The Constant Gardener

Let me start off by saying this is not a review for the 2005 international thriller starring Ralph Fiennes. The movie does though have some relevance to what I’m going to write about, but we will get to that later. I’ve had this diagram up on my wall which for some time now, I believe I may have mentioned it before. The idea behind it is to unlock your calling you must look to marry your passion, skills and world need. You do that and problem solved. You are on your way to greatness. You’re best life ever, filled with champagne wishes and caviar dreams. The problem was I had no idea what my passion was, let alone world need, or so I thought.

The whole idea of finding your passion is daunting, especially in today’s world where we have so little time to do the introspective, soul searching that is necessary. The life road map we are given growing up, especially here in the west is tried and true. So don’t even think about becoming some fucking hippie and start saying things like, “I feel the universe is calling me to heal other with my line of herbal teas.” I know I’ve harped on this before but the idea preached to us is one of comfort and stability. Somehow those ideals became more important than growing and evolving as a person, figuring how you best can serve others and yourself in the brief time we get here. You go to school, graduate, get a good stable job, tie the knot, give birth to 2.5 kids, then buy a house with a white picket fence and Dodge mini van parked in the driveway. Never once do you give a thought to, does what I’m doing matter to me, let alone anyone else? I’m I just going thought the motions until I die because I’ve got a fucking fence now that needs painting and lawn that require perpetual maintenance. Quit my job, do soul searching? You’ve got a safe, comfortable life stuck in mediocrity and boredom that certainly should not be fucked with.

I think we do this or at least I did this for the longest time because I was afraid of failure. I want to take the most assured path to financial success, because my ego could not handle being less successful, financially than those around me. Being “poor” was something my ego could not handle. I heard once that for a man’s ego to be happy he only needs to make more than his brother in law. That may be true, but if your life is guided by your ego you will most likely end up a grumpy, bitter old man whose balls droop so low they get white when sit on the toilet. You may make more money than your brother in law, but at what cost? I come from a corporate world where people were paid very well for what they did. But what would inevitably happen? They would go out and buy more shit, a bigger house, nicer car, thereby making them indentured servants because you can’t quit your job now. You have a monthly car payment and mortgage. Your life is now beholden to “things”, that is right I put air quotes around things, things on the outside because you decided it was not worth the risk to look on the inside.

Anyways getting back to how I thought I was going about finding my passion all wrong. Turns out my consistent fuck ups and failures to find that spark may have been the exact path all along. Think about the law of numbers philosophy. You just throw as much shit against the wall as you possibly can, waiting for the one thing to stick. This is what finding your passion looks like. I’ve done this in spades since graduating college. Having no idea what I wanted to do I just kept throwing things against the proverbial wall. Let’s briefly look at my trajectory. Graduated from college, went to work as financial analyst. Figured out pretty early on that really sucked. Then I thought I really like to argue, maybe I should go to law school. Thankfully, I never got in. So now what? I decided going back to get my MBA would not be a bad thing. Did that for two years, graduated and got a job in marketing. Again, pretty early on I realized this was not for me. So I decided I wanted to start my own business, selling brownies. Queue “fortunate son” by CCR in the background because I’ve leaving my job and I’m going to tear it up selling some brownies to the world.

“Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Ooo, their red, white and blue”

This is my dream, my calling, I can’t be stopped. Let’s fast forward to now. Instead of CCR playing in the background we got “Everybody hurts” by R.E.M. The business has not worked out, my bank account is dwindling and I have no idea where my life is headed. All I can think about is how I’ve royally screwed shit up for me and my family.
Turns out the whole throwing shit at the wall thing I’ve been doing might finally have paid off. Not all that long ago I was listening to another one of my podcasts. I loved what the interviewee had to say, Robin Arzon, “Things you are excited about are not accidental. Figure out a way to marry your skill set with that thing that makes you want to wake up every day even if you were doing it for free.” Her philosophy was simple. If you have are being pulled to do something. Do it. Trust your gut. If something gets you excited that is no accident, follow it through and see where it leads. You may keep having to hit the refresh button, until you hit on something, but if you don’t try you won’t find out and that life of mediocrity you are living will stay your annoying roommate. If you really enjoy cooking, take a cooking class, if milking cows sounds fun, grab that cow by its tits and start squeezing. You might not end up being a dairy farmer, but that is not the point. Where it might lead you becomes the point. When you follow what you are passionate about, actually scratch the word passion, that word has become loaded, let’s use excited. When you follow what get’s you jazzed, it inevitability will lead you somewhere meaningful and possibly unexpected. Even if it doesn’t hopefully you had a great time doing it and can now add something to your resume of skills that previously did not exist.

I’m going to try and wrap this up and show you how this looks for me. It is why I started this blog. I always enjoyed writing, but rarely got a chance to do any. There is a ton of shit going on in my head and writing has been a great way for me to processes through it all. Additionally if it is helping me, maybe I could help others. There was no downside really, so I said what the fuck. Most of the shit running around in my head was about the failure of my business and what I’m I going to do next. Besides writing I also love to cook. Over the past 7 years I’ve progressed to an almost exclusively plant based diet. The effect has been two fold. First I spend a lot of time cooking and preparing snacks and meals from scratch, second I realized a lot of the plant based recipes out there suck. I started playing around finding ways to make the recipes not only better, but could be frozen. This way I can make a large batch one time then freeze rest, freeing me up to follow other interest. So where am I going with this? Why can’t do I do this for other people and get paid for it. If I did not need money I would definitely do this for free.

As of this moment I’m putting my ass in a chair so I can start hashing out a business plan, complete with recipes and all. Once I have a rough sketch of the services I will provided and at what cost I will recruit friends or family who will let me come in and cook for them for free, assuming they can throw in some dough for the ingredients. I don’t have it figured out much beyond that, but that’s okay. I’ve signed up for this ride and I want to see where it will lead. But for the first time in a long time I’m excited about something. Let’s refer back to my diagram from earlier. Passion…check, I love cooking, skill…check , I think I’m pretty good, and world need….check, – we all need to eat healthier, but it’s tough we are busy. People would probably make better choices if they had more time to cook; this is where I come in.

As far as the Constant Gardner reference. We all need to start planting seeds. Plant as many seeds as possible because some will sprout and others will get shit on by a squirrel, but all it takes is for one to bloom. Even if that one works, keep planting, keep hitting refresh. What works great now may not work down the road. You will continue to grow and as result your values, your interests, what lights you up inside will be nurtured, putting you on the path to being the best version of yourself. This is what life is all about. I’ve said it over and over again, but I believe 100% this is our purpose as a human race. This is not easy and chances are you will fuck it many times, but those fuck ups, will actually put you closer to the path you were meant to take. Become a constant gardener, put on your overalls, a cute little sun hat and getting to work!

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