When we were kids, we believed we could be anything. We had dreams of being cowboys and presidents and astronauts – and we weren’t afraid of telling anyone. We colored, sang, danced, and we didn’t worry what other thought. We showed the world who we were – our full selves, with all our dreams, faults and quirks.

But as we grew up, the world got to us. School taught us that repeating the correct answers mattered more than our creativity of thought. We learned to remember facts and regurgitate them in tests, instead of using our imagination and thinking for ourselves. We quickly learned that if we didn’t do what our teachers told us, we’d get into trouble. We were better off just following the rules and doing as we were told. We learned not to interrupt, to only speak when called upon, to not cause any disturbances.

As we made friends, we learned that those rules applied in social situations too. If we were too different, we’d be outcast and made fun of – maybe even bullied. So we learned to fit in. To do what everyone else did. Along the way, we lost our individuality and our self expression.

Those lessons stuck with us as we grew older. And they taught us that we’d be better served following the same career paths that everyone else took – instead of forging our own unique path. And so we end up in the cul-de-sac of the status quo – going through the motions of day to day life, doing the same thing everyone else does. We may not be happy with it, but we’ve told ourselves that that’s how life is – that to dream of more would be unrealistic, or worse, would get us into trouble. We convince ourselves to be satisfied where we are, even though deep down, we wish there was more.

But life doesn’t have to be that way. Especially in today’s world. There’s no reason, especially in 2016, for us to force ourselves to stay in the status quo. To go through the motions, and count down til 5pm everyday. It’s completely possible to do what you love – to pursue your dreams, forge your own path and be your own person. There’s never been a better time in history to be an “outsider” – because it’s easier than ever to connect with other “outsiders”, and form your tribe. There’s more opportunity around us – to connect, to create, to express ourselves – than there ever has been before.

There’s never been a better time than today, for you to take that step out of your comfort zone. To do things that might fail – knowing that failure isn’t the end of the world, and it’s okay to fail. To do work that means something to you – that makes your heart sing, and connects with your inner self. To spend your days excited about what lies ahead. Because it’s possible.

Find your passion. Believe in your passion, and in yourself. Recognize that it’s possible. And take the first step towards it.

Because life’s too short to not do what you love.

Photo by Pilottage