in #life5 years ago

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.

Paul Gauguin 062.jpg
Von Paul Gauguin 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei, distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Gemeinfrei, Link

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,

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.

What about you?


As I read this it's seven thirty in the morning, I hold my son on my lap while he does the dance of waking up, one that started half an hour ago, and involves a lot of carrying and rocking to and fro. I'm at the computer because I've been taken out of bed too early and I need something to keep me busy or else I'll want to go back to bed. So I take the chance to check my emails, download the next batch of documents I have in store for translation and maybe, if my hands are free, do some little reviewing of whatever it is that I have written recently.

This is what my day looks like for the most part: I work while playing to my son while talking to my husband while minding a sick cat while enertaining family or friends at home while sweeping and listening to music, because it's all part of the same dance, which you have so joyfully described.

Success is this for me: I see my son growing in front of my eyes every second of the day, I have one endless ongoing conversation with my husband throughout the dat about everything and nothing, I receive visitors and give them coffee and cookies if I can afford them that week, I make my living at home and decide on my own schedule, and yet my family and I lack nothing.

I wish more and more people understood that they are their own bosses, whether or not they work freelance.

Great piece Erika :)

Thank you very much. I can envision myself in your living space and eating a cookie and let this life pass through me. Having a young child is very time consuming. I can very well remember those waking hours and doing things which I felt were boring to me as I had to let go of my usual routines. It impresses me that you seem to be able to combine all those things.

Seeing children grow up is a fascinating matter. My son is 14 and becomes more of a stranger to me now. On the other hand, there is this familiarity which cannot be reached with other humans. How old is your son?

Yes, being and feeling that one is ones own boss is priceless. From what I think this is easy with enough money in the bank and security in the back. It's not easy when circumstances are neither safe nor easy. But then the quality of independence comes to full fruition, doesn't it? Only, when the fine line between being independent touches what is called poverty on the brink of starvation and other life threats this inner independence gets destroyed very often.

I wish you good waking hours.

I'd love to have you over for coffee (my specialty). My boy turned two in November, he spends most of the day either playing with cars or playing in the car or pointing at cars in the street.

Independence is a tricky concept. No one really is, like Americans say, an island upon himself. Humans thrived because we could depend on each other. I'd like to see that trust in fellow humans grow again. Maybe where you are from this is not a problem, but here in the town where I live you cannot plant flowers on the front of your house because they will be stolen over night. We do depend on each other to be whole. I think one can speak of independence when ideas and decisions are implied. Maybe this is the concept of being an adult?

I fully acknowledge that we all are dependent on each other. This actually is mental independence as it realizes this matter of fact. Once you know things depend on each other, you can reach inner freedom. As it breaks the illusion of having to carry life all on ones own shoulders. If one thinks that he on one side must control others constantly and on the other side that he doesn't want to owe anything to anyone, this creates the biggest mental chains as the efforts in this field of tension are way too big.

To let go of control and still care speaks of the trust you mentioned.

Ha, from here so far I can perceive your good mood. I believe that if you yourself believe you are successful, if you really believe it (which I would not doubt), then you have it. To paraphrase what they say over there; successful is not the one that has more, but the one that needs less. Of course, it might seem like motivational trash, but it's not like that, the rich, the famous, and the others, seek to find in riches and money, simply what we can all have; noble feelings if we follow our heart; virtuous qualities if we follow our brain. The rest is simple artifice.

I like this paraphrasing expression.

It's only motivational trash if one uses it in a trashy and self betraying way. I told myself a lot of nonsense in the course of my life. Of many of those talks I got aware of and they make me smile at the former silly me. Trying to follow my heart and use my brain.

Thanks for this cheering comment!

Louis Pasteur would agree with your headline. He said something to the effect that he achieved because he worked hard, not because he was brilliant. And he chose a field for which he had a passion.

Stuff. Owning some stuff is good. I like heat, food and medical care. But owning lots of stuff is a burdern--obviously, I'm not the first to say that. But I do find this is true. Not only must we dedicate hours of our lives to acquiring stuff, but when we have it, we have to spend hours taking care of it!

Your work process sounds very much like that of a writer. There is no 'off' switch. And if someone chooses to earn a living as a writer---that is risky indeed.

This is why we need the occasional collage--or origami project. We stop and enjoy our moments, instead of having them eaten away by obligation.

I totally agree with you about the "stuff".

The funny thing is that people often think of themselves as lazy and undisciplined, even though they have already done far more than they should in fulfilling their duties. Such overcompensation is difficult to evaluate from one's own point of view. I think we know that this is done by having too little sense of self-esteem. Therefore the confirmation must come again and again from the outside world, like a drug which is constantly to be repeated, which flows through the blood circulation and wants to be renewed again until the weakening.

The one who takes the liberty of being less concerned about what others think of him often generates envy and disfavour. On the other hand, however, the effect weakens if there is no evil will or defiance behind it (hidden agenda).

The inner urge for expression and the constant search for possibilities of expression and the use of ( mental ) material: yes, that may be the behaviour of a writer. I haven't thought about it that way yet.

Thank you for the link. I started to read it with interest.

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Erika, you live a beautiful life and I can relate very much as I choose to live mine similarly. Yes, I am passionate about my personal research and reading and writing and continually attempting to grow my spirit and better understand myself and others. I think this is the true work, the reason for being here, to develop our spirit and our soul understanding. Like you too, I am careful about what I consume and allow into my life and how what we consume in knowledge can either uplift us or tear us down. We are masters of our only life and so why live it for the approval of others? In this way we become leaders for others who hope to find self. XO