I remember in second grade, my teacher went around the classroom and asked each student what they wanted to be when they grew up. Some kids wanted to be doctors and lawyers, but most wanted to be athletes or superheroes. When she got to me, I told her I saw myself as a scientist! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was my Saturday morning show, and Donatello was my favorite. He was the smart one, the problem-solver and since he liked science so did I. He wore purple so I rocked purple, and when Donatello had his bow I had my stick. He was my friend, and when my mom told me I would never be Donatello I didn't talk to her for an entire week.
Looking back, it seems silly that I would ever want to be something I'm not, but you and I do it everyday. It's called work. Think about it, most people don't grow up dreaming of desks, cubicles and computers. My first job was so bad that I scheduled bathroom breaks: two times in the morning and three in the afternoon. Who wants to live like this? No one, yet here we are: at a place we didn't plan.
I wonder, do we plan too much? I think back to kindergarten and coloring. The lines were just a guide, and what my crayons created was anybody's guess. Sometimes it was a masterpiece and other times a mess, but It was always honest and original. I think that when we plan too much, we pander to the crowd. Art becomes diluted when we design with the audience in mind.
The lesson is don't do it for the applause. Eventually people won't care and the only thing left is your motivation. I know this because I went into banking for all the wrong reasons. Think Wolf of Wall Street, except I was poor, overworked and completely sober. I was wide awake and getting off on the prestige and promise of riches. And it was all good until you find yourself living a lie you can't keep up. Like anything else, you can try faking it forever but forever is a long time.
The problem is that we're not born with unlimited choices. The same minds that created South Park are unlikely to succeed in say, aeronautical engineering. Would you trust your dentist to design your new home? Of course not, it's laughable. Yet, most of us misplace our talent, trading it in for a trap. Thinking we can do it all, instead of doing one thing and doing it well.
You know that box that everyone's telling you to think outside of? Well, they're all wrong. Jack is in the box and so are you. You and I are a collection of our interests, abilities, skills and strengths. No matter how much we try to conform, you can't change who you are. We can't think outside the box because inside is the content of our character. It's the stuff that makes you unique.
The thing to do is open the box. Jump in, get comfortable and kick your feet up. Start feeling familiar with yourself. Take a tour and what you'll discover is that you came into this world with a very specific calling. For me, it's business and building my blog. If you were born to sing then shout your song. Learn that lesson so you can teach what you've been taught. Walk in your truth, and give meaning to your work.
We all have a job to do, a self to become. The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give that gift away. You can only give what you got, but you must know what you have first.
Ever think to yourself, "If I just find my passion, everything else will figure itself out!" Yea, me too and while passion is important, it's also filled with too much pressure. If you're like me, the more you think about something the less likely you are to do it. So stop wasting time. Let someone else do the heavy lifting for you. How often have you received a compliment on your cooking, advice or athleticism? Recognize when your cause is calling. Pick up.
We spend so much time trying to figure out why we're here and what we're supposed to do. The answer is simple. Just DO YOU. You can't be whatever you want in this life. You can only be you. Might as well go about the business of becoming who you were meant to be.