Conflict of Passion in Success
Updated: Jan 1, 2021
“Success comes from following your passion”.
I often battle with this notion because I have been raised by generations of people who valued the privilege to work, not necessarily loving what it is that they do, most of the time steering clear of innovative methods of making an income. There are of course a few exceptions, but with the majority, the question I tend to get is “do you have a job yet?” Never once inquiring about my passion or even what my strengths are. Because of that, I find that a lot of my family can be surprised at what I have the audacity to dream of making money from.
They appear to view cultural icons (i.e. Toni Morrison, Soledad O’Brien, Kadir Nelson and yes even Kanye) as the exception more so than the rule, as is any other person who decided to take a risk and follow their heart in pursuit of finding happiness in a career as opposed to a benefits package and salary. The irony is that most of these people are handsomely rewarded in their pursuits and when asked, often admit to never truly feeling like they have “worked a day in their life.
After admitting to myself that I have not ever been employed doing what I love, I had to also ask myself why that was. A part was the pressure of feeling like I had to make money over pursuing fulfillment. But a bigger part was that while some of my counterparts were being asked by their families about their dreams, desires-what they would do with their life if money was no issue, I wasn’t. Although I demonstrated tremendous talent in the arts, rarely was I encouraged to pursue that as a possible career. I even remember clearly, someone telling me that those who major in arts, were meant to starve, so that wasn’t a smart path for me to choose. Although I now beg to differ, I was impressionable at a young age and looking for guidance as much as I was looking to please. That is how I ended up here.
For years, I struggled with those expectations of who I should be, as opposed to who I am. But acknowledgement as to why, has helped me to not hold a grudge. I come from a lineage of maintenance workers, factory workers, butchers, soldiers, admin staff, with the only professionals being teachers. Many of my family members operated out of need and who can dream when you’re fixated on making sure your family is fed? Better yet, who can dream when a system seems to tell you that you can’t? It took me a long time to even allow myself to think outside of the box, but I am committed to doing so because I believe I deserve and have the ability to do so. Moreover, I think I owe it to generations past and present to at the very least, try.