Sit down. Okay, let me hear it.
You know—the thing you’re really passionate about. It’s distracting you completely right now. It keeps you up, wakes you up, and catches you daydreaming in between the rude interruptions of real life.
You look down, take a breath, and then it all comes out, bursting forth like you’ve just backed over a sprinkler, a blubbering apology to your dreams for not living them.
“I really want to—”
Great. Then you should do it.
What you say after “but” is really important to pay attention to because it’s probably all absolutely a giant pile of bullshit.
We are all unique snowflakes with our own strengths and weaknesses, but every one of us excels at manufacturing our own sabotage—lines and lies, barriers and batmobiles that block us and excuse us from being accountable to our dreams.
If you’re reading this on the Internet right now, you just pretty much don’t have any excuses. We’re all first-worlders—we have no excuse not to make new things and try hard and fail and maybe get somewhere that closely resembles our dreams.
If you don’t know how to do it or where to start, learn. Ask. Or just start! Ignorance is your best weapon because you’ll be armed with fewer excuses.
If you don’t know if you have what it takes, just ignore that feeling—and recognize that whether you’re underconfident or overconfident, the good odds are you aren’t the best person to assess your capability anyway.
If you don’t have the focus, just decide to do it. Commit. Give yourself no other option.
Great. All of that stuff is well and good. But here’s a very important question.
Why do you want to do what you want to do?
Is your focus on the results of doing it? (“Then I’ll feel successful and respected!”)
People with those motivations are caught in an unhealthy trap: believing the focus on the goal will make everything up to and beyond that point worth it. In reality, this is a great way to end up miserable.
The unfortunate truth is that when it comes to many of the things people say they “want to do”, most people don’t want to do the work it takes to make them happen, they want to have done them.
The desire to accomplish things and reap the rewards of having done so is a powerful motivator, but it’s a ridiculously empty one.
There is something you truly want to do—and guaranteed if you fish around your heart long enough, that calling is there.
I love that Walt Disney quote: “We don’t make movies to make money. We make money to make more movies.”
And, as Steve Jobs put it in his epic and oft-quoted Stanford commencement address, “You’ve got to find what you love.” And the key piece is you’ve got to find what you love doing.
Shirzad Chamine breaks the whole thing down pretty well in one line that’s one of my key ruminations at the present: “You are more likely to achieve your outcome if you don’t feel that your ultimate happiness and success depend on it.” (Positive Intelligence)
You’ve got to find something you love doing.
I was 18 years old and sitting in the old Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant sipping tea as we waited for lunch.
I told my dad I wanted to transfer to USC to go to film school.
He listened for a while and then interrupted me and said:
“Then you should do it.”
Well, I didn’t.
I just kind of puttered around and mostly let other people’s expectations make my decisions and goals for me, but you can bet for sure I remembered the lesson, even if I didn’t get it then.
You already are who you are and the very want for doing it is the only call you need to make it happen. You don’t need permission and you don’t need to “become” something first.
You just need to start doing something about it.
Is there something you want to do?
Then you should do it.