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?

 

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.

 

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.

7 character traits of a lifestyle designer

1. They are rebellious

As a child, I used to crave freedom and independence. I had a burning desire in me create my own rules and live by them.

I hated most of the things that I was supposed to do because of no solid reason. As a child, I wasn’t wise enough to make decisions for myself. So, most of the times the reason for my rebel could be wrong. But the character trait of a rebellion passed on as I grew up.

In the past, freedom fighters used to rebel and fight for their freedom. Today, lifestyle designers still do the same. Only the context has changed.

2. They are dreamers

Goals and dreams should be separate.

Dreams could be unrealistic or maybe even impossible. The important part is to have a dream and pursue it as your life depends on it.

Goals, on the other hand, could be short-term that could be connected to your dreams. They can be logical and realistic.

Failing to meet a goal is part of the journey but giving up on dreams is not an option for them.

3. They are self-starters

Lifestyle designers do not wait for the motivation to come. They don’t rely on willpower. They start working on their dream lifestyle regardless of the current circumstances.

While most people find excuses for not starting, lifestyle designers find excuses to start today. They design their present life such that they can eventually move a step closer towards their dream lifestyle.

4. They are go-getters

For lifestyle designers, obstacles are not fatal. They don’t give any obstacle the power to kill their dreams.

They are willing to take risks and leave their comfort zone for their dreams.

They protect their dreams and do whatever it takes to get what they want. Most of the times, there are roadblocks that they have to tackle. But sometimes they have to take an alternative route to move towards their destination.

5. They are skeptical

They don’t assume what society, culture, family or friends have told them to be correct. Instead, they question assumptions.

They are ready to run experiments and allow themselves to run trails before coming to any conclusion. This sparks creativity in them and they are able to rise in spite of the ‘rules’ set by society.

They never stop learning. They even question themselves and seek creative ways to deal with problems.

6. They are self-assured

Self-assurance or self-efficiency is the belief in one’s own abilities and character. They truly believe that they will succeed.

They have an abundance mindset. They think big and believe that there is plenty of space and opportunity for success. They don’t let scarcity poison their mind.

7. They embrace change

They don’t fear change. In fact, they embrace it. They adapt to life situations and make changes as needed. They understand that change is part of the process of growth.

They adapt to circumstances and accept uncertainty in life.

Do you have what it takes to be a lifestyle designer?