Even though I have mentored & coached a few people over the years in helping them achieve their goals, allow me to play the Devil’s Advocate for once and bring you up to speed on the realities of life.
Here are the Ugly Realities of Following Your Passion……
‘Follow Your Passion’ are what I describe as ‘feel-good’ words & over-used cliche of a romantic & beautiful perfect world — which is further aggravated by social media & ‘motivational-feel-good’ videos. There is a very strong possibility what you have assumed is your passion, may not necessarily be right for you. Want proof? As a child what does the child want to be when he grows up.
- An Excuse Not To Do What Is Important & Necessary
Most lazy people especially youngsters use ‘Passion’ as an excuse not to do what they should do and what they must focus on. Case in point — a youngster who has to study in school and focus on getting good marks in his exam but states his passion is dancing or DJ-ing for parties and hence says he cannot concentrate or he is not interested in studying. In majority of the cases this statement is an excuse to enjoy doing those activities that focus on entertainment, enjoyment & on him being popular among his peers. After all, who doesn’t like music, parties, fun & everyone dancing to your music?
- Unsustainable Income
How many movie stars, singers, dancers, bloggers & youtubers do you know are able to make ends meet doing what they are passionate about? The truth is — Your passion may not pay much money to sustain, survive and thrive having a good life.
- Many Years Of Non-Payment
To reach whatever it is you are passionate about or to be at the top of your game, there would be years and years of working as a trainee without pay or working and struggling in the undercards so to speak. So the question begets — how would you survive the ‘going-through-phase’?
- Really Really Long Hours
People who ‘Follow their passion’ work longer hours than employees. No one ever mentions this fact. It may seem trivial when I state ‘long hours of work’. However, when you are talking about the possibility that you may hardly be able to spend time with your family or loved ones or take care of your health — that in itself may become a massive problem in itself.
- No Guaranteed Monthly Income
Follow your passion may entail not having a monthly or stable income. Try imaging enduring this challenging especially when you have a family and mounting everyday expenses.
- Short Lived Career
After you cross a certain age, your career prospects towards your passion or dream maybe non-existent. Most singers, actors, speakers, fighters or performing artists have a very limited window of opportunity where they can hit it big and make money. So what do you do if you reach your ‘retirement age’ so to speak before you reach your peak? Or what do you do if you peak at your goal but you are not able to hold on long enough to make it profitable for you?
- Dirty Politics
Your industry may be marred with dirty politics & underhand business deals. Ask any aspiring actor, model or singer about this reality.
- Having To Take Up Extra Jobs
You may have to take additional jobs to sustain the hobby. This is itself an energy draining reality. Try doing something creative or original enthusiastically after an 8 hour shift followed by 2 hours of battling traffic.
- End Of The Day — Its All About Money
A Business sense and an ability to make money is very important to anyone who lives by himself or has a family to support. Most youngsters who talk about their passion or purpose in life never seen to understand one ugly truth — end of the day, it all comes down to paying your bills and making ends meet. If you cannot make sufficient amount of money to sustain — how do you survive?
- If it doesn’t work out — What’s Next?
Yes, yes, it all sounds nice when someone says “Never give up on your dreams” or “Try, try till you succeed”. And it empowers us to read about Colonel Sanders 1,000 rejections or Thomas Edison’s 1,000 failures or Abraham Lincoln’s checkered past. But does cherry picking 1 person in 7 billion prove to be the standard by which we can assume the truth?
Lets for a second imagine you are not going to ever achieve your dream or your goal (winning an Oscar, Olympic gold medal or becoming the next billionaire) — then what?
- What If You Are Wrong?
Here is something else no one talks about or thinks about — what if the chosen career or career path or passion you assumed was your true calling was a mistake? What if what you assumed would keep you happy is an error of judgement?
If it can happen in relationships, if it can happen where styles & purchases are concerned — don’t you think it is possible that a youngster who has no knowledge or experience of the real world — cannot make a wrong assumption regarding what he likes or is passionate about?
- No Respect, Recognition or Regard
In the corporate or business world if you tell someone you are a dancer or singer or musician or freelancer — it may not be looked up with the reverence or respect as telling someone that you are a Regional Manager or Deputy Director. The reason for this is simply because these career choices are not mainstream and they they do not confirm to the norms/expectations of society.
- Why Isn’t This Mainstream?
If running behind your passion was truly as important, necessary & vital for happiness as all these motivational, inspirational & self-improvement guru’s state — why aren’t the majority of the people around the world doing the same thing? Why only a few people do it? And why within this small knit community — only a handful people reach the top? Is it because you are the ‘special’ one?
So now — do you still think “Follow Your Passion” is something you should do? Or is it just an excuse by today’s generation to assume what they like or are tempted to do is what they can make a living on?
Let me know in the comments section below.