Book Excerpt from Nothing is Impossible
By Tom Oliver, Enlightened Business Summit Co-Host
“The guy looked at me. I could see the desperation in his eyes. We were gathered with about 30 students at a reception after one of my talks at the Manchester Business School. He said, “Tom, how do I find out what I really want? How do I know what I’m truly passionate about?”
Let’s rewind to another scene a few years earlier.
I was having dinner with the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho at the Cannes Film Festival. Paulo has sold more than 100 million books, including The Alchemist, one of the 20 bestselling books of all time. He leaned over and said, “Tom, we as artists are passionate by nature. We fall in love every day!”
Artists Are Passionate by Nature
It’s easy for artists to be passionate—that’s our job. We fall in love with life, again and again and again.
A photographer falls in love with the way the light of the warm Tuscan sun is creating shades on a basket as it shines through the lattice windows in the old barn.
A musician falls in love with the sound of a rainstick as he is standing in the middle of a store in Paris. Swinging it from ear to ear and closing his eyes, he is fully immersed in the sound, as if warm summer rain were falling on his skin. People stop and stare, wondering what could be so exciting about a rainstick. To him, it’s paradise!
A painter falls in love with the magical light in the South of France. It’s calling him to take the canvas down into the garden and put heavy acrylic paint on it.
Writers fall in love with writing instruments, from simple pens to Montblanc masterpieces. I can’t get enough of the sound of a ballpoint pen as words begin to form on paper with ease.
I recall that when I was a child, I longed for the moment when I would go to my father’s office on the weekends and sit in front of the typewriter. When my fingers pressed down on the keys to create words, poems, and stories, it would send chills down my spine. It was a magical act!
Don’t Use Your Intellect as a Stop Sign
It’s amazing that the most important questions and answers are never taught in school. Instead, we are distracted, as by a magic trick, from the things that matter most. We waste many years of our lives chasing somebody else’s dream or barking up the wrong tree.
Perhaps the biggest question of all is the one the guy at Manchester Business School asked me: “What is it that I really want? What am I truly passionate about?”
We have been taught, schooled, and trained not to go for what we want, but we admire the people who do! In fact, 99.9 percent of all the people I’ve ever met seem to have a problem with this.
People from all walks of life ask me again and again where I get my seemingly never-ending energy from. The answer is simple: I’m obsessively passionate about life. This has a great upside: it makes it easier for me to help those who have a hard time figuring out what it is that excites them the most.
Let Your Spontaneity Guide You
We have been conditioned to believe that we cannot trust our own intuition, our most natural leanings, or the things that we gravitate toward most easily. This is based on a deep distrust of ourselves and our nature.
But we are born with the opposite: a deep natural trust in ourselves and the life and energy that is within us. Kids naturally gravitate toward what they love most. In the end, it’s the easiest thing to do. Our most natural inclinations point the way for us.
As adults, we are afraid of what we might find if we ask the most important question of all. What might happen once we realize how much time we’ve wasted chasing the wrong dream? We are too afraid that we won’t be able to reach our goals. As Paulo puts it, there are two main reasons why people don’t reach their goals and accomplish their wildest dreams: distraction and a fear of failure.
One of the most important assets and tools that we have available when it comes to finding our own answers and our deepest passions is our spontaneity.
Unfortunately, this is also one of the most underrated, misunderstood, and distrusted elements in our society. We live in a world of collective ignorance that is only slowly waking up to a new level of consciousness. This is why we fear that spontaneity will create more problems than it solves. We distrust it. We think it leads to chaos. We use our intellect as a stop sign rather than letting it shout, “Go!” when we are being truly spontaneous.
But it is exactly that spontaneity that leads us to our own answers, to our own inner and deepest knowing, and to our life’s passion. Our inner being speaks through our spontaneity. It automatically points to the solution of our problems and our challenges and to our greatest passions.
So, in essence, the answer lies in simplicity itself.
Spontaneity automatically leads to the most fulfilled reality we can experience. It promotes wealth, health, and happiness, and it leads to a natural order in our life, not chaos. This includes putting our passion first.
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This article appears in:
2013 Catalyst - Issue 17