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Life doesn’t always turn out like we expected. The revolution in political voting shows we are not alone. Globally, voters are trying to get their point across. Like in the movie Network, “we’re angry and we’re not going to take it anymore”. But dialing it down several notches, we don’t have to take to the streets to recognize our own disappointments for how things are.  

We can turn it around. It may be too late to get a doctorate in computer science, but each of us is in possession of one of the best computers on earth. We also possess the same mechanisms that allow extreme athletes to achieve the impossible. In fact, we could all achieve the impossible with the right strategies.

Extreme athletes, artists, authors, and many more professions have learned the value of flow. Flow occurs when engaging in activities for which we have competence and in which we have barred distractions. Our brain pumps dopamine which not only pleasurable, it is addictive. Once you have experienced flow in one of your activities, you want more, lot’s more. This is why those engaging are doing it for the feelings even more than for the achievement.

Noted soloist (climbing without ropes) rock climber, Dean Potter, says he climbs impossible cliffs for the feelings, not to get on top of rocks. Jeremy Jones, extreme mountain climber and snowboarder, says there is the “white light” that occurs in the moments when the snow board is out of control and yet completely in control. Athletes often call this feeling the “zone”.

We can all get there. Develop passion for one of your interests and work toward mastery. Share what you are learning. You may pick up followers and maybe customers. Rock stars like Stevie Nicks and cookie bakers like Mrs. Fields started with a passion and found they eventually had an occupation. You don’t always have to share your interests with the world to feel you have found purpose. A friend of mine loves everything about raising and breeding Irises. I have urged her to share but so far she is enjoying engaging in her small circles.

Engaging in our passions could be said to be our purpose and the reason we are here. It gives life so much meaning. It may not lead to riches, but it certainly can lead to fulfillment.

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