I met with a recent college graduate, Beau, a wide-eyed spirited young man who was seeking advice from me (given my work in entertainment) about becoming an actor. He had been acting and directing videos in college. Even though I warned him about the overwhelming obstacles in becoming a professional actor, Beau didn’t seem discouraged by it. He answered calmly, “I can’t see myself doing anything else,” confident that acting was his destiny. At that moment, I realized that Beau had the courage to embrace his passion, so I encouraged him to pursue acting with 200% effort and energy.
The core of our happiness lies in fulfilling our life’s purpose, and our purpose is realized when we find our passion. For Beau, he was very fortunate to have found it at an early age, but for many of us, we discover it later on in life (like I did, for which I am enormously grateful), and for even more of us, we never find it, which is our saddest story. Our life’s purpose is stamped in our DNA, so we already know it in our hearts at a very early age, but our biggest challenge is to discover it. I recall in college I was always attracted to courses in arts and humanities: art history, studio art, Asian Studies, and Asian language, and I steered away clear of math and science. Even though I always worked in the creative fields — museums, art galleries, poetry organization, and entertainment — and my DNA told me to nurture my creative talents, I didn’t channel it in the right way because I didn’t realize my true purpose in life. Once I was able to know that missing part, I was able to feel my own drum beat and place myself on the right path.
From a very early age, we all have that inkling sensation or gut feeling that something interests us and others things don’t, but we may not know quite how to channel it, so we become passive and just put it aside, never exploring what could have changed our entire life. For people who are at the pinnacles of success, such as Oprah or Steve Jobs, you will always find one common denominator regardless of their myriad differences: passion and a deep sense of fulfilling their purpose. Their strong purpose is what catapulted their success because their work transcended beyond themselves, connecting to a higher energy and life force. In only such moments, when we can be in touch with our spirituality, that we can truly do great things and realize our full potential. I spoke with my friend Ruchi, a wonderful aspiring entrepreneur, who asked for advice, agonizing about whether she should abandon her start-up company due to overwhelming obstacles, and I advised her to make her decision based on whether she was fulfilling her purpose, not based on obstacles, because obstacles would always exist no matter what company she started. She had an “aha” moment. When you realize your purpose, obstacles will turn into opportunities, frustration will turn into exhilaration, and despair into peace. You will feel and experience the limitless possibilities of your life.
So when we have those little voices that speak to us inside, it is such moments when we must listen carefully and feel the right vibration. Perhaps the answer may not come right away, but if we continue to listen and find creative ways to explore it, the answer will come. For example, you may love animals and always want to be around them, so what do you do with this? Do you just ignore it or do you cogitate and figure out a course of action that would help you to explore it. Perhaps an internship at a veterinarian office or volunteering at an animal shelter would help in deciding the right course. How about speaking with some people in the field to help you better understand it. You can take small steps, so you do not have to drastically commit right away, especially if you are a conservative person. Once you are confident, then you can take bold action. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason, so it is in the listening carefully to our heart, and then taking the appropriate course of action, that we will be on the right calling path.
When we find our purpose, we realize our greatest human potential, become more than who we are, and, most importantly, connect to a spiritual force greater than ourselves, which is when we find true fulfillment and what we call “happiness.” And the struggle to climb that uphill mountain will feel more like effortless downhill gliding. So find your passion to fulfill your purpose, and your life will just make sense.
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living