Let me go ahead and admit I’m addicted to TED Talks. They are chock are full of people doing amazing things. It’s inspiration porn. But I wanted to share this particular one with you that just came out. At first watch you’ll probably wonder what it has to do with the outdoors and such I blog about here. Just give it a watch (or two) then we’ll talk…granola style.
Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat about this…
So, aside from just how amazing these artists are, here are my thoughts and why I felt compelled to include a video about virtuoso musicians at Val in Real Life. It’s simple. Passion.
I’ve mentioned before how much I get off on people who are really good at what they do. It makes me want to be better at what I do. My goal is not to be an amazing guitarist, but watching them reminds me I have so much more work to do at my passion.
Here’s the kicker though. Passion alone isn’t enough.
Right now, I love what I do but it took me a long time, a lot of false starts, and a lot of going the wrong direction before I found my outlet. And even now that I’ve found it, there’s a lot of work to be done. No one is going to hand me gobs of money for simply discovering what I love. I have to hone and sharpen it and keep pushing to greater heights…just like these musicians.
When I stop to consider the amount of time and energy they put in to getting to where they are, I am humbled. I know I have a lot more energy to invest in my passion to see that level of results. Couple that with the inevitable low-points…the times when you feel like you won’t get there, you’re not good enough, etc… and you can easily quit before you’ve really gotten started.
I bet these two gentleman had times they felt that way; it’s part of the natural cycle of challenging yourself. But you simply don’t achieve greatness in any pursuit without an all-consuming passion and metric loads of hard work. And if you’re truly passionate about your craft, the hard work never actually stops. I promise you, that at the tender age of 21, Usman Riaz is not done exploring the intricacies of his craft. And neither is Preston Reed for that matter.
My hope in sharing this video and is that you’ll be inspired to go find your bliss, your own paradigm…realizing that making it happen is going to take a lot of hard work. Basically I want you to say, “I can do that too!” just like Usman Riaz did when he discovered Preston Reed. Then channel the fire it takes to get the job done.
Share your bliss…
This post started with virtuoso percussive guitarists at the apex of their craft. But you don’t have to be a world-class musician, just go out and just better at what you do or what you want to do. Maybe you won’t ever be super-famous for your efforts but you will impact someone if you share that passion. Maybe it’s your inner circle of family and friends, maybe it’s more. It’s your choice how far to take it but please take it somewhere.
If Preston Reed played his guitar only for himself, how unfulfilling that would be. He shared his passion and inspired Usman Riaz. Their passion has inspired me. See, it’s contagious…
So now let me share a little-known Val story for perspective’s sake.
As you know, I was a geologist in my life before kids and blogging. I got my Bachelor’s and was admitted to a Masters program to work with a truly amazing female professor…which was much rarer back then in the geosciences. Do you know why she picked me? Passion.
She said that of all the students she’d interviewed, I was the only one truly excited about what I was doing. Passion won the day for me. But you know what? I stared at the path ahead of me and I caved.
Fear and self-doubt won. Fear that I wasn’t smart or determined enough fueled the self-doubt that I could make a reasonable living as a fluvial geomorphologist. I’m not saying there aren’t practical sides of life while pursuing your passion, but I convinced myself I couldn’t do it before I even got started. I let the proponents of “the real world” plant the seed and I sowed it into failure. No, not failure. I didn’t even try in the first place.
What did I do instead? I worked to put Jester through grad school. And while that has led to a comfortable life, I forfeited my soul with that decision. He would have done the same for me mind you but I convinced myself that his future was brighter than mine. I also convinced myself I would just get back to it after he finished his degree. And I actually did try to go back to grad school two more times. Both times though, after years of just humming along, I couldn’t summon the self-confidence or the passion I needed to make it happen for myself.
The shame of not pursuing my first passion, or more pointedly…my big fat copout, has lain in the shadows, taunting me and undermining my self-confidence in all my other pursuits. I’ve finally gotten past that and I’m giving myself a much-needed and long overdue second chance.
For nearly twenty years, I’ve kept that little nugget of a story to myself and now I’m blurting it out to the world. Lovely.
The point here is recognize that passion must be nurtured. It’s not invincible. Surround yourself with people who can keep you going and be that person to someone else. Moving forward, I’m channeling this gem of a quote…
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, simply surrounded by assholes.
Chase down your dreams and make them your bitch…
I have to give a shout-out to Talon Windwalker over at One Dad, One Kid for this sentiment. He posted this piece and, not only do I love that line, his post also helped me get over my hesitation about publishing this one and consequently exposing my tender underbelly. See how contagious that sharing thing can be?
Anyway, I hope you’ll realize there’s something simple and elegant about admiring someone else’s work and channeling that into your own passion. And for all of the you-can-do-it(!) self-help books and blogs out there, sometimes it takes a “children’s” author to really make the point, especially about overcoming obstacles. Don’t be afraid to prop open a copy of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” for Seussian inspiration. (Let the cliche’ trolls have at me; they can kiss my granola ass.)
So when your passion is sputtering to survive and you need a boost of tenacity and inspiration…break out the Seuss and watch this video. Repeat as necessary.