I was reading an article last week by a good friend entitled Are You A Flatlander? As a science fiction geek, this quickly brought back memories of a great story by Larry Niven published in 1967, Flatlander. Characters were lines, squares, circles and other geometrical figures who existed in just two dimensions.
My friend was trying to use this as an analogy. He points out that most of us get stuck in a two-dimensional world of money and work, trying to optimize our choices between the two.
But there’s more beautiful dimensions out there to discover. Purpose, for one.
When you explore a sense of discovering and fulfilling purpose with your life, all of a sudden new possibilities open up. You get to achieve great things by expending your time and money. Your work becomes enjoyable because it’s going in a useful direction. If you choose to, you may even be able to make money by doing something that you’re passionate about.
And because you’re not living in two dimensions any more, it’s quite possible to jump over what seemed to be impassable barriers.
This has an interesting overlap with another conversation I ran across on LinkedIn this week. Someone asked about the degree to which it’s useful for people to pursue their passion.
I understand the implied cynicism. We’ve been telling our children for a couple of generations now that we just want them to be happy, and if they pursue their passion everything will turn out just fine. But in fact, for many kids things HAVEN’T turned out fine, and there’s many struggling with despair and lack of direction.
But “pursuing your passion” is a useful concept, even if not magical. It’s a means of generating energy which will help you to work through the hard times, by having hope in a better and happier future.
The thing people forget is that you still have hard work to do, choices to make. And the world doesn’t guarantee that your passion will result in making a living. So the challenge is to find something in your work which you’re good at, you can be passionate about, and for which the world will reward you. When all three of those align – even for a few hours a week – the results can be magical.
And this added dimension will give you the energy to jump over what seemed to impassable barriers in the Flatland world.