A number of my friends are considering major changes in their careers and their lives. They often ask me rhetorical and vaguely familiar questions: Where do I want to work? Where do I want to live? What do I want to do with my life? Young people are often accused of being over-praised, self-centered, and entitled, but no one says they lack motivation.
I thought of my meaning-seeking friends as I read editor Sy Safransky’s latest piece in the Sun. In it, he asks, “How do I keep my passion alive?”
Safransky answers his own question saying, “By recognizing the difference between something that’s genuinely important and something that merely clamors for my attention.... By allowing hope to rise in me; that’s the nature of hope. By remembering that hot air rises, too.”
It reminds me of the famous “Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
My friends have figured out that motivation, while important, doesn’t achieve anything on its own. The trick is directing that motivation in the right place.