In college, I wanted to be a graphic designer. I thought I was good at it. I had planned for it to be my life’s work. I loved the combination of art, psychology and marketing.
What I did not like was the sales, the business end of things. I preferred to be reclusive in my studio and have people come to me and tell me my stuff was awesome and pay me for it.
Of course that’s not how it works. I had to go out and find clients; they rarely came to me. Many times we were on different wavelengths with different visions and they didn’t like the end product.
I was passionate about graphic design, I had my whole career pretty much mapped out, because that’s just how I am, fully vested in my passion. It was hard to separate myself from my work. It was hard to not feel like a complete and utter failure when I didn’t succeed like I thought I should.
For my own sanity, I had to learn a new skill to make my next move…INDIFFERENCE.
- To Opinions
People are always going to give their opinions; they don’t mean any harm by it, they usually are trying to help. They will err on the safe side. Often those opinions are wrong and will dissuade us from pure awesomeness. Sometimes it’s wise to heed those opinions, but there are other times when it’s best to show indifference to them.
- To Failures
Same thing with failures; Failures will happen. When you are passionate about everything, you can be almost incapacitated when you fail. That is a really brutal blow. And you will not succeed at everything, But you expect the best, while preparing for the worst and MOVE ON with your new knowledge.
- To Bad Moods
People who are passionate are often hardest to work with. They get especially annoyed when they can’t define what they want. Try not to take it personally. It’s not usually about you.
Passion is important for sure. There is no successful businessperson without it; Think Steve Jobs or Howard Schultz. The thing that’s not preached in business classes is that indifference is just as important.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying be indifferent to the after-effects of recklessness. By all means, if you have done damage, clean up your messes. That is not something you want to be indifferent to.
“Nature, after all, is neither kind nor brutal: it just is. There is such intense drama — the large cat taking down a gazelle, hungry polar bears bearing the burden of an infinite winter, flora fighting for survival. And yet nature is absolutely, mercilessly, indifferent. We can hear this in the voice of the great nature documentaries we know so well thanks to PBS.”
I could have moped around about how unfair it was that I was an awesome designer that people just couldn’t appreciate, or that it was hard to find clients who would pay what my price. Actually I would have been happy to find a client who paid at all. Many charities and churches paid me in “valuable experiences,” which did help me change course.
So I transferred my focus to what had actually been my passion all along and invested time and energy in that.
But I still have to show indifference.
No job pays enough if you’re not passionate about it. Passion will get you through all of the frustrations and hitches on the path to your dreams. Indifference will guard you from second best.
Life’s too short for second best.