Following your passion
Last updated 9/2/2021 at 2:27pm
Dr. Rick Koole
During my freshman year in college in Michigan, I took a summer job selling dictionaries door-to-door in New Orleans. My parents thought I was nuts! It was a commission only job, so if I didn’t sell any books, I didn’t eat or have a place to stay. Now that’s what I call a good motivation.
I found myself working 12 hours a day, six days a week in the hot Louisiana sun. The first day on the job started out with nothing but rejection, and I started to wonder what I had gotten into. But I had no other option than to just keep knocking on doors, and before the day was done, I discovered that if a guy knocked on enough doors and didn’t quit, success eventually came their way.
Looking back, I can honestly say that I learned more about people and the value of hard work during that summer than any other summer of my life.
The Bible gives us some great lessons on how to be good workers. For example, it says we are to obey our employers “with respect and fear and with sincerity of heart.” And it also says that we are to “obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you.”
I believe success on the job starts by discovering what your passion is in life and then pouring your energies into that passion. Marcus Buckingham has written much on the importance of determining what type of work brings you the most enjoyment, and then pursuing a job in that field. Three of his best-known quotes are:
“Those who sustain individual success spend their time doing work that energizes them.”
It is so true that for people who genuinely enjoy what they do on their job, it never feels like work. Do an honest evaluation of yourself to determine what you are best at and passionate about, and then pursue that goal.
“Discover what you don’t like doing and stop doing it.”
It is equally important to determine what you are not good at and don’t enjoy doing. I learned some time ago that there were some things I wasn’t good at or that I didn’t enjoy doing. Initially I spent a lot of time and effort focusing on trying to get better at them, but eventually determined to focus most of my energies on activities that I’m good at and that bring me the greatest satisfaction.
“Careers often go astray because people are competent at things they find unrewarding.”
It is a shame to watch people spend an entire career trying to climb the ladder of success on a job that they don't like. And then as they finally reach the top of the ladder, rather than a sense of accomplishment, they have a feeling of regret that they climbed a ladder leading to the top of the wrong building. Choose carefully the ladder you want to climb.
The award-winning author James Michener was an individual that early in his life recognized his passion and tirelessly pursued it until his dying day. He explained:
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his life and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he’s always doing both.”