“You’re good for nothing! You’ll be back in three weeks!” Words of a father spoken to his son, a young man as he was leaving home to embark on his passion to work in a kitchen. A month later, the chef for whom he went to work told him, “You’re good for nothing! Go back home to your mother!” He fired the young man.
We’ve all heard similar phrases and perhaps unfortunately maybe we’ve even used them ourselves to our children, our coworkers, our friends or our family:
- You CAN’T do that!
- You’re not smart enough!
- You’re not pretty enough!
- You’re too fat!
- You’re too skinny!
- Only rich people get to do that!
- It’s WHO you know that lets you do ANYTHING in life!
The first time a child hears one of these phrases or 100’s of others like them begins for many a lifetime of programming for failure, for defeat, for complacency. Whether uttered by parents, siblings, friends, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, this negative programming can begin to dominate our thinking, how we see ourselves, how we believe other people see us. Playing over and over again in our heads, it begins to drive our decisions, our actions, our relationships, our lives….
That young boy doesn’t pursue the career of becoming a chef because he’s told he’s not good enough, boys don’t belong in the kitchen and you can’t make money flipping hamburgers. He’s told it takes money to make money and where is he going to get the money for culinary school, for a restaurant, for staff.
But, you see, for the person with the dream, tragically and all too often they will succumb to all this programming, become discouraged, give up on their dreams and accept something less than they really want for themselves. It takes away what they love to do, what they most care about becoming.
You see, what we’re talking about here is PASSION! Oprah Winfrey said, “Your true passion should feel like breathing; it’s that natural.”
Passion is something that should be a constant in our lives, children and adults. Think about the beauty and innocence of the child as they discover the world for the first time! EVERYTHING is new, EVERYTHING is exciting.
But sadly, as we grow up, our lives become routine, stagnant and monotonous. We gave up on our dreams years ago because we were programmed into believing we give up what we love doing to have a family, because we have a job with a lot of responsibility or long hours, because it’s irresponsible and selfish to think about what we really dream of doing in life when we have other people to think about. Sounds a little like the messages we were talking about earlier? Same junk in a slightly more grown up wrapper.
Remember, the little boy we talked about in the beginning? Can you imagine facing your father after that? His father basically told him he was a failure; the chef repeated it and he even got fired.
That night, he wanted to jump in the river and wanted to kill himself. He stood on the bridge for an hour and he wanted to jump because he couldn’t face going back home. But suddenly, he had a thought and he decided, “You know, I’m just going to go back tomorrow and see what happens.” The hotel’s owner took pity on him and sent him to work at a different hotel in the same city.
You see, his dogged determination and passion for what he loved ultimately paid off. Today, he’s a celebrity chef sitting atop a $350 million culinary empire that includes upscale and casual restaurants, prepared foods, cookbooks, television programs and housewares. You know him as Wolfgang Puck.
He didn’t give up on his passion. He refused to walk away from his dreams. He didn’t forego having a family. He didn’t become an irresponsible or selfish individual. Quite the contrary, he has created tens of thousands of jobs that not only allows those employees to support themselves and their families, but to pursue dreams of their own.
Wolfgang had undying courage to pursue the life he chose. Joyce Meyer, in her book I Dare You: Embrace Life with Passion, said “Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway.”
You can pursue the dreams of your childhood and still have all the things that life has to offer! In fact, they’ll be phenomenally better because you’ll rush every day with excitement, with joy and with PASSION!