Sometimes I get a bit worried that I am not doing what I am supposed to be doing. I know that’s a pointless thought because nobody has a path dug out for them in life. Even if there were a path, the perfect one would be straight from point A to point B and honestly, how boring would that be?
I’ve watched friends and family members grow and pursue their interests and their passions. The word passion has always intimidated me because I never found a focal passion that I knew from the start I wanted to turn into a career. I still don’t know if I have. The best I can do is remain in the area I know that I enjoy and grow from there.
I have received my diploma in Graphic Design and currently follow my graduation class on a variety of social media. A number of them have turned all the design fundamentals we learned into a specialized medium they were skilled at or favourited. For example, digital illustration as opposed to photo manipulation.
A voice in the back of my head, I’m assuming formed from social pressures along with jealousy, urged me to find my niche.
“Find one thing you love and do it until you’re an expert.”
“It takes 7 years to master something.”
“Don’t be mediocre at a bunch of little things. Be really good at one.”
These “motivational” quotes echo in my mind causing a significant amount of stress and panic. I recently enrolled at a new school to a program called, “New Media”. I read the outline of the courses and every single thing got me excited. Knowing what I’m jumping into, I’m actually thrilled for class each day. Whether it is Graphic Design, Video, Audio, Coding, etc. I genuinely am interested to learn. Suddenly, one sentence from my professor and that eagerness began to fade.
“If you joined this program thinking you’d have one great skill, you’re in the wrong program.” ~ (this is paraphrased but basically he regurgitated one of the above quotes in relation to our program.)
Sure, it is not focused on one specific major, I knew that going in; but it all still falls into a category together. Every course is relative and each something I want to engage in. And that is okay.
So, this is how I’m beginning to shove that social stigma of needing a passion out of my worries.
I realize that as long as I’m within (for my case) the creative and technological area, I will be happy. No matter which aspect of it I am learning, I can correspond it with another. Back in the day, Nexopia introduced me to (very simplistic) code. Flash was one of the first programs I learned in high school and that helped me to learn Illustrator and other software in the future. Blogging helps for copywriting. Video editing helps for advertising. Audio helps for video. Coding helps for Corporate Identity. Everything interweaves. So, do I need to be an award-winning director to make a provoking commercial? No. I am able to use my skills, in every asset I have, to my advantage and create great work.
Another way of looking at it is thinking of your skills as your persona. The same way we all tell ourselves we want to learn a new language or write a book. These things are what make you more interesting. Do people with passions ever get to do anything else? If they have one method of working and one pursuit in mind, do they ever broaden their character? I don’t want to be so devoted to a talent that I never practice anything new. I want to expand. I want to try new foods, travel new places and I want to learn how to code. That’s how you take advantage of life.
I’m not trying to drag those of us that have their lives figured out and their passions engraved. I’m proud of you. I envy you. But don’t be afraid to delve into something else from time to time. You won’t lose your skills. They will stay with you no matter what. You don’t avoid new releases on the radio because you think you will forget the lyrics to your favourite Middle School song. That’s implanted in your memory.
Who knows, it may even make you better. I mean, it never would’ve crossed my mind that trying to make my Nexopia page blue and easier to read could actually give me some credentials in website design. But hey, I knew more than the guy next to me in my Grade 11 IT class.
This is a post reply to Mark Manson’s: Screw Finding Your Passion. I strongly recommend you read this as it was what inspired me to write my own. It is all on this perspective which I have been transitioning to and he articulates his opinion really well.