As we begin to move through the year 2017, I wanted to offer my thoughts regarding a topic that many post quotes about but few discuss. Perhaps passion and inspiration have been beaten to death by bloggers and artists. Perhaps the words said fall on deaf ears. Nevertheless, I implore you to take a few minutes and consider what I say to you. Who knows, it might just be the catalyst that takes you on a whole new adventure!
Let’s begin with passion, shall we? Whatever you do throughout life, at the very least, eek out a part that is just for you. Feed those things which feed your soul. I know, I know, that sounds “artsy” but please allow me to explain. A sense of joy, or at the very least a sense of contentment, comes from our interests. Often people are so busy that they do not stop to think about what and who really makes them happy. We get caught up in ourselves and the rat race. Naturally, we all have things and tasks that must be done, regardless of our level of interest in doing them. Perhaps the most notable of these is our work. I always say that work is work, but take the time to discern whether or not what you are doing allows you to wake up each morning and be able to say, “This is a pretty good day. I like what I do and am happy to be lucky enough to do it.” For me personally, I am an educator, author, video reviewer and stop motion animator, to name a few. Like you, perhaps I will never be the best, rich or a “master” of these things, but I can say that I honestly enjoy them all for their own reasons. Each one feeds a part of who I am as a person, be it geek, artist, story teller or simply one who craves imparting knowledge that hopefully helps the next generation to thrive. This doesn’t mean I succeed everyday or that I don’t get frustrated but it does mean that I am always enthused about putting in the effort. Hopefully, those who discover me and my work take a chance on me and agree. Furthermore, I don’t want to be a “master”, and neither should you. We grow and improve by always researching and learning. Naturally, if we are connected to something…anything, then we are more prone to learn about it. If we are a complete “master”, then where is the drive? Where is our motivation if we have nowhere left to grow?
So, here is my advice, and for the record, this is advice I often give young people just starting out to college, university and life in general – be smart. Yeah, that sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Here’s what I mean, stop and look in the mirror. Ask yourself, “Who and what am I? Who and what do I like?” It might range anywhere from woodworking, carpentry, welding, hockey, football, plumbing, teaching, medicine, writing, acting and so on. Next, resolve yourself to be true to who you are. Stop trying to “fit” into a mold and ideology of what others think you are or what they think you should be. Become comfortable in your own skin and if others dislike that, be gracious. Let them dislike it, that is their freedom of choice. Pay no mind to it because it DOES NOT detract from your personhood. As Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Take pride in your own worth and don’t let others define that aspect of you. Of course, we all adhere to certain social conventions, we have to, but there is still room to be uniquely you. From there, I tell people to be pragmatic. Now you know what you like and who you are as a human being. Begin to understand what that can mean for your long term life. In this information age, knowledge is as simple as an internet search. Look up the things that interest you, find others of like mind, see what sort of jobs and businesses in which you might be able to partake. Perhaps you will be an entrepreneur or, again, at the very least, look for job ads. See if what you like can make money. Furthermore, see what sort of credentials these jobs require. Get the facts to get direction. Don’t waste time and money on things that you either dislike or are complete dead ends. Finally, resolve yourself to being patient while working very, very hard. Success isn’t magic and rarely comes overnight. Will you be rich or a star in six months? Not likely. It can happen, but not likely. It will probably take several years. We all need to start at the bottom and keep learning and working to make our way up. Believe in yourself, what you are giving to the world and others will believe in you too, sooner or later. There you have it, our passion is based on interests which should be true to who we are as people, regardless of what others think. Use that as a jumping off point to look at job ads and work opportunities that can help you be happy and, hopefully, at least moderately successful in life. Learn what you love and what is required and then study the craft and just plain do it!
As you might well expect, this leads directly into inspiration. After all, we are inspired because of three things – what we enjoy, what we see others do who work in the same field and our own personal determination. It isn’t rocket science, we all input effort the best if we think about things, ask questions and have a legitimate interest in the answers we find. No one has ever gotten anywhere without effort and effort rarely shows itself unless we are substantially motivated. As a side note, I LIKE to believe that the work I do in all facets sometimes serves to motivate and inspire others too. It is the idea of, “if I can do it, so can you.” We all succeed a little bit more when others like us also succeed. I’m not at all being pretentious, I just hope that whatever it is that I have to offer the world…is good. And, I hope that what you have to offer is good as well!
As always, I ask that you check out my work, especially The Everything Factor and Machinery of Man.
Happiest of New Years and make this the one where you keep striving to be the best you that you can be. Make this the one where you work to make the world we all share better for yourself and others. And…good luck in doing so!