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The Broken Road – Learning Passion for Life

Although I had not yet put my entire life together, if I waited on it all to be put together I would never start living again. It is like those people that wait for everything to be perfect in their life in order to follow their dreams or get in a relationship. Once I have money I will start dating…After I get a good job I will start doing things that I enjoy…all the excuses we make inside our heads that prevent us from starting to take that step towards finally finding happiness.

no life excusesI think that is the reason that many people decide to settle for ‘good enough’ later in life, as all the prerequisites that turn off the road of life that society and everyone else says we should follow instead of taking the road that leads to us following our own dreams which rarely ever happens. Life is scary and you are going to get knocked down more than a few times before you find your true path and what sparks your passion. What shows true character is the ability of a person to dust themselves off after disappointment and continue fighting. I was a survivor but that was not going to define my life. Living in the past and holding onto the pain you have gone through prevents you from experiencing what could be an incredible present and future.

A friend of mine shared a quote with me, “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” I think that applies to so many people growing up these days. In so many cases we try to base the paths we follow on what others tell us is the “correct” way to live life. Yet a majority of people that follow advice from others never found their passion nor did they follow their own dreams. It is why over 60% of the people in the USA are unhappy at their jobs and have so many regrets when they get older and look back on their lives. You will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did in life.

I am not saying that I am perfect, nowhere near it actually. I make mistakes each and every day, but I live and learn. Being in Costa Rica had opened up my eyes to the fact there are other paths in life to be able to follow, you can break free, spread your wings and fly through hard work, dedication, and passion. This feeling has been slowly dying in the USA. So many kids are graduating from college with 1000’s of dollars in debt, and with not many job opportunities in front of them. The time where a college education and good grades guaranteed employment after graduation has come and gone. It leaves few options for students in need of paying back their loans and getting up on their feet in a life sustainable job in a system that sees them as a cog rather than an individual.

I know there are young adults out there that want the opportunity to show their self worth and to become a part of something that allows them to express their individuality instead of just another no name employee in corporate America. I had been given a second chance on life and wanted to help show others that there was still the ability to have hope in finding both themselves and their path to happiness in life. What better way to accomplish this than to start an intern program based in Costa Rica.

We already had two interns working for the newspaper that in a matter of just a couple of months had been able to start collegeto break the mold of many graduates which was that of entitlement. So many students believe that a diploma from a university means they should be given a job, given a good salary, and do not have to put in the work and effort to prove themselves. I agree that an education is important but the most important things I learned in college were networking and team work. The latter I learned mostly on the lacrosse fields. Looking back I think I currently use about 10% of what I learned in the classrooms in my day to day life. Not once have I used organic chemistry formulas or a multitude of other knowledge that colleges think are important. The true knowledge you gain is through life and learning pertinent skills that apply to the profession you chose. I learned website design by doing it. I learned internet marketing techniques by reading and trial and error. When it came to Spanish, I took 8 years of classes but I did not become fluent until having to speak it on a day to day basis. This is a not-so-well-kept secret that colleges do not want anyone to write about. Having a college education does open doors to interviews but, most start-up companies and entrepreneurs that are hiring are looking for the quick learners and hard workers with a desire to become part of something and see the long term vision.

The two interns that had been working for the newspaper learned quickly that I am someone with a ‘tough love’ philosophy. I do not think anyone deserves anything and that everyone needs to put in the hours and dedication. However, I would never expect anyone to do anything that I myself would not be willing to. If you show me your worth, then you will have a job with me for as long as you want. You cannot teach hard work and ethics to someone in the classroom, it is something that is internalized and is a part of you.

Also, I usually speak my mind and have little tact. Something that I need to work on, but I do not care that it can sometimes make someone feel bad. I just think that you can only be nice at first to try to point out errors that someone continues to commit, but after so many times you have to be very direct. If they want to learn then they will use this as constructive criticism and grow from their mistakes. More than once I have been taught better ways to do things by people around me; even interns.

Over the short period of time that the interns had been working with the newspaper they both had grown immensely. They were able to rely more on themselves. They had seen and started to internalize the value of working hard. They had started to become more creative and create their own paths. There are people that need to be directed every day, what I wanted them to be able to do is think for themselves and start approaching life in the same manner. Breaking free from the views of conservative society and step outside the box were the ultimate goals. I could see it happening right in front of me with these two young adults.

With a partner in place it was time to do this on a larger scale. To be able to hopefully set the minds free of multiple young adults each and every month. The Costa Rican Times Journalism Internship Program was born. Although it was just an idea, all the pieces were already in place for it to succeed. We had all the aspects of journalism in place; video, passion for lifewriting, and radio. We had some great entrepreneurs and teachers that wanted to be a part of the program. We had the perfect spot to allow us to put in place the “work hard, play hard” theme on the beaches of Costa Rica.

It was time to make the small changes in the world by freeing the minds of the youth or at least give them a different vision of what they can do to take steps in finding their own way.

As for me, I needed to stay focused on life and start putting in place the teachings that I wanted to pass on. I was slowly letting go of my past and seeing that there were brighter days in front of me. I had to let go of the fact that the woman I had loved had moved on. I had to realize that my dreams might not be the same as my parents and that was ok. I had to open my heart again no matter how afraid of being hurt I was. I needed to let it all go, learn from the lessons from what I went through and move on. Easier said than done but each day was a step in the right direction.

We are given one life to chase all those things that bring passion into our lives. If you give in to just settling you have given up on yourself and your dreams and might as well have just dug your own grave while still living.

The Greeks didn’t write obituaries, they only asked one question after a man died, ‘Did he have passion?’ Passion is not well understood in our culture. People assume that passion will come to them like a flash flood, overwhelming them with a sense of vitality and commitment to purpose. In truth, passion develops slowly and purposefully. You feel it most when you take time to breathe and consider the unique life activities that have meaning to you. Passion does not seek you out, rather you discover personal passions via a proactive pursuit of things interesting.

Next Up – Breathe

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