The Imbalance of Success; Sacrificing Finding Love for Love of Writing
September 4, 2012 § 8 Comments
I try to set goals in every area of my life. Goals give us motivation, drive, a bar to set, things to strive for, and best of all is that when you accomplish one you can scream out:
I’ve set goals for myself in writing that I can see progress towards every day. Maybe at times you take a step back but when you take steps back, you get another chance to survey the field and come back better the next time. It’s like playing Super Mario Bros. 3 and replaying a level for the third time, you’re going to kill that level because you know what to expect.
You need to step back sometimes before you can step forward.
I can see that in my writing and I’ve progressed towards a financial benefit that gets me much closer to being a professional writer than I was a year ago. It’s crazy to believe that I could make progress towards accomplishing a lifelong goal or that I could actually say that I’m a professional writer, but I now have confidence that I’m on that path.
You probably also think it’s crazy that I could be a professional writer since my second paragraph of this article was just the word “Goal!” stretched out. People will pay for anything these days!
The idea of a “dream job” is a rather broad spectrum of opinion and generalization but I’d say that if you’re getting paid to do something that you’d do every day for free, you’re living the dream. Not quite like in this Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers question:
How Many People Do Get Their Dream Job?
Not chosen answer: Peoples dream jobs is not working in McDonald’s, it’s becoming writers, marine biologists, singers, actors, sports players, etc. Imo, 1/10 get to do their dream job. The other 9/10 are teaching, coaching, or just not doing their dream job. It’s really depressing.
Yeah, I would say that the off-chance someone would take your advice is rather depressing since you said that people that teach or coach aren’t doing their dream jobs. I’d wager that many teachers are doing exactly that since many of them are doing it for free. Or the immeasurable amount of people that volunteer to coach.
A dream job is whatever you want it to be and nobody can tell you that it’s better to be a writer than it is to work at McDonald’s. If that’s your dream job, who am I to judge? It’s a much more attainable dream than become a “sports player.”
Everybody has something. Many of us don’t know what that thing is, we can’t recognize our talent as a talent, but inside each of us is a quality that can be trained and honed into a quality that will service at least a tiny piece of the world. It would be easy to say that Michael Phelps has a talent for moving his arms around in the water, a natural gift that allowed him to grow his back to the size of a Smart car, but it’s not going to be so simple for all of us.
The International Business Times took some testimonials on what a dream job actually is. Here is one:
“A dream job is just a job that you look forward to going to. A job that makes you happy, it doesn’t have to be something outlandish or farfetched. And as for dreams go, once those die then we’re going to have issues” - Dexter
I think from that quote we can learn that even being a serial killer is perhaps something we are naturally inclined to be great at.
I didn’t wake up one day and think, “If I am a writer, I will have all the riches in the world!” I did however wake up one day and think, “I gotta write somethin’!” and then after that eventually clean up my vocabulary to not include “gotta” or “somethin.” It’s just what I had to do. Then it transformed into being a more specific form of writing, though still working on it over ten years later to try and find out what kind of writing I am best at and maybe try new things too.
For others, they’re going to be successful at anything they do because they’re naturally inclined to just obsess over and work hard at whatever comes to them. Was Bobby Fisher born to play chess or was he just a savant that attached himself to chess at age four and obsess over it for years until he was the best in the world by the time he was a teen? Would he not have been the best at backgammon, checkers, or Hungry Hungry Hippos if one of those was the game he chose instead?
We also adapt and change as we grow as people.
A survey of 1,100 people by Salary.com found that only 16% of people are living the dream jobs that they had when they were children. Actually seems like somewhat of a positive number considering how many people want to be Princesses or Hulk Hogans. Yet 60% also said that they still wish they could fulfill their dream jobs.
I also have changed as I have grown. I didn’t always want to be a writer. For a time I had actually switched away from writing to video editing and then back to writing, but no longer as a screenwriter but now a sportswriter. It’s not even what I would have imagined two years ago, but it’s worked out so far and it’s only just beginning.
We have to adapt to the opportunities presented to us and then find ourselves as we go.
That survey also found that less and less people were working their dream job as they got older (until going back up as people near retirement and have nothing left to lose but to pursue their dreams, or after the kids have finished college) and that’s not what I want. I want to find myself working closer and closer with my dream as I grow up because I could die today or I could die a long time from now, but I hope I died doing what I loved.
Many people are just looking for the job that pays the most, but I feel confident in saying that money will come easiest to you if you’re doing what you love to do. Money is a reward for hard work and you’re going to work a lot harder if you love what you do rather than forcing yourself to do something even though you hate it.
A Wall Street investor that despises greed isn’t going to cut it for long.
A writer that only wants to write might not make money for a long time, but then you write Harry Potter because you refused to give up and now you own England.
Family can also get in the way of pursuing those dreams. I don’t want to say that getting married and having kids ruins your dream, because for many people that is part of the dream, but responsibilities can mount and force people into a situation where they do have to put money in front of making your dreams come true. I guess lucky for me that it’s still not a problem.
The imbalance of success seems to be that you can’t always have everything. Here I am at 29, finally making headway into a career that I want so badly, and yet I can’t make a relationship happen nor do I have the desire to put any energy into it. Today I’m sacrificing a social life or a girlfriend for my dreams, and not the other way around.
It’s funny to read this article on mynippon.com about finding true love. Funny because they compare it to… finding a dream job. You shouldn’t just expect a dream job to fall into your lap just like a dream girl (or boy) won’t do the same. Now, I don’t think that the comparison is quite that apt because you could absolutely just meet someone at the right place and right time and who knows, but it certainly has some weight.
Before I was working two jobs, I had plenty of time to browse OkCupid and then go out on dates and see what happens. I am hardly afforded the luxury of coming to my own blog and writing anymore with most of my time spent writing over a dozen articles a week on other sites and then trying to get my brain together again, let alone seeing the same 150 girls on OkCupid that have been signed up for as long as I have.
(There’s that fun thing called cynicism!)
But it’s true. You have to work on it a little bit. I expected 2012 to be a banner year in the dating department for yours truly and quickly had three interests in the first month of the year. Three incredible disappointments later, I had all but given up. I have hardly even dabbled since and we’re practically weeks away from the Mayan apocalypse.
Working on it is the last thing I’m doing. I’d love to say that can success can come in many areas of once as easily as failure can, but that seems to rarely be the case. We have to choose something and then we have to work on it. Hard. We have to fight for it and claw at it and not give up until we’ve won.
I’m working on my dream job right now. Maybe for others they’ll get married and then get an unexpected phone call saying, “We’d like you to come work for us and we are your dream job!” but for me it’s going to be the opposite. Maybe while I’m working endless hours on the writing, a dream girl will fall in my lap.
Maybe she’ll hit the contact button on my blog and say, “Hello!”
We can’t predict the future. We can only control what we’re going to do right now. Now that I’m done writing this article, I’m going to go write. Not find love. Maybe it will find me, otherwise, it’s going to have to be on hold.
(Sorry for the Michael Bolton hold music.)