When I was fourteen, I decided what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t think of becoming an engineer, a doctor, or a world-famous writer; instead, I merely wanted to become a wholesome person, live curiously every day, experience everything under the sun, travel countries, read books, make as many friends as I could.
It doesn’t seem much of a passion, right? But it is harder to do than it sounds. As one grows older, one gets mired in expectations; study to be an engineer, get an MBA, get married, have children, worry about them, take care of your parents, buy a house, retire. Our dreams and passions get lost along the way.
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Every day since that day, when I decided on my life path, I ask myself every morning; Am I living the best life I can? Am I making choices that will lead to my life goals?
Three things have kept me going on the path to my dream
- I visualized what I wanted, but did not be hesitant to redefine my vision from time to time
- I try and be kind to myself when I fail; which is often
- I try and be courageous to keep on my path no matter what anyone says, but I also listen to feedback; most people mean well
I have a 9-9 job. Like all city dwellers, I struggle with traffic, noise, weather changes, life responsibilities, heartaches, work schedules. But I keep reviewing if I am on my path. Literally, every day.
Because it means that much to me.
If it means that much to you, you will do it too.
I am living the kind of life today that many will envy. I work at a great firm. I am the author of a mystery fiction bestseller, another is on the way. I have a beautiful family and a great gang of friends. I travel abroad at least two times a year. I have been to over 50 countries. I am in Switzerland as I write this. Every day, I try and make a little more of my childhood notion come true.
How can you do it too? There are some easy ways and some hard.
- Make lists; define your goals: This has worked really well for me. I make annual targets and break it down to daily/ monthly/ and weekly goals. I review my goals daily and re-calibrate if needed. For example, I wanted to visit Japan this year, which I did. I wanted to finish the manuscript of my next book, I am doing that now. If you keep reminding yourself of what your goal is, you will be forced to act upon it.
- Do a bit of your passion every day: I write daily. No matter what the work pressure, no matter how sick I am, or what my family commitments are. I wake up at 4 a.m. if needed to write one paragraph. What you do every day becomes a habit, sort of like muscle memory. And you will miss it when you stop doing it. And you never know, when your scribblings will turn into a masterpiece. Winners take years and years of hard practice to turn out the way they do.
- Stay on your path, even if you fail: This is going to happen. Believe in yourself. People will ask you to abandon your dreams, question your intentions, wonder if you have it in you, making yourself wonder that too. For example, when I started traveling solo, it wasn’t really mainstream. Women did not do it. But I had terrible wanderlust. I knew what I wanted. So I listened to no one. The only people I cared about were my parents, and I won their trust and overcame their fears over the years. I only take care THEY are okay with my traveling, letting them know my detailed schedules, talking to them from time to time so they are not worried. The rest of the world does not matter.
- Eat, sleep, and dream of your passion. If it’s not THAT important to you, let go. If it is, STICK to it no matter what: You will not be good at everything you dream of. But if you are passionate enough, you will make it. Maybe not overnight, maybe not over ten years, but eventually. I started writing when very young, but it took many years for me to fully write a book, a few more years to find a worthy publisher and some more to get it in the hands of readers. I kept at it, because I eat, sleep, and dream books. I love what I write and I want readers to love it as well. I made it and so can you.
Also Read: A dream is a wish your heart makes
Passion is a difficult indulgence to have. If you have it, make sure you nurture it well. The returns are astronomical, but there is a price to pay.
You will know you have a burning passion within you when it keeps gnawing inside you, prodding you to move towards fulfilling it. You won’t be able to sleep at night. It will take over your life.
Otherwise, what you have is a fanciful wish. There’s a big difference.