Tag Archives: expectations

Beyond the “Follow Your Passion” Paradigm

As I was mumbling yesterday about the whole “follow your passion” career illumination theory, I went poking around for other words that might work better. Words are important. We need to use the right ones and I was saying that I didn’t think “passion” was the right one. So.. what did I come up with?

 

ZESTY ENTHUSIASM
“Enthusiasm” came up in several of the quotes that I listed in the post. “Zest” was another one. Both were interesting and have possibilities— and limits.

 

Enthusiasm was originally connected to religious fanaticism, but it’s more common contemporary use is for “strong excitement or feeling.” It can refer to ardour, zeal, fervour, ambition, alacrity, obsession, eagerness, and yes, passion. It can also refer to a short-term enthusiasm or buzz— a one-hit wonder, or cultural blip in popularity.
OK, helpful and needed. One must have SOME modicum of enthusiasm for one’s work, wouldn’t you say?!

 

Zest and other food-related words seem to have more oomph! Other than the lemon zest variety, listen to these wonderful foodie words that have migrated to describe “an enjoyably exciting quality.” Piquant, relish, gusto, zing… and then… keen, invigoration, stimulation and thrill. (thanks, Merriam-Oxford Dictionary)

 

I’ve focused on these words for a bit because, really, the words we use are important. The foodie words above certainly give us bright shiny images in our imagination. While imagination is mucho importante, I’m still not convinced.

 

We toss “passion” around so flippantly. I wonder if it’s become so popular because it immediately grabs us by the gut and pokes at our emotional centre. These words are evocative and who doesn’t like to evoke a provocation?

 

“Passion” has a flame to it. And if people are sitting on their laurels, pining after their dream job, then, maybe lighting a fire underneath them is a good start.

 

But then what? As one reader here pointed out, passion burns out. The reader was commenting on relationships and expecting fireworks all the time, which was not my point at all, but it’s pretty hard to stay full steam ahead merely on a hotly lit match. Something else is required.

 

STEVE MARTIN TO THE RESCUE

 

Steve Martin

Steve Martin (Photo credit: lincolnblues)

 

We all need a little Steve Martin in our lives!

 

One reader posed a link to an article on <a href=”an excerpt from Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.” title=”Steve Martin’s Advice” target=”_blank”>lifehacker in an excerpt from Cal Newport’s So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love.

 

And there—well, a start. SKILLS! And then ACTION! This SHOULD be a blinding flash of the obvious, but it isn’t. Maybe if we said, “Act on your passion,” it might help. It could also get someone killed (as in “crime of passion). In any case, the big problem with the phrase “follow your passion” is that you can follow it all day, over hill and dale, to the far reaches of the earth and over the rainbow, but unless you grab the darn thing and DO something about building the skills that will make you valuable and useful, it’s a useless, nay wasteful pursuit.

 

Steve Martin’s advice was to “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.”

 

And being so good that “they” can’t ignore you requires work. The day-to-day kind of work that we all hate at times. As any successful person will tell you, it’s the daily grind of showing up and doing what you don’t really feel like doing all the time. And doing it over and over and over and…

 

Well, it’s a start. I’ve kind of got the “P-word” problem resolved, at least in my head, but I know there’s more.

 

Still need to focus myself on what I’m to do with the next part of my life, though! More later. In the meantime, I’ve absorbed all the time I’ve allotted for this little passion… have to go act on the list of other things on the list that inspire zeal, fervour, eagerness and zing in me today.

 

Comments welcome! We really need to sort this thing out so more of us can get our butts in gear (and our ‘buts’ out of the way) to make this world work better.

 

The (Musician’s) Soul

Music teachers…looking for things they can DO with their kids on Monday. New technique this, new ideas that, new technologies, new ways to include , to diversify, everything you need to know, move, drum, sing, play. (I’ve been at a music teachers’ conference for the past three days)

Music teachers…a daily marathon to inspire, encourage, uplift, direct, pull up, put up, shout out, cheer on

It’s not just here, but in all journeys. Is it the doing or the being that is more important? When a conductor steps in front of a choir, a band, an orchestra, a classroom, a lunchroom, an office full of employees, WHO is it that does the stepping?

We bring all the who we are to all we do.

Resting, emptying, stilling, holding, letting go, living from the centre— these are the things to spend our efforts on, the things music teachers, leaders, directors, managers, visionaries, impulsers need to learn to do with the kids on Monday.

To teach from the inner place, the calm place, the high place, the focused, directed, together place.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. (Tolstoy)

The only thing we CAN change is ourself. And our relationship and response apparatus.

Do THAT on Monday, and it won’t matter what you do.

The Struggle

We’ve moved into Scorpio this evening.

Trial, Test, Triumph.

Stay committed. Stick to it. Struggle through Transformation.

Expose the fear, shed the fear, get to the heart of it. Let Neptune transform it.

Dig in. Face the limitations, the obstacles, the tests… I’m gonna get it done.

“Warrior am I and from the battle I emerge triumphant.”

If you don’t have a spiritual struggle, get one… what is the spiritual struggle.

With Saturn now in Scorpio, it’s now time to grow up, overcome the emotional chaos. Commit to the transformation.

What behaviours need releasing? Still, again. More? Are there more? What transformations are possible this month?

My ‘secret’ project begins tomorrow morning. Let’s do it. I’m keeping it secret to keep it sacred. Day by day. Moment by moment. Step by step.

It’s gonna be a fight.

To a triumphant finish.

An Unexpected Joy!

Two hours at a new local music store, Alley Kat Music. Just opened up and Josh, the young owner, has invited all the teachers he’s got to teach there to meet the public. I’ll consider teaching there (life is changing) and promised to show up. As one of his advisors and supporters, I need to do that for him.With the intent to give whoever is there MORE than they expect, I’ve created a Practice Tips sheet for whoever signs into his system. Plus, I’ve collected a couple of Making Music magazines and some National Music Camp brochures.

I’m expecting nice chats with a couple of the teachers. I’m expecting to meet a few people I know and a few I don’t. I’m expecting to get a little snack, ’cause I haven’t had dinner.

I was NOT expecting….

  • to meet a very delightful Bert Pepper, a fiddler from Wingham who, with his wife, moved to Rodney a few years ago
  • to see several high school students, including a young flautist who was at camp
  • to play as much as I did!

So, being the good Music for People grad that I am, I saw an opportunity. You see, Tanner, the flautist, had taken a fiddling option at camp. Bert, the fiddler… well, he fiddles. Tanner had brought his flute. I brought the two of them into the lesson room, the one that is finished, the one with the piano.

Tanner was trying to remember the tune he’d learned. Bert and I played along.

And then… oh,the magic, the magic…

Bert, how about you play a short riff and then Tanner, do an answer. You don’t have to copy the same notes, but just play something in response.

Shall we play in “Dog?”

And off we went. Back and forth. Bert and Tanner traded fiddling 4’s. Two of his friends listened in, iPhones recording it all. They navigated the changes, echoed, repeated and added… and we all found the perfect place to end! Woohooooo!!!!

Sufficiently emboldened…

OK, let’s try this, I said, start out with some call and response, and then, at some point, let’s change form 6/8 to 2 and kick it up.

Once again… in Dog!

We Did it!!! The shift was seamless. I let out a hoot! LOVE. IT. The kids were impressed.

It’s all music, said Bert.

Suddenly, I wasn’t sooo sad that I wasn’t at the weekend in Stony Point with some of my best musical, improv, American friends.

But that wasn’t all. Yeah, yeah, I had some snacks, met the other teachers and saw some friends I knew.

But then….

Bert and a local guitarist/singer, Bill, got together and started jamming on some fiddle tunes. I

That would have been enough to ‘make my night’ and I thought of all my MfP friends making music this weekend. We’d be recording and getting caught up and making music and laughing…

I got to play BASS! Haven’t played electric bass for….decades? We played in Dog, we played in Girl. Josh brought out another violin for a visitor and we played Amazing Grace. And then….(OMG, MfP comes to life!) I picked up the fiddle and … off we went again. Of course, I couldn’t play all the tunes, but I could improvise and make it sound like a tune! Traded the fiddle in for Bill’s guitar… and off we went again. (note to self… start playing fiddle!)

But it continues..in a different vein.

  • I taught a 10-year old girl, who is thinking about voice and piano, how to play on the black notes, with both hands and all fingers—and I played with her. Then I taught her how to play Hot Cross Buns in ‘Cat’… she sang as she played and I added the bass lines for her. All in about 8 minutes.

There you go! Your first lesson!

And it was free! she said.

  • I showed a woman that she is not tone-deaf;

You just proved that you have the capacity to sing in tune! All you need is lots of experience. You are NOT tone-deaf. You can sing.

That must made my night, she said.

In two hours… all of this.

WOW… lucky am I!!!