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.

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.

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.

 

There’s more to life than happiness and success

Success and happiness are two overused words that get tossed around so often in self-help books.

If we stay happy all the time, we’ll disregard the value of being happy. If we never experience unhappiness we’ll devalue happiness.

If we become successful and get everything we wanted there will be nothing to achieve. Also, the reward of success is amplified thousand times when we work hard to get something.

Our end goal is not to be happy or successful per say.

Our ways to be happy or successful might differ but in the end, all we want is fulfilment in life.

Here’s how you can live your life to the fullest beyond being happy in the present moment or being successful:

1. Pursue something that excites you

Whether it’s your job, side hustle or a passion project for yourself, find something that sparks fire in you.

2. Always have something to look forward to

Anticipation is more rewarding than the reward itself. Remember the last day before summer holidays or the day of last exam.

3. Find meaning and shift your attitude

No matter how small your job is, believe that you’re doing something meaningful.

“A man came across three masons who were working at chipping chunks of granite from large blocks. The first seemed unhappy at his job, chipping away and frequently looking at his watch. When the man asked what it was that he was doing, the first mason responded, rather curtly, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and I can’t wait ’til 5 when I can go home.”

”A second mason, seemingly more interested in his work, was hammering diligently and when asked what it was that he was doing, answered, “Well, I’m molding this block of rock so that it can be used with others to construct a wall. It’s not bad work, but I’ll sure be glad when it’s done.”

”A third mason was hammering at his block fervently, taking time to stand back and admire his work. He chipped off small pieces until he was satisfied that it was the best he could do. When he was questioned about his work he stopped, gazed skyward and proudly proclaimed, “I…am building a cathedral!”

“Three men, three different attitudes, all doing the same job.”

4. Change your narrative

Imagine that you life story will be turned into a movie. Embrace the time of adversity. We can’t change our reality but we can change our perspective. See failures as opportunities to grow.

“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.” – Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way.

5. Make difference in people’s life

No matter how small or big,  make a positive impact in other people’s life. You can choose to deeply impact a few people’s life or make smaller impact on many people.

6. Do things you really enjoy

Even if other people don’t get it. Even if it does’t make you money. It could be a hobby, field of study or any obsession like collecting, organizing, cleaning, painting, playing, singing, dancing, writing, etc.

You can immerse yourself into deep work or play and experience what’s called as flow.

7. Have novel experiences

Routine can trap our mind and narrow our perception. Expose yourself to different experiences that can potentially turn into good stories to tell.

8. Do scary things

Step out of your comfort zone not only to find opportunities for growth, but also to feel proud about yourself regardless of the outcome. Feel proud because you tried. This will build your self esteem and make you feel good about yourself.

9. Connect with people

Be part of a community of people who have similar goals. Also, make sure to form close relationship with few people.

10. Take care of yourself

Your mind and body are the tools that determine the way you experience your life. Respect them enough to take good care of them.

11. Grow

Become a better version of yourself in different aspects of your life.

12. Celebrate

Life is too short for not celebrating small wins. Be grateful for little things in life.

13. Let go

Let go of attachment with everything. Nothing is permanent.


Life is not just about being happy or successful. They are only part of the experience.

Life is a process. It’s about how you live that determines the quality of your life.

If you’re often doing at least a few things mentioned above, you’ll make the most of your life.

Forget about your dream lifestyle

In any given book, website or course about life design, the first exercise is about imagining your perfect day.

“How would your perfect day look like from the morning until night?”

Perfect day, dream lifestyle

The truth is that I don’t know how my perfect day looks like. For me, there is no such thing as ‘the perfect day’. I might not want something tomorrow that I want today. Or maybe I don’t really want what I think I want. Who knows.

A year ago, I wanted to be a game designer. I was full on passionate about designing awesome games because I loved playing games in my childhood. I studied 3 years of game design in my college and I still love it. Designing games is a very intellectual activity which requires problem-solving, creativity, decision making and a lot of other skills that I love.

Now I’m soon going to graduate from my college and I don’t want to design traditional games anymore. Is it because I hate designing games? No. I still love it and I might even do it to earn a living for a few months or years of my life. But one thing I’m sure of is that I’m not going to do it forever in my life.

I can’t stick to one career or a way of living. I like experimentation, reinvention, and diversification. I have no clue what I would want in ten years from now. So, I’ll leave that decision to my future self.

It is often recommended to think about what you want to do with your freedom first before starting your lifestyle design journey. I say forget your dream lifestyle. Don’t get lost in the dreams of what you want to do with your freedom once you have it. Just start working towards getting freedom and you’ll figure out what you want to do once you get bored with the freedom you have.

Getting bored is the easiest way to find out what you want to do today. I try to get myself bored after every few weeks to find out what I want to do. To my surprise, there are no one or two things that I want to do with my free time. Over time the things I want to do keep changing as I keep changing.

With that said, it’s definitely a good practice to think about what you want to do today because it will define your present level of happiness and satisfaction in life. All I want you to take away is that try not to get fixated on what you’d like to do in future. Follow your gut instincts on what you want to do in present life and leave your future self alone.