Passion vs Reality

What are you passionate about?

Books, books, books

I’m SUPER passionate about books and reading; spending time at home alone, eating good food; being with people I adore and love; learning new things and becoming better everyday; sleeping in on lazy rainy days.

I’m quite passionate about swimming, writing, photography, Japanese design, Brutalist architecture.

I enjoy traveling, watching movies or a good TV series (like The Good Wife), listening to music.

I enjoy traveling to Japan way too much…

I love technology and I love reading about how businesses (particularly small businesses) work.

As you can see, photography is only one of the many things I love to do in this world.

I meet people and often one of the things they like to say to me is, “It’s so great that you are doing what you love for a living!”

And then they want to listen to me talk about how to find that one passion in life and turn it into one’s work.

But there is no such thing as that ONE passion for most of us. Most of us are interested in various things to different degrees, and we like different things at different times. This is a crucial point to remember and recognise as you embark on your path towards turning your passion into reality.

In the startup world they like to use the word “pivot”. To pivot is to switch your business model to something else once you realise it’s not working. That can entail completely moving on to a different product.

An entrepreneur who started out selling furniture might end up creating a digital publishing company that sells e-books, after realising that brick-and-mortar rental is too high these days to make a retail furniture store business practical.

If you are an aspiring painter who lives to paint and wants to make your mark in this world as a celebrated painter, what I just said might sound blasphemous to you. And that’s because you are probably not who I am writing for.

I’m writing for people who are interested in escaping the shackles of conventional employment, and who want to create their own reality by making a living doing what they enjoy.

And that entails thinking like an entrepreneur.

If photography had not worked out for me after my many years of failing at other things, I would have similarly pivoted and moved on (as for when to move on, that’s a topic for a different day).

In a perfect world, I imagine I’d be very happy opening a bookstore. Then I can talk, think, breathe and live books 24/7. After all books are my biggest passion in life. But would that make me happy in the real world? Not necessarily.

Firstly, I might not actually be any good at running a bookstore, so the whole experience might not be very fulfilling for me. Secondly, I am also passionate about being financially secure. If opening a bookstore (my biggest passion) means being in debt (not a big passion of mine), then I might need to reconsider doing it.

Owning a bookstore like this would be nice (photo credit: Atlantis Books)

(However, if I am so passionate about opening a bookstore that I can endure being in debt, then I should probably still go ahead and do it.)

So you see, this “passion vs reality” thing is shaping up to be way more complex than it seems…

To keep things simple, it really boils down to this:

What is your top priority in life?

You have to be very honest with yourself. Is it the pure pursuit of your craft? Is it being able to earn a good living doing what you love? Is it a mixture of both (which, in my opinion, is the best way to live)?

If it is the latter, you will need to stop seeing the world in black and white, in neatly separated categories. You will need to think less like a starving artist and more like an entrepreneur.

You will need to be flexible.

You will need to change with the times.

You will need to be willing to move on from things that don’t work.

You will need to work damn hard at being an actor because you think that’s what you’re really passionate about. And after a few years of backbreaking (and heartbreaking) work you will need to switch paths and work damn hard at maybe becoming a chef (because that’s what you love to do too) after you realise that being an actor is simply not going to work out.


After all, if you are afraid to fail at things, you will never succeed (unless you’re a forgettable one-hit wonder).

So good luck, my friends, and let’s keep failing together until we succeed!

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