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Following Passion Requires Sacrifices, but is it Worth It?

Everyday success stories about athletes, business owners, or even scientists who got obsessed with their passion and achieved their life goals go viral. These stories motivate people and encourage them to pursue their passion and follow their dreams. But these stories do not highlight how their obsession with a passion blinded them, making them lose themselves, the people they loved, and things that once brought them joy in the process. 

Steve Jobs’ commencement speech from Stanford would go viral every few weeks, and people would go all gaga over it. But the ideals of following a passion or making a dream come true require more than just following these ‘incomplete’ success stories. It requires one to stand tall against all odds, sacrifice what they already have, and reach the podium of glory they always aspired to achieve.

The idea that “Do What You Love and You’ll Never Work a Day in Your Life” is a myth that needs to be buried until the end of time. It’s a common notion that most individuals believe working on the things they love will enable them to achieve their life’s objectives. Apparently, that’s not how things work. In the beginning, it might feel that way. But as one gets deeper into this, the reality begins to show, which is quite different from their expectations. 

Heuristically speaking, if everyone around the world, past, present, and future, are engaged in things they were passionate about from the beginning, most of them might not be happy. So, following a passion is somewhat illusory unless one is comfortable with the idea of sacrificing the things they have for what they want to achieve. 

Richard E. Shaw shares an important message for the readers in his book, More Than Just a Game. First, he asks, “what will happen when your passion and the forces of nature collide?” For instance, life’s obstacles distract from the path they are taking. Every step creates a Yes and No scenario to guide them toward their goal. Sometimes, consequences lead people to change directions and see their dreams shatter in the process. But the human mind works in mysterious ways. Even if those dreams do not come true, human minds create alternative dreams to follow.

What’s funny is that the passion that drove one forward 5 to 10 years ago is no longer viable. With time, dreams change, passion might grow or fade, and the responsibilities may differ. So, advising someone to follow their passion could possibly shut the door for future possibilities or opportunities.

In his book, Richard shares a story about Dash, an aspiring football player who wants to become the best in the world. He loves the thrill, the challenge, and coming out on top on the field. But just like any other dream chaser, Dash had to sacrifice a lot to go down that road. In the book, he says, “The “follow your dreams” advice should come with a warning sign that says you will lose everything in return.”

Perhaps, this is true; the “Follow Your Dreams” clause should come with a warning sign that it could go either way. With that being said, there is one thing that dreamers must never forget, to not compromise on essential things. Finding love and the people who care can be challenging, especially in today’s era. For Dash, it was a moment of realization that his middle-class family suffered on his path to becoming the best football player. He struggled to get his grades up because he invested all his time in football. So, the very thing that he was good at became a liability. The consequences around him were so detrimental that he could not focus on the game.

Instead of following pipedream based on Steve Jobs’ age-old TED Talk, Richard Shaw encourages people to find their calling without allowing it to consume them. He tells the world that even if following a passion is healthy, other things are more important. After all, no one wants to be on a deathbed, reminiscing what could have happened if they had taken a different path.

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