Making something out of your passions is a lot like building a fire. It takes a lot of preparation, a lot of material, and even if you do it right, it can burn you terribly.
To build a good fire, you need kindling and approximately three different sizes of wood all layered perfectly. There’s a pattern you must follow, you have to put the kindling on the bottom, then bigger pieces of wood, then bigger, and bigger. If you put the big pieces of wood on the bottom and the kindling on top, the kindling will burn but the wood won’t. Your fire will last a minute max. But if you stack the wood according to the correct pattern, your kindling will burn, then the slightly bigger pieces will catch, then the bigger, and then the bigger. You’ll have a full fire that’ll burn for a long time. But even then, you have to keep adding wood to maintain the fire or else, like all things, it will eventually die. Now, you can also enhance the fire or quick-start it by using gasoline or lighter fluid which will provide you with an instant flame irregardless of how you stacked your wood but you will soon find that the flame dies out quickly without proper structure and leaves the outside of the wood charred while the inside is unused and left to waste. It’s exactly the same with trying to make your passions work.
What do I mean?
Now, when I mean trying to make your passions work, I mean making a career out of them. Making what you want to do in your free time what you are able to do full time and sustain yourself. For many, it’s just a dream. A seemingly unattainable one. But with the proper structure and consistent steps, you can attain it without going totally left field. To make your passions work for you, you have to work at your passions. You have to build your skills, your knowledge, and enthusiasm for your passion to a unique level. Only then will you be able to be paid for it. There are probably millions who share your passion, but less than 10% will be able to monetize it. And I can guarantee that the reason they are able to do that is not because they are genetically superior or naturally smarter but because they laid down a brick every day to reach where they are today. They built their passion like a fire in the proper pattern one piece of kindling, one piece of wood, at a time. And that’s exactly what you must do.
There is no secret to being successful. If there was one, it would have gotten out by now and everyone would be successful. Success comes from realizing your potential and achieving your internal goals. But to do that you have to be consistent and add to your goal daily. There is no set path that you must follow because I can guarantee that people of talent in their respective careers all got there differently. They worked towards their goal daily and eventually found what worked for them. What worked for someone else will probably not work for you. You can learn from it but your path will eventually take its own turn.
So what do you do?
How do you build your passion like a fire? Well, look up how to build a fire on youtube. First you set the kindling or the starter. Keyword “starter.” You lay down foundation for your passion, you start somewhere. It could be completely the wrong approach but you won’t know that until you start and try consistently for a period of time. You keep adding starter until you are ready for the next thing so you get a slightly bigger piece of wood. You have learned from the starter and now you are moving on to slightly bigger things.
You place more and more pieces of small wood in a proper fashion. Adding to it as needed and maintaining it as you see fit. Then you move on to bigger pieces of wood. You do the same you have been doing with the smaller pieces of wood. Just keep adding and maintaining all while learning and exploring. At this step, look back. Are there too many big pieces of wood? Is it suffocating your fire? Suffocating your time and energy? Is it still enjoyable? If yes then remove some wood, take a small break or go back to smaller pieces of wood. Maybe you are still learning at step 2 and are not ready for step 3. But no, you say you are ready. Great! Now add the even bigger pieces. Add the biggest pieces. You have come to the point where you are an expert.
Over the consistent building of the firewood you have learned so much that you know exactly what you are doing. You have reached step 3. So you light the fire. You get an enjoyable flame. It lasts a good amount of time given the strong foundation and investment you put into it but, like all things, it will die. Is the flame reducing? Are you not adding to it? Are you too comfortable? You must keep adding wood. If you think reaching step 3 means you’ve reached the end then I’ll tell you right now, you probably won’t find success. Even at the top, people do small things consistently that keeps them on their feet and their flame lit. If not, their flame would die and they would quickly get consumed in this world that loves to forget and leave people behind. Now, at step 3, you don’t have to add wood as frequently. But you definitely have to do it consistently within a proper frequency. Remember growth should be eternal. Your potential should always evolve and your goals with it. At step 3, aim for step 4. And at step 4, aim for step 5.
But you’ve reached step 3, you experience a strong wind, and the wood you laid perfectly until now all falls. It’s still on fire, but the structure is all ruined. The big pieces have fallen. How do you pick them back up? Remember the beauty of setting a solid foundation is that no matter how the top pieces fall or how many fall, your foundation will always be there with you. Your experience from building the structure will remain forever. Can’t you use that to rebuild the fire? This time stronger and more everlasting? You can! You know exactly what to do at this point in your path. At step 1 you knew nothing. But when you fall off of step 3 onto step 2, you still have the knowledge from step 1 and 2 to climb up again. That’s the beauty of building a foundation and being consistent. It will never leave you. It’ll forever be in your mind. So, do it again!
But being consistent and building foundation takes a long time. A really long time maybe. So why don’t you just add some instant flame or gasoline to the wood? And get a flashy start? Makes sense, it’s like jumping to step 3 without having to climb up the laborious step 1 and 2. But if you fall, which you will. How will you get back up? Pour more gasoline hoping to stay balanced on step 3 this time? How will you maintain the fire without knowing how to add more wood? Will you keep adding gasoline even when the wood is charred and out of life because you don’t know how to add wood properly? And how long can you sustain off of gasoline? A few minutes of flame?
You see, instant flame and gasoline with no structure or foundation is like a get rich quick scheme. It’s just a way of avoiding the real steps you need to take and to find a way to avoid the hard work necessary for true success. It’s for the lazy, unmotivated, and apathetic. It’s not for you. Using gasoline on wood only superficially chars the wood, it wastes the substance of the wood and thus gives you no satisfaction, success, or depth in return. It’s a lie, a facade.
In real life, gasoline is equivalent to money. And while pouring money on certain things can help you get noticed or learn quickly for a very short period, it will never last. Think about the daughter of legendary musician Ozzy Osbourne, Aimee. With all the connections she has and the money she is able to pour into music, how come she has not been able to become as famous or somewhat significantly successful in her field? She lacks the foundation of truly good and unique music. The connections and money can only do so much but they can’t convince people like you or me to listen. It’s not like she is paying us! If it’s not good, I simply won’t listen. But if her music was unique, if it was good, and she worked at her craft and built a strong foundation then her connections and money would be able to take her to the moon. Just like Billie Eilish. Her father, mother, and brother are all in the entertainment sector. Yes they had money and connections but without her foundation of making good and unique music, she wouldn’t be where she is today.
So now, going back to the fire and gasoline analogy. Adding gasoline without a foundation will fail on you terribly. But with a foundation, gasoline will propel you. Now you don’t need the gasoline, but hey who wouldn’t use it provided that they had access to is? I certainly would if I had a solid foundation and felt that it could propel me. If I had grown myself from step 1 to step 3, even if the gasoline fails on me and burns me, I can still take the fall and climb back up. Something you can’t do if you try to use it at step 1. Using gasoline at step 1 is like throwing a bouncy ball at a wall hoping it will stick to it.
So there you have it. I believe working towards your passion is very similar to building a fire. Start small, build a great foundation, and add bigger and bigger pieces. Eventually you’ll have a bright flame. Keep adding to this flame, and you will attain whatever it is you seek. Failure is usually a product of laziness and inconsistency while success is the product of consistency and perseverance. It’s not a secret, it’s just a habit you have to develop. Cheers!