Follow your passion

I was just reading how some people make excuses for not following their passion… and thought that I might respond in support of following your passion.

When I was small, I wanted a Ferrari Testarossa. You see, I have red hair (well at least it was when I was younger!); when I found out that “Testarossa” literally means “red head”, I decided in the unequivocal way children can, that it was my dream car.

Then I saw one… and I thought, “hmmm… that’s a pretty ugly car” – but it was my publicly stated “dream car” so I held onto the dream.

Shortly after starting my first company, I sat in a Ferrari for the first time. It was in a dealership in Brisbane and I was so excited – finally, I was going to get what I had always wanted. As I sat myself into that hard seat of fine Italian leather, it felt fantastic… For a moment… until I realized, “It’s just a car.”

And it hit me like a cement truck falling at terminal velocity. It wasn’t the car that I wanted. It was the concept that the car represented. It was the feeling that I thought the car would give me. Pursuing the car was great in that it took me closer towards things that I really did want (excellence, achievement, impact, joy, passion…). But it wasn’t about the car.

Whenever I’m getting too attached to a goal – whether it’s doing another degree, making more money or even buying a new mobile phone – I’m lucky to have my wife ask me, “What do you want that for?”

What will it give you?

What will that allow you to experience?

And I find that there’s usually something even more important that lies behind the surface desire. Sometimes what we think we want is the best way to get what we really want; sometimes it’s not…

I wanted to feel strong and able to defend myself. I could have meditated and transcended my insecurities. Instead, I did a black belt. Good plan – but it was just the beginning. I wanted to feel confident running a business so I did an MBA. I’m not sure that was such a good plan ๐Ÿ˜‰

The feelings of what you really want are the destinations… the surface desires are just vehicles for getting there. Make sure you get to the destination by a vehicle that suits you rather than just one that seems to work for you.

Perhaps this is particularly significant for me since my wife is pregnant with our first child. If I don’t live my life true to my heart – giving it my all, pursuing with passion the object of my heart’s desires – what sort of role model will I be for my son? What sort of husband will I be if I am not living with the integrity of being my own man?

And when you can live in the present with passion and purpose, opportunities show up that you could never have prepared or planned for… when you can put your cup of water back into the ocean, you can work with the force of the ocean.

3 comments on “Follow your passion

  1. Hey Daniel,

    I think you missed the point of my post.

    I think a lot of people talk about “you need to follow your passion” just like you do in this post. But, most people forget that there are circumstances where a person needs to do what he hates in order to take care of the people he loves.

    I need to support my family, which means I can’t pick up and go live location independently. If you have a solution for me, I’m all ears.

    I could easily pick up and go and live frugally anywhere. But ultimately, I’m looking to become a legend. I want to be remembered for the great things that I have done not be a niche group of people but be A LOT of people. I know A LOT is subjective, but I want to break into the mainstream and not just be known within social media.

    So the point is that not everyone can travel for the rest of their lives. They may want to, but their are priorities and responsibilities that some people have that trump any passion that they want to follow

    – Jun

  2. Hey Jun, thanks for your comment. I really honour the way you put it out there on your blog; I hadn’t followed you previously, but you really give it your all. Thanks for being so inspiring.

    And I agree with you. It’s not enough to just leverage the great opportunities that our forebears have saved and struggled for to scrounge out a bare existence on the basis of the advantages that they worked so hard to create for us. That’s disrespecting our family, dishonouring ourselves and it’s not sustainable.

    My experience has been that when I do what I really love, cool things work out.
    Your talk about being ‘a legend’ sounds a little close to being great in others’ eyes… for me, it only really works if you do what you want, do what lights you up, and do it for your own sake. Enjoy it while others like what you do or recognize your achievements, but know that they often won’t.

    Life goes through seasons. Sometimes it’s the season to sow. Sometimes it’s the season to plow. Sometimes it’s the season to harvest. Sometimes it’s the season to rug up and sew some blankets ๐Ÿ˜‰
    If it’s snowing, you’d better get out your skis. If it’s hot, you might want to put them away. But whatever the season, you can do what you want to do – to choose your path based on your personal values. And that, to me, is following your passion. Not following your whims, but cutting your destiny through the forest of life.

    When we read of great people, often their lives seem neat and clean and simple – like an Japanese garden. Yet so often their real story is more like a jungle.

    Cheers man – and good luck with your adventures!

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