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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
I for one genuinely envy and admire those who do what they love for a living.
Because when it comes to work, engaging, meaningful, and hugely rewarding work, these folks have got it down pat.
No nine-to-five grind here.
No Monday morning blues or same-shit-different-day disposition.
This is sweat and slog at its absolute finest.
This is a labor of love.
Of course the cruel reality is we can’t all do what we enjoy for a living.
We can’t all earn a living doing what we love.
But what I believe we can do, if so inclined, is learn a thing or two from those who do.
What we can do, is rip a few pages from their playbook.
Or better yet, simply watch ‘em at work.
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
So, I realize this may be easier said than done, but the next time you’re sittin’ back watching your favorite ‘old-pro’ at work, if at all possible try and ignore the obvious.
In other words, ignore for a moment the top-notch talent and prolific technique.
Disregard the mind-blowing skill and acumen.
Look beyond the lightning quick hands and fanciful footwork, the sharp wit and seasoned self-assurance, and instead, look deeper, because it’s here that you’ll see it.
It’s here that you’ll see the inborn desire and can do attitude, the untiring fight and laser-like focus.
It’s here that you’ll see the spark in their eyes, the fire in their belly, and the insatiable hunger in their heart.
It’s here, and only here, that you’ll get an up close and personal peek at the true-blue motivation behind doing what they do.
Just look and you’ll see it.
Then, have a look in the mirror.
Seriously. Take a long hard look.
Do you see these same qualities?
No no, none of this “yeah…but,” crap.
Yes or no?
Do you see ‘em?
Any of ‘em?
Well then congratulations, because regardless of much or how little time you might have, you my friend have everything you need to give it all you’ve got.
JOINING THE RANKS OF FULL-TIME PART TIMER
Despite any lame preconceptions the thrill of victory is not reserved exclusively for those who do what they do for a living, just as the rewards of a rich and satisfying life are not merely for someone who happens to be in the fortuitous position to pursue his or her hopes and dreams full-time.
Truth is triumph awaits anyone who in their spare time is willing to make a full-time commitment.
John Erskine learned one of the most valuable lessons of his life when he was only fourteen years old.
After a short string of lessons his piano teacher asked him, “How many times a week do you practice, and how long do you practice each time?”
Young John told her he tried to practice once daily, for an hour or more.
“Don’t do that,” she responded.
“When you get older time won’t come in long stretches, practice in minutes, whenever you can find them, ten or fifteen before school, after lunch, and between chores.”
“Spread your practice throughout the day and music will become part of your life.”
And so it did, as John went on to become a concert pianist with the New York Philharmonic, as well as, director of the Metropolitan Opera Association.
J.K. Rowling, you’ve heard of her, right?
Of course you have, but did you know that after fully forming the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry while on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London this full-time mom/part time writer went on to pen much of the manuscript for her breakthrough novel during the most strenuous chapter of her life?
After losing her mother to multiple sclerosis, and as a newly single mother struggling to support her daughter after the breakup of her marriage, Rowling remained doggedly determined to realize her dream of becoming a published novelist.
It was 1994, and whether at the park, a local café, or commuting on the bus through the streets of her hometown in Edinburgh, whenever baby Jessica fell asleep Rowling would seize the short-lived moments of peace to feverishly scribble out Tales of Harry Potter.
Once again rock-solid testimony that it isn’t how much time you have, it’s what you choose to do with it.
SPARE TIME? SPARE ME.
I hear you. I really do.
And you’re absolutely right.
So, let me rephrase that.
Why? Because spare by definition means extra or additional, as in spare tire or spare change.
But spare time, c’mon, we all know better, right?
At any rate, what I actually mean is opportune.
Because y’see, those sprinkled minutes of practice that eventually propelled John Erskine onto a path of personal prominence were anything but spare minutes.
Those sporadic moments of slumber that allowed Jessica’s mother to scratch out a few words each day and as a result transform their lives forever were not extra or additional moments.
They were opportune minutes.
They were opportune moments.
And if you and I honestly hope to someday realize our own innermost ambitions, then we too must learn to seize these invaluable opportunities.
The reality remains, not all of us will have the good fortune of doing what we love for a living.
In the end, however, be it full-time, part-time, profession or pastime; be it in good times or in bad, we’re all fortunate enough to be blessed with the ability to make our day to day lives as meaningful as possible by making the very best of the time we have.
“This time, like all times,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Is a good one…if we know but what to do with it.”
See ya June 1st, till then, keeep it up.