Time is the great equalizer. Every day, each of us receives the exact same number of hours and minutes, and every day our window of opportunity ends when the clock strikes midnight. But it’s not just what we do in the time allotted to us, or how we do it. It’s why we take action that matters most of all.
So many of our greatest accomplishments are fueled by our passions. It’s what keeps us going every time we hit an obstacle, and it’s what renews our spirit every time challenges bring us down. Our passions are the closest thing we have to a perpetual motion machine.
What Does Passion Look Like?
Our passion should be portable. There’s no reason why we can’t be committed to creative projects, our work, and our way of life all at the same time. Quite often, our passions are inspired by a sense of purpose: what we do is greater than us and greater than this moment. At the same time, if we want our passions to have the greatest impact, they must transcend our egos:
“In order not to leave any traces, when you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do.”
When we put ourselves into a flow state, our abilities match the challenges at hand. Too easy, and we would quickly become bored. Too difficult, and we would be overwhelmed before we could even get started. But if we can find that balance, we can pursue our passions continuously. When we achieve a flow state, purpose and happiness unite.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that every moment of every day will be wonderful. Indeed, it is the presence of challenges that make our passions worthwhile. And if we commit ourselves to a task for the greater good, the work itself is its own reward. But we can only persevere if we approach our work with the right perspective. We need to start with why. We need to tap into our deeper purpose. If you only focus on “what” you do, you’ll close doors before you even know they exist, and you’ll risk getting bogged down in minutiae.
But if you start with “why,” then your “what” is just a vehicle that can take you to your goals. The vehicle itself is not the journey. You are far more than what you do. Your values and purpose are far more important.
What Can We Accomplish If We Embrace Our Passions And Our Purpose?
Imagine what your life would look like if you prioritized activities that put you in a flow state. How much could you achieve if you embraced your “why?” If you can align your purpose and passion with your work, you’re on the right track.
This brings us to the concept of ikigai, often described as the intersection of four things:
In this article, Melody Wilding shares her process for planning her ideal day as a way to approach ikigai. And when it came to putting her plan into practice, she shared this insight:
“I started making small changes by picking elements of my ideal day to bring to life.”
Now we can answer the question we posed at the beginning of this article. What could you do with an extra 60 minutes every week? You can identify your passions. You can see where these overlap with your purpose. You can take steps towards your own personal ikigai.
One of our favorite examples of this is Jonathan Johnson. In 2012 one of his students was shot near his home in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. His life was tragically cut short before he would have received a TOPS scholarship, which would have granted him full tuition to any state university in Louisiana.
Unfortunately, this story is not unique. But what is unique is the way Jonathan responded.
Jonathan has a passion for teaching, and he cares deeply about all his students. When his student was killed, Jonathan recognized that New Orleans was about to face an overwhelming skills gap. Greater New Orleans Inc reported that local companies would likely announce more than 7000 job openings in the digital sector in the next decade. But at the same time, they noted the city did not have the talent base to meet this growing need.
Jonathan saw an opportunity that aligned with his purpose, his passion, and the needs of his community. That led him to found Rooted School in 2017. And since that time, the growth of this new charter school program has been rapid. Rooted School opened a second location in Indianapolis in August of 2020, the earliest out-of-state school replication in public charter school history. And Rooted School was just authorized to open their third location in Vancouver, Washington in 2022.
Wondering how you can change the world? Start with what you have and make small changes every day. Every decision Jonathan made over his teaching career prepared him for the moment he thought of Rooted School. And once he thought of it, it didn’t appear fully formed the next day. It took him another five years to make it a reality.
You have enough experience right now to take the next step towards your ikigai.
Resources To Inspire Your Next Step
There are many ways to fuel your creativity and spark your next big idea. If you can make small changes every day, even 60 minutes each week is enough to bring your goals to life.
Every new creative project begins with several important choices. Begin with message and design, and from there you can select the best fonts for the job. If you’re looking for font inspiration, explore fonts created by BIPOC type designers in our blog.