Too often do I see friends and acquaintances of mine who were once so focused on their passion, give up on said passion because they “didn’t make it” (whatever that means). They stop doing it (whatever “it” may be) because it didn’t give them the big financial gain and glory that they had hoped for. When I learn about this my first question is ……. “What happened to the passion?”
What I mean is: Is not the reason we DO the things we love to do, because we love to do them? Is that not a reward onto itself? Is that not success?
Here is what Happens:
Recall when we first started our passion (lets use playing guitar for this example). We were young and “wide eyed.” We played because we liked learning how to play. We played because we liked the sound. We started playing right away, the moment we got home from school, and didn’t stop until dinner. We didn’t think about how we could make it a career, or earn some side cash from it, as we didn’t care about all that. We just loved to play. It made us happy all by itself.
As time went on however, we learned what we could do with this ability/skill we learned through our passion. We learned that we could make money. So that is exactly what we did (why not! if you’re good at something, never do it for free, right?). We hone this skill. We learn what it takes to seek fortune/glory. We change our play style to what is popular, as the more popular it is, the more potential for fortune/glory (For some reason, Metallica comes to mind). Now we practice our skill constantly because we have to. Now it’s not only a job, but it is work (and there is a big difference between the two). The enthusiasm and passion themselves have diminished, being overshadowed by the race for fortune/glory (a concept we may not have even been aware of when we started).
If we don’t get the “success” we sought, then we are without passion AND fortune/glory.
If we DO have the “success” we sought, we have an empty victory. This will bring happiness initially, but when the crowd leaves, we are still left in the cold and dark, living a life that we never wanted. We only thought we wanted that life because that is the pressure THEY put on us. They told us (over time and in so many words), that our passion only has value if we stand to amass wealth and popularity from it. …… and eventually we bought this belief.
The truth is this: “Making it” should have never been the primary goal. Exploring our passion and growing within it, should always be the goal. Now, fortune/glory may come, or it may not; that is just a potential bonus. As long as we can make a living, and continue to grow through passion, we are already successful.
Growing within our passion is it’s own reward.