do what you want. It may be something you are good at but don't particularly aspire to. Maybe something you can do using half your brain, or in your sleep. The easier it is and the better it pays, the more time you will have for your passion.

So if you don't have the perfect job and have been searching for quite a while. Do what you love to do. Stop putting that off until you can earn money doing it. Then earn money in a way that takes the least effort for the best pay.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:23 pm

Just had a brainstorm. If your passion is someting like writing, painting, making jewelry, try it for a couple of days. Use up some vacation days or a long weekend for a writer's retreat, (painter's retreat, photography trip or whatever). See what it feel like to do your passion full time.

Some advice - make sure that each day includes getting out of doors, interacting with other people, and doing something physical. And full time doesn't have to mean eight hours.

I'm retired, and I find that I write about as much now as I did when I worked full time.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby jcjm » Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:12 am

This thing has been around for a long time and I am still getting new takes on it as time goes on.

When I first started it, it was about how do you make money at doing what you want to do.

As time goes on, I am reminded of a Morgan Freeman line in a movie which I think was called "along came a spider". It has Monica Potter in it and he is a profiler more or less. The line is something like this:

SOME PEOPLE ARE BORN WITH A GIFT, OTHERS JUST FIND SOMETHING THAT THEY ARE GOOD AT.

I think this says a lot about this thread. a lot of people are under the assumption they were born with a gift and if they just do something right, things will happen.

The reality may be that a lot of people can play baseball, basketball, dance, sing, but there just aren't that many opportunities for everyone to be a star. Worse of all, there are a lot of people who do these things better than some of the "stars", but just can't get a break.

Point is, maybe we should just find the things we are good at, instead of trying to force something.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby SouthernArtist2000 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:12 pm

One foot in front of the other toward a goal you want to attain very badly.
That's all you ever can do with any dream or goal. It's not that hard but some days it takes a lot of determination.

Some days the wind will sweep you ten miles backward. Take a deep breath, get up and take another step and then another.
Winds happen. They just do. Sometimes they sweep you up and plop you down right on top of your goal.

Some days that step forward will only be thinking of how you can take that next step forward.

One day while walking you will realize that you got to your goal a mile or so ago. How did that happen?
Well then, time to set a new goal, a new dream, a new direction and strike out again.

It really is the journey that matters.

I think creating markers is a good idea. If you want to be an actor, how do you know when you have gotten there? What is that arrival point for you? When you see your face and name on a play poster, a movie poster or marquee? When you have won an academy award? When you are photographed on the red carpet? When you have gotten a part in a big production? Gotten a standing ovation? or maybe when you go to try out for your very first part. Whatever it is, don't miss the fact you got there.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:01 am

SouthernArtist2000 wrote:One foot in front of the other toward a goal you want to attain very badly.
That's all you ever can do with any dream or goal. It's not that hard but some days it takes a lot of determination.

Some days the wind will sweep you ten miles backward. Take a deep breath, get up and take another step and then another.
Winds happen. They just do. Sometimes they sweep you up and plop you down right on top of your goal.

Some days that step forward will only be thinking of how you can take that next step forward.

One day while walking you will realize that you got to your goal a mile or so ago. How did that happen?
Well then, time to set a new goal, a new dream, a new direction and strike out again.

It really is the journey that matters.

I think creating markers is a good idea. If you want to be an actor, how do you know when you have gotten there? What is that arrival point for you? When you see your face and name on a play poster, a movie poster or marquee? When you have won an academy award? When you are photographed on the red carpet? When you have gotten a part in a big production? Gotten a standing ovation? or maybe when you go to try out for your very first part. Whatever it is, don't miss the fact you got there.



I really like that.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby emspace » Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:17 pm

jcjm wrote:SOME PEOPLE ARE BORN WITH A GIFT, OTHERS JUST FIND SOMETHING THAT THEY ARE GOOD AT.


Perhaps. The older I get, the more I think it’s a matter of grit over gift. What you’re good at becomes a gift when you see success with it. Some people don’t have to work very long before they succeed; maybe they got lucky, got more help, had better resources, showed up at exactly the right time and place, and yes, perhaps they also had more innate aptitude.

But overall, I think most people forget about all the long hours spent—even by child prodigies—practicing or training or experimenting or trying, and think being gifted means you succeed automagically out of the gate. If you spent as much time in “deep work” as a child prodigy, you’d also come out looking gifted.

To me, a child prodigy is someone who can, at a very young age, focus deeply on one thing for much longer than the average child, and can thereby learn a skill far better and far more quickly than the average child. There’s being able to focus for long bouts and also being resilient and not giving up when they fail, which inevitably happens to everyone learning anything.

Having said that, I agree with your other point that not everyone can be Mozart, even if we could all practice and train as much as he did in his childhood. There really is such a thing as competition, and not everyone can win the gold medal in the same competition.


jcjm wrote:Point is, maybe we should just find the things we are good at, instead of trying to force something.


It seems to me you’re saying that if your gift was dancing but you never really were good enough to get into the Royal Ballet (your fault for not having grit or not your fault because you were born too tall or with shorter arms), you need to quit that dream and go with a second tier “pretty good but not great” talent to make money with, while you can still pursue your love of dancing on the side. I can agree with that. In fact, it usually makes better sense.

Not many people want to hear that, though. We’ve heard too many stories about people who’ve managed to live their dream and we all want to, too.


SouthernArtist2000 wrote:It really is the journey that matters.


Co-sign that.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby emspace » Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:07 pm

[EDIT: deleting duplicate!]
Last edited by emspace on Mon Jul 21, 2014 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby jcjm » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:59 am

jcjm wrote:Point is, maybe we should just find the things we are good at, instead of trying to force something.


It seems to me you’re saying that if your gift was dancing but you never really were good enough to get into the Royal Ballet (your fault for not having grit or not your fault because you were born too tall or with shorter arms), you need to quit that dream and go with a second tier “pretty good but not great” talent to make money with, while you can still pursue your love of dancing on the side. I can agree with that. In fact, it usually makes better sense to do that.

Not many people want to hear that, though. We’ve heard too many stories about people who’ve managed to live their dream and we all want to, too.



Not quite what I mean.

If it were a gift you would be the right height and body. If you weren't physically suited, you might be a lover or critic or something related, but not a dancer.

Second, you don't have to perform at the Royal ballet to be a dancer.

My point is there are a few who are born with a gift but a lot who can find what they are good at. The problem is, so many people think they have a gift when they don't. (have you seen America's Got Talent or any of the singing shows)

They think they can sing when their real talent is being a nurse or electrician. A talent is something you can do effortlessly while others struggle to do the same thing. That is why for the large majority it is about finding out what we are good at.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby emspace » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:01 am

jcjm wrote:If it were a gift you would be the right height and body. If you weren't physically suited, you might be a lover or critic or something related, but not a dancer.

Second, you don't have to perform at the Royal ballet to be a dancer.

My point is there are a few who are born with a gift but a lot who can find what they are good at. The problem is, so many people think they have a gift when they don't.


The Royal Ballet was a metaphor, not the ultimate qualifier of gifted dancers. I’m aware that you don’t have to perform there in order to be a dancer.

I’m reluctant to agree that it can only be a gift if you have the right body type. That’s subjective, and what looks like the right dancer body type varies quite a lot from culture to culture, region to region, dance director to dance director. I’ve seen and known many beautiful amazing gifted dancers whose body type would prevent them from getting into particular companies if they had their heart set on those. I’m just saying. You might want to get into the Royal Ballet (or substitute any institution you prefer) but the Royal Ballet might not think you belong there. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t gifted.

Barbara Sher herself uses “gifted” to describe what you love and are good at and are drawn to do, without qualifying what other outward attributes you have.

I get your point, though, that some people only think they’re gifted when they are only in the hump (or lower end) of the bell curve. (Metaphor, again. ;) )

jcjm wrote:Point is, maybe we should just find the things we are good at, instead of trying to force something.


I’m pretty sure the majority of the world does this, non? True, there are many Millenials (more so than GenXers or Boomers) who want to be Special and acknowledged for their Specialness (I blame their parents), but even among them, I’m guessing the majority doesn’t really know what they’re really great at and will just pick something they’re good enough at to do.

Or are you talking about just this Forum or thread specifically? I haven’t read the entire thread so I can’t comment in that case.

Perhaps the common human striving for something more is worth talking about, though. It’s a very late-20th, early-21st century idea that good is not good enough; there’s far better and we each deserve it. Should we thank Maslow’s concepts of the pyramid of needs and self-actualization?
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby BarbaraSher » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:43 am

jcjm wrote:
As time goes on, I am reminded of a Morgan Freeman line in a movie which I think was called "along came a spider". It has Monica Potter in it and he is a profiler more or less. The line is something like this:

SOME PEOPLE ARE BORN WITH A GIFT, OTHERS JUST FIND SOMETHING THAT THEY ARE GOOD AT.

I think this says a lot about this thread. a lot of people are under the assumption they were born with a gift and if they just do something right, things will happen.


I love Morgan Freeman. Maybe he's as wise as he looks. But he didn't write the script, so I wouldn't get my life messages from his screenplay writer's dramatic devices if I were you. Everyone's born with a gift - at least one. And most of us should also find something we're good at. Because doing what you love (that's what you're gifted at, that's how nature cleverly works with all animals) is essential. But becoming financially successful at it isn't. So you might want to earn your keep doing what you're good at and do what you're gifted at the way it should be done - not the way that makes money.

jcjm wrote:The reality may be that a lot of people can play baseball, basketball, dance, sing, but there just aren't that many opportunities for everyone to be a star. Worse of all, there are a lot of people who do these things better than some of the "stars", but just can't get a break.

Point is, maybe we should just find the things we are good at, instead of trying to force something.


And I repeat: It's great to find things you're good at. You can usually make a nice living doing them. And doing what you're gifted at has nothing at all to do with being a star. Fashions change. Popularity isn't what it's all about.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby jcjm » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:59 am

Never did solve this>

Just got old enough to be selective on what consulting jobs I do and live off retirement when none are available.
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Re: The question we all want the answer to.

Postby inspiresuccess » Sat Nov 05, 2016 11:44 am

jims wrote:I have created the kind of life I love. The book Wishcraft and a few others along the same line were very helpful. I used my job which provided a good steady income, until I was able to retire early--age 51. I cut back on things and lived on my savings and investments for three years, until a bit of a pension kicked in. But I started my plan years before by studying finance and investing. I also cut back on things that wasted money. It is amazing how much we waste and can do without. I borrowed books and movies from libraries. I learned to do most of the maintence on my home, car, and lawnmower. One can save a great deal by keeping the car repaired. To keep motivated, I walked thorugh the stacks of libraries, imagining the time I would be able to do what I loved the most--read and learn.

For over 10 years I've lived the life of my dreams. During my first 6 years of retirement, I read over 1000 books from libraries. I tried a number of part-time, temporary work, mostly to keep busy and learn new trades. I taught college part-time; worked as a tax consultant (started as a volunteer), and helped my friends with construction (plumbing, dry wall, roofing). We sold our home and moved to the beautiful state of Colorado. I love hiking. Currently, my passion is studying Mars. As an amateur I was able to use two satellites that went around Mars. Most months, I receive pictures from Mars that almost no one has seen before. Along with others, we have written essentially an encyclopedia of Mars--almost everything discovered about Mars is there.

At any rate, I had to create a vision of my ideal life, then a detailed plan for achieving it. What I did different from some others is that I just moved along--putting one foot in front of another, each day, marching in the direction of my dreams. I studied the martial arts for decades; that study gave me lots of discipline. Or maybe, I just wanted things more than others. We all have problems. I had to bring my personal demons under control. First was stopping my excessive drinking one day at a time (its been over 30 years since I was an insaine drunk).

I hope others can take some inspiration from what I've tried to write. There is really a lot of wisdom on these boads and in Barbara Sher's books.


I just discovered this thread because someone brought it up recently. I quickly skimmed and spotted your post. Thanks for sharing your
life journey. It is inspiring to hear all the changes you've made over the years.

I'll have to go back and skim the other posts here.

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