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Why do we never believe even Oprahs, Steve Jobses, Mandelas of this world?

Updated: May 23

Most of us have such a high resistance as soon as we hear somebody talking about “passion” and “purpose.” The first reaction to those who utter these words, almost always is “Oh, He/she is one of those people who is unrealistic and utopian; one of those incurable dreamers.” Many are not willing to hear actually what that person is saying. As soon as we see or hear those words (passion and purpose), we shut down.

The sad part is we do not believe it even when the people we most admire say the same.

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Says Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative people that ever lived on earth. He is a fantastic example because he always looked serious about his work and his life; never seemed to be like one of those leaders who would talk about “heart”. You may think of Oprah as one of the more heart-centered, more unconventional leaders and not identify with her, but we all know how many followers she has and her influence.

"If you don't know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it."

Look at what she was able to achieve with her passion. "

Nelson Mandela said:

“There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.'”

There are not enough words to describe his life and his impact. He wants all of us to live up to our potential.

So why is it that we don’t believe it or apply it to ourselves when we hear these people that exemplify the best use of passion, strengths that made them wildly “successful” (not in the meaning of titles and financial freedom they received but how much significance and positive impact they had on millions of people)?

I see a few reasons:

1. We were made to believe for too long (since the Industrial age mindset took over 150+ years ago) that success is defined by money at the bank and titles at work. The worst, that work is something you do just to make money. We should be happy if we have a job and get a pay stub every month. We forgot to question the status quo and the formula given to us. Before the industrial age, people had to look at their skill set, their likes, and their strengths to decide if they should be a farmer, singer, accountant, or baker. This mindset kept us limited in our thinking far too long. We never stop and ask if this is really the only way to live our lives; make a living with our jobs- may be even hate it-and hope all our weekends are a lot more fulfilling.

2. We cancel the option too quickly to believe there might be something we can do that we will love and also get paid for. If we have dreams like that when we are younger, our parents are so protective of us that they tend to guide us to professions where there is more chance to make money. Our parents have the best intentions; they want us to be able to stand on our feet, but subconsciously they project their fears on us at the same time. Everybody owes it to at least look and research who they are, what their strengths are, and see if they can do something that they will enjoy for 40-50 hours a week instead of giving up on this option altogether. It is OK if we choose not to follow our passion, our purpose as a career after we figure out it is not going to support a life style we want; we just should not eliminate this choice before looking into it.

3. We are born for a reason to spend time on this planet. It is proven over and over again that people who have a purpose and passion are more fulfilled. The passion you integrate into your life does not have to be your career. I have friends who love taking photographs, making ceramics, growing plants, drawing pictures that feed their soul. If they chose to do so, they could make money out of it too, but they don’t. Some others do. Either way they have something they love to do. If people share what they create, even better, because then somebody else is inspired to follow their passion too.

4. We were made to believe that work has to involve some level of suffering, hardship and that what comes so easy to us (because those are our natural talents) should not make us any money. We are told that we should not create a business out of it and that we should give them away. Think about everything you buy, though; those were created by somebody else’s talent. Do you ever believe that they should all give them for free?

5. It is easier to believe people like Oprah, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela are all very special. I do not deny this either. They are different, that is why they can be where they are, and we are not. We also say they were lucky or they had the right circumstances. It is easier not to look why they are different or how they did it. Consider for a moment we are making up excuses because we are too afraid to follow our dreams. We are so OK to stay in our comfort zone and live an OK life while we have the potential to have a much more fulfilling life. We never even question if we learn some new life skills, it may be possible for us to be wildly happy and “successful” too.

6. It all comes down to what YOU BELIEVE. If you believe there is no way to make money out of your passion, your strengths, or your purpose you will never look for the opportunities and you will never see the doors opening for you. If you can at least have an open mind for yourself and your children that it may be possible, everything will change. And if this is not your career it is OK. I never tell anybody including my clients to take their journey and be broke. We all have to look at the realities of our choices. Do not compare yourself to people who achieved it or failed either. This will be your path, and it is your belief system that will guide in your journey. But at least look and see if there is a way to carve some time for your passion and even a chance to make it your career.

So when people you admire or people you meet talk about purpose and passion, try to stay open and hear what they have to say. They are not trying to sell you empty dreams or take you out of the realities of life. They know or they have witnessed too many times that it is possible for all of us. They may know that our belief system might be the only thing that is in our way. Unless we are very lucky to have all the money in the world, we all need to pay the bills and put food on the table. But we cannot limit ourselves or our children by stopping their dreams if we do not have 100% evidence that we or they will fail. You can never know if your child can be Olympian or not (you know my friend who you are); let them follow their dreams and do not give up on yours either no matter what your age is. Even if there is failure on the way, that will be the experience to learn from. One day when we are 90 we will have some disappointments, but at least no regrets knowing we were brave enough to try.

It is really about our beliefs. Question them and ask if there is 100% proof that you cannot achieve your dreams. The answer is almost always “No, I have no real evidence.” So just do it.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

― Henry Ford

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