At first, i felt inspired and excited, though there was this feeling in my stomach that usually indicates that there’s something missing. It wasn’t until i watch another talk that i started to put the pieces together: We are being blamed for this dissatisfaction. If we only spent the time to discover our passion and then turn it into a career, we’d be living the rosy life! Subtly, we are told that our lives are only worthy if we do something extraordinary.
None of the speakers address one pink elephant in the room: What if our passion doesn’t pay anything? Yeah, yeah, i know, the first speaker claims that that’s impossible. Right. I am passionate about volunteering my time to support causes i am enthusiastic about. My excitement about a particular cause lasts a few months and then i am ready to put my time behind some other cause (apparently i am dabbler, as another speaker pointed out). How the heck am i supposed to make money with that?
Digging deeper, though, there is another issue with these approaches to fulfillment. If 80% of us are unhappy with our jobs, there’s something very wrong with the system that creates these jobs! Instead of calling for us to become entrepreneurs (not all of us, for example, can become life coaches and making money of a blog is rare), how about calling for an uprising that demands a change in the system that forces us to sell ourselves so that we can get food and shelter? This system is absurd and it’s destroying the planet on top of making so many of us miserable. Offering individual solutions, as these speakers do, is not addressing this underlying issue. We cannot resolve this as individuals.
And, yet, offering individual solutions is so much easier than trying to effect systemic change. That’s probably why so many of us focus on those individual solutions, as i’ve pointed out elsewhere. Maybe that’s another passion of mine: To use systems thinking to uncover what is underneath much of our self-help strategies that, ultimately, keep us stuck because they are not addressing those systemic issues. And i hear the call for coming up with solutions for those issues. How can we turn this hyperindividualism around that keeps us stuck in a system that’s killing us? How can we grow collaboration and interdependence?