My friend shared this great video with me - it only takes 1.5 minutes to watch, listen, and reconsider your path in life - that is, if you aren't doing what you'd like to be doing. Because, you could be.
Watch Alan Watts' 'What If' embedded above, or directly on YouTube.
When I first watched the video, I shared it and added a personal blurb, thinking - hoping - others would be happily inspired, thinking to themselves the profound sentiment, 'wow...YES.'
But then I read the first comment.
"As somebody who's lived a long time and done a lot of things, I don't think that video contains good advice."
We could sit around and wonder what this man has truly done, as 'a lot of things' is pretty vague, but what I focused on was the fact that he wrote, 'I don't think this video contains good advice.' But wait - there's more:
"It's a false dichotomy. I agree that doing what you hate for money is something to try to avoid (though, sadly, for some it's the only option) but also for most of us doing what we love for no money is not a great plan either. Instead, I'd say it's complicated. Money is good, doing what you love is good. I've been trying to find the 'sweet spot' between those extremes. I'm not living the 'if money were no object' life, but nor am I doing work I hate for money. Works for me!"
I thought the guy kind of missed the point, but he also made this post kind of sad; the first thing you see when you look at my shared, inspirational video post is now a comment that reads 'As somebody who's lived a long time and done a lot of things, I don't think that video contains good advice...' (read more).
Seeing a negative comment as the first comment on a post can easily deters others from adding their own opinions, so I tried to respond positively and turn things around.
"Well I'm glad what you have going is working for you! I think the message is great; I know a lot of people, especially coming from art school, who would love to do what they are passionate about, and feel they are good at - but, instead, they take jobs they can simply make money in, and it just depresses them to think about their passion. It is a great goal to have, to work at your dreams, and figure out how you can balance your dreams and society's monetary restrictions."
Having big goals is great, and working towards them is fantastic! The point of this video is to inspire, not to create a step-by-step plan of action. Many people, sadly, don't even try for big goals in the first place because people - and the media - make purely negative comments that masquerade as 'realistic.'
That said, the man responded yet again:
"Yeah, life is tough for artists and over the past few decades it's gotten tougher. A sad state of affairs but one worth noting as we make our choices. But it's not a choice between hate+money or love+no money. For many of us there's a wide middle ground where the best of both worlds may lie. It may not be the art we've dreamed of or it many not be something traditionally called art but it might be something we can love. What's great about the way you're doing it is that you're doing a lot of different things. Hopefully you'll make a few of them work out financially!"
The word 'condescending' flashed through my head as I read the comment, but I didn't think that was his intent. So, I responded with another, positive comment.
"Ooh well thank you, I hope so too, haha. I agree with you - I think people immediately think 'I need a job and money' and therefore they abandon even the middle ground you mention - which can be pretty big, and also enjoyable. And through that middle ground area, you may meet people who can help you to realize your true passion!"
While I say 'always try new things' and say 'yes!' to opportunity, you should also be discerning, and learn what 'opportunities' will truly benefit you. That being said, a lot of chance meetings and connections to people outside of your field can lead to more work in your field.
While the man didn't respond, a friend added some words of wisdom after watching the inspirational video.
"A video like this should never be analyzed or compared/contrasted against any real life situation that we may or may not have experienced. This is a video that speaks to the one inside of you, not the one living your daily life. Living within the perfect scenario is of course only a dream for the majority of people living in this world. But to not hope or strive for perfection is a loss itself. Don't ever give up your true ambitions. Don't ever let the weight of the passing of time disillusion you. Don't let the opinions of others change what you feel is true in your heart. And don't listen to people who tell you to compromise."
In his 26-minute speech to the Maharishi School of Management graduating class of 2014, Jim Carrey addressed the same thoughts and feelings that the above video, and friend's commentary, try to get across. Watch this pivotal 6-minute clip of Carrey's speech that may just change your life...