A lie that people often tell themselves is: “I’m passionate about ____”.
This lie will often lead to unhappiness and misery. Because you’d feel that whatever you’re currently doing is robbing you of your resources and energy that should be directed towards pursuing your passion.
But how can you tell that you’re lying to yourself?
I used to be very interested in nail art about 5 to 6 years back. I was juggling 3 jobs and still doing my Master’s. I was earning money but of course not enough to get anything I want. And any free time that I had was a luxury.
I didn’t want to spend money on nail salons so I decided to learn how to do nail art myself. OPI nail polish cost about RM70 to RM80. After much research and hunting, I found a tiny shop far from PJ that sold genuine polish at RM45 to RM55 per bottle. A damn steal.
Then there was timing. Each nail art to try took me 6 to 7 hours to perfect. Any free hour I get in between teaching, writing, or studying, would be dedicated to doing and redoing it. When I first started everything looked clumsy, not clean around the edges, and my techniques were far from refined. But I was still thick-skinned enough to post them up online.
There was not a lot of validation for what I was doing—if that was my goal I sure did suck at it. I didn’t have a good camera and no skills in making my pictures look pretty. I didn’t care because I was mostly doing it for an audience of one, so I made do with what I had.
In time I did get better. It took me nearly 2 years. The edges were cleaner and sharper. If I took less than 5 hours to finish, that was a mini accomplishment for me. Having said that, even if I continued taking way longer than I should on getting a design done, it wouldn’t have stopped me.
How do you know if something is really your passion? If you’ve actually spent money, time, and energy on it, even when you have tight funds, not much time, and hardly any energy.
When you’re willing to make those sacrifices with limited resources, that’s how you know it’s a real passion, and not some cooked-up fantasy that you think you’re into.
Passions can evolve. I eventually found a new avenue to direct my passion towards. But the same characteristics of sacrifice remained.
So when you tell someone “____ is my passion”, think of whether you’ve really made sacrifices for it.
Even when you’re tired, do you think about it, put in effort to learn more about it?
Even when you seemingly don’t have the time, do you reorganise your priorities to spend time on it?
Even when you are afraid of sucking at it, do you still push yourself to try anyway and practice?
If your answers to the above is no, then trust me, whatever interest you THINK is your passion, really isn’t. Maybe you just want it to be.
Also side note, a passion doesn’t necessarily need to be your job. I didn’t earn a cent doing nail art, but it was still extremely enjoyable and it taught me the value of patience. And that sometimes you have to get a little messy to create something pretty.