Tag Archives: creativity

Follow Your Passion, revisited

Create, test, refine, repeat. ✎ By Wayne K. Spear

We have all heard the phrase, many times now:

Follow your passion.

It usually means Quit Your Job. Stop doing what you hate. Do only what you love.

Love vs hate. Happiness vs misery.

I hate my job, what do I do? Follow your passion.

Accounting, engineering, finance, and dentistry are passions. Maybe they’re not your passion, but they’re someone’s. In these cases, follow your passion means Get Your Job.

Some passions have clear pathways. If your passion is helping sick people, you can study medicine and be a doctor.

Business consultant Jim Collins invented the Hedgehog Concept, which says: Find a passion that is economically viable and that you can do better than your competition.


– How do I find my passion?
– Do I have, or even need, a passion?
– Could I have many different passions, at different stages of my life?
– If I can love my job, does it follow I am passionate?

Doing what you are passionate about = being passionate about what you do.

A lot of us do something all day we are not passionate about. But the problem is that the passion<—>doing connection can be murky.

If you are passionate about medieval poetry, then what?

The reading and writing of poetry requires skills like intelligence and creativity and the ability to perceive and to make sense of complex patterns. A poet is an entrepreneur of language. She builds something out of nothing, using will and mind.

This is creativity. Creatives ought to be the richest people on earth, given their ability to make something from nothing.

Making something from nothing is a passion.

– Make a list of ten skills that you have
– Create a list of businesses or products that use the skills on your list
– Identify the products or services that you can do best and that are the most economically viable
– Set targets of one, three, six, and twelve months to develop and sell your services
– Are you less, or more, happy?
– Test, Refine, Repeat

Thinking outside the laundry bin


CC photo “Down at Every Laundromat in Town” courtesy of hjhipster on Flickr


THERE’S A coin-operated laundry room in the building where I live. Each load, washer and dryer, is $1.75. That’s $3.50 for a full, wash-and-dry cycle. The machine-mounted coin collector has one slot for loonies (that’s a one-dollar-coin, for you non-Canadians) and one slot for quarters.

Yes, it sounds like the beginning of a math quiz. But in reality this a tale about human psychology.

For three years, I’ve been buying rolls of quarters and loonies from the bank to feed the laundry machines. Because there is a slot for both loonies and quarters, I enter my $1.75 in the form of one looney and three quarters. I’ve done it this way every time, for three years.

The coin tray is regularly raided for soft drinks, bus fare, coffee, and other items. Every day pockets are emptied, and coins are deposited in the tray. Eventually either the looney or quarter supply is depleted. The dollar coins are typically the first to go, leaving behind a bunch of quarters.

That’s what happened recently. So I go to the nearby convenience store to rebalance the quarter-looney ratio, because it’s one looney and three quarters to do a load of laundry. And all I have is a tray of measly quarters.

Have you spotted the fallacy I’ve been under for three years? It’s obvious once someone points it out to you, as it was pointed out to me this week.

It’s not one looney and three quarters to do laundry, it’s $1.75.

One of my family members came up with the idea. What if we just took the quarters and put 7 of them into the machine? The answer, of course, is that you get to do a load of laundry. No loonies required.

It’s remarkable to me that a household of highly-educated people could have missed this for so long. Talk about the obvious. And yet a machine with one slot for quarters and one for loonies has a subliminal ambiguity built into it. Is this a system which provides options, or is it delineating the requirements? Sub-consciouly we had decided upon the latter: there’s a slot for loonies and quarters because 1+3 is the inviolable rule.

It got me wondering about how many versions of this I’m living in my life, right now. Where else am I unnecessarily putting loonies and quarters into slots, metaphorically speaking? What else am I doing uncritically, mechanically, unconsciously? How many insights, breakthroughs, leaps, mind expansions, and personal liberations could I be effecting?

The lesson I’ve drawn is that opportunity is all around. What is required is a mindset that is ever-vigilant, always on the lookout for a new and better way: a mental attitude that says “don’t limit yourself by tacitly accepting things as they are.” There is always another way, if you go looking for it.

Reasons you should start a blog. And me destroying them.


I GOT CURIOUS about my odds. The biggest lottery in Canada? I have about a one-in-15-million shot at that. Weirdly enough, there are smaller lotteries in this country where my odds are only half that, or one-in-twenty-eight-million. It’s far more likely that I’ll be abducted by extra-terrestrial thespian sharks. I’m glad that’s the case, because there’s nothing more terrifying in this universe than the menace of shark power combined with the narcissistic bitterness of actors.

I can has more? (Click for more!)

Led Zeppelin vs Spirit: What Is a Million Dollar Idea?


I READ WITH INTEREST Vernon Silver’s May 15 Business Week article concerning a lawsuit about to advance against Led Zeppelin, filed by living members of a 1970s band named Spirit. The closest this group came to a number one hit was the 1968 song “I Got A Line On You,” which reached position 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. If you accept some accounts, however, the late Randy Wolfe, better known by his stage name Randy California, is at least partly the composer of a #1 hit which also happens to be the number one rock song of all time.

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