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Are you passionate about what you do? Does it help you push forward when things are difficult? Are you in an endless and hopeless pursuit of what your life purpose and passion is supposed to be? Do you believe everything is pre-determined?
In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I explore these questions – and many others – connected to passion.
- 00:14 – Content I’ve been creating for my upcoming book, Flashes of Elation
- 00:36 – The difference between The New Music Industry and Flashes of Elation
- 01:16 – In today’s episode, we’re going to be looking at a segment titled “passion”
- 01:39 – Pre-orders and bonuses
- 01:59 – Passion
- 02:14 – Finding your passion vs. choosing your passion
- 03:07 – Doubt and life purpose
- 03:33 – Choice and identity
- 04:54 – Searching in my teens and 20s
- 07:25 – Passion means suffering
- 08:15 – Passion is hard
Hey there. In recent episodes, we’ve been looking at some of the content I’ve been creating for my upcoming book, Flashes of Elation. It’s a collection of essays on creativity.
The New Music Industry, which is my first book, was about the “how.” What does the music industry look like, how is it structured, how do you thrive, create, and survive in today’s music industry climate? It got into all those subjects, but it didn’t really get into the “why.”
I think that Flashes of Elation is a book that covers the “why” in more detail. It talks about motivation and inspiration. It talks about productivity and creativity. It talks about building systems into your life – even though it’s not sexy, it enables more productivity and ways for you to create more work that matters.
In today’s episode, we’re going to be looking at another segment from the book, and this one is called “passion.”
Basically, every chapter in the book is represented by a single word, best to my ability. That’s a formatting decision more than anything, but it helps me focus on the specific topic I’m writing about.
Pre-orders for this book end on June 30, 2017. You’ll want to check it out sooner rather than later if you want to claim the extra bonuses, and I promise you’ll still be able to buy it at a nominal fee.
Now I’m going to read a segment from the upcoming book called “passion.” This isn’t necessarily the finished version – it may change a little bit between now and when it is officially published.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say something that might be a bit controversial:
I think the word “passion” has robbed us of the decisiveness necessary to master a given discipline or craft.
We’ve been lied to. All along, we’ve been told that passion was something to be “found” or “discovered”, as if it were a long-lost lover you were destined to reunite with. It sounds romantic. But I don’t think that’s how it works.
Once upon a time, I did believe that you could have an epiphany, a moment of realization so significant that it would be etched in your mind and tattooed on your heart for the rest of your life. The sky would light up, the clouds would part, the angels would descend from heaven, and God himself would announce, in a booming voice, “You are meant to go out into the world and impact people with your guitar playing.” But even if that did happen, we would still doubt our chosen path, because that’s human nature.
Look, I tried to make it work. I searched. I waited. I asked. I begged. I prayed. I cursed. I visualized. I meditated. I gave up. I got up again. And none of those things seemed to get me any closer to my “life purpose” or, for that matter, my elusive “soul-mate”.
Friend, we choose who we become. We choose our “passions”. We choose our soul-mates. And if you choose to wait, you’ll be waiting in vain, because very little will come of it, if anything at all.We choose who we become. Click To Tweet
You came to this world with certain tendencies, gifts, and abilities. To try to become someone you’re not is to do a disservice to yourself. To curse your identity is to doom your life to one of people-pleasing and veiled resentment. Let me ask you something: who are you trying to impress?
You could do something you weren’t meant to do, but that will never make you happy. We all sacrifice and take crap jobs at times, but that doesn’t mean you must park and set up home there. Ride the wave of change.
What I’m saying is this:
There are things you’re good at. There are things you enjoy. There are things that make you happy. These are the things you were meant to do. The specifics don’t matter that much, such as your exact target audience or charities you want to donate a percentage of profits to, because you’ll figure that out.
What matters is that you let go of the idea that you must “search” for your passion. All you need is willingness. It won’t take long to see what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what makes you happy, although you may surprise yourself from time to time.
I spent a good part of my 20s (if not the entirety of my 20s) trying to find my passion.
Despite my love of artwork (particularly drawing and painting), guitar and music, web design and writing, I kept on searching for something that was supposed to fill the giant gaping hole in my life.
In early life, I was preoccupied with arts and crafts. I would watch Mr. Dressup and other kid’s shows on TV, and follow along with the drawing, painting or crafts segments. My family moved to Japan as I was turning six-years-old, and I became fascinated with manga and anime, and even started writing and drawing my own graphic novels.
But then I found out I was good at basketball. Hell, baseball and soccer were a lot of fun too. Maybe I was meant to be an athlete?
If repeated injuries didn’t stop me, the grade 11 basketball tryouts sure did. I’d only taken a year off from basketball, but I quickly found out that the other hopefuls were miles ahead of where I was. Had I shown up to all the tryouts and worked hard, I probably could have made the team, but I didn’t know that, so I gave up.
When I performed a rap in front of an audience for the first time, at age 15, I was certain that music was the thing I’d been looking for. In ensuing years, as band members continued to quit, and projects and concerts continued to be sabotaged by the people that were supposed to be helping me, I lost that belief.
At one point in my 20s, the intersection of music and video games intrigued me. I liked music. I liked video games. Why not merge the two passions, and become a video game composer? If my love of the two mediums wasn’t enough, I’d also interviewed Tommy Tallarico, North America’s most prolific video game composer, in 2007. When this realization hit me, I’d thought the stars had aligned and I was on to something.
I applied to a New Media program at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) as it encompassed a lot of my interests, including podcasting, websites, and of course, video games. And although my application was accepted, I was late in applying, and there weren’t any seats left. Well, that was short-lived.
My point is not that I was never meant to do any of these things, because, frankly, we all have experiences like the ones I just described.
If I had a long-term mindset and was determined enough to push through the adversities I’d encountered, I might be in a different place than I’m at today.
And that’s what I want to – nay – need to remind you of. Passion means “to suffer for.”Passion means to suffer for. Click To Tweet
“Just follow your passion”, they say, and I say following your passion is one of the most painful and difficult things you will ever do. It was never meant to be easy.
But if you give up, that’s it, end of story. Unfortunately, God’s not going to come out of the woodwork to tell you to keep pushing when you are mere inches away from success. You must make that decision yourself. You must push through the pain.
What makes passion possible is that it’s something you enjoy. Anybody that’s ever achieved anything significant has suffered for their craft. It’s just that they may not remember, because they were having so much fun doing the thing that made them happy.
You will experience difficulties in “pursuing your purpose”, and anyone that tells you otherwise might just be a snake oil salesperson.
Passion is hard. We often assume, mistakenly, that we picked wrong at the first sign of difficulty. But passion and suffering are mutually inclusive. You must remember that.Passion and suffering are mutually inclusive. Click To Tweet
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