When a Question Is the Answer

by Jan Geronimo on January 25, 2010

Guest Post By Jens Berget

I‘m 37 years old, a political scientist, working at a college in Norway. I have a lovely wife and two amazing kids. We have a nice big house, and two cars, and lots of stuff we don’t need. I earn enough money to have a good time whenever I feel like it. My life seems to be close to perfect, but there’s something missing.

I’m the first in my family with a university degree. At the time, I thought that my parents looked at me as some kind of a hero. Now, I only think that they were fairly proud when I received my masters degree. They didn’t really know anything about political science, they still don’t. They believe that I didn’t really need a masters degree, or maybe just a different one.

I remember watching my mom at work while I was a kid.   She’s a chef, and she loves her work. My dad, he’s working with horses  all day long. I can’t imagine him doing anything else. They’re having a wonderful time working.

Work is about money.  It isn’t supposed to be fun, right?

It’s Thursday morning, 8 am, I’m finally alone. I have just finished taking a shower. I’m walking down the stairs carrying my laptop. It’s time for tea. It’s time to unfold and explore.

I’ve been looking for independence, away from the college. I’ve been looking for a way to earn money, by doing what I love doing, without struggling to make it through the day and without the strict rules associated with conventional work.

I’m at home, testing the work at home environment, and testing my skills being my own boss.

This includes feeding the cat.  And scratching and cuddling it.

A few hours passes by, as I drink tea, eat breakfast, and read the newspapers.

Looking out the window, I see my 64-year-old neighbor. He’s walking from the cab, towards his front door. He stops, looks into the air. He turns around, slowly, walks back to the cab and picks up two plastic bags. Stops, he turns his head, with his eyes closed. It looks as if he’s smelling the flowers and absorbing the sun and the wind.

The dishes. I need to wash them before my wife gets back home. I can probably wait a few hours, but I have to wash them. The dishes occupy my mind. understanding that I should probably wash them right away. That’s the only way to erase the image. I can’t focus when I’m not focused.

I’ve been studying the gurus, the work at home gurus. The men and the women earning six figures doing what they love doing, while spending their time wherever they want to be. Some travel the world, others stay in coffee shops. I know the drill. It’s all about passion, doing what they love – and of course, it’s about hard work.

I’m all for hard work, but to me, it should also be about passion, but it’s not. I don’t know what I love doing.  That’s why every day’s been about feeding the cat, watching people, reading newspapers, washing dishes and staying unfocused and cluttered.

Just then, while surfing the web, looking for the latest news, I saw a   website of an organization dedicated to connect people through lending to alleviate  poverty.   I looked at it, again, and then some more. I felt a new kind of energy flowing through my body, I felt happiness and comfort. And an extreme focus. I couldn’t take my eyes from it. My mind was preoccupied. All I could think of was this, only this. It felt like an awakening.

I found a passion for helping people who really need it. It makes me feel good about myself, and it makes the business part of my online adventure worth the time and effort. From now on, every time I receive a check in the mail, whenever I get a notification from PayPal, I’ll help fund an inspiring entrepreneur in a country far away via kiva.org.

My job has never been my passion, but now my job helps me with my passion.  It gives everything meaning.

Passion is what makes me jump out of bed way too early in the morning with a smile on my face. It’s what keeps me from going to sleep in the evening. It’s what makes every day a wonderful day, and the earth the best place in the universe.

I’m so happy that I’ve asked myself the most important question of them all.   It took a while to find the answer.  But I believe that finally resolving what I’m really passionate about is the only reason I’m fairly successful today.

Let me ask you the same question.

What are you really passionate about?

About the Author: Jens P. Berget is he author of  Sly Marketing, a blog about Internet Marketing Tutorials. He’s been blogging for a few years, although recently, he experienced a blogger’s worst nightmare.

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  • barbhartsook
    This is an important post! Beautifully written -- who would NOT relate?

    You wrote, 'I can't focus when I'm not focused... (when I am) unfocused and cluttered.'

    Me too.

    Passion answers the huge question WHY? we do what we must do. What difference does it make? Who cares? When those questions have answers, and we're consumed with the possibilities arising from those answers, we have indeed found our passion.

    I'm betting there is no status quo to your passion. That it will evolve and grow and continue to energize you to perform.

    Good for you for recognizing it when it hit you, even peripherally. Finding passion is imperative to living life fully.

  • Thanks a lot.

    You are absolutely right. It's a lot easier to do what I do when I understand why I need to do it :)

  • Rhis may be waaaay to personal, but every morning I sit in the "thrwon room" and I ask myself "What is you passion?" and for the life of me I cannnot come up with an answer. But I do know one thing I do find myself spring out of bed when I have an idea for a post or I need to update a phrase before a scheduled post goes live.

    So I am beginning to think that Blogging is my passion.

    I am a big fan of Kiva.org.
  • That surely is intense. Ideas surely have that power over us and blogging
    helps us give clarity to our ideas. That part alone might explain why we
    are passionate about writing or blogging. Thanks a lot for sharing us your
  • anneonline
    Passion? Passionate? It always comes back to finances. Not mine, well, mine, but others. I have a fondness for numbers and money and people. So many are unprepared going into life. Our children don't learn how to manage money at home because their parents don't know either. Maybe financial education. To the poor, the ignorant [not in a bad way], the uninformed. This great disservice passed down by people who had the best of intentions.
  • I am passionate about my family. All I do is for them. I worry when those times come that I think I'm falling short and I am ecstatic when I know that I am providing all that they need.

    Unfortunately I have worked so hard that I haven't been able to spend as much time with my kids as I would have liked, but life is what it is and I have no regrets.
  • angel
    i stumbled on this post and i cannot help but be confuse even more with where i'm going.i was once a schoolteacher but i wasn't able to live up to my dad's dream for me.ugh!the lengths i took to please the man!!!..anyways iv'e shifted career now(gambling business let's call it) and it made my OWN dreams possible.the job pays great and i get to travel to different countries,yet im not entirely convince this is what i really want.i cannot come up with a career that i'd most likely be passionate about...

    i'm simply lost....
  • Hi Angel,

    A lot of people feel lost. What's important is that you've made a choice that's your choice and not your dad's. Keep making your own choices and keep thinking about what you really want to do. Is there one thing you are really good at, and do you have fun doing it?

    I recommend the ebook "Reclaim Your Dreams" by Jonathan Mead. It was very inspiring to me.
  • What a great insightful post this is. It sounds like you have found a passion Jens that has something to do with financial freedom for others and I wonder if there is a way that you can include this passion in your job. I wonder if it is not one or the other but both integrated together.

    This is something I am currently working on. You see my passion is to provide Leadership development and coaching to people who can't afford it...the future leaders of the world in developing countries. And at the same time, I need to create an income too. So I'm putting together a proposal to provide leadership development to corporations and as part of their development and payment, they have to spend a day providing leadership to local charitable projects. This way, I get to make an income and I get to see Leadership development work spreading into the developing world. It's just a proposal at this stage so it's definitely a work in progress.

    And I wonder if there is a way that you can get creative with the work you do that means your everyday work becomes your passion? When that happens it's no longer work... it's play. That's my aim... only to play for the rest of my life.
  • Gem
    Amazing! You found your passion - I found mine too. I'm not as old as you but I also "wandered aimlessly" a decade ago. I graduated with a degree (and even got better grades than others) but I jumped from one job to another. I was never contented until I decided to quit my last job without any strong plans on what to do next. Like you it was by accident that I found my passion - mine is to work at home in my own time and pace and I'm happy with that.

    It also feels good to wake up each day knowing that your TODO list includes those things that you are passionate about.
  • fielsvd
    jens! you are inspiring! it makes me feel good to read posts like this. you are making a big difference my friend!
  • Thanks a lot, you writing stuff like this makes a big difference to me :D
  • Beautifully written guest post. I hope that your work at the college has something to do with writing! My passion is blogging and it has completely turned my life around. In a way it saved me.
  • Thanks a lot. My work at the college has nothing to do with writing, I'm there to help recruit new students and help with branding. I guess I could write more, but I'm afraid it's not time.

    I love blogging as well. It's awesome when you can do what you want to do without listening to other people tell you what they want you to do :D
  • Before answering your question, let me first note that I love the way you describe the old man, "smelling the flowers".

    So, what is my passion? Three years ago, I am bravely holding a tear in the edge of my eye. I never wanted to work as a Business Analyst anymore. I wanted to be an Application Developer. That lead me to quitting my job with nothing but courage. And soon enough, I finally landed on the job where my passion is - programming. I am a programmer by heart, so to speak.

    But later on, I just found out that passion sometimes changes too. I am not seeing myself 5 years or more in a higher position from where I am working, I am seeing myself being a housewife, taking care of my kids, earning through my blog, and running with my husband. That's my passion now. I don't know if sooner I will again shift into a new passion or not, I guess what matters is, we follow our hearts.
  • Thanks. Yes, I totally agree with you. Passion changes, as life changes.

    I have actually started to run myself, but it's hard, and I am not as good a runner as I was hoping to be :D
  • Really?! It was nice knowing runners. Yeah, it's pretty hard. I almost
    always have pain after I run. But with persistence and constant training, I
    am slowly having a pain free run.
  • Jens, you're ahead of the game -- you know passion matters. A lot of people don't follow their passion, but instead follow what they think will make them loads of money. But they burn out and get sick of the work because it's not something they love. I love what I do. I am not sure what my dream job is -- but working from a home office is exactly what I want to do.
  • Hi Meryl. Thanks a lot.

    I don't know what my dream job is either. I would love to work from a home office, but so far, I'm still at the college and working at home. So, I really have two jobs.

    But that's about to change :-)
  • This is an amazing post Jens. It helped me open my eyes on things more! After I read this, Im not sure now whether Im really passionate about the things that I thought I do with passion before. Maybe its time for me to search again that inner passion in me.

  • Hi Melvin. Thanks.

    I've been searching for the passion for a long time, and it's really hard to find it. Some people find it without searching, others never find it. When you find it, it's what bring joy and happiness to what you do. Everything you do will have a new meaning.

    I recommend the e-book, Reclaim Your Dreams. It was really helpful to me.
  • You can always tell when someone is genuine and has a heart of gold. That is the case here.

    Good on you Jens. Your attitude is great and there can only be wonderful things ahead for you.

  • Hi George.

    Thanks a lot. I have actually just created a team page for kiva. I'll refer people and together we'll make a difference:

  • This is one of the best posts I've been through in recent time. so wonderfully expressed thoughts. Jen has written it so nicely. Yeah, I am really happy to know he is passionate about helping Poor..very noble indeed. Something that everyone should learn to do. btw, I am also passionate about helping those in need. But not in a position now. will do it for sure though. Thanks again for enlightening post.
  • Hi Aswani. Thanks a lot for your kind words.

    I have only paid $50 so far to Kiva.org, for the month of January. But I'll pay each month according to how much I earn. Every dollar I pay is helping, even though it might not be a lot.
  • "Work is about money. It isn’t supposed to be fun, right?" that's very true Jens. It's really hard to find a job that is also fun. But work can fun if you have self fulfillment doing it. Even your sweating blood from your job, you can still feel good from it as long as you have fulfilled on what your doing.

    Congratz Jan & Jen!
  • Wow! Truly amazing that you've found your passion, Jens. That's one of the mysteries of the ages. To uncover something that stirs us in a sustainable manner. To find one that also does some good in the world is truly remarkable.
  • Thanks a lot Heather. At the moment, I'm working on a marketing campaign that hopefully will end up adding more value to kiva.org.

    Have you discovered something you're passionate about?
  • also a lot of people that they didnt know that they have they own success!
  • Jens, very motivating story there. One of my favorite story genres is when author talks about how they discovered own self and true passion during life events. There's a timing for everything and I'm glad it didn't took me a lifetime to find out what my passion is. It's not just about the money, otherwise I would have keep my job and still working 9-5. Now working from home, not only I get to learn more of my favorite subject but to help and meet others along the way. The interactions and feedback, friendships.. all these valuable factors made me want to pursue it even more!

    Sometimes there's more than just revenue. Keeping the passion alive makes living worth every second.

    Social/Blogging Tracker

  • I'm very glad to hear that you've found your passion.

    I'm still not working from home, even though that's my main goal. I'm sort of working from home, while I'm also working at the college from 8 to 4 (and I have a wife and two kids). It's not much time left :)
  • Jens, I understand completely. My husband is just as aspiring as you. :) It's his main goal that both of us can work from home. Seeing him managing both online and dayjob it's quite tough too. Time is limited and most times he has to work during wee hours.. all for the passion & dreams he has.

    Therefore Jens, I wish you best in achieving what you dream of. You're a nice guy and I'm sure success is not far from your reach.

    Social/Blogging Tracker
  • Jens,

    That was timely for you to find the meaning of life-the passion for life. The best thing is to have passion for your job. Once you have that, you would never "work" a single day in your lifetime.
  • Congrats Jen for having a guest post here. Congrats too Jan.

    Passion. A very important spice and power of life despite of all its boring day-to-day cycle, difficulties, challenges and of course joys and truimphs.

    But sometimes your passion is not just enough. One may be passionate about what he is doing, but the people around him are simply nutheads that put into a crucial test your passion and your patience. And sometimes too much passion on things will easily give you lots of room for frustrations and disenchantment.

    Very timely post. :D
  • That's an intriguing story about nutheads right there. :) When your passion is buffeted right and left by their antics, these nutheads, and your passion doesn't survive to see another day, do you still call it passion? Ahem.
  • "My job has never been my passion, but now my job helps me with my passion. It gives everything meaning."

    i like this. if everyone else look at it they way you see it Jens, then they'll look at their work with a newer sense of purpose. not just about money.

  • Thanks. To me, it's been difficult to work just to earn money. I need some kind of higher purpose. I need fun, meaningful work, and passion. Passion was the hard to find :)
  • Gem
    "My job has never been my passion, but now my job helps me with my passion. It gives everything meaning."

    I also like that. This should be posted in workplaces!
  • Hi Jens, Jan!
    Different people measure "success" in different ways, but I agree wholeheartedly that doing what you are passionate about constitutes being successful, indeed. =D

    I think passion can be for many different things, sometimes passion is fleeting - more like an infatuation, but for some, there is a lasting passion - you are truly lucky to have found this kind Jens. :D

    Career-wise, I think mine is more of a passion to do a great job. I am, too, a nerd at heart, and often it stops being about the money and becomes more about the product of my hard work. A job well done, to me, is something to be proud of - that's what I am passionate about!
  • There's a formula for success right there. Some just go through the motions of doing their job. Just doing enough to keep it. Must be challenging to be a worker under a passionate boss like you. Ahehehe. Thanks, Rey.
  • Haha, I know those people and don't blame them - maybe they prefer a quiet(er) life or would like to spend more time with their friends and family instead of being stuck in the office. It becomes a choice, this so called formula.
  • That's awesome. If you're passionate about your job, then you're really lucky.

    What do you do for a living? Other than being a nerd :D
  • I can't say I'm passionate about my job as much as I am passionate about doing a good job. I think if you focus too much on the task, it becomes meaningless. It's always good to take a step back and think - why am I doing this? :p

    I would say, rather, than I am passionate about excellence. :D If my job was a scrub toilets, I'd look for the most efficient way to do it.

    ps. being a nerd is a full time job! lol!
  • Jens, thank you very much for this gift of a guest post. Couldn't have come at a better time. Very much appreciate you've shared your journey in finding your passion with the readers of this blog.
  • Thanks a lot for this opportunity Jan. This is my first guest post. It was a lot of fun.
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