Those Interesting Predispositions
One of these, ironically enough, can be caused by our parents. They want us to read and successfully label the colors, animals and objects of our external world. The persistent and frequent rewards of praise and comments like, “She is really going to be something when she gets older,” causes us to rush headlong into understanding our external world, the environment where we eventually must seek our place when it comes time to earn a living.
The second is even more profound as a preventative for the development of our internal world – very few people teach us about its existence. In fact, we may be discouraged from using our imaginations, e.g., putting together our Lego blocks in arrangements that we wish to make instead of the images on the boxes that depict aircraft, cars and helicopters.
During a wedding rehearsal dinner, I sat next to a woman in her 30s who was extremely engaging, gregarious and could have easily been a model for the fashion industry. I asked her what she did for a living and her answer was in another universe from the one I had imagined. She was a senior commercial banker.
When I asked her why she chose that profession she told me that it all happened when her parents learned she had a rare ability to recognize patterns. She could run her index finger down a column of numbers and put a total before anyone could enter the first number into a calculator. Each number in a lengthy column could be in the millions. Her totals were never wrong. When corporate representatives came for a loan armed with their profit & loss spreadsheets, she knew within 10 minutes whether or not she would grant their request. Almost every analyst in her bank brought their conclusions for her “to look over” before they granted loans. She was a virtual genius with numbers. Where did that talent have its origin?
Many of us have known builders without any formal training who intuitively recognize the patterns for framing a house, installing the electrical grid, the plumbing and the seamless drywall.
A young boy in primary school could duplicate anything he saw on paper or canvas. While other students were drawing stick figures, he was creating remarkable scenes with horses, barns and plows in the field as though he already was an accomplished master. Where did this ability have its origin?
While these appear to be exceptions and not the rule for humanity, actually this is not the case. All normal, physically healthy infants enter the physical world in this fashion, literally loaded with gifts and talents to be refined.
During his tenure at Sarah Lawrence College, Joseph Campbell taught his students “to follow their bliss.” In other words, his students were encouraged to engage their passions, i.e. to follow through with what they wanted to do with their lives. To deny this flow of energy might be to prostitute themselves with endeavors that earn them large sums of money while they remain in turmoil due to boredom or they are starved to death spiritually because they did not pay attention to the urges within them, as absurd as that may sound.
Elbert Hubbard once said, “Never allow anyone to teach you how to write. If you want to write, start writing and never stop.” J.K. Rowling did just that when she started to write her Harry Potter series on the backs of napkins as she sat in pubs. Her imagination would not let her rest until she gave expression to her thoughts. An infant that was later named, James A. Mitchener, was left in a basket on the steps of a place that could better care for him. No one modeled for him what later became his literary genius.
Contributors like Booker T. Washington to Martin Luther King, Jr. were individuals who painted outside the lines prescribed by societal boundaries. They could not resist what their spirits were directing them to do and thus, become.
Some of us are drawn by our desire to nurture so we enter the helping professions. Some of us have a passion for playing by the established rules of society, recognizing that without them there is anarchy. Such people go into law enforcement and the judiciary. There is an application for every predisposition.
What allows us to earn a decent living from what appears insignificant is that our passion carries us to levels of accomplishment that are not reached by others who simply watch the clock and draw a paycheck. A young man who started out bagging groceries for the cashiers, for example, kept three lines going without any break. No one else could keep up his pace. In time, he owned his own chain of grocery stores.
Religionists often miss the significance of Jesus’ Kingdom of God. That area within us is filled with qualities that grow the more they are expressed. The same holds for the passions we develop as we learn to extend ourselves. What starts out as a hobby can become the fountainhead of an industry. Such was the case with Thomas Edison.
People that settle for mediocrity because they can, wind up spinning their wheels, putting in time and leaving the world approximately the way they found it. The people, who looked at sawdust and imagined pressed logs for fireplaces and the person who imagined what wood chips would become if pressed into plywood sheets, made millions by doing what they enjoyed.
Everything we need for a remarkable life is right where it is in every life form – inside. When harnessed, an individual’s inner world can become like powerful turbines that eventually propel our world into the future while also making a decent living for themselves. To get started many people have to unlearn what that they were taught after many years of reinforcement. Can we follow our bliss? You bet we can!