I just watched an interesting Ted-x Talk, Larry Smith on Why you will fail to have a great career. I’m not sure how I feel about what I just saw, I feel conflicted. It seems as though he was presenting the idea that passion for one thing excludes everything else. That you need to choose between having a career or being a great parent and human relationships, that you can either have accomplishments or relationships.
I think that idea makes me profoundly uncomfortable. In fact, I am pretty sure that I think that he is wrong. Why is it that we are only allowed to be passionate about one thing. We can either choose this or that, why can’t we embrace the complexity of life.
In fact, writing this now, I think that he has definitely gotten me thinking, but I think he is wrong. Perhaps we have one main passion, but what I have noticed in my self and in some others, is that by becoming passionate about one thing I become more interested in other things…perhaps I gain this interest in order to see how it can enhance my passion. But I think we are far more expansive and we are big enough to be able to have many passions…and perhaps we are able to grow with them and put some on the back burner. For now, my main passion is parenting.
It is interesting to take a moment to look at the definition of the word passion. According to Wikipedia, passion:
Passion (from the Latin verb patere meaning to suffer) is a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something.
Passion originates from the word suffering implying a tumultuous and difficult journey. It also implies that passion has control over us, and not us over it. I can understand using passion as a driving force but I think I am at heart a believer that we are made for more than just one thing.
I remembered that Matt Mullenweg (the co-creator of WordPress) had a very apt quote on his blog explaining that a person should be competent in multiple fields but I was unable to find the quote, but I came across this one instead:
Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.
And I think that is something to aspire to in the future. At the moment, I am a full time mom. And boy, it is the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done. So for now, I guess I need to just figure out what is my overall general goal, and see how I can fit that in it to the shape of my life at the moment.
Love and confusion,
UPDATE: Hugh MacLeod wrote an interesting post about this exact same video. And he says:
Yes, raising a family and having a career makes both pursuits more difficult, and yes, there will be compromises – nobody is perfect.
But at what point do we start using family as a convenient excuse, a socially acceptable way to cover our own fears?
Most importantly: are we taking away our kids’ chance to dream big, when we set the wrong example?
Which got me thinking again. As time goes on I want Lucas to see me following more pursuits than just momming, but for now I think momming is a very full time job and it is okay to be looking at having help with the momming in order to engage in a career.