“Do what you love” is a piece of advice that many life coaches teach, and, even if few will recommend that you make the career leap right away, it’s still something you need to make time for.
Some time ago my friend and I were discussing career changes and he told me that, although he wanted to try writing too, he was too scared to leave the secure paychecks provided by an office job. It’s perfectly understandable as, although we’re both single, he lives alone and he has a lot of bills to pay while I can still live with my family. I have also invested a part of my salary for the past six years so my investments give me adequate cashflow for a sort of mini financial independence.
That little discussion of ours, by the way, reminded me of Jim Carrey’s commencement speech at Maharishi University and his “do what you love” lesson (You can find the full video and transcript at www.mum.edu here):
“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying, I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it — please! (applause) And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order. It’s party size! (laughter)
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant, and when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job and our family had to do whatever we could to survive.
I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
Succeed at what Nobody wants:
I’ll add another lesson, by the way: Aside from failing at what you hate, you can also SUCCEED at being a FAILURE. What does that mean? Some people can “succeed” and “survive” as beggars, thieves, drug addicts, and alcoholics, however they will never be considered “successful.”
Some people can also survive and thrive in the corporate ladder. They work at stressful and demeaning jobs they absolutely hate but they bear with it because they’re too scared of trying anything else. They waste their lives away on overtime and weekend work, they give up the hobbies they love, and they’re never there for their families because they need to keep working in order to pay the bills.
You can Fail at what you DON’T Want:
Many of us are scared of leaving what’s safe and easy, and that’s just fine. If, however, we start to regret our choices and we don’t even try to change our circumstances, then we have no right to complain about it. We must either bear with it, or strive for something better.
You can try making a living doing what you enjoy and fail, and you can try making a living doing what you hate and STILL fail. Nothing in life is guaranteed and even the “safe” and “secure” path can end in disaster. If there’s a chance of failure either way then, like what Jim Carrey said, why don’t you try doing what you love anyway?
Some paths are more difficult than others, and that’s especially true if you haven’t gained the skills and experience yet. If you can’t do it now, then why don’t you learn what you need in order to do it well? Why don’t you start practicing right now? Why don’t you prepare your life in such a way that makes it easier? You can keep thinking you’ll fail… or you can keep trying until you succeed.
How do you Start?
If you’re inspired enough you can try going for it right away as you’ll likely find the drive to succeed, though if you have a family to support and bills to pay, you might not want to do it immediately. You would probably need to prepare everything properly, ease into it, and then you start building momentum.
First, figure out your passion: If you became a billionaire and you never need to work again, what would you do on your spare time? When you figure it out, ask yourself how you can make money through it. Do you love painting? Develop your skills and sell art. Do you love to travel? Try working as a tour guide. Do you love writing? Try writing a book or blogging. It must be a passion or goal that you’d enjoy dedicating your life to or else you won’t have the drive that you’d need to succeed.
Second, prepare everything. Try studying your passion more when you’re away from the office: practice painting during weekends or attend art classes, study how travel guides build a blog and get customers, or gain more knowledge and mastery on that thing you want to do.
Aside from gaining more skills and knowledge, you might want to organize your finances as well. In my case, I’ve spent ten months after graduation studying personal finance and investing. I also used what I learned so I regularly saved money and bought assets during the six years I’ve spent on my first job. All of that gave me a little passive income which lets me pursue writing full-time today.
Finally, just start! We all have 24-hour days and how we spend our time determines whether we we will become successful or not. A lot of people get stuck at the preparation and study phase and forget to ever start. All the knowledge in the world won’t help you unless you use them to do create something valuable. Once you find something you love to do, then do it on your spare time and on weekends to gain mastery and experience. When you figured out how to make money from it and you start earning enough to pay the bills, then start doing it full time!
I personally started writing during the time when I get home from work and during weekend mornings. Later on, I found that I actually had a lot of free time in the office as I tend to finish work in advance, so instead of spending those hours on facebook or playing mobile games like everyone else, I figured I should spend it on something more productive like writing articles. That’s how everything started for me last 2014.
One friend of mine loved hiking and mountaineering so he started by joining weekend mountaineering trips. After a while, he became a regular so he started assisting the guides. About a year later, he joined a travel company and eventually became a regular mountaineering guide on the weekends. He gets to hike on the most beautiful mountains in our country… AND he gets paid for it!
“Will you look back on life and say, ‘I wish I had’ or ‘I’m glad I did’?” – Zig Ziglar