Today morning with Pune Urban Sketchers. The session was at Mrutyunjajeshwar temple. I decided on this vantage point of an overhead pedestrian bridge. The morning shadows were a perfect opportunity for some experimentation.
A quick figure study. Charcoal sticks on paper.
A quick figure study… Charcoal on paper
“Follow your passion” is the new-age mantra we hear all around us. “Don’t chase after money”, “Don’t waste your life in a nine-to-five”. “Live life on your own terms”. We keep coming across these sentences so frequently, that we actually start believing them!
Recently, I watched a couple of Hindi movies which advocated the following:
- Money is not important in life, only happiness is.
- You have only one life to live, so live like there’s no tomorrow. What are your money/possessions worth if you die tomorrow? So enjoy them today.
- Take whatever risks you want to take, be even reckless because if you die doing the reckless stuff, you will still have lived fully!
- Follow your passion. Do what you love and money will follow.
Considering the facts that the entire Hindi film industry survives on unrealistic and not-to-be-taken-seriously themes, some might ask… “Why so serious?”!
However, considering how much I get to hear this so-called philosophy from numerous people around me, I seriously doubt that these people look at such movies as mere entertainment.
If you want to keep believing this stuff, don’t read ahead.
Still here? All right, let’s dissect these statements one-by-one (and also look at why this article’s title is wrong!).
Money is not important in life, only happiness is.
Mind you, the protagonists preach all of this while spending thousands of dollars on renting palatial homes, hopping across continents on first-class flights, and branded clothes and purses!
In the pursuit of that elusive stuff called “happiness”, most of us lose focus on the most important quality in our life … balance!
You see, if you get to party 365 days a year, eventually you will lose all happiness out of partying!
Although money should not be the sole aim of everything we do, it’s still important. Money is inherently not evil like many people (and even our parents) made us believe.
Money is a tool, just like a kitchen knife. A kitchen knife can be used for assisting cooking, and the same knife can be used to slit a person’s throat! And money can bring in a lot of happiness, ask any shopper :-).
You have only one life to live, so live like there’s no tomorrow. What are your money/possessions worth if you die tomorrow? So enjoy them today.
And what happens if you don’t die tomorrow? Or for the next ten years? Or for the next fifty years?
If you spend everything today, will you be in a position to feed yourself and your lifestyle then?
Doesn’t mean you hoard all the money and do not enjoy anything.
But just like anything in life, a balance is necessary here.
Take whatever risks you want to take, be even reckless because if you die doing the reckless stuff, you will still have lived fully!
Right. If you die doing the reckless stuff today, you will have still lived… assuming there are only two outcomes of doing the reckless stuff… dying, or coming through unscathed.
But what if you break your neck, or spine, and become wheelchair bound for the life?
Or have a serious accident and spend the next six months in a hospital?
Taking calculated risks to indulge in new, unique experiences is absolutely fine. But taking reckless risks is something only the fools can afford to do!
Follow your passion! Do what you love and money will follow.
This is the big one.
Do you like singing, dancing, painting, or knitting? Do you have a hobby which keeps you engrossed for hours? Do you feel alive doing something which you absolutely love?
Do you think you are at such a level that people will pay you for your hobby? I mean, in terms of actual, real money, which can buy things? Not just the so-called ‘exposure’ or ‘recommendations’?
Very few people realize that there’s a world of difference between “having a passion” and “having a marketable passion”.
Here’s a newsflash… having a hobby which you enjoy does not mean people will pay you for it!
Getting paid for what we love is a different ball game than simply loving to do something. There are multiple factors which dictate whether you will be paid for your hobby:
- Being absolutely brilliant, or at least moderately good is only the first step. Thousands of people like to sing, but how many can sing even moderately well?
Just watch the trials of the so-called singing reality shows to see what I mean.
2. The skill that you have must have a market. If you are really good at knitting tiny socks for dogs, the only people who may buy from you will the dog owners who want tiny socks for their dogs. Needless to say, this market segment will be minuscule compared to people who want to learn drawing or computer programming.
But at the same time, because the market to teach computer programming is so big, It’s highly competitive. If you want to make serious money in this market, you need to really stand out.
3. The dreaded M word! – Whether you like it or not (And most probably, you won’t), you must market your wares.
I know, it would be
delightful to create an artwork/song/book and immediately receive a paycheck of
a million dollars for it!
Unfortunately, such cases are as rare as one in a million, too.
So here’s a newsflash: unless you make a conscious effort to reach your audience/customers, no one cares what your skill is. And even when you do reach them, they will be interested in your skill only if they feel that it’s beneficial to them.
Why it’s still possible to Follow Your Passion AND make a living
Does it mean I must keep ignoring my passion and hobbies, and I would never have the chance to live my life as I want?
You will see hundreds of examples worldwide where people have made a living out of their passions/hobbies.
What you may not see is the cost they have paid for reaching there.
It took years of practice, sacrifices, discomfort, constant improvements, and multiple failures before these people could reach a level where their skills became saleable.
And then it took efforts and trials finding the right market to sell their skills.
And then came the innumerable emotional and monetary ups & downs through which they managed to survive, even thrive.
After reading this, I think I should just give up because I know that my skills and hobbies are definitely not saleable!
First of all, even though your hobbies may not be saleable immediately, they still give you immense pleasure and the will to live. So continue following them.
At the same time, start finding various avenues where you can sell these skills.
The skill you have may not be saleable in the form you know of. But due to the level playing field called the internet, many different forms of selling are available.
For example, let’s say your expertise is in making cakes.
What avenue comes to your mind immediately when selling this expertise?
Selling the cakes?
Yes, it’s definitely something you can try. But think about the competition. How many cake shops are around you? How many sellers are already involved in selling cakes? Can you compete with them in terms of efficiency? Home delivery? Variety of designs?
How many people do you think you can reach? Can you cover a vast area in the city, or will you be confined to a few blocks?
Does it already feel overwhelming?
It will if you think selling cakes as the only avenue for selling.
Instead, you can make a YouTube video of your recipe and publish it. That way, you can reach thousands and possibly even millions of viewers.
Or you can write a recipe book for making cakes.
Or you can conduct live classes for making cakes.
Or you can use your book to sell your online classes/live classes for making cakes.
Or you can do affiliate marketing for equipment manufacturers/cakemakers.
The possibilities are endless. You just need to keep your eyes, ears and mind open.
And yes, the last best time to focus on enhancing your skills was ten or twenty years ago.
The next best time is now! Make the most of it NOW.