Tuesday, March 13, 2007

a quick way to find yourself

Oprah Winfrey has increasingly introduced practical spirituality to her audience.

a trend i definitely welcome.

i remember 5 years ago, before i moved to New York, still living in Manila,
i chanced upon an Oprah episode.

an audience member asked her: (to paraphrase)
Oprah, you keep on telling us to go for our dreams.
But what if you do not know what your dreams are?

good question.
i am sure it is a question that plagues a majority of humanity right now.
after all, when surviving financially is enough of a burden, one cannot practically waste his or her time with abstract matters such as finding oneself.

Oprah said something to the effect of:
go to a bookstore.
whichever aisle or book/magazine category you find yourself drawn to,
chances are it is a reflection of your passion.
a key to unlocking where your dreams lie.

so, if you find yourself getting drawn to magazines about fishing,
maybe you need to be a fisherman, pursue hobbies about fishing, be a marine biologist or a fish entrepreneur that gives lessons about fishing.

so, after the Oprah episode, i started thinking about the aisles that consistently caught my attention.
these were:

interior design
creative window displays of retail stores
biographies of successful businessmen
biographies of successful creative types
product design
books about creativity in the business world
clever and creative advertising

i was a film major
and was working for a major TV station back then
take note that film was not one of the aisles listed above that drew me in

10 years from that Oprah moment,
i now call myself a Creative Entrepreneur,
creating businesses around my creative ideas

not finding a career out there in the world that fit me
i decided to simply invent one

i've struggled with this Film vs Design career for so long
and wasted so much time in my life procrastinating and weighing the pros and cons of each
instead of just being real with myself and follow what the bookstore aisles were gently telling me

you see, passion cannot be faked
you cannot force yourself to like something
you cannot manufacture enthusiasm
either you are joyful doing something or you are not
the day that you stop enjoying something, then it starts becoming a Job
instead of a Calling

by the way...
issues do not end when you start anew in a faraway country
people go to new lands for a fresh start
but rarely do they mark the end of questions that beg to be confronted and answered
to arrive at this path of Creative Entrepreneurship,
i had to go through the same questions in Manila here in New York

so i studied briefly at New York University, the aspirational NYU.
a certificate course training one to become a media executive in the film/tv industry
excelled at it
got an A as a final grade
was bored the whole time

studied briefly at the Fashion Institute of Technology, popularly called FIT.
loved every moment of it.
i was in line during the application process.
behind me was a girl wearing her funeral-inspired outfit.
and knew back then that i was home.

the things we are passionate about can change
or maybe the things we used to be passionate about (in my case, film) are parts of a bigger whole, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle called our Calling in Life, our Life Purpose, or the Real Job that we are meant to do on this earth.
or maybe, we are composed of different passions (which is an equally difficult dilemma) that, when properly mixed together and understood, point you to a new occupational genre.

this last premise was my dilemma.
i still possessed my passion for watching films, but realized later on, that i hated making them.
i loved fashion, but hated sewing.
i loved entrepreneurship books and for a time, confused me if i need to be a Wall Street stock broker.

what i did right was take my passions seriously by testing the waters of each
only then did i discover which specific aspects of each passion were relevant

and more importantly:
i realized that life is NOT an Either-Or question.

you can be many things
you can love many things
you do not need to choose if you genuinely like everything

i understand that Focus in life is hailed as the main ingredient to be successful
i would say Yes, but not always
for others, it is easy because they are genuinely passionate about only One thing
some are blessed with only one specific talent, and they are aware of it, and they pursue that path successfully

but what if a person is as complexly layered as i am
blessed with different aptitudes

i am good with science
i am good with math except geometry
i am good with the arts

so i was forced to become logical with my search for Myself,
(a search that i've always taken seriously by the way)
and realized i needed a different approach
applicable to those with authentically varied interests and talents

like any good researcher, i checked what was already written about the subject
browsing through both the Self-Help and New Age aisles

there were exercises that asked me to write down all my talents on one column
followed by a list of possible manifestations of those talents as careers (like the example i gave above re love for fishing as translatable to a fisherman, a fish entrepreneur, a biologist, etc.)
then, a final column listing the things you wish to spiritually advocate, the positive change you want to impart to society, etc. (such as to eradicate poverty, save the fish, etc.)

several self-help books later re finding one's purpose,
i finally arrived at Creative Entrepreneurship.

i now realize that my previous media background was not a complete waste
i am grateful for my film degree for opening the door to the Path of Creativity
i owe my sense of drama and beauty from emotionally-brilliant film scenes

ultimately, my film experience unearthed the Poet in me
and to be on the Path of Creativity, one must embrace the heart of a Poet
and admit that you have something substantial to say, that is both beautiful and transcending

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