Friday, June 6th, 2014

Don’t let the passionless people rule – take courage and follow your heart

Sometimes our nearest and dearest don’t know a thing about what is best for us.

Following ones passion or purpose in life often takes great courage and conviction. A classic example is Michelangelo, known one of the world greatest sculptors and painters. The beauty of his works has echoed down the ages.

What is less known is that his family was not entirely supportive of  what he yearned to do. In fact, his father and his uncles thought art was disgraceful and they bet him hard and often.

Some view Michelangelo as a titan, a superhuman prodigy, but,  by his own standard, he was a passionate seeker of beauty and truth. Fuelled by his passion and the conviction that heaven was calling him to draw and to work with other painters, he could not be opposed, and millions of people have been touched by the emotional intensity that pours from his work, whether it be stone or marble

Many people do not follow their heart’s desire because of the lack of encouragement from others. They may not have to endure beatings, but instead verbal ridicule, blame or repeated warnings that that they have no talent and may fail. Yet, as the philosopher GW Hegel once said: “Nothing great in this world has been achieved without passion.”

Pursuing your passion is not always easy but it is the key to a happier and more fulfilled life, even if that fulfilment comes from just being true to your own nature. Passion is about doing something you love and deeply believe in. It is also about being willing to change and to step out of the comfort rut and mediocre landscapes that others are prepared to settle for. Passionate people are prepared to take risks and cope with failure.

Many people I have career-counselled know in their hearts and minds what they would love to be doing but without someone to believe in them they distrust their ability to be successful. It s a Catch 22 situation, for without the wisdom that comes from experience it is difficult to have certainty.

Many successful people say that there was a point at which they just took a leap of faith. A good career coach can help people to do this in an informed way which helps them to minimise their risks and gather objective data to guide their decision-making. But it is equally importantly to believe in their ability, to pay attention to the emotional stirrings which, left unheeded, may prevent them from making positive changes in their life.

As Mark Twain once wrote, “Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.” Looking to friends and family to support your career decisions is not always the best strategy. They often mean well but are blinded by their own agendas, insecurities and subjective views about what is best for you.

Like Michelangelo, who was encouraged by a mentor, sometimes encouragement and the confidence to pursue your calling comes from those who know you least.


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