Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive...then do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
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I was doing a play in Virginia and the producer asked two of us if we would talk to a group of high school drama students who had seen the show. We both agreed and a session was set up at the high school with about 10 senior class students. They were a bright and curious group. I enjoyed meeting with them and answering their questions.
At one point one of the boys asked what life was like in theatre. I asked him if he was thinking about a life in theatre. He answered "Mildly." My colleague said "Well, if you're thinking about it mildly, don't think about it."
I could feel the kid's reaction so I said to him "My colleague is not being insulting. He's telling the truth." I went on to say that the theatre, as with any important venture in life, one had to go into with both feet, stomach, heart and brains. If it wasn't an unqualified desire in his life then something else was and he should keep experimenting until he found it.
I also let him know that the theatre may in fact be his life's work but that he just didn't know it yet. That he was in that class showed that he was definitely interested in acting and he should keep doing it if he wanted to and one day it might happen that his bells would ring and his lights go on and he would know "This is what I want to do for my life." I told him that might happen in the next five years, the next five weeks or the next five minutes. One never knows. But that if it doesn't happen he should keep on looking and one day it will.
I told the story of a singer I once worked with. To the age of 50 he owned a successful insurance company. His doctor told him he had to do something to exercise his throat. They both agreed singing would be a good choice, so he began taking singing lessons, Three years later he sold his business and became a full time professional singer. He was 55 when I knew him. He said that it was as if he had been asleep for half a century and suddenly came alive.
I knew another man who, in his early middle age, quit the corporate world and went to medical school because he suddenly realized that what he wanted to do, what he had to do with his life, was to deliver babies.
There are hundreds of stories like that. It usually doesn't happen in any grandiose fashion. I have described elsewhere how it happened to me as I stepped over my sister's vacuum cleaner. It's usually more like the silent, final click that opens the padlock One may not even realize it has happened. And one can't force it. But when it happens it always leads us somewhere.
Ask, seek, knock, struggle, strive, get to know yourself and one day you will find, as Beth puts it, "what floats your boat."
When you come alive you contribute to the world and make it better. It's inevitable. You can't help it.
DB - The Vagabond
Sing a song to Spring, tra la.