Passion plus hard work equals success.
What do you think when you read this formula?
In my mind's eye an image of 70+ hour weeks is formed, of getting up early in the morning and working into the late evening, of ceaseless efforts to make my work accessible to as many people as possible, of discipline and self-organization, of decisions that involve a risk, of little time for private interests and neglect of family and friends etc. etc. etc...
But then I think: Wait a minute.
artwork above: that could very well be me. Passionately enjoying leisure time.
If I really thought that something like this was successful, wouldn't I live by it?
And at first I thought: I live completely differently! But when I do my analysis, the following opens up for me:
My official gainful employment is at most 17 hours a week on average. These are the billed fee hours that I charge my clients.
I don't produce anything, so I work in the service sector. I do social counselling.
My hours that cannot be credited - what is commonly called "free time", but I find this expression highly inappropriate for my concept of life - take place at home. I inform myself, read and write about the human relationship issues I encounter in my life (professional and private). This time spent with literature, internet research, books and films is for me a refreshment, extension and perfection of my knowledge. The people I meet not only want to know about the formal conditions, but also about relationships and how they can move in the environment of their fellow human beings. Almost everything is determined by relationship, by the way. As long as we live and work with people, relationship is always an issue.
I dug ever deeper and deeper into the available information, so that my pool of knowledge and researched impressions has become quite extensive and I seek to supplement and fertilize this with professional practical experience. In the evening I spend time watching series or occasionally a film. But even the series I enjoy I watch against the background of my profession. All the time I observe, analyze and interpret what I consume for the reason of being able to use it as an example for my work, as an idea for a possible future, etc. Everything is or could be an example and useful for my work.
I can't separate this private life from the professional hours and I don't even see any sense in it. So until late: no problem, nine or half past nine in the evening - fingers tap the keyboard, various websites loaded, translation program opened.
I can easily reach 70 hours a week.
This behaviour led to some of my book and film material being classified as unsuitable and I have become much more selective about which sources should enter my mind and from which I reject it.
So getting up early.
Well, that somehow goes without saying. It is no trouble at all to get up early. I like to get up! As soon as I wake up in bed, the spirit gets going. I really like the morning routine. It is the most beautiful time of the day for me. I have time to be creative, to write something, to set it to sound, to read and research.
Afterwards I keep my appointments. Here I meet with my clients or give open consultation hours in the social institutions.
I have met well over two thousand individuals since this career choice. At first I was insecure and afraid of the new. I went to my former lecturers and exchanged ideas with my classmates in good time. But the clients were the ones who taught me the most. Writing about the work and the topics that came to writing and form in my private databases: countless documents on the hard drive.
Had I ever thought about discipline and self-organization?
This was inevitably due to the structure of the scheduling, the active working hours and the nature of the work itself. I didn't have to discipline myself for this activity, the discipline came to me all by its own. Discipline had always been something like deliberate cruelty to me. Something you had to teach to naughty students and lame workers who didn't really get going on the job. But in this freelance profession, it's completely superfluous to whip it in such a way. That's why I now understand discipline to be something else, something more professional.
What about risky decisions?
I had to make those too. Every time I am ill or want to go on holiday, I have to accept my loss of earnings. At the beginning I had no chance on the job market. My previous education was not academic, I was a PR consultant working in the private sector. To get a paid position in the socio-educational sector: Nearly impossible. Nevertheless, I did this further training. I really wanted to. The most difficult part was the beginning. I started with ridiculous three hours a week.
Then I wanted a place in one of my preferred institutions. There they created one especially for me, after I spoke penetratingly to the boss.
There were seven hours.
And so it went on.
My biggest success, however, is that I manage with very little money and am extremely satisfied with it.
I am very happy to take care of my own affairs as far as my private relationships are concerned. I live a modern life in which I (have to) make do with a lot of individuality. Social work is a good contrast to this luxurious lifestyle.
There is a man and a son. I raise the latter, as they say, "alone". But it's not quite true. Only here at home, I raise him alone.
Would I say that I work "hard"?
Somehow no... But then I do. It depends on the definition and interpretation. If by "hard" you mean "working a lot", i.e. spending a lot of hours working on your knowledge, intuition and interest in working with clients and colleagues, then I work super hard!
But if by "hard" you mean to be hard to yourself, to be ungracious, impatient, overzealous, pushing, or to be hard to others, then I would say: No, I work rather "soft". I like to be gracious with myself, try not to make myself small, want to feel comfortable with myself. The way I was raised and some imprints made it hard to believe that self-love creating is one of the hardest things ever.
Maybe you've already heard that you're someone who's "doing too well".
Who would be too well off, even though he should be badly off? Because you do not represent anything special anymore. It doesn't matter whether you're dressing out of fashion, whether you don't care about most of what's generally advertised (but be sure there's still enough left).
Von Paul Gauguin - The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Gemeinfrei, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=151331
I think: As long as I still get to hear such comments, I still seem to be trying too hard to please or to differentiate myself by trying to differentiate myself. Only when it's no longer important to me will such sentences perhaps no longer be said.
Today I hear the sentences differently than usual.
If I say: " I don't care", then this is a light-footed sentence. Before, it was accompanied by a certain stubbornness, even by a mental stinky finger.
But I found out: The less I care, the more caring I become.
I speak more often to myself and I smile along with me when I realize that I got mad about something. Then I have a little private chat with me.
Many times I forget that I can do that. Old pattern, old habit. But this shall pass, too.
I don't know if my friends and family do find me neglecting them.
I think I don't as I hold them dear to my heart. All of them. That does not mean I am always in agreement or aligned with them. In fact, I got more distanced (and, as a result, closer) and less nosy to hear their dramas or losses or injuries. For some this is more painful than to others. I do not find myself being on duty in the sense of "must be". This only becomes bigger when I lose trust in the abilities of them. That happens.
Shit happens. True.
Does this sound like passion?
Maybe not. I am eager when it comes to focus on my interests, the work I do with clients. It makes me happy to do that. Even when I have a hard time with them. They teach me that they are not there to please me. But challenge me. So, conflicts, anger and disappointment, doubt and impatience can be used as a welcoming chance to do some magic on them. How good it is when it turns out that I can withdraw from my diva attitude "people, please me!"
That is why I find the headline correct in a way.
Passion plus hard work equals success.
But I bet everyone understands it very differently.