Photo by Zevotron
On most days there is blind woman that goes to the coffee shop I frequent. Karen’s one of the sweetest and most genuine people you’ll ever meet.
What’s most amazing about Karen is her complete trust in her guide dog, Comet. Comet leads her everywhere she needs to go, and allows Karen to do nearly everything that those of us blessed with two eyes can do. Comet leads Karen to the register, around tables, and waits patiently while Karen types away on her braille keyboard and sips coffee. Karen has given over control to something that she trusts completely. Comet senses this and never lets Karen down.
I’ve noticed that creative workers (ie. artists, writers, bloggers, musicians, etc.), sometimes fall prey to not letting their passion lead them. Instead of letting the fire in their gut create wonderful masterpieces, they let money or other forces control their output, and it changes things.
Sometimes you have to give up control of what you want, and let your passion lead you.
In 1995 bestselling author Steven Pressfield had the idea for The Legend of Bagger Vance, and almost didn’t work on it. Traditionally there isn’t much of a market for golf fiction, and he knew that if he wrote the novel it probably wouldn’t be read by many. Still, he had been given the idea, and he knew that he wouldn’t feel good about himself until he finished the work. The Legend of Bagger Vance is now an international bestseller, and touts a major motion picture based on the movie. Only because Pressfield followed his passion.
We humans are attracted to passion, and we can sense it immediately. It’s contagious. We thrive on it, and we thrive on others who have it. It’s a quality we all possess, but it’s not something we all use. In fact, many of us ignore what we’re really supposed to be doing, because it’s much “safer”. If we fail at what we really want to do, then it would devastate us, right?
Following our passion makes us vulnerable, as it exposes us for what we really are. It opens us up to critics, to people who wish they could find their own passion and ride it into the sunset. But they would rather scrutinize those who do what they love. We can’t be afraid of critics.
When it comes down to it, there really isn’t much of an option to being happy if we don’t follow our passion. Whether it’s writing, blogging, creating web sites, directing films, writing music… all of these things have to be directed by what’s in our gut and what’s in our heart. There can’t be any nagging thoughts about small market share, or competition, or public reaction. Those are just distractions to keep us from doing the real work that needs to be done, the work worth doing.
Nobody really follows an artist with a potentially great business plan. We follow passion. The business plan comes later.