There are many books, videos, blogs, talks that urge you to follow your passion. These talk about the person as if they have just one passion and say that if you follow that one dream, then opportunities, money, and other things will follow. The problem with this is that there can be many passions and passions can ebb and flow. More importantly, does your passion resonate with other’s passions? If only can your desires bind with that of others, then will opportunities follow. A sort of ‘Build it and they will come’ kind of thing.
The contributive life is different- it works in reverse. So you contribute to the desires of many, instead of yourself. It is easy to see why this will attract more opportunities than the passionate life which is more isolating. Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a Japanese philosopher propounded the idea of the contributive life. He said,”Individual well-being entails cooperative and contributive existence within society,”
“genuine happiness requires sharing the sufferings and joys of the larger public as a member of society; and it can easily be understood that full and harmonious life within society is an indispensable element for any concept of authentic happiness.”
I had read these passages many years ago and had been rather dismissive of them as they seemed to me to be reeking of martyrism and sacrifice instead of ‘good’ and practical business ideas that supported you and your clients. But last night was an a-ha moment when I realised that Makiguchi’s contributive life was not just good principled practice but also good business advice. As a crude example, there are many sayings that echo this idea, ‘Selling coals to Newcastle’ is pointless, even if selling coals might be your passion. There is a Youtube video by Marie Forleo which talks about this by saying,’ How to convince people to pay for your services’
and this one which explains it all (and caused my a-ha moment). In the video seen by over two million people, Terri Trespicio, says, ‘To live a life full of meaning and value, you don’t live a life of passion; your passion follows you!”