There are some people who seem to be born knowing what they want. They have a very clear vision for their life, particularly in their work. There are others who have no notion of what they want and as a result, all too often settle into a life that may be less than fulfilling and does not challenge them beyond whatever level they find themselves.
There is a third group that are driven but do not have a clear concept of how that might translate. There are twists and turns that are less about direction than they are challenges for greater depth and meaning. Because of this it can appear on the surface not to be as progressive in terms of aspiration. This group does not necessarily pursue to rise to the top as it were. Instead, they strive to continuously be pushing to their next best, whatever that may be.
The journey here can be more circuitous than on a steep arc and for those of us on this path that suits us fine. It is after all about the journey, not the climb. As you might have guessed, this is the group where I find myself.
Part of my struggle with this has been how we measure progress. There is still a definite pursuit for excellence. Mastery remains paramount. But it is the fascination of the work that draws us in and holds us. It is a personal measure and expectation.
This can be a challenge to describe to others that expect us to detail out long term goals and ambitions. We most likely do not know where the path is going to take us next. We have learned to bring our best selves to the flow of the river of life and look forward to its current as it takes us to what is next rather than plotting it out.
Recently I heard this put in a way that I thought described it perfectly. The speaker was Brian Tracy, an acknowledged and noted authority in the field of personal leadership and development. He is crystal clear in his teachings about the value of having goals. They are massively important. But his views on passion were refreshing. In his description, he said that we do not pursue passion nearly as much as we back into it. We do not “find” passion and pursue it nearly as much as we find work we become passionate about in the doing of it. That has a very strong ring of truth.
The key it would seem is to be doing. To allow ourselves as Einstein taught to look for what is rather than what we think should be. We must pursue value over rungs of the ladder of success.
We must be willing to move beyond who we think we should be in order to become all we can be.
This reminded me of one of my favorite thoughts from the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke:
“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it live your way into the answer.”
Live today like you want tomorrow to be. Just that. Live today. Live well.