Genevieve Tran

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What's your excuse for not pursuing your passion?

Mr. Smith talked about all kinds of excuses we are making for not going for it in life. I have many tiered dreams in life, and while some are checked off (like working abroad), others still need to be (like changing the world). I find myself thinking that there are too many gatekeepers in the world and too much potential for environmental destruction (i.e. putting out a certain product), so I am always rethinking my "passion", and hoping that I don't come across something where others or the world have to suffer just because of my own ego / narcissistic need to self-actualize.

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    Mar 13 2012: Because life comes in between.
    Pursuing passion is choosing a different life, maybe a different carrier, a different place to live. To do that i have to finish all obligations i have in the life i've chosen now, and thats a hell of a job and i'm working on it. And i must be confident that this risk will pay off. Again i cant pursue my passion abandoning the current life and things i'm doing now. This situation arise when you become late to realise your passion and destiny..but its not too late.
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      Mar 14 2012: Hi Pranoy, in my Asian culture responsibility and obligation are huge. They are not necessarily shackles, in fact, they teach a lot and prepare a certain care and discipline about doing anything in life. I think, if we are "preparing" for our ultimate life of purpose, even with small, mundane tasks, with a sincere heart, we will get there and it won't be too late.
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        Mar 14 2012: Yes, the preparations should start right from the moment when we realise our passion and purpose of life. And from that moment onwards we should start slowly pulling ourself back from a life without passion and push into a life that will bring us close to our passions.
        Btw i'm also asian and i think, the responsibility and obligations are huge in all cultures. It's upto the individuls to ignore them or be loyal to them.
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        Mar 15 2012: I share your Asian culture of responsibility and obligation....and I see around me so many limiting parameters[ because I am a social activist ,working with a lot of urban poor women and children] and many do not have the luxury of choice. For those who do I think it is possible to balance both..being there for those who depend upon you while keeping aside a space in your life for doing your own thing...
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    Mar 15 2012: You also have to consider this whole concept of pursuing a passion is relatively new. 30 years ago, they called work WORK because it was challenging and not-so-fun. That was the concept that many people built life-long careers on.

    People today are just embracing the idea that you should actually like what you do for a living. Some people still embrace the concept that work is called work for a reason.

    The reality is that most people don't know or understand what their passions are. People have interests, but there is a far stretch between an interest and a passion. Even if they know and understand their passions, most folks do not have the courage necessary to embark on the long and uncertain journey to passion.

    It'll mean that they'll perhaps lack security, go broke, have to move, acknowledge some hard truths about themself and others or learn a completely new way of living.

    Most folks just aren't that flexible. And I understand on some level - why bet the farm when the outcomes are uncertain. You may not discover your passions or fail and give up along the way. Why not accept a life of unfulfilled certainty than fulfilled uncertainty? Most people do.
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      Mar 16 2012: I totally agree with the first half of your comment--in my country India especially children were raised to embark on careers which gave status, and security , Parents saved and scrimped if they couldnt or splurged on expensive degrees for their offspring if they could. If it coincided with what you loved well bully for you but otherwise no diversions. Some still followed their calling and were lucky to know what they wanted very early and painted,wrote ,sang,danced,invented their way to success thumbed their collective noses at people who merely worked. For them there was never any choice bcs their passion blotted everything out.But most people live commonplace mundane lives a comfortable meding of work,family,interests ,hobbies friends ---the unfulfilled certainty you so aptly put....and that sounds so dreary and humdrum...while the impassioned life is exciting ,heady ,stimulating
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    Mar 15 2012: I have seen many successful people who's passion is inextricably linked to ego and power, this tarnishes true passion which I believe comes from deep knowledge, skill,understanding or attitude to something of value which one has no choice but to SHARE. So arguably as Larry Smith alludes to- if for ANY reason one doesn't share or pursue passion , it is NOT passion but merely an interest, worthy of average attention and unremarkable comments in its contribution to the world. In modern society I think people have too many interests and not enough passion. I come to TED to read/ think and exchange passions. As we grow and change so it makes sense that our passions can change.....but if they are truly passions, I think we have a number of core values and beliefs which underpin our choices from an early age .Thank you Genevieve for a great question.
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    Mar 15 2012: At times, I let the critical/judgmental voice inside my head voice its opinion too much: "You don't know what you're doing...you're NOT an artist...you don't have the funds..." So, now I visualize putting duck tape over that negative mouth and say YES YOU CAN! 2012 has been a year of YES: learned to ski, surf and learning to play the cello (One of my GREAT passions)! Throw away all weakness. Tell your body that it is strong, tell your mind that it is strong, and have unbounded faith and hope in yourself.” – Swami Vivekananda
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      Mar 15 2012: YES YOU CAN!
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      Mar 15 2012: Isn't it weird how a parents voice comes through like that sometimes...
      But it did teach you resilience.
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    Mar 17 2012: When I have the time, I have no money. When I have money, I have no time. Most of the time, I have neither.
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    Mar 15 2012: I make no excuses. I live my passion.

    It has changed somewhat with the passage of time but well worth the journey.
  • Mar 14 2012: My "excuse" is my morals. I have a passion for horses, but I quickly realized that the only way to make a living in the horse industry is by putting the animal's welfare second. I decided not to do that.

    But, IMO, the idea that everyone should pursue their passion is faulty anyway. How many people do you know have a passion for cleaning public toilets? If everyone followed their passion we'd have thousands of rock stars and no janitors. Besides, the way Larry talks you'd think that anyone who isn't following their passion is not contributing to society at all, which isn't true; they may be perfectly good at whatever job they're doing.
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      Mar 15 2012: You're right. If we look at following passion as a human-centric, selfish pursuit it's quite liable to be impractical in society (and bad for animals, others, the earth etc.). So, society has thought up numerous ways to pay us to contribute, however un-sexy, or else stuff would never get done. Then people like Larry make this wake-up call to all those who have this "social fatigue" by poking at the individual within us, which we have supposedly left behind. In a way, Larry also quietly necessitates a society that operates on the backs of people with less mobility to pursue their dreams, thereby necessitating an underclass, while those more able can become rock stars (or reality tv stars).

      I believe there are other TED talks which have been trying to newly implant in our minds that our society needs to shift towards compassion, regard for the environment and the future etc. as new social goods. So, one day, our dreams will shift and the goal of having your own reality show, in the Western world, will be seen as dumb.
      • Mar 15 2012: reality tv shows can't seriously be regarded as a passion pursuit. Passion comes from within, to be enjoyed from within.
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      Mar 15 2012: I don't think I agree. I am not certain everyone's passion is related to their work. Pursing your passion means you move in the direction of your passion. So for instance, if your passion is your family and they are what is important, it does not matter what your work is. So cleaning toilets and making beds is pursing passion because it gives to the family.

      If you passion is music it does not mean you are a rockstar. You could work in the business but perhaps you work to be able to enjoy your passion.

      But Larry is insightful. Because to get up every day, day after day to go to a job is easier if it somehow contributes to your passion. But your job may or may not BE your passion.
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        Mar 15 2012: Hi Linda,
        I agree...passion is not necessarily related to work experience. You say..."pursing your passion means you move in the direction of your passion".....good point! What if, as with me, my passion is life, so that passion is actually moving with me in every moment?

        Funny you mention cleaning toilets...been there done it!!! At the same time I was pursuing an acting career, I also owned and managed 32 rental units. It was not unusual for me to go to the city for acting/modeling jobs, then go back to the country and clean an apartment...including washing toilets....LOL:>)

        I was pampered and paid very well with the acting/modeling, then the next day, I'd be the washer-woman with my hands in the dirt of a trashed apartment. I LOVED and was passionate about it all!!! For me, it was all part of the process of really "living", so I appreciated, and continue to appreciate ALL life experiences. I know I'm weird...can't help myself!!! LOL:>)
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          Mar 19 2012: Its not weird at all but a gift which adds another dimension to living..because the ultimate passion IS life and living..it fills us with zest and the good old joie de vivire to every facet of our lives and gives us the confidence to take on challenges when we make our choices:)
      • Mar 15 2012: "I am not certain everyone's passion is related to their work." You're right but Larry is clearly talking about careers.
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        Mar 24 2012: Dear Sangita,
        I appreciate your kindness, sensitivity and understanding. As an older adult, I realize that my passion for all aspects of life is not weird, and I was having fun with the idea in the previous comment:>)

        There have been times in my younger days, when my passion, joy and unconditional love for life was thought to be "weird" by some people in my life, and it was challenging for me to understand how they COULD NOT feel passionate about being fully engaged in each and every moment. I still have difficulty understanding why people do not want to embrace life in that way, and it's ok...we all have differences and choices:>)

        I learned, as I traveled the life journey, that my passion for all of life is indeed a gift which adds MANY dimensions to the life adventure, and as you say..."the ultimate passion IS life and living...fills us with zest...impacts every facet of our lives...gives us confidence to face challenges, and remember that we have choices. Thanks for the reminders Sangita:>)
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    Mar 14 2012: Whoa! This conversation grew massive tentacles upon checking it! :)

    In Japan, I went to a Zen Meditation class (touristy~) and at the end, we were able to ask the Zen Master questions. I asked: "do you meditate?" And surprisingly, he said "no, never".

    He said that he tries to practice Zen in every little movement, every action he makes. To be aware that every moment is precious, and maximizing that. Perhaps that is a life of passion.
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      Mar 14 2012: Hi Genevieve:>)
      I agree that every moment is precious, maximizing the passion in the moment and creating a life of passion is important to me. Passion, to me, is not something "out there" to be pursued, but rather, something that lives in my heart always. Every single moment provides the opportunity to experience passion, if/when we choose to percieve it. There are many different interests that draw my attention at different times in my life, and one or the other interests may take center stage at any given time, but EVERYTHING I experience is felt with passion at some level:>)

      Passion: syn: fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, zeal.
      I cannot see any reason to NOT live my life with these qualities in every moment:>)
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    Mar 13 2012: I once wanted to be a marine biologist. My Father told me "There are no jobs in marine biology. Get a good job so you can afford to SCUBA dive on the weekends". I used to think that was great advice. I took engineering instead.

    I worked for Hewlett-Packard and after two years decided to leave and start my own business - when I was just 23. So many HP guys who had been there 5, 10, 20 years said "I have been wanting to do that for years! I will do it one day.". I bet that none of them ever did. Since then I started a business, sold a business, started another business, and now have training centers in 50 countries. Yep, it has been hard work, but I have always followed my passion. There have been so MANY times when I could have done something less risky but chose to continue to follow my passion. I have two children (the best boys you'll ever meet) and I have balanced work and home life by working from home.

    Why am I telling you my life story? You really can follow your passion if you break free of the excuses and the barriers thrown up by your parents, family, friends - and your own mind. Stop thinking of all the reasons why you should not do something and focus on how you will do it (not how you could do it). Get a focus, make a plan and do it. It sounds easy, but you have to make a change in your mind - once you create a plan, once you take your first step, everything changes. Ignore the naysayers - they are fearful that if you make it they will feel bad that they did not also try.

    And don't make it about the money. Happiness and success should instead be about how much you enjoy your life - how you spring out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm for what you are doing.
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    Mar 13 2012: I'm pursuing it, Genevieve. I teach kids, I love teaching kids, and every glowing moment that I see a student's face light up because she has outdone herself makes the piles of corporate money I've passed up feel worth it.
  • Mar 21 2012: Here's a little twist, a little monkey wrench to throw into the conversation. Some people are idea people, Some people are able to implement ideas. Some are good at starting things, but not finishing things. Some don't get ideas, but can follow up on other's ideas and bring them to fruition. There are many types of people as far as this goes. I don't think it is wrong, or a matter of lack of discipline, etc. Maybe it is an aspect of humans working together, as we are a group animal.

    While I love to create things, I get Way more ideas than are practical to actually do. I could sell ideas. When I realized this, I realized that is just the way I am. I should probably write them down, or sketch them out. Often I do, and keep them in a folder.
    So while I said that my passion is to create things, just because I am not creating all of these things in a material sense, I am still creating them in my mind. So my passion is still going on, even if I am not making them.
    This train of thought has to do with perhaps an acceptance of different ways of looking at pursuing one's passion. Can anyone relate to this?
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      Mar 22 2012: I TOTALLY relate to this Laura:>)
      I am passionate about everything, so my heart and mind are often in a state of creativity. I've had many wonderful life adventures simply because I said YES to the opportunities. While many of my friends were very one-goal oriented, I was exploring many different things. Sometimes, I felt that I wasn't disciplined enough to keep a steady course toward one goal. As an older person, I have accepted that I am different in this respect, and it's ok....I LOVE it now!

      I agree...there are many different types of people, and if we were all the same, with the same motivations and pursuits of passion, the world probably wouldn't be very interesting huh?

      I also am in agreement with you that acceptance of ourselves and others is a big part of the passion puzzle. Knowing ourselves and believing in what makes our heart sing is important. We do not all experience the same sense of passion, and that's probably a good thing! Perhaps we are meant to realize the balance we create by NOT being the same? I like to think so:>)
  • Mar 20 2012: I say, true success or happiness can only be achieved by the happy marriage between passion and profession. And anything less means, your happiness or success is hollow. My passion is to be a science and english teacher in a high school. But I amn't pursuing my passion, because in India from where I come from, this passion of mine is poorly paid and worse, seen as an avenue for the least intelligent and no-hopers. I'm settled into manufacturing but no matter what I achieve, my happiness quotient will not find its true bearings.
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      Mar 20 2012: Dear Veejay I find it interesting that you choose the metaphor of marriage..between passion and profession and end on a note of dejection and no hope for change. A marriage needs a lot of work to stay good and happy.You made certain choices because your priorities were influenced by responsibility and societal concerns and pragmatism overrode passion. But please dont give up ,believe and nurture your interest life may surprise you by somehow giving you an opportunity ,unfold another path. Meanwhile respect the choices you made and stand by yourself and happiness will be stronger. I offer this opinion with respect for your views because this is familiar territory for me and I have experienced what I say.regards
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    Mar 19 2012: Oh I just have to be honest here and say that I have no bloody excuse for not pursuing my passion, but the reasons are either 1) fear that I will fail, and 2) fear that I will succeed. If I fail I will look like a fool, and if I succeed, then I will have to take responsibility. I'll admit that I finally pursued my passions when I found a wife who wholly believed in me, and gave me a good many swift kicks on the backside for wasting so much time!
    • Mar 20 2012: Boy, I think you hit the nail on the head! Sounds just like my own excuses, and I am trying to get past them. If only we all had someone to give us those swift kicks, maybe we could get to our passions and be productive with them.
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    Mar 15 2012: My excuse - I need to pay the bills. So I have a job where I've lost the passion, but look forward to retirement (in about 10-15 years) where I can get back to something I'm passionate about. I don't know what that will be at that time, but I hope to be able to do something I enjoy every day for the rest of my life.
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      Mar 15 2012: In high school, my English Lit teacher (whom I loved) often told us that in retirement he and his wife would be traveling the world. Years later, I saw him on the bus and asked him what he was up to in retirement and he said that his wife became physically ill in older age and couldn't really leave the house.

      So, while I know that hot water and a nest-egg rock, a lot could change when you retire, so some attention to the present could be good!
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        Mar 15 2012: SO true Genevieve!!! Life is what happens sometimes, when we're making other plans!
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        Mar 15 2012: I'm trying to do what I can with what I have. I try to make time for some of my passions while still dealing with the 'real world' of billls and work obligations. I'll never make ends meet with my photography or crocheting, and they won't make me enough money to do some traveling. So, unfortunately, they have to wait to be truly and fully enjoyed until I can stop working.
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    Mar 14 2012: I have worked so long at jobs that I didn't want, but had to have, that I don't even know what my passion was, or is anymore. BUT, I have not lost hope, I am not dead yet. I have raised a family and there is still time. Now for a passion to pursue.

    Contrary to Larry's decree, I have told my kids to pursue their passion and have held myself up as an example of not getting trapped into a "good career" with a "solid company". Go for it, kids!
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    Mar 14 2012: If you don't pursue your passion, you are perhaps not passionate enough (yet). I believe there is a threshold you have to reach until you really get moving.
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    Mar 13 2012: I think it also depends on how you define passion. Some people may say that its something you enjoy spending your time on. Others would define it as an activity that is very hard to live without. I think that family is a passion for some people. I have a friend who is a genealogist who takes family and family history very seriously. She glows when she talks about her family and their history.

    But I think that for the majority of people, family isn't a passion. Its something that they love, that they are interested in, that completes part of whom they are, but it isn't their 'passion'. But once again, it depends on how you define passion.
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    Mar 12 2012: My excuse is: a lack of (psychological) support combined with the fact that I am notoriosuly undecided and that I value, maybe too much, other people's opinion. Also, I was not motivated enough and when I was I felt it was too late and now it's really too late...maybe it's fear of failure, after all.
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      Mar 13 2012: Then continue with your passion of unsupport - you will find plenty!
      Write a book about it!
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    Mar 24 2012: With one more day to go, I just wanted to post this and express my appreciation and entertainment at everyone opening up and sharing at what's got them in life!

    I think that, as far as we know, since this is our one shot at the human experience, we need to make sure that it is carried through with meaning. While that might mean a fabulous career or a healthy family or being in love or helping others realize their dreams or simply watching all this with wonder, it is certainly an individual choice. Discussing this in terms of an "excuse" for not having THE THING, might be too prescriptive of what it is A Passion is supposed to be.

    After reading all this, I feel that my "passion" is like a small drum that I carry inside and every movement and beat I make sounds it. Sometimes its for me to dance to, sometimes its for others to notice, but the point is to beat it with purpose. I might not know the entire score, but even an improvised rhythmic number here and now is fun to do!
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      Mar 24 2012: Genevieve,
      I LOVE the metaphor of the drumming passion! I agree....it is inside me in each and every moment...beating sometimes softly, sometimes with much more energy, and always with purpose...and it can be very much fun to recognize it in each moment:>)
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      Mar 24 2012: Genevieve, you say:
      "since this is our one shot at the human experience", I never felt that way.

      As long as I can remember which dates back at the baby carriage I had impressions of many a life.
      I think this always was the root of my passion. I never was much interested in my current life.
      But no matter what I did doing as life demanded of me I was at the same time occupied with my quest to understand all life and in search for a deeper experience and connection apart from all actuality.

      Maybe we're all in different stages and my life is a more review and summing up of many.

      So, people can be very different and as one needs to fly or climb a mountain the other one just closes the eyes to remember that flight.
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    Mar 24 2012: ///


    This was a great thread thanks Genevieve you provided a great read and real value in thinking outside ourselves... so break down the gates.... deliver on dreams....


    ;;;
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      Mar 24 2012: Hi Terry any excuse to be cognitive of WTH it is we are doing has been a big curiosity of mine. I think the world, in a way, is a teenager in terms of how we are figuring things out. We are slowly understanding the consequences of our power.
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        Mar 24 2012: I agree Genevieve, that we may be like teenagers in terms of how we are figuring things out, and we may be slowly starting to understand more about our power with a growth spurt!

        We have more advanced communication systems, which allow us to connect throughout the world, science and technology has given us the gifts of more advanced methods of studying the brain/mind, and we know that with evolution, the brain is expanding in size, and perhaps is ready for the next step of evolution in which we may discover more about the power of communication and connectivity throughout our world? Guess we'll see! It is also a big life-long curiosity of mine:>)
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    Mar 20 2012: When it is a matter of PASSION , no excuse please.....More accurately there is no place of excuse....If there is an excuse , better to check whether it's really one's PASSION or not
    • Mar 20 2012: Love your comment!:)

      Or you can also say that someone who has an excuse for not pursuing his passion is a coward.

      I am sometimes a coward.
      Whenever I have many excuses for not pursuing my goal, I soon realize that I am afraid to do IT.
      I just don't want to admit the fact that I wanted to avoid the obstacles and I didn't want to face the problem--which means I am not brave enough to pursue my passion at that moment.
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        Mar 20 2012: Hi Elizabeth
        Thanks for your compliments...I am obliged.
        If someone has the courage to say her/himself to be coward s/he is not a coward actually...well thats my view....
        The call of heart human can't ignore and thats the passion to my definition....no barrier can stop that...may be can slow down sometime but no worry passion will find it's way
        I am sure you will pursue whatever passion you hold...may be tomorrow or day after...
        Have a good day :)
  • Mar 20 2012: I think that this whole depends on how strong are your love and devotion to this passion. If you really want to do it, then you'll do it, no matter what happens, regardless of all the factors such as time and money. But if you don't want to archieve your goals, or you don't really care about it, you will not even try to try!!
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    Mar 19 2012: I agree with Cara below that the word "passion" has become used so broadly that people who use the word do not all mean the same thing by it. Does everyone by nature have something to find that will interest him so much that it qualifies as a passion? Is part of the reason that so many people are frustrated not to have discovered their passions that not everyone has by nature an interest that consumes him as the word passion originally conveyed - yet having and pursuing a passion has become a social expectation? Do some people not follow their "passions" because their strong interests are really not as compelling as passions would be? I think when a person has a passion, it is unmistakable. Anyone might fruitfully seek a strong, compelling interest (if one has not alreadyy surfaced) but I believe a passion would show itself. This does not mean every person with a true passion would follow it, but I think often when someone doesn't follow his declared "passion," it is because he actually has an interest rather than a passion. It may, in fact, be emotionally unhealthy for people to believe that they must have a passion to be normal or enlightened. I do have an obvious passion, but I don't feel that one necessarily must or that those who do are somehow better than those who don't.
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    Mar 19 2012: 'passion' - this word has lost meaning and import from the frequent cliches it finds itself subjected to from overuse in benign and unimaginative conversation
    i believe - 'trust your path, the rest will follow.'
    As soon as a personal talent and gift becomes driven by the dollar then I believe it changes from a holistic love of something to a quest for recognition of that self discovery. I think it is such a middle/upper class discussion for a western world as many in third world countries would just innately be doing what they were good at without thought or speculation of self fulfilment, this in turn would normally mean taking only enough from the earth. Unfortunately, people following passions sometimes have not been gentle and it has involved taking more than their fair share and plundering the earth's resources to do so.
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      Mar 21 2012: This... is interesting.

      Is 'trusting your path', however, not also susceptible to the path of the ungentle and overly plunderous?
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        Mar 21 2012: Hi Tim,
        Yes perhaps it could be but I believe to trust your path is to trust something bigger than you, something predetermined and possibly intangiable. i would hope when we were following a 'destiny' so to speak, it would be in the natural order of things and almost be part of your blue print, your design and genetic makeup. when it is a learned and then forced enthusiasm, I do not believe it is necessarily going to be in harmony with the divine, thus leaving greed and corruption to creep in.
        As an aside, I do believe it is ok to make a living from something you do well, in fact better than ok.
        It is a fair question Tim, as a cello player or a book lover, these things all require resources and my hope is that we take only enough and replenish where we can. My thoughts anyway.
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    Mar 17 2012: I thought that I would be teaching ESL by now in China or Ecuador but one surgery and 2 brraain bleeds as side effrects derrailed me.
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      Mar 24 2012: Oh Debra, I'm sorry for the bad news.No matter what you'll still have much love from all of us back here.I miss you and I'll pray for your health and happiness.Take care.
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    Mar 13 2012: Would be nice if life was like that. However, I'm one of the many people with a passion for something they'll never be good enough at to make it their living - that's being realistic, and if I wasn't realistic I would be putting myself in physical danger.

    There's also the question of whether earning a living through the activity I love would diminish it. Currently I know that as soon as I start to concentrate on it I have to focus completely, and that's one of the things I love about it. If I have a bad day, it distances me from that and I come away mentally refreshed. If it was my living I would be committed to doing it whether I felt like it or not, and it would no longer help me distance myself from problems. So I work at something else to finance it rather than pursue it wholeheartedly.
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    Mar 13 2012: Fear. Fear of not knowing where to start. Fear of not being able to succeed. Fear of failing and not learning. Fear of being too late. Fear of being too early. Yep, fear.
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    Mar 13 2012: When I think of passion I'm thinking of the artistic voice I want to fully express. It depends what passion means to certain people I guess. In regards to my own I think fear of letting go of my comfort zone in the art field. Fear of what would happen if I just completely let go and allowed my voice to shout rather than whisper..
  • Mar 13 2012: I am pursuing it. But I used to think I lacked support & money. I didn't and in fact i started after I lost a lot of both. They are smokescreens I think.
  • Mar 13 2012: Currently it's family obligations. I have elderly parents & In laws- aged 86,86 & 91 who require care. Thankfully it's split up amongst the different family members. but, when you're the "family nurse" you tend to take on more. I've been a Labor & Delivery Nurse for 30 years and helping people to become a family is one of my passions. THere is nothing better than seeing a new life begin. There are our darker moments too when you have to work to help a family having a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. But even in these situations you can make some good memories in the way that you show how you care & help familiesto progress through their sorrows. I greatly loved the work, but now i care for the folks, watch my son grow into manhood & am reinventing myself. In that reinventing of myself I also find myself "passing the torch" to my son & neices & nephews and am enjoying them finding themselves & their passions for life. Being an Auntie is great! I guess being a Grandmother some day will be pretty darn good too.
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    R H

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    Mar 12 2012: Passion. One of my favorite words. It makes me remember I'm human, not just a category or statistic or a homogenized member of 'humanity'. I wonder if I don't follow it all the time. If I don't express it in my work, then I listen and scream with pulsing music, or I spend every last fiber in sport, or I seek dangerous thrills, I desire fiery hot powerful sweaty - gardening ("uh-huh"). And if I do find it in my work, I imagine I scare alot of my colleagues. I don't think it's nacissitic to be yourself. It's all we really have to offer. We do have to be considerate and tempered though. That's why I always sing in the car.
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      Mar 13 2012: I think narcicism exists in what we think others think of us - screw them.
      Let them think what they think. Can't be helped.
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    Mar 12 2012: Some passions are no doubt easier to follow than others, in part because some involve gatekeepers and some don't. Another complication is that you may have multiple passions that actually conflict with each other, so one would need to choose among them or pursue them in sequence. Some passions are of a type that one can without much difficulty earn a living by, while others typically need to be supported by another way of earning a living. I understand the fear you articulate that you don't want people to suffer while you "self-actualize." There certainly are people who pursue their own interests or passions while treading on others (or worse!) without any thought about it, but the fact that you are concerned about the suffering of others suggests that you will not do that. As Joy described, some passions truly can be fitted in among other things on your plate and do not involve resources to which it is hard to gain access. If your passion were writing haikus or drawing, for example, you could probably fit these activities in on a moment's notice. If you have such a passion and you have been hesitating about pursuing it, why not start today? If your passion is to reduce environmental degradation, there are little things you can do in your own life as a start while you consider how you can collaborate with others to effect change on a larger scale.
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      Mar 13 2012: Fritzie - you are fortunate to have multiple passions.
      Return to your own field of perception - then insight will blossom to allow them to merge.
      I think you will do very well!
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    Mar 12 2012: Hi David,

    There was actually a really good TED video pushed out yesterday evening about this very issue. The speaker addressed the excuse (I have a family, so I can't pursue my passion in 'X'). He said something along the line that family eventually feel like jailers when people use the excuse that they can't pursue their passion because of their families. It also makes them feel/seem somehow 'noble' when people say that they can't do 'Y' because they have family obligations.

    When people are pursuing their passions, they find time for their family/friends. When people don't really want to pursue their passion out of fear/doubt they find ways to make their family/friends their excuse
    .
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      Mar 13 2012: And really .. is it a crime to have your family as your passion?
      If it is - it is.
      And don't let anyone's judgement tell you otherwise!
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      Mar 13 2012: Maybe there are several dimensions to this.
      - The degree to which or how important the passion is to a person. Perhaps it is not a great passion if you don't pursue it. Perhaps the passion is borrowed from or forced on you by someone else. Sometimes expressing a passion is like branding or positioning yourself rather than it being a real passion.
      - The general level of motivation, energy and self discipline of the person
      - Capability and resources relative to the scope and difficulty of the passion. A physical handicap
      - Personal circumstances - working/studying 80 hours may not leave much time for passion.
      - Fear of failure
      - Lack of general success skills - not stopping to take stock of life and figure out what you'd like to achieve, making a plan, implementing it, checking up.
      - Your parents and role models
      - The X Factor - the special thing that separates the mediocre from the great. Heard a podcast on Aung San Suu Kyi today. Even as a house wife she put so much energy in something as simple as planting some roses, referring to 3 books.

      Self discipline and drive. We all have different set points and potentials but we can all do better than we are.

      Suggest not having a dramatic passion is fine. Maybe your passion is to read and learn and chat with friends or spend quality time with your family.

      Maybe we don't all have something we'd class as a passion. Maybe some have smaller loves or goals.
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        Mar 14 2012: I think this is an important point you're making Obiwan :) Not everyone is driven in the same way. It is like the colour red, but seen by different brains and non-verifiable that any two of us can define it the same way. I liked your Aung San Suu Kyi idea: how we do anything, is how we'll do everything. (I do know people who live awesome lives, who are awesome even on minute levels about unrelated stuff--cooking, pottery, traveling, entertaining guests, keeping in touch etc).
  • Mar 12 2012: I haven't realised what exactly is my passion and I am 28. It is a shame, I guess... but then there are so many things I want to do that I I do not get the energy for it, or am just plain scared or lazy or procrastinate... I feel overwhelmed by the hows, why, is it worth it, or will that be another mistake...
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      Mar 13 2012: Hi Chic,

      YOu describe yourself as "creekgirl" .. I think you already know what your passion is ;)
      Follow it :)
  • Mar 20 2012: Fear of failure is a natural human tendency and limits us psychologically, but fear of success is also a major limiting factor. With success comes many unintended consequences, i.e. more money, less privacy, lovers, haters, changes in the id and ego and cognitive perception. So adaptation can build a stronger character or destroy the self. Now if said passion is only on a personal level of fulfillment that does not change one's position in society, then the pursuit of that passion may be attempted with more vigor. I dwell on these issues as excuses. However, my biggest excuse is my position in society, i.e. limited resources and survival. Now if I had unlimited (or less limited even) resources I would pursue my passions with 100% devotion. But paying bills (survival) to meet the demands that society has put in place creates severe limitations in many cases, a catch 22 so to speak, and this destroys ambition, creativity, and the pursuit of passions.
  • Mar 20 2012: When I doubt about my passion--whether it's my passion or just vanity.
    When I am not sure about what I really want to do--that doesn't mean that my passion needs to be specified.
    When I take too many responsibilities--they define my behavior, my way of thinking, and even my way of lifestyle.
    So, I'd say sometimes responsibility can limits your possibilities and passion.

    But most importantly, when I think of those excuses and try to justify myself.
    In other words, when passion is not the priority of my life.
  • Mar 20 2012: A big thank to him, im now starting to change the way I think and do things. I have an idea, I write it down, I have an idea, I try to look for possibilities to exercise it, I have an idea, i try to relate it to something I still do not possess - passion.
  • Mar 20 2012: I find myself thinking that there are too many gatekeepers in the world and too much potential for environmental destruction
    I like this part. :( there's too many gatekeepers in the world.
    and I always wonder about my 'passion'
    but I think wht matters is wht u think of urself.
  • Mar 20 2012: Money.
  • Mar 20 2012: I have a job that pays...
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    Mar 19 2012: As Steve Jobs says in his Stanford speech of 2005, "you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards." As far as I know, I am pursuing my passion. =)
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    Mar 19 2012: I think. Passion is a cause that knows neither time nor money. It does not recognize sleep, or see the limitations ambition does. It transcends boundaries and feeds upon itself by scavenging for every, drop of stimulating energy it can find. Passion has a context, which it defines on its own.

    To follow a passion, is probably the loneliest path a person would ever walk in a lifetime, until those who are destined to share it start joining in the journey. Passion knows no limits, for it burns like a flame that just won't go out, no matter how hard you try. Maybe the primary reason for not following a "passion" is because it really isn’t a passion at all.

    When, against all the odds, in spite of all the failures, you find yourself reaching out for comfort by engaging in the one thing you cannot help but naturally do, you are probably aligning with your passion. Live that thing in order to continuously form your passion. Therefore, I am.
    • Mar 20 2012: Robert..
      very insightful comment. I'd like to know more about the description you made. can you share a bit more about the source of it?.
      Regards.
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        Mar 20 2012: Hi Yuri. Thank you for your comment. I developed this understanding while I was learning how to live according to my passion during the past, 14 years. I suppose, that would make my mind the source of the description then.
        • Mar 20 2012: I see..
          your mind is a great interpreter :)
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    Mar 19 2012: Following a passion does not have to result in plundering the earth. Following a passion does not have to mean a strive for significant profit. But I don't think earning a profit from hard work should mean that a person is no longer following a passion.

    I think that some of the comments below reflect society's built-in "programming" that stops people from stepping away from the obvious, risk-free path. "It is bad to strive for profit". "People who follow their passion plunder the earth's resources". "You are too young". "You need more time/money." Sorry, these are all excuses. You should not feel bad about not following your passion (or starting a new business, whether it is a "passion" or not) - you are no less a person. But you should not use these excuses to stop you from doing something that you would actually like to do. Most "successful" people ("successful" by almost any definition) fail a few times before they experience "success". Treat the failures like stepping stones.

    These comments may reflect Western culture, but I think it has more to do with what your passion is; meditation, raising children, creating great artwork, writing software, training people - whatever.
  • Mar 19 2012: I actually stumbled onto this topic as I was going to post a topic that's very similar. My excuse for not pursuing my passion is my age. I'm scared that since I'm so young everything I do will be awful and I won't even know it. I feel as though it's impossible for me to be successful at my passion and do it justice now, so why even try? That being said, I'm trying anyways because I think that I can do it, but the self-doubt that creeps up every time I think about how old I am and whether or not the ideas I have are childish is enough to cause me to make tons of excuses as to why I'm not trying harder.
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      Mar 19 2012: Hi Kari, I think you just have to do it even if for the practice of doing scary things. The sting of embarrassment, rejection etc. seems horrible, but it is a kind of education and perspective that you would NEVER get just sitting on your @$$. This understanding eventually forms a powerful arsenal for How to Deal With People later in life. So, it's realistic and smart of you to understand there are ageists out there who will prevent you from going further regardless of your ability, but you must, for the sake of exercising your passion, act when you're feeling it! And practice.
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    Mar 18 2012: I believe if one truly discovers the passion , one will pursue it no matter what difficulties he/she may face. the real problem is that most of the people are not aware of what their true passion is. and education system does little to help them discover that. I would love to see a methodology of discovering one's passion.
  • Mar 16 2012: There can't be any excuse for not pursuing the passion. Passion is an energy which came out as power, nothing can stop it. Multiple passion means deviation if energy and sharing it into many folds, this is illusion.

    As one destination have many ways to reach so as many passions must be reconciling into one purpose. When that purpose is clear to people they achieve what they want to be.

    regards
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    Mar 16 2012: Society as we know it would collapse..
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      Mar 16 2012: Very soon
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        Mar 20 2012: I think change is coming.

        I think everyone picks up a feeling of foreboding when change is in the air.

        I don't think the feeling of foreboding means that society is about to collapse (unless we trust only to bureaucracy and stop believing in people).
  • Mar 15 2012: I 2nd u Deborah......and would like to add on this---Its like when u get free time to introspect....you just ponder on things for which you are passionate for and make a "To do list" for your rest life.....
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    Mar 15 2012: But we're homo sapiens, for chrissake, not bees or ants ! We don't like to be specialists.
    Unless you're autistic, why on earth would you only care about a single thing?

    We have hundreds of interests, and this is sanity. You have to be either lucky or insane to be able to enjoy 30 years of doing the same thing. Most of us hope for a life full of surprises, of struggle, of different experiences.
    • Mar 15 2012: I think you just outlined two of his mentioned excuses perfectly. 1) you have to be lucky and 2) you have to be weired. He has nothing against interests. In fact, if anything in this talk he clearly and deliberately is encouraging people to have more than one, to have 20 or more. But passion is so much more and I agree. If you are passionate about something, you never get bored with it, in fact you only get more into it with time and with your increasing knowledge, experience and enjoyment of it. Like in Exupery's 'Little Prince', it is the time and effort we put into things that give them their value.

      The thing I would say on the talk is that there are always times when you have doubts and that does not mean that you are not pursuing your passion. But when you have doubts, you have to do some wandering to find the answer and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Not all who wander are aimless, they are just in 'reflection' mode.
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      Mar 15 2012: Hi Vivek, although this may sound unhelpful now, but it seems to be a blessing that you've at least realized this. If you have all the money now, why not geek-out again on engineering and do some open source projects on the internet? Find others to collaborate with! Take an interesting job now that you can afford to again! :) Help a start up!

      Humanity NEEDS your brain, please stop sitting on it!! :) (my personal plea to one under-challenged engineer)
    • Mar 15 2012: The most satifying jobs I do are the pro bono ones which full of fun and passion. That's something to consider. The rest just follows when you are having fun and when you can feel the exhilaration!.
  • Mar 15 2012: I have been thinking about this for a few days and then stumbled on this thread! My question is how do you overcome your excuses? Because, for me, these 'excuses' seem valid!
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      Mar 15 2012: Davesh,
      "Thinking" comes from the logical mind, which often tries to put things in an order that it already recognizes, based on information that has been programmed by family, society, etc. That, I believe, is where the excuses come from. Of course the excuses are valid because they are often based on relevant information. How about if you change the mind/brain programming to different valid information?

      An example for me, was pursuing acting. I started doing community musical theater as a hobby at age 35, simply because I wanted to reconnect with music. There was absolutely no intention to pursue it as a career. It kept evolving however, and eventually became a career which I loved.

      At some point during the process, I had to consciously "pursue" it if I wanted to continue, which meant promotional materials, auditions, etc. At that point, I was sometimes asking myself....."what the heck do you think you're doing Colleen?" The logical mind/brain popped in with "you're too old to start pursuing an acting career"..."you're a mother/housewife from a little community in Vt., and pursuing this means a lot of traveling"..."you already have a job that is fullfilling"...etc. (logical, valid excuses).

      I could have continued doing community theater, but something more was calling to me, so I listened to my heart. I was also getting very positive encouragement, reinforcement, it became very lucrative and extremely enjoyable. I needed to listen carefully to all the information, rather than be "stuck" with the valid "excuses" that the rational mind was providing....make any sense?

      What makes your heart sing? What gives you bliss at this time in your life? Know yourself well enough so that your intuition, instinct, logical, rational mind are all working together to create the best scenario for you at this time:>)
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    Mar 15 2012: Part of my excuse is that I haven't really known what I my passion was. The other, probably more important reason, is financial and a lack of confidence that I can earn a decent income doing what I really want to do.

    I now have a really good idea about my passion - http://www.kyliedunn.com/2012/02/reflection-30-days-of-drive.html - and now I am trying to work out a way that I can make this work in my life.

    The confidence and fear have not gone away, but they are things that I am continuing to work on.
  • Mar 15 2012: I'm just in a complex situation economically and personally that I put myself in. I'll be looking to solve this ASAP so that I can start pursuing my passion. I tend to be extremely inquisitive when I know what I want, so that's always a plus I guess. :-)
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      Mar 15 2012: Daniel,
      Inquisitive is GREAT, and I agree, a plus!!!

      How would it feel to be passionate and inquisitive with the situation you're in now...the "complex situation"?

      I've found that each and every moment leads to the next moment and each one is a stepping stone to the next phase of our lives.....if we choose to accept our present situation in that way. I've found that moving to the next phase happens more smoothly when I recognize and am grateful for the last phase. I've found that because I experience and accept every moment with the curiosity of a child, things kind of flow, so I wouldn't deny myself the opportunity to really "feel" what is happening in the moment by trying to "solve" it. Being fully engaged in "it"....whatever that may be...is important to me....just sharing a thought/feeling:>)
      • Mar 15 2012: I am I guess. There is an easy way to solve it, but that is above my head. Right now I'm trying to figure out just how inquisitive I want to be, if I press on too much they may want to protest just because they can. But it's all a bit older ladies that I have to deal with, which again seems to be a plus as they just seem to like me by nature somehow. I don't know why though, but I seem to share this trait with my father.

        I feel like a child that barley can wait thinking about studying how we perceive reality and then to do science to try out my visions of how to see how well they match! Right now I probably appreciate life more than ever, so whatever happens down the line, I've had a good time pursuing my dream!
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    Mar 14 2012: I personally think that there should be no Excuse for such a thing !
    Pursuing your Passion is what we call our Career !
    If you don't pursue your passion ... You haven't done anything in your life as a career !
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    Mar 14 2012: I think it is about what really you are looking for... ok all we have dreams and make them real but sometimes i think that whether we want to achive our goals and our dreams or we just wanna think them and be happy with them ? it is important how you response this question because if the second option is valid for you probably you are a passive man/woman as i feel mysself mostly... but if you feel the fire inside you not just in your dreams you cannot stop even you fail you will look some way to push forward one more time or maybe you will creat your own way. So, for me there is no excuse of course if you are not satisfied just by dreaming. Also, we cannot be here just for ourselves and our own desires. There is no excuse for not to touch people's lives
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    Mar 14 2012: I'd like to look at one part of Genevieve's question: "...too many gatekeepers...". I noticed the majority of respondents are caucasian. I would like to offer a difficult and controversial point of view. Is it possible that many experience 'stronger gatekeepers' than others, that opportunities for the expression of personal passions may be more restricted than others experience because of what they look like, or culturally represent? We talk about our 'passions' like it's only a decision on our part. But what if the 'gatekeepers' are more real for some than others? What if opportunities are truly more limited for some than others, because they are the wrong color or culture? Is this a real consideration or not when we discuss why we don't pursue our passions? Maybe we did, and it was just too difficult to overcome, there was no where to go. Does that mean they 'gave up'? What's that like to live with?
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      Mar 14 2012: Everyone's situation is different. Everyone has to be realistic. The challenge is when to recognize whether the barriers are real or not. I have not had to overcome racism or bigotry, and I did not have to overcome physical danger, but I have had to overcome lots of other things.

      The other question is whether you want to live your life knowing "at least I tried" instead of "I wonder what would have happened if I had tried".

      I have been fortunate enough to find something I am passionate about. I don't think your goals have to be lofty or involve great financial reward. For example, I LOVED coaching my son's junior basketball and soccer teams; but the ungrateful beats grew up and their skills surpassed my coaching ability ;) How inconsiderate!

      I also think that there is a lot to be said about taking in pride in what you do; regardless of your environment - you can be passionate about doing well at whatever it is you do. It is when you hate what you do and turn a blind eye to things around you that I think a change is required.
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      Mar 14 2012: Hi RH, you've brought up a really legit concept of people just having a boot on their chest, while others seem not to. But it is all the more amazing to be able to transcend these added social difficulties. So many TED speakers (homeless, amputees, those with life-threatening illnesses etc) have turned their straw into gold--and that's the spirit we hope to see in life.

      Tan Le spoke about how she hopes to stay AWAY from privilege and the easy life because it takes the hunger for life away. http://www.ted.com/talks/tan_le_my_immigration_story.html
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        Mar 14 2012: It is certainly "all the more amazing". And I agree, TED gives us the opporunity to share true inspiration and the extent of possibility. I try never to forget how fortunate I really am, and that others may need to be 'heroic' for their fortune. I am often humbled by the accomplishments of so many. I can only hope that I may someday warrant their company. Thnx Genevieve.
  • Mar 13 2012: A restraining order (I'm kidding, the charges were dropped). ;-)
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    Mar 13 2012: As for me, I just make the excuse that someone smarter than me already has the upperhand--or that I'm just not the right person for the job. But in the end, I'll never know unless I try. . .
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    Mar 13 2012: CIrcumstances and decision. not trying. Best i could do want to be friends I'm networking for world lasting change want to connect and collaborate?
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    Mar 13 2012: Great question, Great thread Genevieve... [!]
  • Mar 13 2012: My excuse is to have heavy workload. everyday i stay at workplace long time, except for weekend. actually my goal is that i like to be good in English as well, communicating with foreiners. i think that tireness and fatigue obstruct my effort to continue my educatinal routine. i wish..
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      Mar 13 2012: sanghun,
      Operate at 85%
      In this way, you will have resource to face the crisis - and make it your benefit.
      If you go 100% all the time, you will not be ready.
      The crisis will come - it is either your benefit .. or someone else.
      I hope it will be you.
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    Mar 13 2012: Fear of failing at the thing you most want to suceed at. If you try your hardest and fail you can't have the "if only" fantasy anymore.
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      Mar 13 2012: Failure must always happen before success. - it is the first iteration on the "noise reduction" loop we use as we "home-in" on what we want to achieve.
      If you can only get over that first failure - the next attempt will be twice as effective - and if that fails too? Well, the next attempt will be twice as accurate as the one before - you cannot fail --you only need to keep going at it.
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    Mar 13 2012: I'd like to be able to pick something and just go with it. Many many issues out there that need sorting through. I like to consider myself a messenger, and a leader but very undeveloped in my social networks since I come from a first generation family with poor ties to a culture (mother and father grew up in a rural part of Poland during the post WWII era). I got a degree in Criminal Justice, only knowing that I am better suited in a psychological, hospitality, or business profession. I have a great idea I like to come up with things and create wealth. My idea is actually to make a wallet, and make it with a light attached to it and brand it. Its a small project, but seeing that I cannot even get an internship or even a average paying job with my degree, I seem lacking anything to gain ahead. Other than that, I do like to eventually build a "family comes first" attitude and work on some other goals of mine like a Master's degree. Property development may be something in my near future (and maybe helping poor communities develop their property for a little while til I can start my own business?) hopefully, since I only have one "mentor" who doesn't even respond back to me, my life is on hold... and it sucks and all I need is a paycheck, but in the mean time, I'm watching videos. I reckon I give up on planning things out. It seems planning doesn't work for me. For some people it does though.

    By the way- Passion can also be translated as "debetur esse" in Latin...or "due to be" in English.
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      Mar 14 2012: Hi Mark, I think you've described the unglamourous disappointments that many graduates and people living in the shadow of the American Dream are going through. Though, I think it's NOT true that success is only for the few--I think it's for the few left standing.

      It sounds like life may be telling you to develop and listen to yourself--so many people around you seem to be uninspiring.

      Also, your wallet and light idea could be good, but people also use their phones for light sources, as well as have LED lights on their keychains. Taking out your wallet in the dark isn't something people usually do! :P
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      Mar 15 2012: a wallet with a light should be easy...just add a a led light which goes on when it is opened
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    Mar 13 2012: My passion does not pay me... (yet?)
    I want to understand life, the universe and everything (42, I know)... but learning and thinking and watching TED talks is not a paid job, now is it?

    I have other interests that are more apt for an income, and are pro-social.

    Maybe that is a flaw in Larry's talk... not all passions are monetize-able, or pro-social...

    unless...
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      Mar 13 2012: Monetarization is not a pre-condition of passion.
      No one who follows passion will hold money as their objective, unless it is money - and I concede that many have that passion. And I say - wow - good for you! But I do not say that the passion for money is the only passion worth following, although, our popular culture would insist so.
      Be unfashionable - outside of you, the world is ignorant of it - but the world will not allow a life without passion. The world values you - regardless of fashion. It will help you find your way.
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      Mar 14 2012: Hi Christophe, it would be lovely if your passion happened to put plenty of food on the table--but what if it never does? What if it only sucks resources? Then, is it a cancer, not a flame consuming you?

      Or is the idea of a "successful" passion being a bankable one kind of like phantom shackles--we are heavy with this expectation that doesn't necessitate joy anyway. ??
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      Mar 15 2012: It would be great if watching TED and learning paid money, but just because that aspect isn't monetize-able it doesn't mean that the passion that leads you to learn and be inspired can't be.
      I still feel it is early days for me on the journey I've been on, but for the first time in my life I understand my passion, or as Simon Sinek says 'my why' (http://www.kyliedunn.com/2012/02/reflection-30-days-of-drive.html).
      Maybe you just need to be more creative in thinking about how your passion could be a career - or alternatively consider that being a lifelong learner is simply something you are passionate for and it may not be possible to earn from it, but the growth you can get might assist with your career and your capacity to earn.
      This is what I'm still trying to work out for myself, so it isn't necessarily insightful advice :-)
  • Mar 13 2012: This was an amazing presentation.

    I have absolutely nothing holding me back from pursuing my dreams, yet I hesitate every step of the way to accomplish the goals I so desperately need to accomplish.

    My excuse? I fear success, because it means change. I'm comfortable with where I am, which is awful because comfort=stagnation.

    Thank you, Mr. Larry Smith.

    I wonder what if...
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    Mar 12 2012: Money - lack of!!!
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      Mar 13 2012: Then continue to have lack of money .. if that is your passion?
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        Mar 13 2012: No, it's an answer to the original question. It's my excuse for not pursuing my passion!
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          Mar 13 2012: AH - forgive me. I have a passion for passion ;)
          One important thing with passion is to recognise it.
          Embrace it - warts and all.
          For some, lack of resources IS the challenge. and overcoming it is the passion.
          What I'd suggest though is that resources tend to coalesce around a passion.
          They do that through the mechanisms of opportunity,
          Opportunity arises through two channels - your own senses and the resonance of others.
          The process gets started by taking genuine steps towards your passion with the resources you have.
          The second you do something, then the "noise reduction loop" gets started and your senses start to tune to the opportunity defining the next step.
          With each step you gain clarity and energy.
          At a certain point, others become aware of your clarity and energy and start to contribute - this can seem almost magical. But .. just think of all the passions of other people you have subscribed to?So it will be for you.
          When that happens, things begin to release, and all the resources you need become atainable.
          There is still a large amount of effort, but that effort becomes more and more effective.
          Once within the flow of passion-realised the world changes and it becomes impossible to go back to a world of trepidation. This is not nirvana or utopia - there are other challenges beyond. LIfe continues to throw difficult challenges. in this passion is our friend, comfort is not our friend.
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    Mar 11 2012: No excuse - because I always followed my passion.
    Some tried to hold me back out of concern or fear but none succeeded.
    Passion does not yield happiness, but it does yield wonder.
    What a life!
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    Mar 11 2012: Because she's married.

    No, seriously, because I have a family and a full-time job and if I really dedicated the time I would like to my passion (photography) then I would neglect my family and work...Sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to do what is right. If I spent less time with my family and less on my students in order to spend more on a hobby, then I'm sure my wife and boss would make sure that I would soon be spending 100% of my time on my passion.
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      Mar 12 2012: Engage your family (or a part there of) in your passion. Find opportunities to teach your passion to others. Break up your passion into bite sized pieces so you can be interrupted without losing your place. Chose some part of your passion you can do at the same time that you are spending time with your family. As your kids get older you can carve out 2-3 hour chunks here and there to devote to your passion. You can study, save $$ for the day, talk to others about what interests you. Keep a journal of the things you'd like to photograph. Always keep in mind passion is part of your journey, it's not a destination. Look around at all the things related to your passion, chemistry, drawing, light, travel, physics. Even if you fail, it's better to have done everything you could do to achieve your dreams than not to try at all. Last, look for stories of people who succeeded at something in the face of incredible obstacles.

      Make your family your passion.
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        Mar 12 2012: Thanks for advice. Sounds good. My family is my also passion and I also make them models for my photographs. I'm not complaining...I do it whenever I can. I'm pretty realistic though and don't expect to make a living out of it. I'm quite happy doing it in my spare time.
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          Mar 23 2012: There are some great sites where you can share your photos and join groups of others who are sharing what they do; istock, flicker. I've seen some super art photos on colossal, an art site. Having children is about self sacrifice. I tried to get my kids into my art making. Sometimes they did sometimes not so much. Stay healthy, a whole other life awaits on the other side of full-time parenting!