I once heard that you have to ‘be’, before you ‘do’, in order to have lasting inner peace. More simply, making a living is not the same as creating your life. It is to discover the tune or rhythm of life that allows your heart to sing and moves you to the beat of your own music.
Many individuals work long hours, struggle through weeks, months and even years only to regret or dislike what they do for a living. It’s known that around 53 percent of people in the American workplace are unhappy with their jobs. What a sad existence to put in so much time for an outcome of regret, anger, discontent and depression. Yet one thing holds true and that is; loving what you do is one of the most important keys to maintaining a positive attitude.
Loving what you do goes beyond the 9 to 5 work existence and flows over into the daily lives of recovery, personal sobriety, relationships, time and investment and over all quality of life. Think about it, you can’t fake genuine passion. Passion is Wheaties that provides the fuel to achieve your dreams of running that marathon. Before the shoes are tied however you need to make sure you love running because the first step is to really analyze what it is you love about running, about sobriety…about your life.
We all have unique talents and interests, and one of life’s greatest challenges is to match these talents with opportunities that bring out the best in us. It’s not easy – and sometimes we can only find it through trial and error – but it’s worth the effort.
There once was an athlete that was unsuccessful for most of his young life. He was a sickly young man often plagued by pneumonia, chronic bronchitis yet was still required to work with his family, no matter how many times he moved so his parents could find work. He too struggled making friends; he found difficulty obtaining an education began to slip into the thought process that he would never amount to anything. That was until he understood that he must change himself if he was to have any shot at success.
And what changes did Jesse Owens make? He followed his passion. He always loved the outdoors and was an excellent runner. In addition, because he struggled so much as a youth to illness and poverty running was a precious ability he valued. It meant freedom, it meant strength, it meant avoiding danger and he was good at it.
Once he stopped trying to convince himself he wouldn’t amount to much he enrolled at East Technical High School. Owens quickly made a name for himself as a nationally recognized sprinter, setting records in the 100 and 200-yard dashes as well as the long jump. After graduating, Owens enrolled at Ohio State University where he continued to flourish as an athlete.
His dominance at the Big Ten games was par for the course for Owens that year, which saw him win four events at the NCAA Championships, two events at the AAU Championships, and three others at the Olympic Trials. In all, Owens competed in 42 events that year and won them all thus qualifying for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Berlin Germany.
For Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games was expected to be a German showcase and a statement for Aryan supremacy. Most notably, Hitler criticized America for including black athletes on its Olympic roster. But it was African Americans who helped cement America’s success at the Olympic Games. In all the U.S. won 11 gold medals, six of them by black athletes. Owens was easily the most dominant athlete to compete. He captured four gold medals (the 100-meter, the long jump, the 200-meter, and the 400-meter relay race) and broke two Olympic records along the way. After Owens won the 100-meter event, a furious Hitler stormed out of the stadium.
How do you find your purpose in life? There are no easy answers, but here are two practical tips that can help:
1. Discover Your Gifts – We’re all unique and each of us has our own special gifts. Make a list of what you consider your strengths and your weaknesses. Next, don’t just assume your assumptions are correct. Get feedback “trusted truth-tellers”, friends and family members who won’t just tell you what you want to hear but who will share their true opinions. With their help you can get a realistic perspective of your gifts.
2. Discover What Moves You – Find your passion and strive to live your life around it. Make your list. Do your homework. There is this caution, however…have patience. Your purpose in life probably won’t surface overnight, but like love, it will find you when you least expect it.
Finding your reason for being brings a positive attitude that can be unstoppable.