Living Without Talents

posted in: Uncategorized | 5

October 2nd, 2012


Over a year has passed since I left my job in the cubicle farms of academia. This blog was started as a way to keep myself inspired as I formulated plans to save diligently, live frugally, to live a life of purpose and the pursuit of passion. It seems most self-publishing on the web is initiated in this spirit.

We have been traveling¬†full time for nine months now (six of those internationally), without jobs, alarm clocks, bills, and commitments. It is certainly a life of privilege and fortune. I certainly don’t take that for granted.

I also don’t take myself too seriously.

There is an impending pressure to pursue your passions, develop your talents, and do what you love. But if you don’t know what your talents are, or what you are passionate about, then where does that leave you?

Well, I don’t have that answer. But at least you aren’t Joseph Pujol.

Better known as Le P√©tomane, this guy is someone who actually discovered his talents. And unfortunately for him, his skill set became defined as the ability to “inhale or move air into his rectum and then control the release of that air with his anal sphincter muscles”. He could also do the same with water.

Fortunately for Joseph, there was a popular demand for his art and he was able to forge out quite a living for himself. Like any good artist, he further developed and honed his craft, eventually learning how to reproduce animal sounds, thunderstorms, cannon fire, and musical instruments. He could play songs and even blow out a candle from several feet away. His performances were so popular that he often made 20,000 francs a show (roughly $4000 today if I did my math correctly). Yes, he even performed regularly at the Moulin Rouge.

So perhaps your talents are simply waiting to be discovered. Or maybe you should be thankful you haven’t figured it all out yet.

5 Responses

  1. I don’t know where you find this material but it’s great. I think you and Joseph have a lot in common, especially in the morning. You could have been a two man band. I enjoy traveling with you.

    • Meg, you should know that those trumpet skills could make us a lot of money some day.

  2. Wow, nice skill set.

    This is interesting. In 2008 when i was no longer working corporate, I had no idea what my interests were because i had spend 10 working my ass off and put very little time into other things.
    So i totally get the dilemma people have when given the time to pursue passions and interest but have no idea what they are.
    now i have way to many interests.

    • Annie, the strange thing seems to be the movement (particularly within bloggers) to find your passions and talents, then capitalize on that. But it can be just as empty. And it sort of begs the question: do these lifestyle design folks really find their talent is to teach others how to have a location independent income? Or web design? I mean, is this really it?

  3. interesting questions. i liken it to personal branding. what do you want to be known for? no matter what, people have the tendency to put you into boxes and labels.. might as well have as much control of the process as you can. about the capitalizing on it thing… i just think of it as being able to help other people find out their calling, purpose, authentic self, message, vision etc.. i love helping people uncover who they ARE and i use my talent in design together with that process.. that’s the direction i’m going for, anyway. it doesn’t have to be permanent and you can change your passion/purpose.. but i have to make a living somehow.. might as well enjoy doing it and help others!

    the error of lifestyle design is that it tends to be too self-indulging. i would rather look at it from a ‘conscious living’ perspective, which for me poses the question of your legacy and a more purposeful life. it’s still designing your life, sure, but it’s doing so with the future generations in mind. being ‘conscious’ and mindful of how we impact things, negative or positive.

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