Finding your own personal sweet spot

by Life-Engineering on January 25, 2011 · 0 comments

I’ve moved this post to my new Life-Engineering blog, dedicated to motivating people to achieve their goals and change their futures by taking control of their lives.

You can now find this post here:

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eric Nielson August 16, 2008 at 7:42 AM

This is something I have a bit of a problem with. Maybe you can help a brother out. I will use a personal experience to illustrate.

When I was young (about 10) I was probably the best athlete in my town. I was expecting to be a professional athlete of some type – just a matter of which sport. I loved sports, and still do. If I have a passion it is in this area.

Unfortunately by the time I was in high school I was a very average athlete, and couldn’t enem make my high school teams. It was very sad for me to realize I simply did not have the talent to pursue that passion. All passion with no competency and little oportunity. So now what?

I knew I was good in math and science, and decided to choose mechanical engineering as a career based on competency and oportunity. I really am not greatly passionate about it thoguh. It is just a job to me. So I am sort of an average engineer and I look forward to going home at the end of the day.

The point I am trying to make is that most of the world simply does not have a sweet spot. And I feel should accept something less. This speaks against what you are advocating.

So what should I do? Without the athletic skill, and as a 41 year old, should I quit my job and try and be an ESPN guy? Should I try and spend my kids mission funds and try and get my PGA card and be a professional golfer since I like golf? I have a wife and four kids to worry about.

Dropping what I feel are my responsibilities to try and find my personal sweet spot seems ….. irresponsible. I just wonder if following our passions regardless of competency and opportunity usually lead nowhere. And what we are really passionate about is probably pretty limited in range. How many things can a person be passionate about? And if someone is passionate about many things, are the just to emotional and not very rational?

Anyway, I struggle with this concept, and wonder what advice to give my four boys as they grow up. If their passions are not practical or marketable should I really encourage them to invest everything into that passion anyway? Or encourage them to keep that passion as a hobby and invest in something that will provide for a family?

I would be interested in your thoughts.


2 Margaret August 16, 2008 at 10:23 AM

I don’t think the “sweet spot” HAS to be related to how you make a living. Maybe for you it’s your blog or something else you love to do that fills a need and you’re good at. For most of us our job isn’t the best part of our life, but we have to make a living. Maybe the best sweet spot is giving some kind of service and doesn’t involve money at all.


3 Rusty Lindquist August 17, 2008 at 1:48 AM

I do agree with Margaret, perhaps it’s improbable to reach a sweet spot in every aspect of your life, but working to find one sweet spot gives your life excitement and meaning. Perhaps your sweet spot is your 4 children, so you work as you must so that you can come home and be in your sweet spot. If you’re passionate about parenting and your family, and there’s clearly the opportunity for you, and you’re growing in competency, then that’s what constitutes a sweet spot.

But in response to your career questions. The point wasn’t just follow your passion, but find your sweet spot. If you’re passionate about sports, but there isn’t a lot of opportunity, nor sufficient competency, then that’s not a sweet spot, that’s just a passion. Passion without opportunity or any real level of competitive competency is fine, it’s called a hobby. Should people pursue their passions? Absolutely, but usually not to the exclusion of all else. The point here is that if you pursue a passion where there is no opportunity or competency, then beware the results.

Instead, if you can find the things you are passionate about (even moderately so), that are also in demand, and in which you show at least moderate (and improving) capacity, then this model advises you to focus on that, for in doing so, you’ll end up having more fun and being more successful.

Also, I do think that people can get down on life. Passion can be killed, or at least stifled. As such, passion can also be found. A life without passion is like cereal without milk! Dry and crunchy 😉

But it’s never too late (or too early) to find new passions. People do it all the time. For some, they try fly-fishing, and fall in love with it. Some start running, and exercising, and become passionate about it. Passion isn’t something you’re only given so much of. It’s something that can be found, acquired, and built.

I’ve now run two marathons, and I’m passionate about running. But boy, it sure didn’t start that way. Running was the last thing I wanted to do. But one day I decided to set a goal to do it. I’d never been a runner, but I thought it would be a valuable endeavor (if for nothing other than diminishing my ever-increasing love handles). Then to my great astonishment, I simply fell in love with it.

I shouldn’t quit my job to become a professional runner though, because as much as I love it, I’m frightfully bad at it (I run stiff like a board, and I’m slow as molasses!), and there’s not much opportunity or demand for runners. But that doesn’t mean I should stop pursuing it.

Life should be passionate. We should be passionate. But what I intend by this post is that amongst our passions, we ought to simply keep searching for that one wherein the greatest opportunities lie and for which we show the most promising competency. When we do, we’ve found our sweet spot, and there’s simply nothing like having an aspect of your life where you’re in your sweet spot.


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