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Happy Birthday Tesla

3:54 pm

Belgrade, Serbia

I am finally starting to appreciate that finding your life’s purpose requires a far more proactive approach than I originally thought. I feel almost embarrassed this realization took so long to finally dawn on me. I don’t know what I expected really. Perhaps I thought inspiration would just strike me as I sauntered down some quiet residential boulevard. Maybe I was holding out for some messenger, to visit me in my sleep, or on the precipice of giving up on a new fulfilling career. More than likely, I just took for granted being one of the lucky ones who knew what he wanted early in life. Unfortunately, one seldom knows what to do when that dream changes or doesn’t materialize as we’d hoped, or both.

Here in Belgrade, I don’t leave the apartment until about noon. I spend the early morning hours as I would back in New York or Los Angeles. I read, I write, I study, I look for work, I return emails, I address "real world"responsibilities. In short, I work on mapping out the next chapter of my relatively young life.

I have sped through 4 books, including a few on audio, mostly geared towards entrepreneurship. I watch interviews and online seminars with successful business owners of both varying notoriety and industry. It is an unbelievable amount of information that both inspires and leaves me in a daze. I take countless notes and write out my skills, what I believe I could monetize, and try to find the supposed, “sweet spot,” where what I love to do collides with what I can earn a viable income doing.

Platitude and bullet points from all the great self-help gurus dance in my head. “Do what you love. Don’t chase the money. Life is short so do it now.” Even the prose of the great John le Carre sneak into my mind, “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.”

I feel a sense of dread wash over me as I scroll through possible jobs in both Los Angeles and New York on one of the countless search engines now available. Once in a while there appear to be opportunities which seem mildly intriguing, but for the most part I’m petrified of doing something that doesn’t highlight the many gifts I feel confident in proclaiming I now possess.

I am reminded of a story in which a young Barack Obama, who was then a father of two little girls, needed to find a job to provide for his family. He landed a cushy position as some major corporation that offered a million dollar annual salary with benefits. Supposedly, when Obama got up to seal the deal, the CEO noticed his hand was shaking. He knew instantly it was not where the future president wanted to be.

I feel excruciatingly close to some kind of clear path, some not so vague notion of what it is I am supposed to be doing. Now, I just need something; God, the Universe, a bolt of lightning to help me convert theory to action.

Today, as I strolled through the streets of Belgrade, I stopped by St. Mark’s Church, one of the most beautiful buildings I’d ever seen. I was also struck by how simple it was. There was no clutter, which lead to unobstructed thoughts even if briefly. Light poured in from above as I took a seat and prayed far more earnestly than I had in quiet some time. For a few minutes the crucifix dangling around my neck, now for most of my life, meant something again, if even briefly. I asked for clarity, for help in mapping out my journey, and of course, for God to have mercy and show grace to those I loved most.

I walked out feeling a little lighter than before and made my way to the Tesla Museum just up the street. From God to a man who made some of the most remarkable strides in science in modern day history. Serbia’s most cherished son recently celebrated his 160th birthday and the city was not shy about sharing as much. I marveled at his achievements wondering briefly if he too ever wrestled with doubt. Good company to have, I thought.

I thought it appropriate to include some advice Tesla gave nearly 100 hundred years ago. It still feels relevant today: “If I were ever assailed by doubt of ultimate success, I would dismiss it by remembering the words of that great philosopher, Lord Kelvin, who after witnessing some of my experiments said to me with tears in his eyes: ‘I am sure you will do it.’

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