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About Me

Finding Your Passion is a myth.

Maybe you’re one of those people who can’t find Your Passion. You’ve been led to believe your life will be great once you do. You don’t know how to find Your Passion and you feel like a failure.

I’ve never found My Passion. That surprises people. I’ve never found one thing I could focus on that’s made my life complete.

I’ve decided that looking for Your Passion is a bad idea.

I understand why people believe they have to do it though. I’m a pretty passionate guy. Passion can take you a long way.

Still, I’ve never been able to say what My Passion is. It’s always been a moving target.

Baseball infielder laying out for a line drive

Finding Your Passion is a myth.

Maybe you’re one of those people who can’t find Your Passion. You’ve been led to believe your life will be great once you do. You don’t know how to find Your Passion and you feel like a failure.

I’ve never found My Passion. That surprises people. I’ve never found one thing I could focus on that’s made my life complete.

I’ve decided that looking for Your Passion is a bad idea.

I understand why people believe they have to do it though. I’m a pretty passionate guy. Passion can take you a long way.

Still, I’ve never been able to say what My Passion is. It’s always been a moving target.

Since I liked science and was always good at math, my high school chemistry teacher suggested I major in engineering. He tried to talk everybody into that. I think they paid him to do it. I mostly ignored his advice. Engineering didn’t seem like a great fit.

He finally gave me one good piece of advice. He told me lots of people switch majors in college. It’s easy to switch out of engineering, but almost impossible to switch into. Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, I ought to start there. I could switch out later. That sounded smart.

I tried engineering for 2 years. The work wasn’t that hard but the problem sets were boring. I’d rather be out somewhere in Austin listening to live music. I did that a lot instead of working on problem sets.

In those days big record labels still subsidized concert tours. Big touring acts came through town every week and concert tickets were cheap. I did what I loved. I went to concerts. I blew off problem sets.

I finally lost interest in engineering completely when I realized that my values were utterly different from the other students’. It occurred to me that my future bosses were going to be a lot more like them than like me. I was signing up for life in hell.

So much for engineering. Time to switch majors.

My roommate suggested I try business, but I couldn’t make myself get to my accounting class. I was too busy writing essays for English class.

Time to change majors again.

So here I am. I’m 20 years old, in my third year at The University of Texas. After two-and-a-half years, my major is officially “Undecided.”

Internally, that feels more like “Loser.” I hadn’t found My Passion.

A rocket launching

Since I liked science and was always good at math, my high school chemistry teacher suggested I major in engineering. He tried to talk everybody into that. I think they paid him to do it. I mostly ignored his advice. Engineering didn’t seem like a great fit.

He finally gave me one good piece of advice. He told me lots of people switch majors in college. It’s easy to switch out of engineering, but almost impossible to switch into. Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, I ought to start there. I could switch out later. That sounded smart.

I tried engineering for 2 years. The work wasn’t that hard but the problem sets were boring. I’d rather be out somewhere in Austin listening to live music. I did that a lot instead of working on problem sets.

In those days big record labels still subsidized concert tours. Big touring acts came through town every week and concert tickets were cheap. I did what I loved. I went to concerts. I blew off problem sets.

I finally lost interest in engineering completely when I realized that my values were utterly different from the other students’. It occurred to me that my future bosses were going to be a lot more like them than like me. I was signing up for life in hell.

So much for engineering. Time to switch majors.

My roommate suggested I try business, but I couldn’t make myself get to my accounting class. I was too busy writing essays for English class.

Time to change majors again.

So here I am. I’m 20 years old, in my third year at The University of Texas. After two-and-a-half years, my major is officially “Undecided.”

Internally, that feels more like “Loser.” I hadn’t found My Passion.

Lost Student ID

Here’s where I wanted to show you my student ID from that year. I can’t. It seems to have been lost in the sands of time.

You’d see the words — The University of Texas at Austin. The dates — 1977-1978. A picture of a young man with shoulder length hair, a full beard, tinted glasses, and an almost-angry expression. He looks more like a biker than a student.

(I love to laugh, but I never learned the art of the fake smile. A lot of people think they have but don’t realize how phony it looks. That’s why I never learned. I hate phoniness. I’m passionate, remember?

Everybody expects to see your fake smile when they take your picture. I avoid having my picture taken — my pictures aways look like I’m either angry or lost.

That was the only picture I took that year, by the way. If they hadn’t made me get the ID photo, there wouldn’t have been any pictures at all. And now it’s gone. Alas…)

Anyway, I digress.

I’ve always had this vague sense that I’m supposed to do something important in my life. I’ve never known what it was.

Whatever makes you happy!” my parents always told me when I asked them what I should do when I grew up.

The problem with their advice is, I don’t know what makes me happy.

That’s not really true. At 20 I know exactly what makes me happy — Watching the stars on a clear night. Hiking and paddling in the wilderness for days at a time with small groups of friends. Letting music fill my soul.

There isn’t any money in any of that. No majors, not profession, nothing but dead ends.

So I’m wondering…How do other people find Their Passion?

A few People I know made up their minds early on what they wanted, and they’re heading straight for it. They’re busy, but miserable. Not a good model.

Most of the people I know tell me what they want, but what they do keeps taking them farther and farther from getting it. Another bad model.

People would be happier if they either did what they like doing, or admitted they like what they’re already doing. Instead they waste their time with goals that make them miserable or dedicate themselves to goals they’re going to beat themselves up for never reaching.

At 20, I’m thinking there has to be a better way.

A tent under the stars

Anyway, I digress.

I’ve always had this vague sense that I’m supposed to do something important in my life. I’ve never known what it was.

Whatever makes you happy!” my parents always told me when I asked them what I should do when I grew up.

The problem with their advice is, I don’t know what makes me happy.

That’s not really true. At 20 I know exactly what makes me happy — Watching the stars on a clear night. Hiking and paddling in the wilderness for days at a time with small groups of friends. Letting music fill my soul.

There isn’t any money in any of that. No majors, not profession, nothing but dead ends.

So I’m wondering…How do other people find Their Passion?

A few People I know made up their minds early on what they wanted, and they’re heading straight for it. They’re busy, but miserable. Not a good model.

Most of the people I know tell me what they want, but what they do keeps taking them farther and farther from getting it. Another bad model.

People would be happier if they either did what they like doing, or admitted they like what they’re already doing. Instead they waste their time with goals that make them miserable or dedicate themselves to goals they’re going to beat themselves up for never reaching.

At 20, I’m thinking there has to be a better way.

My one semester as an accounting student, I took a required intro class in macroeconomics. I kind of liked it. Not my favorite class, but it wasn’t terrible. It made sense. Now that I’m Undecided, I think I ought to take the intro class in microeconomics.

You can’t learn too much economics, right? The economy affects everybody.

So here I am in micro class. It’s awful. I dislike the professor. Strongly. He’s rude and bullying. He refers to the macro course as “science fiction.” His micro class is “real science.”

I keep my head down. I’m determined to make it through his class. This sucks. I’m never taking another economics class.

And then comes the catalyst that magically transforms my life. Out of the blue. Unexpected.

I don’t find My Passion. It Finds Me.

Let me put myself back there again.

The professors’s droning on and on about the many assumptions in economics. Each one is crazier than the last.

No one company can control any market. (Tell that to the phone company.)

Any company can retool at any time to grow. (Tell that to the American steel industry. It’s dying. Haven’t you heard?)

And on, and on, and on.

Until he gets to the last one, the craziest one of all…

Every economic decision is completely rational.

Just to remind you, it’s 1978:

  • Everybody I know is either doing stuff they clearly hate or avoiding stuff they claim to want.
  • Powerful forces are changing everything around us, and not in anyone’s long term interests.
  • The economy has both double digit inflation and double digit unemployment.
  • Economists can’t agree what to do about it.
  • Investment keeps pouring into South Africa and Iran, even though it’s obvious that neither regime has any realistic chance of surviving.

It’s crystal clear in that exact moment, maybe for the first time, that absolutely nothing is rational. The illusion completely disappears.

I finally can’t stand it any more and raise my hand. The professor looks over at me with a look of pure scorn. Nobody has ever asked a question in his class. How dare someone interrupt?

The other students look over at me. Stupor on their faces. Just trying to make it through another boring class.

“WHAT?”

“Do you really believe that? I mean, do economists really believe that every decision is rational?”

He glares at me. His tone, body language, and other nonverbals all agree — he’s clearly decided I’m a troublemaker. I’m never to ask another question in his class. Ever.

“Well, of course we know that none of these assumptions are true, but it’s the only real theory we’ve got and we don’t know what effect making false assumptions has. In some cases it’s probably small, but in others we’re really not sure.

“We really don’t know how irrational thinking works. If I had to guess it’s probably random, like error. Error cancels itself out. We don’t know that though. There really isn’t a good model of irrational thinking. Nobody’s studied it. Nobody knows how to study it. You probably can’t study it or model it — it’s irrational. It’s not like you can make a rational model of it.”

With one final glare, he returned to droning.

His intention worked. I never asked him another question that semester. Nobody else did, either.

But while he was answering, it hit me —

What do you mean nobody knows anything about irrational thinking? Are you telling me that economists have never heard of Sigmund Freud?

And right then, I knew two things:

  1. I had to be able to do better than that.
  2. I knew exactly how to do better than that.
Scattered money

My one semester as an accounting student, I took a required intro class in macroeconomics. I kind of liked it. Not my favorite class, but it wasn’t terrible. It made sense. Now that I’m Undecided, I think I ought to take the intro class in microeconomics.

You can’t learn too much economics, right? The economy affects everybody.

So here I am in micro class. It’s awful. I dislike the professor. Strongly. He’s rude and bullying. He refers to the macro course as “science fiction.” His micro class is “real science.”

I keep my head down. I’m determined to make it through his class. This sucks. I’m never taking another economics class.

And then comes the catalyst that magically transforms my life. Out of the blue. Unexpected.

I don’t find My Passion. It Finds Me.

Let me put myself back there again.

The professors’s droning on and on about the many assumptions in economics. Each one is crazier than the last.

No one company can control any market. (Tell that to the phone company.)

Any company can retool at any time to grow. (Tell that to the American steel industry. It’s dying. Haven’t you heard?)

And on, and on, and on.

Until he gets to the last one, the craziest one of all…

Every economic decision is completely rational.

Just to remind you, it’s 1978:

  • Everybody I know is either doing stuff they clearly hate or avoiding stuff they claim to want.
  • Powerful forces are changing everything around us, and not in anyone’s long term interests.
  • The economy has both double digit inflation and double digit unemployment.
  • Economists can’t agree what to do about it.
  • Investment keeps pouring into South Africa and Iran, even though it’s obvious that neither regime has any realistic chance of surviving.

It’s crystal clear in that exact moment, maybe for the first time, that absolutely nothing is rational. The illusion completely disappears.

I finally can’t stand it any more and raise my hand. The professor looks over at me with a look of pure scorn. Nobody has ever asked a question in his class. How dare someone interrupt?

The other students look over at me. Stupor on their faces. Just trying to make it through another boring class.

“WHAT?”

“Do you really believe that? I mean, do economists really believe that every decision is rational?”

He glares at me. His tone, body language, and other nonverbals all agree — he’s clearly decided I’m a troublemaker. I’m never to ask another question in his class. Ever.

“Well, of course we know that none of these assumptions are true, but it’s the only real theory we’ve got and we don’t know what effect making false assumptions has. In some cases it’s probably small, but in others we’re really not sure.

“We really don’t know how irrational thinking works. If I had to guess it’s probably random, like error. Error cancels itself out. We don’t know that though. There really isn’t a good model of irrational thinking. Nobody’s studied it. Nobody knows how to study it. You probably can’t study it or model it — it’s irrational. It’s not like you can make a rational model of it.”

With one final glare, he returned to droning.

His intention worked. I never asked him another question that semester. Nobody else did, either.

But while he was answering, it hit me —

What do you mean nobody knows anything about irrational thinking? Are you telling me that economists have never heard of Sigmund Freud?

And right then, I knew two things:

  1. I had to be able to do better than that.
  2. I knew exactly how to do better than that.

At the end of the semester, I declared my major — economics.

I was going to study irrational thinking and how it affected people’s decisions.

And that’s what started me down my life path.

When I started, it all seemed so easy. Just take this from here and apply it there. I didn’t realize how hard it would be. I didn’t see all the failures and how they’d become opportunities.

I didn’t know where the path led. I still don’t. That’s made it hard to stay on the right path. I had to develop a dependable model for knowing what the next step was.

I didn’t realize how unstable the mental health industry would become and how often I’d be looking for work when another place went out of business. I didn’t realize how much more I’d learn that way, either.

I couldn’t foresee being dismissed from my first PhD program, or the time I got fired while I was my young family’s sole breadwinner. I didn’t know how many times I’d lose my way, hit dead ends, and be tempted to give up.

I also didn’t know how turned on I’d become by helping people transform their lives. I didn’t realize how powerful my intuition was, or what an ally synchronicity would prove to be.

If you’re interested, I’ll tell you about that some other time.

Of course, I never did become an economist. I guess it could still happen…

Sigmund Freud
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Sigmund Freud

At the end of the semester, I declared my major — economics.

I was going to study irrational thinking and how it affected people’s decisions.

And that’s what started me down my life path.

When I started, it all seemed so easy. Just take this from here and apply it there. I didn’t realize how hard it would be. I didn’t see all the failures and how they’d become opportunities.

I didn’t know where the path led. I still don’t. That’s made it hard to stay on the right path. I had to develop a dependable model for knowing what the next step was.

I didn’t realize how unstable the mental health industry would become and how often I’d be looking for work when another place went out of business. I didn’t realize how much more I’d learn that way, either.

I couldn’t foresee being dismissed from my first PhD program, or the time I got fired while I was my young family’s sole breadwinner. I didn’t know how many times I’d lose my way, hit dead ends, and be tempted to give up.

I also didn’t know how turned on I’d become by helping people transform their lives. I didn’t realize how powerful my intuition was, or what an ally synchronicity would prove to be.

If you’re interested, I’ll tell you about that some other time.

Of course, I never did become an economist. I guess it could still happen…

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