Living your passion is fascinating. It is the truth — plain and simple. Unfortunately, it is only half the truth; because, there is another side of living your passion.
Only, it isn’t as pretty.
While nobody likes raw truths, it is only fair if you know both sides of everyone’s so-called Promised Land — and I’m going to tell you exactly that.
There are two things that always pique my interest: music and writing.
As much as I love music, though, I have never imagined myself pursuing it as a career; but I have always imagined myself as a writer.
Then through my early 20s, God has been really good. He has been guiding me from door to door, introducing me to amazing leaders, and directing my steps to the places I wouldn’t even dare to imagine.
And now here I am, living my life as a writer (not the one with novels, by the way; but more on that later).
Now, when people knew that I am a writer, they came to me and told me just how lucky I am to live my passion. The next thing I knew, they’d quote something out of those motivational articles, such as ‘If you work your dream, you’ll never have to work a single day for the rest of your life,’ or something like that.
In some sense, they were right. There are days when I feel really grateful because I get to do the things I love most and get paid for it.
But as awesome as it sounds, there are these dirty, little secrets that nobody — that is living the passion — wants you to know (but me). I guess it’s because they don’t want to ruin the euphoria or perhaps, so that the motivational speeches will sound more dramatic.
So cards on the table, let me paint you a picture how living your dream feels like (including the dirty, little secrets).
1. The place that you think is your dream place is not your dream place after all.
Everyone has this dream that when you get to do what you love, you’ll get to the Promised Land — all things are rainbows, butterflies, and flowing river.
But here’s the truth: living your passion is no Promised Land.
If you are waiting for your dreams to be happy, you are wrong — because if you are not content right now, chances are you won’t be content in your dream place as well. After all is said and done, your dream place is not your dream place — so you might as well make ‘now’ as your dream place and enjoy the journey.
2. As much as you love something, there are days when you are so consumed by it, and getting weary.
It is true in love and in life. For those of you who have ever been in love or married, you must understand this better: as much as you love someone, there are days when your love is actually wearing you down.
It goes the same way with your passion life too. As much as I love to write, there are some days when I don’t want to write at all. I don’t even want to think about writing. Don’t worry. Like love, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. It simply means that you are human. Take some rests, and you’ll get your momentum back.
3. Living your dream is not the challenge. The challenge is how you make money in your dreamland.
Recently I posted something that I thought funny (or sarcastic or cynic, you decide)
As hard as it is to admit, it is true that the real challenge is how you make money with your passion. No matter how they say money couldn’t buy you happiness, but truth be told, one’s gotta live — don’t you think?
Up to the last minute before I graduated, there was my first challenge. I couldn’t wrap my mind around making a living with writing. First, I didn’t write novels (still don’t and have no intention to) — so now what?
But again, God is amazing. He lets me find my way and shows me how it can be done. However, I can understand why some people give up their dream simply because it doesn’t make money. We have to live. We have families to feed.
So here’s a simple key: first, be really good people can’t ignore you, and then find those people who need your abilities. For example, there is this guy who loves piano and adventure. One day he decided to drag his piano (and dog) around the world and play the music in all sorts of amazing places — like on the beach or Grand Canyon. And you can be pretty sure he’s living his passion.
4. Your days will feel pretty ordinary — until someone asks you about it.
You will wake up most mornings like you used to, and run your days normally — until someone asks you how does it feel like living your passion, and then all thoughts are rushing in your head. That’s when you feel pretty awesome.
The movies paint it right: you will get up in the morning feeling energized — but only for the first few months. Next thing you know, you feel pretty much normal.
For the first few months of living your passion, you will feel energized. It is important so that you’ll know you are on the right track. But please remember this: it will flame down. Again, it doesn’t make you any less excited. It makes you human.
5. You will realize that your liking is not very general — or it shifts so much it confuses you.
I love writings — all kinds; or so I thought. Until the moment I find one or two kinds of writing that I dread and it makes me realize that my liking is not very general. It also happens that my liking shifts quite a bit compared to five years ago.
6. Talents can only bring you so far — and then there comes hard work.
I don’t see myself as the talented one — both in writing or music. But when people see me write or play music and say something like, ‘Oh you must’ve been a very talented child in music/writing’; there will be a silent scream inside of me that says ‘Oh, you have no idea what I’ve been through to get me right where I am right now.’
The Malcom Gladwell’s 10,000 hours is not a joke. I learn, continuously. For music, I wouldn’t say that I’m talented at all kinds — because God knows how much sweat I’ve spent to get what people say ‘natural instinct’ that apparently, is not so natural after all.
Perhaps it’s true, God gave seeds of talents — but believe me, talents can only bring you so far, and then there comes hard work. So in case you see great people do their jobs with their eyes closed, trust me — it is because they have been practicing and sweating when the rest of the world are busy sleeping.
7. But after all, living your dream is pretty much amazing — like how they quoted it in their motivational speeches.
Well, whatever. After all the ugly sides, you will realize that living your passion is still — pretty awesome. Now get up and go live your passion.