It's easy to pursue anything as long as it comes easily to you. But if your dreams come with suffering, then you'd much rather dream about something else. If you're not willing to suffer for your dreams, then they aren't dreams worth chasing.
Previously, I wrote an article about the meaning of passion. The word "passion" originally had nothing to do with what you're excited about. Passion dealt with suffering. If you've grown up in church, you may have heard of the term, "the passion of Christ." In fact, Mel Gibson made a movie many years ago about the suffering of Jesus called "The Passion." The movie had nothing to do with warm and fuzzy feelings. It had lots of violence and blood! Passion, in this case, meant "suffering."
So, if you are "passionate" about something, then you should be willing to suffer for it. Otherwise, it's not really passion: it's just an interest.
Many people want to lose weight, get in shape, and improve their health. But when they see that there is some suffering involved (ex: doing exercises and changing bad habits), then they quickly fall away. It's more comfortable to just live however way you want to than to change your life for the better. Losing weight in this case is not a passion, but an interest.
Many people want to stop going to the doctor. They want to stop taking so many medications. They want to stop being sick all the time. But when they see how much suffering they have to do to get better, then being sick doesn't seem so bad. Getting better in this case is not a passion, but an interest.
Many people want to achieve this, achieve that, go here, go there, be this, be that, etc., etc. But once they find out how much they have to suffer for it, then they start to change their minds. They decided that settling is much less painful than pursuing a dream.
When I was still a physical education teacher, I asked a group of high school students about their career goals. After they told me their dream careers, I asked them how would they feel if they couldn't work in those fields. Most of them didn't seem bothered if they couldn't go into their "dream field." But after prodding a little deeper, I started to find out what some of them were truly passionate about. One girl who wanted to be a dentist told me that it would devastate her if she couldn't practice her music anymore. But if she couldn't be a dentist, she didn't seem to care.
One boy wanted to go into the military. I asked what if he couldn't do it. He kept listing different things that he could do in the military and eventually said, "There has to be something that I could do in the military." Even if he couldn't be a soldier, he wanted to be something in the military. I think he found what he was willing to suffer for.
When you get lost thinking about what to do with your life, just ask yourself what you're willing to suffer for. Most likely, that would be one of your life's callings.
Having a flexible schedule when I could take off work any time I want to and spend as much time with the kids as possible is what I am willing to suffer for. Financially speaking, I had definitely suffered! I suffered through the humiliation of asking my mother and my church for money. I suffered through not being able to pay my bills and getting sued by one of my creditors. My relationship with my father was tensed for a time, because he co-signed for one of my student loans and I couldn't pay those loans. The creditors were stressing him out and he felt as if I betrayed him. I suffered through the humiliation of putting only a few dollars of gas in my car hoping that it would get us through another couple of days. I suffered through simply being stressed and depressed because the savings were nearly depleted.
Thank the good Lord that all of that is behind me. I could have changed all of that by finding a full-time job (or several part-time jobs), having my wife go to work full-time, and throwing my kids in public school. We could have had everything that everybody else had. But because time with family was absolutely important, I was willing to suffer for it EVEN at the expense of somebody else. If North Carolina were to say that I couldn't homeschool my children anymore, I'd drop everything and move to another state -- something I would dread doing, but I would do it for my children.
So, what are YOU willing to suffer for? It's easy to have interests. But if those interests were in jeopardy, would you simply let them go or would you fight for them to the point of suffering?
If you came to me asking how to permanently take away your neck pain, what would you hope that I say? Take a certain herb or an essential oil? Maybe acupuncture? Maybe a massage? You'd hope that I give an easy solution, something that's quick and simple to do. What if I told you that you had to do neck exercises that would be quite painful to start with, but would gradually improve your neck pain? Would you be willing to do it or would you eventually opt for surgery -- which is very easy to do?
You could tell where a person stands by what he or she is willing to suffer for. What you SAY is nowhere nearly as important as what you are willing to GO THROUGH. If you are willing to make big sacrifices in your life, make significant changes in your schedule, and start doing things very differently, then you would know what you'd be willing to suffer for. But if you could easily get distracted from a goal, then it's probably something that you won't suffer for and you should probably stop pursuing that goal.
On a sheet of paper, write out all the things that you believe are important to you (not including your family). Then ask yourself which of those things would you suffer for. Cross off EVERYTHING that you won't suffer for. One of two things would happen: 1) you'd cross off everything from that list or (the more likely option) 2) everything would be crossed off but one, two, or three things. Whatever those things are should be the things you need to direct your energy to.
So, if you have a goal that you're not willing to suffer for, does this mean that you shouldn't pursue it? No, but it means that you don't need to pursue it now. You could pursue it when it's convenient to do so. Since you're not willing to suffer for it, then it's simply an interest, not a passion. Your passions (what you're willing to suffer for) takes the highest priorities. Everything else that you're just interested in takes the lowest priorities.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.