The determining question is this:
If you could make a comfortable and profitable living doing what you enjoy, is it what you’re doing now?
Put in other words, is what you’re doing now how you’d spend your time if you didn’t have to worry about earning money?
Waiting for the right time or perfect conditions to pursue what you’re truly passionate about is shortchanging yourself and the world. The someday plan, the aspiration you’re saving for years down the road or in retirement, what’s the real reason behind your postponement?
The majority stick with what they know, preferring the known evil to the unknowns, even if there is great opportunity. When faced with too many options and uncertainty, the status quo reigns. It’s easy, safe and convenient; the tempting trap.
This is how many of us drift along in careers, life circumstances, or relationships we dislike.
This is how you lead a life with more to be desired.
This is how you accumulate whispers of regrets, wishing you had done this or that many years ago.
The time is now to take the first step, however small.
Any inkling that there’s more to life than what you’re doing now isn’t going to go away. In fact, if it exists, it will only get stronger with time. The key way to live the life you love is at the starting line, which is this very moment if you choose to begin now.
Start with the inspiration
Some of us make our mistake right at the start.
We begin with practicality instead of inspiration. This has been my Achilles heel, which I’ve tripped on again and again over the years.
In emphasizing rational factors such as stability and convention over emotional connection, we set ourselves up for a future reversal.
This in itself may be the meandering journey you’re meant to take; as what happens in most people’s lives, they go through experiences and end up in places they never anticipated.
Nevertheless, awareness once attained cannot be taken back.
If you’re consciously choosing to stay on or go down a convenient path, one you sense isn’t right for you, you’re choosing to drift for the next phase of your life. That’s time you will never get back.
Over the long-term of ignoring the inspiration, you’ll likely find yourself in a version of personal hell. The consequences will wear you down.
Maybe 5, 15 or even 30 years will pass before this happens, but the consequences are steadily building up to your attention. It’s little surprise those who have spent decades in an ill-fitting situation are so bitter, dull and uninspired about life.
It may be hard to ignore the practical voices within and outside of yourself, but it’s worthwhile.
“To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world which is doing its best night and day, to make you everybody else—means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting” – E.E. Cummings
You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Focus on what you love doing and the rest will work out over time.
Yes, it will take patience and some trial and error. But with enough time, persistence and effort, it will pay off.
This is where practicality comes in—after the inspiration. Because yes, it’s important to pay the bills. It’s important to contribute to savings to support yourself and your family for the short-term and long-term.
The difference is when you start with the inspiration, you get practicality working for you instead of the other way around. Read more on the 7 perils of starting with practicality.