Failing at What You Love
About 10 years ago, I attended the birthday party of someone close to me. Halfway through the dinner, someone asked the birthday boy if he had any words to share with the intimate table. It was an important age milestone, after all. Would he provide us with some insights that he had gleaned over the years?
The host gently held his fork in his hand as he played with the food on his plate. Not looking up, he inhaled and said:
"25 years ago, I had to choose between Law and Medicine. I made the wrong choice."
He didn't say anything for the rest of the night. Soon, we all settled the check and went our separate ways.
He didn't know it at the time, but the birthday boy had shared with me some of the most important life advice I have ever received.
A little over 10 years have gone by since that moment, and I have thought about it every single time I have had to make an important decision in my life. Will I have a career filled with regret, hardship, apathy, and suffocation - or will I always seek to 'follow my heart' and make a career out of what I love? Well, this year I decided to finally pursue what makes ME happy - cutting out the noise and temptations that distract me along the way.
It's never certain you'll be a success either way, so why not give it a try? Sometimes, I think back to the first time I saw Jim Carrey address Maharishi University in his 2014 Commencement Speech.
For those who don't want to watch the entire clip, I am referring to one specific line in his speech: "You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love."
To date, there hasn't been a shortage in thinking about all the things I would love to do - or, at least what I think I would want to do. Some of them are as follows.
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Political journalist covering the Prime Minister of the UK.
White House Press Secretary
First First Gentleman of the United States (I'm still holding out on this one, to be honest)
Attend a film ceremony having been nominated for an award.
Write a novel that is studied by students as an exam text.
At 28, I have the chance to still achieve, or at least strive to accomplish, some of these. Some may seem more out of reach than others, but it isn't to say I can't try to achieve the personal goals I set myself all those years ago. If I fail, I would have failed at what I loved doing.
And if I succeed? Well, is there anything better than fulfilling the dreams you carried on your shoulders as an optimistic child?
The effect you have on yourself and others is the most valuable currency there is. It's time to invest.