Finding Purpose


I don’t want to say that I have found the purpose, or meaning, of life – my life that is. Nevertheless, I have found what makes it worth living – again for me. I deliberately emphasizes for me, because what makes sense to me won’t necessarily – or most likely – make sense to others. This much I can say, though; if we were all able to live out our passions, a lot of us would certainly feel happier and more fulfilled.

As I wrote two weeks ago in my post Pursuing Passion, I have done exactly that, pursued my passion for photography, journalism and travel. When I combine the three, I lose myself into a different and much more intense way of living, I feel alive and vibrant; I am almost constantly in flow. Of course, it doesn’t only happen when I travel or photograph or produce a story, it can happen when I am listening to music, or I may find flow when writing or when reading – or it may occur in encounters with people I connect to. The point is we find flow when we do things we love to do.

In the before mentioned post I referred to the book The Element by Ken Robinson. Robinson is kind of a creative expert – an English author, speaker and advisor on education in the arts, and he often challenges the way we are educating our children. One of his main points is that the educational system should encourage the students to pursue their passions, more than just follow a prescribed and – for many students – boring curriculum. If students could find their passions and be encourage to pursue them – professionally, a lot more people would feel they are living a meaningful life, not only when off from work, but all the time; indeed, their work would be a fulfilment of its own, not just something to make a living of. Robinson’s argument is that there is a powerful driving force inside every human being that, once unleashed, can make any vision, any dream, a reality. That is The Element, which he writes about in his book. Robinson uses it as a term that describes the place where things we love to do and the things we are good at come together – as I mentioned in my post Pursuing Passion.

Some people may feel passionate for a range of activities and may be really good at them. Others may have a singular passion they can thrive with, that fulfils them far more than anything else does. No matter what, when people are in this place that Robinson calls the element, they connect with something fundamental to their sense of self-revelation, of defining whom they really are and what they are really meant to do with their lives. This is why many of the people in The Element, who Robinson writes about, describe finding this element as an epiphany.

The big question is; how do we find this element in ourselves? How do we discover the passion that, if pursued, will make us good – and will give us this fulfilment I am talking about?

I quoted this in my before mentioned post from Robinson’s book: «The Element has two main features, and there are two conditions for being in it. The features are aptitude and passion. The conditions are attitude and opportunity. The sequence goes something like this: I get it; I love it; I want it; Where is it?»

I Get It. An aptitude is a natural capability for something. It is an intuitive feel or a grasp of what that thing is, how it works, and how to use it. Our aptitudes are highly personal. They may be for general types of activity, like math, music, sport, poetry, or political theory. They can also be highly specific – not music in general, but jazz or rap, just as an example. But how do I get or disover what I could be good at? This is maybe the hardest part of finding this place that gives fulfilment in life. Anyone who has been in the state of flow, though, know something about his or her natural aptitude. Some discover what they good at as kids. If you don’t know yet your aptitude, maybe looking back into childhood memories can unleash it again. Or maybe someone who knows you very well, can point you into a direction. An important point here is; it’s never too late to pursue one’s passion. There are plenty of examples of people who find their call late in life.

I Love It. Being in your element is not only a question of natural aptitude. It needs something more. Passion. People who are in their element take a deep delight and pleasure in what they do. They do it because they love – and couldn’t imaging doing anything else.

I Want It. Attitude is our personal perspective on ourselves and our circumstances. People who love what they do, often describe themselves as lucky. People who think they are not successful in their lives, often say they have been unlucky. According to Robinson, high achievers often share similar attitudes, such as perseverance, self-belief, optimism, ambition and frustration.

Where Is It? Without the right opportunities, you may never know what your aptitudes are or how far they may take you. There aren’t many bronco riders in Antarctic, or pearl divers in the Sahara Desert. Aptitudes don’t necessarily become obvious unless there are opportunities to use them. Often we need other people to help us recognize our real talents. An often we can help others discover theirs. I found my aptitude for photography because a good friend of mine purchased a camera when we were in our teens and got me infatuated with photography as well. Another friend made me subscribe to a photo magazine, which eventually spurred my interest even more.

What are you passionate about? What kind of activities makes you feel most alive and in touch with yourself? I would love to hear more about it.

111 thoughts on “Finding Purpose

  1. I love this article so much!! That sounds like a lovely book!! 🙂 I have known since I was born what I was passionate about: books, poetry, writing, travelling, spirituality, children, helping people, love….oh, the list is long, and that long list has made my life so very magical!! When I tell people about my adventures, they think I am much older than I am, cause I have done so much. But that is just because I have so so many passions, and want to pursue all of them! 🙂 I am going to buy that book for a friend of mine who is a little lost when it comes to finding out what he passionate about. I am sure he will feel inspired 🙂 Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

    1. You seem to have a lot going for you. Fantastic! No need to be bored at all, no… Thanks for sharing your passions with us. And I hope your friend can get a little inspired by The Element.

  2. To the big question: How do you find purpose, or shall we say happiness? I believe it is in us. If we observe ourselves carefully, we find out what activity or situation gives us this state of happiness.
    For me, it is being in the great outdoors, living a simple life.
    I have read that it may not be realistic to expect this feeling of happiness or purpose all the time.
    Thanks for starting this conversation.

    1. A bit off topic, Bearly, but do you have an email sign up widget on your blog? I just love your photos, but I don’t use the reader, only email (as I get dizzy scrolling through the reader) and would love to get an email when you upload a post.
      Thnx Vicki

    2. I believe it’s in us, too. But sometimes it may be hard to get t out from hiding. As for feeling happy all the time. No, of course not, people who do what they love also have their down time.

  3. Einen schönen guten Morgen wieder ein sehr guter Beitrag ich lese es sehr gene,ja wie kann man ein Element in sich fitden ich glaube man muss in reinen mit sich sein.Wünsche dir eine gute neue Woche lieber Gruß Gislinde

  4. This is a great post and inspiring. I have been searching for a number of years for such a passion – my mistake was looking outwards for it when all along it was within. I started to paint a year ago and now I cannot imagine my life without it – ever. I love it, I want it and it is all around me, I just didn’t see it before!

    1. So good that you found your passion. Sounds like painting is the thing for you. 🙂 And, yes, passion comes from inside, is very personal, and cannot be found out in the world.

  5. Interesting post, Otto! My passion is my photography, even more so if combined with travel…. But that isn’t my only passion…being with friends and enjoying a good discussion, reading a really good book, listening to certain music, seeing a great film, visiting an art gallery and finding one or two works that really ‘speak’ to me can all transport me to another place….

    1. Like you I have a multitude of interests and activities I am passionate about. I think there is so much fun and interesting going on all over the world. Thanks for sharing your passions, Sue.

  6. Our passions can change over time. When I worked in TV it was definitely my passion. I loved it. Now I miss it. I suspect that I have been in search of a new passion ever since. In my eyes it is a tough act to follow. I have been more fortunate than some. Some do the same job all of their lives and hate every second of it. For me being able to get out of bed every morning and do the thing I was most passionate about for more than a decade was a blessing and I was grateful every day. As always, Otto, you have inspired me to think about things I may have been neglecting. Many thanks.

      1. Yes, I was, Otto. In another life it seems but it was my passion for a very long time. Television was a natural transition for me and I was head over heals in love with it before I knew what hit me.

  7. Great post. My husband is a perfect example. He has the aptitude and ability to create art, he was given the opportunity, and he certainly loves it.

  8. Great post! Music and nature bring out the passion most of often for me, although there are many simple moments that also stir that as well.

  9. Hi Otto, my latest passion is photography.
    But I’ve always been a very creative person,
    I like to create things. And I love making my
    own stationary paper and greeting cards, I
    don’t buy them, nobody gets cards and letters
    as anybody else from me.
    Now I can combine them all and I am about
    70% happy. 100 % would be, if I could make
    a living from that.
    Maybe that’s a bit asking for too much 🙂

    Have a great time following your passion!

    1. Of course, many creative persons like you strive to find a living from their passions. But it is possible. For instance, I am sure you could sell your personal greeting cards to a bigger audience. Start out with friend and friends of friends – and slowly build a business over time. Just a thought, and of course that may not be what you want to do. 🙂

  10. This is wonderful Otto. You have put into words what I feel. The problem is my conflict. I am a nurse by trade but photography is my passion. I should work more as a nurse to pay the bills but I am addicted to my passion. The more I do photography the more I don’t want to be a nurse. I have been able to do well in sales of my equine photography (Danehy Photography) but I can’t make a profit. I am searching for a way to make it work. I am going to share your blog with my sister who does not understand my conflict. She does not understand why I resist working more hours in nursing. Thanks, Jo

    1. What you say certainly make sense to me, Jo. We have all – that is those of us who pursue our passions – had that conflict. A thought: Is there any way you can combine being a nurse and a photographer? Making photographs for the public relation of the hospital you are working at, maybe…

  11. The last paragraph says it all for me. Having the opportunity to use our passion to realize we have found it, and someone to encourage us and/or help us find that apptitude and passion. And that is exactly how it worked out for me. Great post!

  12. Excellent Otto. I think the previous writer makes an important point when she refers to ‘someone to encourage us and/or help us to find that aptitude and passion’. In his TED lecture Ken Robinson gives an excellent example of Gillian Lynne who, as an eight year old, was diagnosed by her teachers as having learning difficulties – she took little interest in class,was constantly fidgeting and was a distraction to other pupils. Her mother took her to see a specialist who listened patiently to the catalogue of problems before asking the mother to have a private word with him outside the room. As they left the room he switched on a radio as company for the child. He then drew the mother’s attention to the way in which the child, not knowing that she was being observed, began to move and respond to the music. His ‘prescription’ was that the child should be given dancing lessons.
    Gillian Lynne became a famous dancer, a soloist at the Royal Ballet and choreographer for several of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicals. With a little help she had found her element. She was eventually made Dame Gillian Lynne.

    1. Yes, Robinson writes about Gillian Lynne in his book – as well as many other people that turned a disadvantage or a special interest into their Element. And, yes, it often does take someone from the outside to help us see our special abilities or aptitudes. Or as Angeline says, someone to encourage us to find it.

  13. Another very interesting post Otto. As a teacher I was often saddened that certain boys, who didn’t have an academic aptitude, were kept in class when, at 14, they could have been out in the workplace learning a trade or a craft. I had one boy who’d stripped down and rebuilt a motorcycle at the age of 10 but was deemed a failure before he even started secondary/high school. We certainly do many children a huge injustice with this obsession with academic achievement. The problem stems of course, from the fact that only those with University degrees are valued by our society therefore there is an obsession amongst politicians and education ministers that this is what every child should be given the opportunity to aspire to. Well of course every child should but when it becomes clear that a child isn’t academic, they should be given other options. Those with practical, not academic abilities should be equally recongised and those children for whom this is clearly the correct course their lives will take, should be given the opportunity to exploit those skills and have them celebrated, not have children labelled as failures.
    I have a university degree, I enjoyed teaching but having found photography, I would have loved to be able to teach it to children who took an interest and business and economics to only those children that wanted to pass exams to take them to higher education.

    1. You point is very much the same as Robinson’s. Our educational system is generally too geared up for academic careers. Like this boy of of 10 who could strip down and rebuild motorcycles, image how different his experience in the school system had been, if his skills had been appreciated. Thank you for a very thoughtful comment, Adrian.

  14. Live out his passions is good !! Photo, travel, discovery, nature !! One way to enrich and e rejuvenate the face of this crazy company !! I just take care not to become addicted Blog;-)
    Have a nice week

  15. Another inspiring post, Otto! I’m just beginning to discover my element or passion. Photography is certainly a part of it. Walking, rambling, and hiking is another part.

  16. Si sente fortissima la passione per ciò che fai caro Otto, esce dalle tue parole e quasi la si può sentire sulla pelle. In questo momento sinceramente non saprei cosa mi appassiona, sono in un periodo di stasi, anche la fotografia non mi esalta molto, forse perché non ho la possibilità di fare foto in luoghi diversi e in contesti diversi e quindi per ora me ne sto tranquilla tranquilla fino a quando tutto tornerà nella normalità e la fotografia tornerà a coinvolgermi fortemente.
    Un’altra mia passione è il saxofono, sfortunatamente non ho mai potuto imparare a suonarlo, pazienza.
    Un caro saluto, Patrizia

    1. E ‘bello riaverti, Patrizia. Per quanto riguarda ciò che si scrive, io non mi preoccuperei troppo di un incantesimo temporanea di stagnazione. Succede a tutti coloro che sono impegnati in attività creative. Basta lasciare il lavoro a tempo per voi. Ho avuto momenti in cui ho pensato che non sarei stato in grado di fotografare qualcosa di più interessante. E poi un paio di settimane più tardi, ho catturato alcuni dei miei migliori immagini. Fiducia in voi stessi e la fiducia la vostra creatività. Si tornerà. Per quanto riguarda il sassofono – forse si dovrebbe imparare a giocare, dopo tutto.

  17. As others have said our passions may change over our lifetime as circumstances change. I once raged against inequality in the world and was involved in protests and political campaigns and that commitment is still there but in the background more these days …and my love of the outdoors and horses (which used to be in the background) has now come more to the forefront. I am constantly aware though that those of us who have the luxury of pondering these questions are the lucky ones since for many in the world life is a constant struggle to survive. Interesting exchange you’ve started here.

    1. I cannot agree more with you about how lucky some of us are to be able to ponder about these question. In a way it’s a luxury, but at the same time I wish it could be something everybody could work with. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  18. Very good post. You have the right question – how one find these things. As in your the other post that one wants seriously enough to follow the passion. That needs courage and risk taking. I like your young story on how you got started in Photography. I had similar experience that my friend got me started into the field at the time I was fascinated about (but I do not have the “Get It” part :)).

  19. Hi Otto- Enjoyed your post very much. Thought-provoking and inspiring…especially that it’s never too late to start. Photography is certainly the one that stirs the most creative passion for me right now, however, there are many other things I would put on the list. Education causes, poverty, health, the environment, the arts…too many when I start to think about all the areas of importance for me. Thank you.

    1. As Robinson demonstrates with good examples, many people do find the passions late in life – and make something out of it. Keep pursuing yours – I don’t think there will ever be too many. 🙂

  20. I think that among aptitude, passion, attitude and opportunity, the most difficult to manage may be opportunity. I know more than one person who is a master at what they do, loves what they do (and probably would have no purpose in life without doing it), want it with all their heart, yet are are barely scraping together a living because the stars do not align for them. And it’s not because they’re in the wrong place. Others, some much less talented, in the same profession and the same place are doing quite well. I have yet to decipher the dynamics of this situation. All I can convey at the moment is that the saying “do what you love and the money will follow” is not always true.

    1. I don’t necessarily think money will follow what you love. But doing what you love will feel meaningful. How you are able to turn you aptitude into money, very much depend on your attitude. At least for me the creative process in itself is a very satisfactory fulfillment. I am able to sustain a living by pursuing my passion, but I would probably have made a lot more money by pursuing an academic career – which was also one of my options. We won’t all be able to become Stephen King just because we love to write – but writing may give us purpose and fulfillment if we love to write.

  21. ‘i went to the woods so i could live deliberately…. and not when i had come to die, discover that i had not lived’…. sorry, can’t remember who said that or the exact quote…. but your article reminded me of it 🙂

    1. There have been variations of this saying by many people. Such as this one: «Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming Wow! What a Ride»!. – Hunter S. Thompson

      1. well, i hate to disagree with hunter lol no i don’t, i disagree with him all the time! but i am done being worn out, i want my health back, and i lost my health getting thoroughly used up, i’m done with being used too… i would love to proclaim ‘wow what a ride’ but spending most of my life bed ridden makes my rides have less of a wow factor haha…. so i happily disagree with hunter s thompson, on almost everything really lol

      2. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

        ― Henry David Thoreau

  22. my dear otto, I read this “story” 2 times … in my heart and soul … I feel wiser now than in my youth … … if you manage to do what you love in life , it means you have not lived in vain !!
    “” I feel alive and vibrant “” yes … to be ALIVE not only to live, is the most important for me … as you say!!
    I’m doctor , an obstetrician one,!! job is to attend to the greatest miracle of man on earth “birth” of “small guys”” and what I receive , delights me and makes me feel “‘alive”” ,I love what I do … and I think they makes me spiritually 20 years younger than biological age !!
    I would like more people to find their role and place in this life … but …. it seems that there was no enthusiasm …. “” being alive “” especially to generate 20-30 !! it seems like they just give years to life not life to years !!!
    I want to reblog your thoughts here .. !! I liked it and hope other people to have curaj to LIVE !!
    thanks for your words !!

    1. I can feel you vibrating through your words here, Nina. That is so great. And, yes, to attend the greatest miracle most be such a joy. I think anyone pursuing their passions feel younger than their actual years. Thanks for the lovely comment.

  23. Reblogged this on Doctor de Romanica' and commented:
    Am citit această “poveste” de 2 ori … in inima si sufletul meu … așa mă simt mai înțelepta acum decât în tinerețea mea … … daca reusesti sa faci ceea ce iti place in viata, înseamnă că nu ai trăit degeaba !!
    “” Mă simt viu și vibrant “” da … să fii în viață nu numai să trăiasti, este cel mai important pentru mine … cum spui !!
    Sunt doctor, unul obstetrician, !! .. treaba mea este de a participa la cel mai mare miracol de om de pe pământ “naștere” a “omuleti” “și ceea ce primesc, mă încântă și mă face să mă simt” “vie” “Îmi place ceea ce fac … și cred că mi-au trimis spiritual 20 ani mai tanara decat varsta biologica !!
    mi-ar placea ca mai multe persoane sa-si găseasca rolul și locul lor în această viață … dar …. se pare că nu a existat nici un entuziasm …. “” a fi viu “,” mai ales pentru a genera 20-30 !! se pare ca dau doar ani la viață si nu viata anilor !!!
    Vreau să pun gandurile tale aici .. !! Mi-a placut si sper alte persoane să aibă curajul să trăiască !!
    mulțumesc pentru cuvintele tale,otto … !!

  24. Very good post Otto. Poignant and provocative. I have been around for a while and I am certainly convinced that passion is a real mainstay in quality and quantity of life. I am extremely lucky in that I have found mine in the never ending pursuit of making that next heart warming image. And that is for me. And certainly to share with interested folks that might see the world in a different manner through my images. The older I become the more I am moving to the qualitative side of life with the attendant qualitative issues. Funny how we all think we are saddled with the quantitative side that I have come to understand while necessary is not where my soul food resides. Funny that for most of us that is where the yardstick resides. But what is real solid happiness? And I think that is for sure the questions to be asking. How does this feed my soul? Or what really feeds my soul? It is a question to be asked at every stage of life and a very valid question. For me that is one serious touch stone.

    1. You questions are very relevant – and I like you thoughts around quality vs. quantity as well. Each of us must of course find our own way, but sometimes I think we have a tendency to overrate quantity, whether we are talking about money, megapixels, countries we have visited, how many shoes we have or whatever else we think is quantitatively important in life. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

  25. My perfect day is one where I have time to be outside, to pray, to be of service, to read and learn, to meet new people and spend time with friends, to explore… throw in some reading, writing, and photography and I’m in heaven! That’s why I love this new career in real estate and wish I’d stumbled into it sooner. I’m going to have to read that book.

  26. As I mentioned previously, my passion now is digital art, it’s a pleasure for me and something I can’t live without. As is my connection with nature which I use as the basis for my art. But I also write a lot because it’s natural for me, it’s a gift that I overlooked for most of my life. I also lacked self-confidence when I was younger and was advised to do secretarial work after university despite a good degree result. I have listened to Ken Robinson and do so agree with him – I was lucky to always be top of the class in exams at grammar school and I always remember feeling sorry for the couple of girls who always came last and really weren’t suited to academic work. A former neighbour of mine was passionate about cars and car mechanics, he loved to work on our Rove and keep it in top form, and I think it’s a shame that there’s so much snobbery about degrees versus other work avenues which can be so fulfilling. I did read of one guy in the UK who left a top legal job to become a plumber as he loved plumbing (horses for courses, I guess!), and ended up making more as a plumber than he did as a legal eagle. If people were encouraged to follow their passion, we’d all be a lot happier!

    1. I agree, it’s really a shame that there is so much snobbery about degrees versus other kinds of work. I am glad you found a way of of the secretarial work, even it happened later in life (and of course there is nothing wrong with that kind of work – if you like doing it).

  27. Oh yes, I can perfectly identity with this in it’s entirety, Otto. I can’t imagine going through a whole lifetime without it being dominated by a passion for something. In my case, it was playing guitar in my earlier years, and then, of course, photography, which overtook the music, and has stayed with me.

    I actually ended up running away from formal education in my teens due to boredom, and was just so lucky to be able to get into university in my mid 20s through a special plan. That’s why I’d like to see a more flexible approach in education in the formative years, so as not to turn young people off.

    Thanks for this thought provoking post, then.

  28. Like many others, I appreciate this post a lot. After reading it, my first thought was: but my passion keeps changing — at first, it was writing, then videotaping and photographing and now I am not sure. I thought about this since the day I read your post and I found out (I think) that sometime it is possible that you may have passions on many things, and at the time you are not aware of all. In my case, writing, videotaping, photographing… are still my passions, but only if I use “writing, videotaping, photographing…” to connect to people and maybe helping them, I would be happy and satisfied. In other words, “people” is an important part of my passion. I hope this makes sense.

    1. Just the way you write about your passions, it’s clear that you have found something that connect them all – or connect to people. Of course we can have passion for many things – as this passion may change over time. Thanks for sharing your experience, Helen.

  29. Wonderful words and a great look at not just taking the time to find purpose, but to pursue it fully. There is so much out there in life that it can be overwhelming, and such feelings can actually create a bit of paralysis in the sense that with so many options where can one even begin to understand and define passion…

    I think the basic thoughts you present “I get it; I love it; I want it; Where is it?” works well as it can help reduce the options that overwhelm people; it can creatively coerces the mind to take action…and that alone creates purpose (and passion). Cheers!

    1. Of course those basic thoughts aren’t mine, but Ken Robinson’s. Nevertheless I think you are right, and that’s why I wanted to emphasize them in this post – they may help take away this overwhelming feeling. Thanks for this thoughtful post, Randall.

  30. Hej otto, intressant inlägg, har kollat upp boken och gör en beställning.
    Tack för att du delar med dig av så mycket intressant och stimulerande här på din blogg.
    Du vet så väl även var och med vad jag finner mina. Sedan ger mig själva utforskande om vad som funkar och inte funkar en stor tillfredsställelse. Själva testandet är lite av det jag gillar i mitt skapande, måste inte leda till resultat direkt utan jag gillar att söka mig fram och låta nya ideér växa fram.
    Allt Gott till dig.

    1. Jeg forstå godt det tilfredsstillende ved selve det å utforske. Jeg har det på samme måte selv. Og ja, jeg er i hvert fall til dels klar over var som er dine lidenskaper. Jeg håper du liker boken. Og takk for innlegget, det er alltid kjekt å se deg her på bloggen, Monica.

  31. We have similar interests–I love travel, photography, writing and storytelling. I enjoy gardening, once I get out the door. Hiking and canoeing, but my family is what I feel most passionate about.

  32. It is always good to find something that fulfills ones. Prison ministry was what made me feel alive because I could see immediate results of my work. It is one thing that has fulfilled me the most in my life.

  33. An off-handed thought, here. Many people misunderstand passion as purely emotional. When an endeavor — writing, painting, photography, a business venture — hits a rough spot, when a person feels themselves rudderless, without ideas, or frustrated by a problem, they often begin to doubt themselves. At that point, the challenge is to recommit to the process, not to abandon it simply because it doesn’t “feel good.”

    And sometimes, passion can come only after we have realized our aptitude. I began my WordPress blog because a few people who read my jottings elsewhere said, “You know, you do write some interesting things.” I said from the beginning that I wanted to use the blog to learn how to write. After about two years of posting every week, I discovered that my passion for writing was increasing as my skills developed. Now, I can’t imagine not writing.

    Maybe the next step is to learn how to write a book. 🙂

    1. I think that would be a natural next. I already look forward to reading your book. Besides, I think you are spot on when it comes to the hardships of pursuing one’s passions. We all hit that spot when things don’t flow easily any more, and that is the testing time. As you say, the challenge is then to recommit to the process.

  34. Your posts, Otto, become my reminders to keep going. Keep moving forward. Finding “purpose” becomes so….relative in the day to day…but it also becomes THE habit of intent in the long term. Finding opportunities and making them work for you, the individual, is fearful yes…but doable.
    That is what your “reminders” do for me…give that needed leg-up when in a stall. Again, thanks!

  35. Being out photographing nature and wildlife does it for me. Traveling to new places and exploring also revisiting old haunts over and over learning to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to what is before me at the moment.

  36. An outstanding, penetrating post that only someone who is true to his passion and art could have envisioned and put forth with such clarity. What startled me was the bit about pearl divers in Sahara! How true! There are times I feel out of place exactly like that but isn’t life all about reconciling your dreams with your passion? So I ‘ll keep scouring the dunes with my calloused hands: maybe I’ll find a pearl in the blistering sands.

    1. Don’t ever give up hope. But hopefully you have more interests than finding pearls the the sand of the deserts… Thank you for a very thoughtful comment. Much appreciate, Umashankar.

  37. Otto, I’m having too much fun reading your posts tonight. I’m laughing because we’re friends on facebook and….well, I always look at your pics, but how did I miss this brilliant part of you? Multi-talented for sure. I love your photography, but I love your wisdom more. I just wrote a note on my bathroom mirror: “We find flow when we do things we love.” ~Otto. It’ll be a nice reminder in the morning to keep on keepin’ on…I’ll only disagree with one small aspect of your post: I don’t think that people find things “late in life”. I think some people find things later because that’s when they are ready to take them on. So it’s not late by any means, but rather — just. in. time.

    Thank you for this insightful, interesting description of who I can be, who I need to be, who I should always pursue to be. I needed to see this tonight.. you have no idea.

    Beso y abrazos.

    1. I don’t necessarily think we disagree about late in life. My point was really that just because we are accumulating some years on our back we don’t have to lay down and don’t go for it – whatever it is. You know today, the general idea is if you are older than 25 you are done…. Thanks for a wonderful comment, Carmen.

  38. Beautifully said and very insightful 🙂 I think change is vital to finding your passion; putting yourself in different situations, meeting a variety of people and trying new things can reveal your calling. I am reading “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron and just a few pages in I am intrigued and learning a lot about finding one’s creativity and using it to its full potential. WHERE IS IT?! Well, you gotta go out and find it…dig for it, ask for it, try for it and play with the idea that there could be more than one passion for your special soul.

    1. Indeed, you have to go out and find it. “The Artists Way” is a wonderful book, I did the whole thing some years ago and learned a lot. It brings so much insight to the creative process.

  39. Very inspiring post, Otto.
    My passion is my family – most of all my 3 lovely “kids” ( ) – being a part of their life is the greatest gift in my life.
    But as you can see on my blog the world we live in is very important for me also – nature, culture – travelling and experiencing – and photographing – small spots in my garden or great cities or landscapes around the world…….

  40. NICE! Little time ago had the same thoughts! Nw working hard and following the dream, the only dream to take a fragment of time with and keep it with me via my lenses.

    Is amazing when you are in a remote village and people ask you estrange things, amazed because you are the first foreigner they never seen. People how even never had been photographed… That moments are magic for me.

  41. This was an amazing blog Otto! I made it my mantra for 2015. Before I forget, Happy Belated Birthday. Hope your day was wonderful and I only wish the very best in the coming year for you and your loved ones. I’m working on my Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange, so I hope you can stop by and check it out.

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