The cost of following your passion

Start that business. Start that YouTube channel. Start that blog.

We hear it all the time. Some people emphasize on the benefits of making money by doing what you love while others may warn you about the challenges you will face on your journey.

I’m here to tell you the truth. Unless you’re highly talented or you have knowledge of something rare that can solve people’s problem, it will be hard to make money by doing what you love.

Let me tell you exactly how and what you will feel if you have not started your journey yet.

  • You will feel like a failure.
  • You will start doubting yourself.
  • You will find reasons to quit and go back to normal life.
  • You will be hated and criticized.
  • You will burn out and feel exhausted.
  • You will be confused and overwhelmed.
  • You will do things that you hate.
  • You will make sacrifices.
  • You will waste your time and money.
  • Your life will be uncertain.

Surprised? no? Maybe you’ve heard all of that. But is it that bad as it sounds?

It is actually worse than it sounds like. When we experience these things in reality, it’s much worse than reading or knowing about it.

So why are we doing all this? Is it worth the effort? Let’s see the opposite side of the spectrum.

  • You will be on an adventure.
  • You will learn a lot of new things.
  • You will learn a lot about yourself.
  • You will do something that you’re passionate about.
  • You will fight for your freedom.
  • You will meet new people on a similar journey as you.
  • You will learn to embrace failures.
  • You will learn to handle stress and depression.
  • You will learn to celebrate small wins.
  • You will grow as a person.

In the end, you will experience all of the good and the ugly side of following your passion.

The journey of following your passion is a package of good and bad things. The only question that remains is – Are you willing to take the full package?

If you’re only expecting good things, then forget about it and go back to your normal lifestyle. The package is only reserved for people who are willing to take it fully.

If you choose to live a normal lifestyle, then there is nothing wrong about it. If you enjoy your life the way it is, then you don’t need to take the journey. But if you want to take the risk and write your own story, then I salute you.

You are a badass. Not many have the courage to do so and stick with it even after experiencing the ugly parts of the journey.

Yes, it’s going to be hard and messy. But it’s up to you to make the journey worthwhile.

I choose to accept the full package. What about you?

 

How to get life-changing ideas

Creativity is a muscle. If you want to boost it, you have to train it regularly.

If your creative muscle is well-trained, then you can come with good ideas in any situation of life. Here are a few tips you can use to become more creative and come up with life-changing ideas.

1. Get into the creative state

Stop. Breath. Check in with your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual state.

These are negative states you want to avoid:

Emotionally

  • Unsettled
  • Dissatisfied
  • Irritable
  • Frustrated

Physically

  • Stressed
  • Tense
  • Restless
  • Exhausted

Spiritually

Disconnected from:

  • Self
  • Others
  • World
  • Job

Mentally

  • Unfocused
  • Worrying
  • Unsure
  • Distracted

If you find yourself in any of those states then you can do following activities to break the negative state:

  • Go for a walk
  • Change rooms
  • Make a cup of tea
  • Listen to music
  • Exercise
  • Sing, whistle, …
  • List reasons to be thankful
  • Breathe deeply a few times
  • Meditate
  • Reframe the situation, look at it from a positive perspective, a funny perspective…
  • Drink some water
  • Chat with a friend
  • Play a game
  • Have a meal mindfully
  • Write/speak out loud your thoughts
  • Daydream
  • Read

Once you’re in a creative state you’ll feel:

Emotionally

  • Excited
  • Happy
  • Contented
  • Playful

Physically

  • Comfortable
  • Flexible
  • Relaxed
  • Energetic

Spiritually

Connected from:

  • Self
  • Others
  • World
  • Job

Mentally

  • Focused
  • Clear
  • Confident
  • Open-minded

Ask yourself how you’re feeling in each of the state. If all the states are in check, it’s time to create the ideas.

2. Be silly

When you come up with ideas, don’t take yourself seriously. Think less, feel more. Lighten up your mood by finding humor. Think like a kid. For a kid, there are no rules. Playfulness plays a huge role in creativity.

No idea is useless. Even the ridiculously bad ideas have a purpose. They help your mind to get relaxed and then the ideas start to flow smoothly.

If you want to be creative, you have to let go of the fear of coming up with bad ideas. Don’t let bad ideas hurt your self-esteem. Let go of the fear of judgment. If you don’t do that, you may miss the good ideas hidden underneath all the bad ideas.

3. Be curious

Question assumptions and seek for answers. With the help of internet, you can find the answers to the questions that spark your curiosity. If you have a problem that you need to solve, chances are that there has been at least one other person who had the same problem and he/she solved it. The circumstances may vary but always look for inspiration.

4. Diversify your perspective

Hire different perspective to look for solutions in different ways. You can look from the perspective of:

  • Your higher self (Your better version)
  • Your future self
  • Your past self
  • Friend
  • Stranger
  • Expert (different areas)
  • Old person
  • Child

5. Shake things up

Get off of your routine and break life patterns. Experience novelty by trying something new. Notice the small things that you ignore everyday. You can daydream, choose random items to focus on, get on a random bus or try a new activity such as drawing, dancing, playing, etc.

Your mind will get new stimulus and you’ll be filled with new ideas that you may have never thought of before.


Once you have a lot of ideas on the table – eliminate the bad one; mix and match the good one and finally consider the ones which light up energy in you.

Learn to listen to your intuition. Our intuition doesn’t always roar. It sits in silence and waits for us to pay attention to it. As soon as you notice a spark, your state will change and it’s our job to find that little voice of intuition. So, stop. Breath. Listen to the spark and then turn those ideas into reality.

 

Pursue your dreams or die trying

You have only one life.

One life to experience all that you want to do. The regret of inactions is stronger than the regret of actions. In other words, the regret of failing at something is smaller than the regret of not even trying.

Many people who want to start their journey fear that they would lose time and effort on doing something that they may fail at. They would think that they can make better use of that time by watching TV, playing video games, partying, etc.

I’m going to use the word ‘entrepreneur’ for anyone who is taking an initiative or risk to follow their dreams while fighting mediocrity. With that said, let me tell you what you’re missing out on if you choose not to pursue your dreams.

1. The joy of giving

Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. We find a problem or a cause and then we try to solve it. The first step of any such journey should be to serve. Don’t get lost in creating your product or service. Start serving today and then shape your product/service accordingly. You will experience what it will be like to give and you will understand the value of what you’re doing.

2. Rollercoaster ride

You will fail. It will be hard. You will feel lost. But on the other side, you will experience what you might have never experienced before. When you start out, moments like – ‘first positive review’, ‘first earning from your business’ will prevail all the moments of despair.

3. New you

After facing your fears and overcoming challenges, you will be a different person. Your self-esteem will go high. Your standards will rise as your character will change. The lessons, personal growth, and experiences will make your journey worthwhile. Just make sure not to fall into the trap of ego.

4. Discovery

You will discover the possibilities that you might have never imagined before. You will meet with people that may become your lifelong friends. You will learn skills that you can’t imagine being skilled at today. Most importantly, you will find the answer to the question of – ‘What if?’

5. Success

Finally, if you persist, you will get the rewards. No matter what your personal goal is (freedom, fame or money), all the hard work and struggles will make the prize priceless. The level of satisfaction and happiness will be profound. You will live your dream life. You will contemplate what you would have ended up doing if it wasn’t for the journey that you chose to take.


In addition to knowing what you want, know what you don’t want. When you will have a strong ‘why’ to pursue your journey, you will do it anyway. All the noises telling you the downside of your journey will fade away.

Yes, it’s going to be hard. It’s going to be frustrating at times. You will be disappointed. But if you can’t afford to not know where the journey will take you, then listen to your heart and take the leap. You have one life and it’s too short to not pursue your dreams. Have the courage to follow your heart.

Go. Start now. Please.

Use emotions at your own will

When I was a kid, I used to get angry all the time. I had no control over my emotions and I let my emotions rule my actions and thoughts. Everything I did was based on an impulsive emotional reaction. As I grew up, I learned to control my emotions and now I try not to let anger control me.

We are emotional creatures.

Our actions are not only determined by our thinking, but we transition between different moods and emotions.

Most of the time we let our emotions guide or control us. Sometimes, it leads to a good outcome but at times, it can also lead to an undesired outcome. We then regret our actions which were based on short lived negative emotions.

We all know the power our emotions have on us. But what if we switch it the other way around? What if we use emotions to empower us in the way we want?

Most of us develop a constant personality. Some people are perceived to be funny, some are serious and some seem to be always smiling.

Every emotion has its place and time. Preserve your feelings and channel them when you need them. An overdose of any emotion can result in undesired outcomes.

If you stay happy all the time, you’ll hide and suppress all your negative emotions which are unhealthy for your mental and spiritual health.

If you stay funny all the time, you might not take some things in life seriously and not take actions that you need to be taking.

If you stay angry all the time, well, you know the consequences.

Every emotion has its use and all of them are natural. So instead of masking our emotions or keeping our emotion same, we can start to channel our emotions according to our needs and situation.

  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed, bring positivity to life and smile.
  • If you’re taking life too seriously, bring humor to life.
  • If you’re working out at the gym, bring anger to life and switch to the beast mode.
  • If you’re about to do something outside of your comfort zone, bring courage.
  • If you’re feeling uncertain, turn it into positive anticipation and embrace the current situation.
  • If you’re feeling hatred, bring love and kindness.

So I invite you to try this technique out. Don’t let your hidden emotions poison you. Channel them and take them out when the right time comes.

Instead of letting your emotions guide you, guide your emotions as you need them. A simple hack you can use to make it easier for yourself is using music. Have different types of go-to music for different situations that will help you shift your emotions when you need or don’t need one.

Emotions are your friend. Use them wisely and your life will be much better.

Turn your life into a game

Life is an adventure.

Sadly, many of us don’t treat it that way.

Think of your life as a game. Games are designed to be an adventure.

Your life can be an adventure too if you treat it that way. Does it mean that you’ll always have a good time? No. There are times of struggle and setbacks but we keep on playing those games because that’s what we like about games.

Games have taught me many lessons on how to live a life.

1. Addiction

Games are addictive.

Addiction does not have to be bad all the time. In fact, each one of us is addicted to one thing or another. Writers are addicted to writing. Singers are addicted to singing and so on.

Addiction in itself is not a bad thing. If you’re obsessed with something and you don’t let it destroy you or control you then I would call it a healthy addiction.

On the other hand, if we let out job or business destroy other parts of our life like health, relationships, etc. or we let it control us, it can turn into an unhealthy addiction.

 

2. Objective

Every game has a mission or at least a hidden objective behind it. Without it, there will be no purpose of the game.

In the same way, we all need to have missions in our life. The missions may change or develop as life passes by.

Weak objectives will result into boring or unfulfilled life whereas strong objectives will make our life purpose driven.

There are side quests in life too but it’s up to us if we want to pursue them or not. These side quests are a representation of all the things we want to do in life. The important part is to remember that whether we complete our side quests or not, it should not affect our main objective(s) in life.

 

3. Challenge

Most games are designed to be challenging. If a game is too easy, it won’t be too long before the player quits the game.

If there are no obstacles or enemies, there is nothing to master in the game. Gamers keep on playing a game because they fall in love with the grind.

We need challenges in life. Growth only happens when there are obstacles to overcome. Life will become too boring if we get everything we wanted without any effort. Embrace the challenges.

4. Failure

Our education system has conditioned us into believing that failure is bad. Thanks to games that teach us that failure is okay. All you have to do is retry.

Life is like a game. Sure, there are opportunities in life that can be missed but there is no dead end. No matter how much we fail, there is always a way to move forward in life.

Every time we fail in defeating a level, boss or enemy – we learn new tactics that we can use next time.

Gamers who succeed are the ones who persevere during the hard times. Life is exactly the same. You fail. You learn. You experiment. You repeat until success.

5. Rewards

Every time we overcome an obstacle, games reward us in some way. These rewards give us a morale boost or resources to continue our journey.

Life is no different. If you’re getting paid for your job, then you’re getting resources to live your life.

However, we need to claim some rewards. Gratitude and celebration are the rewards that we need to give ourselves for our efforts or results. These rewards feed our soul.

Progress is one of the core motivation of life. If we don’t track or see our progress, our soul will get drained of energy. Reward yourself and feed your soul.

6. Avatar

Many games allow us to customize our character. We can change their attributes, upgrade their skills, provide accessories or dress them however we want to.

We can treat ourselves as an avatar too. Imagine a greater representation of yourself which is your avatar. What skills does it have? What values does it hold?

The best part is that we can even customize our goals. Games have their own objective while your objective in your life is up to you.

Define your avatar and work towards upgrading your avatar every single day.

7. Hacks

A lot of gamers fall into the trap of using hacks and cheat codes to complete their objectives in the game.

Hacks are like shining objects that you think will make your life better but in reality, they make you worse.

In life, seeking a shortcut to success is a hack. They might get you the end result but you won’t get the skills needed to achieve those results.

When you work on your skills and take the full journey, it’s not just the success that you get in the end. You transform yourself. Your character changes. Confidence becomes part of who you are.

When success becomes a habit, you’re able to repeat the process and thrive in every journey of your life.

Pleasure is easy but happiness is hard

Pleasure is easy.

A rush of pleasure neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin can easily be obtained by activities like browsing social media, eating a cookie, laughing, etc.

While some of these activities are good for us, some can be harmful if we get addicted to short-term momentary pleasure.

Instant gratification is not reliable for long-term greater happiness.

Everyone wants to be happy. We do most of the things in life because we want to be happy. So why is it so hard to be happy?

Once we get happiness it doesn’t take much time before we lose it. We keep chasing happiness and it never seems to stay with us.

What if we stop chasing happiness? How amazing it would be if we become a ‘happiness magnet’.

There is no magic spell to attract happiness. But there are a few ways I personally use to ‘hack’ happiness.

1. Suffer

Suffer? Isn’t suffering opposite of happiness?

We all have been taught that suffering is miserable. It’s painful and makes us feel terrible.

It’s all true. But what we’re not often told is that suffering is happiness in disguise.

If we never experience suffering we’ll never experience true happiness. In order for us to truly appreciate the beauty of happiness, we need to experience suffering.

A prize money earned by thousands of hours of hard work and practice is way more valuable than money won from a lottery. Yes, both will bring happiness to you but the happiness that you’ll experience in the first scenario would be priceless.

The first reason for that is the feeling of pride and achievement which you will not get if you win a lottery. The more effort we put into something, the more we value it.

Another reason why suffering brings happiness to us is that when our goal is meaningful enough, suffering becomes a way of happiness.

If you look at athletes training hard, you might think that they are in misery and pain. They indeed experience pain but happiness becomes part of the pain.

You don’t need to smile to be happy. You could be sweating, huffing and puffing and be happy if you enjoy something.

I’m sure you’ll have at least one thing in life that you enjoy suffering for. It could be exercising, hustling, parenting, traveling, and so on. Every journey is a combination of pain and pleasure. The combination results in happiness.

Whether you believe it or not, we seek obstacles. If life were too easy, we’ll be bored to death.

2. Take shots of happiness

Happiness is a state, not an object to keep. If you aim to be happy 24*7, you’ll end up in misery. At one point, you’ll become tired of being happy and emotions like anger and sadness will take its place.

The absence of happiness will create room for happiness. You can fill the void of unhappiness with activities that can make you feel at peace. Activities like deep work, deep thinking don’t directly bring happiness to us but they can put us in the state of flow which I’ve talked about in the previous post.

Remind yourself to be happy. We all have heard the phrase “happiness is a choice”. What it means is that at any given moment, we can change our mental state. Realize that all our thoughts are a product of our experiences, surroundings, and imagination.

If you’re dwelling on a past mistake or worrying about a future event, you can choose to look up at the sky and get lost in the beauty of nature. I know it’s easier said than done. It takes practice and awareness of our thoughts to ‘choose happiness’.

At least once a week, schedule a gratitude meeting with yourself. You can do it on daily basis on a journal too but don’t let it become a mundane task. Writing or speaking can help you express your thoughts but you need to feel the emotions every time you express gratitude.

3. Miss out on life

We have unlimited choices at any moment of our life. We are always missing out on something. There is no best way to spend your time.

Sometimes, we feel sad because of missing out an event or activity. Be okay with that sadness. When we choose to do something, we are automatically not doing thousands of other things that we could have done.

Appreciate the one thing that you’re not missing out on. If you were not reading this post, you would be doing some other activity. But you don’t have to think about what you’re not doing. The possibilities are endless.

4. Do random acts of kindness with no expectation of getting anything in return.

It’s no surprise that making others happy is one of the best ways to think beyond our own problems. If you do something bigger than yourself, you’ll be free of your own small worries of life.

You can do the random act of kindness for your friends, family, colleague, strangers or simply share happiness with them by involving them in your experience.

If you want to pursue kindness, you’ll first have to be happy yourself. If you’re not in a positive state, you’ll do injustice to people around you.

Make others happy so that you can be happy and be happy so that you can make others happy.

Are you hustling or becoming a workaholic?

 

I have always been a hustler.

As a kid, I used to hustle in video games and now I hustle as a lifestyle entrepreneur.

If you’re reading this post most likely you’re kind of a person who is driven to hustle. If you have any kind of project, activity, blog or business that you dedicate a portion of your life to, then you may have the badge of a hustler.

While most people look for easy methods to chill for time pass, we, on the other hand, learn, create or work on our passion project. The downside of being a hustler is that it’s easy to burn out and become a workaholic. Here are few ways you can avoid the trap.

1. Break your work activities into different categories

Entrepreneurs have a lot to learn, manage and do. We may have to take up different roles like content creation, designing, programming, copywriting, marketing, selling, networking and many other small tasks that depend on the type of business and size of the team.

Find out the activities that you truly enjoy. Some activities must recharge you while others may drain your energy. It’s going to be different for everyone. For example, in my business, I love the part of planning, researching, learning, and writing. These activities charge me up. On the other hand, recording, editing, copy-writing, marketing, selling are some of the tasks that I have to learn and do but they suck the energy out of me.

Find what activities charge you and what activities drain you. Once you’ve identified these activities, you can either delegate them to someone else or you can keep learning and practice to become better at it. You’ll find out that once you get better at something, you’ll start enjoying it more and those activities will start to take up lesser energy from you.

The reason behind this phenomenon is related to Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s flow model. If you’re not familiarized with the concept, let me explain in short. Flow is the state of mind when a person is fully immersed in an activity that he/she forgets the notion of time and space.

When you do something that you forget to eat, rest or sleep then you can experience flow. Heck, I’m experiencing flow as I’m writing this post.

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Find out which activities bring flow, control, relaxation, boredom, apathy, worry, anxiety, and arousal for you. Become aware of how these activities are affecting your energy. The low skill, high challenge activities will drain your energy the most. If you increase your skills, however, you’ll spend lesser energy on such tasks.

2. Let go of extra commitments

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years. – Bill Gates

We all take up extra commitments that are not important to us. These activities might be important for other people but you need to learn to say no to extra commitments that are imposed on us by others.

If you have a job that you need to do to pay off your bills then sure, do the work. But sometimes, we give extra commitments to ourselves. We take up more projects that we can handle with a sane mind. We want to be superheroes and do so many things in life.

What we need to realize is that we don’t need to pursue all the projects and commitments today. We can keep some projects that we can do later in life. (As Derek Sivers points out in this article)

You might have some urgent commitments that you can’t let go of. In that case, be okay with the slow progress towards your dreams. Enjoy the journey because the journey is the reward in itself.

Having all that said, be aware of not making the excuse of over-commitment to procrastinate something. If you’re not overly committed, you can definitely sneak in some time to pursue your passion project.

3. Schedule downtime and stick to it

If you have a dedicated time or day when you schedule to wind down and relax, then it will be easier for you to push hard during the work time. You’ll know that the downtime is waiting for you as a reward. Also, you’ll not feel guilty for your downtime.

Another reason why it works is that when you’ll experience deep relaxation and forget about work, you’ll crave to go back to work with full energy and enthusiasm.

Go. Put the downtime on your calendar. Don’t skip it. Don’t feel like you’re wasting your time. See it as recovery time which will only increase the quality of your work once you get back to it.

4. Spend time on your health, fitness, and relationships

Your emotional and mental well-being is the source of your energy. If you want optimal performance at work, you need to keep your mind and body in shape.

There’s a ton of evidence pointing out the benefit of proper nutrition and physical movement on cognitive function, memory, critical thinking, etc. You can easily boost your intelligence with nutrition and exercise.

Similarly, relationships in your life play a huge role on your emotional state. If you have toxic people around you, their negative energy will poison you. On the other hand, if you have people in your life who inspire, motivate and bring energy to you, then it will translate into your work.

If you can’t avoid some toxic people then try to minimize interaction with them or give them less power to influence you by their words or actions.

5. Diversify your inspiration source

Words and music have immense power to influence our mood and motivation. When you need the inspiration to hustle hard, then you can tune into to some of Gary Vaynerchuk videos, read productivity articles, listen to motivational music and so on.

When you switch to your downtime, close all hustle and bustle. Take inspiration from anyone in your life who can relax with no worries of past or future.

Relaxation is an art. Find activities that you absolutely love doing and do them often. Keep in mind that some work related activities can be relaxing too. But make sure to have some activities that are not related to work or money. It will make your life more diverse.

If you can’t enjoy life without work, then what’s the point of working to gain freedom in your life?

Even when you’re at work, you should enjoy most part of your hustle.

Lifestyle design is now. It’s not on the other side of ‘success’.

Happy hustling.