Holding onto what you were born to do

Lynne McTaggart

The end of the year is always a time for reflection about the Big Issues, and this year, after watching the bio-pic on a plane back from Malaysia, then reading the biography, my Big Issue reflection was prompted by Steve Jobs. 

The end of the year is always a time for reflection about the Big Issues, and this year, after watching the bio-pic on a plane back from Malaysia, then reading the biography, my Big Issue reflection was prompted by Steve Jobs.

Jobs interests me not because of his extraordinary genius or the fact that he set off the personal device revolution, changed the way we live, or designed phones and computers that even I can operate with ease.  And certainly not because I admire the person. Jobs was complex and deeply flawed —a pretty difficult guy to be in the same room with.   

My interest in Jobs has solely to do with the purity of the passion he had for his life’s work and his uncompromising attachment to that purpose.  

At one point Jobs nearly bankrupted Apple because he strove – always – to create an excellent product, rather than simply to make money, and never released anything unless it had approached the perfection he carried around in his head.  And because of that singleminded passion — and not best business practice or a pandering to his shareholders and his board —he created the most valuable company on earth.

As his biographer Walter Isaacson wrote, Jobs combined ‘the power of poetry and processors.  With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company.  And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now, the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology. ‘

In trying to dissect what drove him, Jobs himself wrote, shortly before he died: ‘ My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products.  Everything else was secondary.  Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products.  But the products, not the profits, were the motivation.  . . .  It’s a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything: the people you hire, who gets promoted, what you discuss in meetings.’ 

‘I hate I when people call themselves ‘entrepreneurs” when what they’re really trying to do is launch a startup and then sell or go public, so they can cash in and move on.  They’re unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company, which is the hardest work in business. . . .That’s how you really make a contribution and add to the legacy of those who went before.  You build a company that will still stand for something a generation or two from now.’ 

I have come to believe that developing that aspiration or purpose in life and pursuing it single-mindedly is the closest we get on earth to the divine.

Dr John Diamond, a psychiatrist and holistic healer, referred to it as ‘cantillation’: each person’s special gift or talent that not only gives one a sense of joy but also union with the Absolute.

He also called it the ‘homing thought’ because it reminded him of the direction finder that lost aeroplane pilots use to find their way home. The homing thought, he thought, can act as a homing beacon for everyone, particularly during our most difficult moments. ‘It holds us steadfast,’ he once wrote, ‘on our course.’

Diamond’s genius was to apply the kinesiological muscle testing developed by George Goodheart to toxic thoughts, a system he named ‘behavioral kinesiology.’ Diamond discovered that when a person was exposed to any unpleasant thoughts, the ‘indicator muscle’ would test weak against the tester’s push. 

Nevertheless, there was one thought that could overcome any sort of negative influence, or debilitating idea or situation: the person’s homing thought. When someone was thinking of their ultimate purpose in life, they would test strong, no matter what sort of negativity they were subjected to.

Diamond’s ideas have not been subjected to scientific scrutiny, but the sheer weight of his anecdotal evidence after using behavioural kinesiology on thousands of patients is compelling.

Finding your greatest passion in life and clinging to it with uncompromising ruthlessness is the most important thought you will ever have.  Particularly this year, when we were besieged by opposition trying to close down WDDTY, I found this to be an immediate and powerful antidote.

Whenever you are besieged by doubt, difficulty or opposition, do as Steve Jobs did and hold on to the thought of what it is you have been born to do — and never, ever, under any circumstance,  let it go.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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4 comments on “Holding onto what you were born to do”

    1. Hi Lav, I don't have any upcoming trips to Malaysia scheduled but I would love to visit, perhaps in the future. If you would like to be kept up to date with details on upcoming events, please go to http://www.lynnemctaggart.com and enter your e-mail address to register to my newsletter. Once you have signed up, you will begin to receive regular e-mail updates.

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