Passion isn’t about enjoyment

Oct 24, 2016

People tend to confuse “pursuing your passions” with “doing things you enjoy”.

But that’s not what following your passions is truly about. Passion isn’t about the things that are fun. It’s about doing work that gives you meaning, that resonates with you, that you value.

Your passions aren’t the things you enjoy or are interested in. Your passions are the things that you love so much that you can’t stop thinking about them and want to push yourself to constantly get better at.

Those are the paths you should follow. Not just the ones that are fun and enjoyable.

Art isn’t created through systems

Oct 15, 2016

If you want to serve food to people, there are two ways to go.

You could open a McDonald’s. You don’t need much culinary skill or training. You just pop the patties on the grill or the fries in the fryer, and wait for the timer. Just follow their system, repeat the steps, and voila. You’ll be serving fast, reasonable burgers at a cheap price, with plenty of customers, pretty soon. You won’t win any culinary awards. Nobody’s going to say you have the best food in the world. But you can be pretty confident you’ll have customers, you’ll meet their expectations, and you’ll have a good business.

Or you could be a chef. Invest in learning the art of cooking. Create food that expresses yourself on a plate. Food that evokes emotions, speaks to people, and represents you. It might not work. Some people might hate it. It will take more time to learn. But some people might love it, and love you. And it’s the only way you can create food that really touches people and changes their lives and that people travel the world to try.

Both paths can lead to success. But only one can lead to art.

True art, art that touches people and changes their lives, can’t be made by following paint-by-numbers systems or templates, even if those systems are created by experts. It requires your personality and your heart. You need to have passion, and belief in yourself, and do things your way. It’s scarier, and riskier. But that’s the only way to truly touch people.

If you just want to make decent money, and create stuff that people will consume and pay for and be okay with, then by all means. Find a proven step by step system and follow it.

But if you want to change lives, inspire change, and create work that speaks to people and that you’re proud of, then you have to be you. Learn from experts and proven systems, sure. But don’t be afraid to break the rules, step out, and put your personality into your work.

Do what you love or do what you’re good at?

Sep 25, 2016

I see a lot of articles these days saying you shouldn’t do what you love, and that you should do what the world needs / what you’re good at instead. They say that it’s more practical to go where your skills are – to think about what you’re good at, that the world would value and pay you for.

one of the most common arguments i see against the idea of doing what you love is that doing what you love may not be practical. and the common recommendation is that instead of pursuing your passions, you should start off going where your skills are – to think about what you’re good at that the world would value and pay you for.

But here’s the thing. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. 20 years ago, perhaps. But the world has changed, and so have the opportunities.

The internet has changed the equation for doing what you love.

Before the internet, you had to start off where your skills were. You were mostly limited to working with people within your city. So, you had to figure out how to fit the needs of those people.

The internet has caused 2 big changes, though.

Firstly, it’s made it easier than ever to improve your skills. “What you’re good at” is more fluid than it’s ever been. There are online courses on every subject, from card magic to sales to comedy. Whatever it is you’re passionate about, there are more opportunities than ever to get good at it. And if you’re truly passionate about something, you’d want to get good at it.

Secondly, and more importantly, you’re not longer limited to geographical restrictions. You can now work with almost anyone in the world. This means that you have a much wider range of needs you can solve. And no matter what your passion is, there are probably some people, somewhere in the world, who have needs that your passion fits.

When there’s an unlimited range of needs you can fulfill, you don’t have to start from the need. You can start from what lights your fire – and find the people with needs that your fire can solve.

In today’s world, the question isn’t whether you should do what you love or do what you’re good at that the world needs. The question now is: what are you passionate enough about, that you’ll 1) push yourself to become great at, and 2) connect with the people who need it.

Why you shouldn’t do what you love

Sep 18, 2016

It’s going to be difficult. Doing what you love requires a lot of effort – especially emotionally. You’re doing something that you believe in and connect with. You’re putting your heart into your work. It’s going to be so much more draining.

It’s extremely risky. Often, doing what you love means taking a risk. You’ll have to step out of your comfort zone, and try new things. You have to put yourself out there and risk rejection. You may have to risk losing money, even.

The people closest to you may not understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. Your friends and family want the best for you, but they can’t feel the passion you feel. Your passion is your own, and it’ll be hard for those around you to see what you see and understand why it matters so much to you. They’ll tell you to be more realistic and practical.

The money may not follow. In fact, it probably won’t. You can probably make money it at – but you’ll have to work hard at it, it’s not going to just follow.

The world may not appreciate it. There are going to be lots of people who disagree with your choices and the work you create. You’re going to get criticized, maybe even ridiculed.

But here’s why you should do what you love. All those things could happen anyway. And your choices and journey would be so much more meaningful (to you) when you’re doing what you love.