When you’re young, intertwined in the educational system, you have to know what you want to become. But you really don’t have a clue. Lots of people tell you how they followed their passion, how the road to mastery and passion played out for them. Then some other tells you how you don’t find your passion, you cultivate it.
That’s beautiful but—imho—not really helpful.
How do you find or cultivate something that is now growing yet, that is deeply buried? Where and how do you start looking?
The clues of where to start looking are way different than how the educational system is designed. When you’re 14, you’re asked that disturbing and somehow irritating question: “What do you want to become?” Then you’re told that in order to become a doctor, you have to go to med school, a lawyer, law school, a manager, business school, etc.
Still not helpful and in some way dangerous.
Chances are there’s a soft and quiet voice inside you that can’t stop talking, sometimes in a language you can’t understand. The easiest way to understand that language, is to empirically observe what that voice made and make you do. Everyday.
That’s what you don’t have a choice but to do.
For some people it’s quite simple, that voice speaks loud and clear. Say a kid was a refugee, and saw his parents get refused the entry to a territory over some visa issues, he might develop the obvious frustration of immigration paperwork and won’t have a choice but to become an immigration lawyer. Same for a kid that saw a loved-one die from a doctor misjudgment.
They don’t have a choice. And that passionated urgency fuels passion, resilience, repetition, mastery, ultimately success and somehow happiness.
But for all the lucky ones spared from life’s tragic misfortune and cursed by having to choose, they have to listen more scrupulously. Like an enchantment, that voice may have them do something everyday, therefore empowering them with unfair advantages and unconscious progress towards mastery. Drawing, talking, helping, listening, leading, anything.
It doesn’t mean a kid that draws everyday has to become a painter. It simply reveals the direction where to start looking, to start exploring. And from there to move and learn forward about oneself and its natural relation to the world. It simply reveals where a potentially fruitful seed is planted, deep in the unconscious soil, and therefore where to put water.
And without expecting anything particular to rise, to just help this seed grows to its potential. A kid that draws everyday might become an architect, one that don’t have a choice but to be a great listener might become a psychiatrist, a chatty kid might become a story teller, etc.
So instead of asking the next kid I see the punishing and limiting “What do you want to become”, I’ll ask him instead what he doesn’t have a choice of doing.
So, too, it goes with us.