“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. We don't read or write poetry because it's cute, we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering. These are all noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.” - Dead Poet’s Society
Lately I’ve been feeling totally inspired yet completely discouraged all at the same time. Maybe it’s because my life is in sort of a limbo, I’m a recent graduate that’s still in school to earn a masters, trying to gain some experience by interning or working part-time, all while running a few side projects and taking extra circular courses to add to my resume. Life’s been complicated, busy and just all around awkward. And to be honest, I’ve never faced this much uncertainty, I’ve always had somewhat of a plan. But if this past year has taught me anything, it’s that: plans are unrealistic and impossible stick to. And that’s ok.
When you hear stories of success (in any field), people tend to skim over the difficult times. The periods of uncertainty and hard work. It’s implied of course, the grinding and late nights that drove them to where they are today, but never spoken about in detail. Though, to be honest, it’s the most important part. Where I am, and maybe where you are, today. We’re in the heart of our success story. Where there is excitement and anticipation for what is yet to come.
However, this theatrical success may seem extremely dull today. As a designer, I sit in front of a screen for most hours of the day and create generic designs that follow strict rules and restrictions. I often do scut work, the simple tedious tasks that no one loves to do. And I’m not gonna lie, I hate every second of it. And to keep myself sane, I make sure to do one thing everyday that I (genuinely) love to do. In my case it’s art, design and sometimes writing. I create side projects for myself (like this blog) to have a space for my own creativity and thoughts. And if you’re anything like me, then you probably aspire to turn those projects into something bigger. A career. A success story.
I can confidently say that I will never be happy with a 9 to 5 job, cornered in my cubical, doing the same work everyday for someone else. That’s not for me. I’m not ignorant to the fact that most people often don’t have a choice, they need to pay the bills or save up some money. And I’m not encouraging you to quit your job tomorrow and become a street artist, but I want to inspire you to follow your dreams (as cringe-worthy as it might sound). Your talent, passion or hobby. A business, project or simple idea can become a reality. A guaranteed success story. If you find something that you love and do it everyday, there is no chance you can lose.
Listen, I’m not special. The only difference between me and the next guy is that I went out and did it. I found something that I enjoyed and I practiced everyday until I got better, until I got good. Anyone can design, draw or create if they wanted to. And I believe that goes for anything. Sure, natural born talent may also play a role, but talent means nothing if you don’t practice it. Meaning, you can do (literally) anything if you take the time to learn it. I encourage every idea, I think even the craziest or most outreached projects can be possible. Just think: What would you do if every door was open? If daydreaming was your day job? If nothing could get in your way? You'd live stories worth telling. You'd create, make mistakes, construct, dance, paint, give a damn. You'd own your power. Why wait? Believe in magic, move and be moved, because this place is powered by you. All you gotta do is keep an open-mind, let go of your pride and learn from others. Read, watch videos, attend lectures, work. Stay a beginner, be curious with everything you do. Allow it to consume you, and you will become it. And in a gentle way, you will be able to shake the world.
So, for now you’re listening. Which is good. Because your voice gets louder the more you listen. I hope that listening will help inoculate you from the seductive lies of our time, the lie that strength is an asset, that selfishness isn't only necessary but desirable, that the whole world benefits most when you act in your own narrow self-interest. That seductive lie is appealing because it allows us to go on doing what we would've been doing anyway, because it imagines a world where I am what I feel myself to be, the exact center of the universe. But living for yourself, even if done successfully, will do absolutely nothing to fill that gasping void inside of you. You must be weak before the world, because passion and listening weaken you. They make you vulnerable, they break you open. And it is only when you are weak that you can truly see and acknowledge and inspire the weakness in others. For everyone living through this seemingly endless uncertainty, I hope that these words help you find the confidence you’ve been searching for. Get up, work hard, grind, get it done. Get obsessed, and stay obsessed. I can assure you that our success is guaranteed, because we can’t lose. There’s no chance.
Wanted to give a special thanks to Joe Santagato for inspiring me (and this rant). If you haven't check him out, then please do. You're missing out.