A Lion, a Dolphin, and an Elephant walk into a Hard Rock Cafe.
Lion: Look, guys – I need to get something off my hairy chest: I really don’t care who the king of the jungle is.
Elephant: I’ll take a diet coke.
In 1997, anthropologist Jared Diamond summed up 13,000 years of human civilization in three words: Guns, Germs, (&) Steel. Those words are alien and antiquated in the 21st century. The 21st century has largely been an abstraction of three ideas: Purpose, Passion, and Happiness. Lion, Dolphin, and Elephant.
Bringing the three together seems colossally awkward. But screw that. Doing colossally awkward things is my side hustle. So here goes.
If Lion were – purpose, Elephant – happiness, and Dolphin – passion, Life, ladies & gentlemen of the jury, is like a Pigeon.
Lion – Purpose: The people that’ll become the kings of the 21st century are ones that’ll find their purpose early and have the courage, strength and single-minded resolve to stick to it.
Like a lion chasing its prey.
The ones with the right intent really don’t care if this makes them the king of the jungle. They do it for the progress of their pride, which in this case happens to be all of Humanity.
That’s a lot of pressure for you and me who can’t even seem to do anything consistently for a month.
We all don’t need an elusive purpose. We only need a pride to belong to.
If you can’t find your purpose, find your pride and help the people trying to advance an important purpose within it. Waiting for an elusive purpose to start being purposeful is the single biggest case of wastefulness in the 21st century.
The Dolphin – Passion: Some are Cute. Some are total psychos.
That’s what makes Passion a difficult subject to talk about. Passion started in the arts. It was wacky and weird. Like a dolphin that walks into a Hard Rock Cafe and starts singing.
We often confuse passion with purpose and, this should be obvious by now, that’s like confusing the lion with the dolphin.
“Find your passion” is the tagline of the century. Along the way, we started to panic because we couldn’t find any passion. So, we started trying new taglines: find the problem only you can solve; find what you most liked to do as a child; what would you do if you had six months to live and – easily the dingbatty of ém all – follow your heart!
These are just different species of dolphins and as you can see most of them are crazy and will leave you swimming around in circles if you try to get in the same waters as them. Finding your passion is a slow, arduous process. And sorry to break this to you but there is no ‘one’ passion waiting to ‘find you.’
What people call passion is a combination of focus, dedication, and discipline to handle large swaths of boredom. Without the ability to handle boredom, you’ll just be someone that wants to swim with the Dolphins because you enjoy peeing underwater. Well.
Here’s a tagline for passion: Pay attention to boredom.
Also, when you find this passion thing, try not to get killed by it. If it’s trying to kill you, you just mistook a shark for a Dolphin. Drop your selfie stick and get out of that water.
Your passion need not make you come alive each time, but it sure as heck shouldn’t be tearing you apart every day.
The Elephant – Happiness: The Happiness elephant is what causes hollow scary existential feeling inside all of us. That’s why the Elephant is the craziest of ’em three. But he’s also the simplest. The guy that’ll drink a diet coke at Hard Rock Cafe.
But, we’ve made it unnecessarily complex with happiness. We’ve recruited the elephant into this large circus and asking him to sit his arse down on a tiny little chair. Naturally, the elephant is pissed.
Because the elephant is about spending time with family, managing emotions, being grateful and taking a lazy stroll. Instead, we’ve turned happiness into some existential exercise in experiencing discomfort, measurement, and navigating relationships.
As we move toward a diet of consuming (and vomiting) data, it’s important to keep a close guard on our emotions, particularly happiness. Once we are taken out of our natural habitat which we increasingly are, it’ll be a matter of time before data turns us into complete ass-clowns.
A successful life in the 21st century looks like the intersection of Purpose, Passion, and Happiness. Which brings us to the Pigeon. How did the lovechild of the elephant, the dolphin, and the lion turn out to be a shitty bird?
For one, Pigeons are doing to us what we did to animals in the last 13,000 years: Occupying our spaces and annoying the crap out of us.
And, somehow, a failure to arrive at the intersection on time makes us as feel insignificant. Like a dead Pigeon on a deserted street.
Being at the intersection makes us believe we have a grip on the future. Instead of living our lives in the present, we are living our lives as a forecast.
And about our knowledge of the future, we are slightly if not no better off than the Pigeons. Sure, we may be able to make five-year plans and plan for immortality, but none of these happen from the intersection of passion, purpose, and happiness.
They happen inside one big circle: Death.
Yeah, sorry to drop that on you like a dead Pigeon.
Passion and Purpose are our attempts at doing things death cannot touch. We are like pigeons that shit on the same car every day hoping our crap will outlive us. And in the process, no one’s really happy.
We are only setting death-traps for the generations that follow.
Suddenly you are living in a world where a ten-year-old can feel hollow inside about not knowing what to do with her life.
Passion, purpose, and happiness are essential for progress and strength. In that, they aren’t very different from Guns, Germs, and Steel. But an obsession over them only leaves a wake of chaos and destruction.
Labour can’t be about fulfilling one solipsistic need after another. It’s about letting go of the need to be king. Of grabbing on to singing and simplicity instead.
Our conception of life has moved from something you live to something you leave behind. In this chase to get to the intersection as quickly as possible, we are stocking up on guilt. Of the unused and the unlived inside us. How full of shit.
I rest my case.