Photo Credit: ba,

“I won’t get any dime doing it!”

That's the most common reason I’m hearing why other people don’t engage in a creative work like photography, designing or writing. The sentiment is wrong, obviously, J.K. Rowling is a billionaire and a lot of designers are making a good living doing art. But many people cannot see the potential of choosing to do what they love, hustling on it to get better and doing the work required to get some real dime to come in (Warning: You won't even see the butt of a coin if you just have the patience of a spoiled 5-year old. Real dime takes time. And effort.).

I'm afraid that more and more young people are entering the workplace solely for the sake of a paycheck and not for the profession itself, those give-me-the-money workers produce a lot of crap out there: crooked buildings, insanely boring classes, buggy apps that require 2 hours of prayers before working, recipes that taste like boxes, and print designs that seem like a monkey with a Photoshop have done it. Yeah, they're getting the money and they're happy, but the world is getting uglier as a result. Why? Because they don't care. They're not really seeing the code, the font, or the perspective, they just are seeing and drooling for Uncle Ben every single time.

Since childhood, I’ve nourished the ability to detect the motivation and emotion of others (this is the reason why I cannot stand to look at some religious people faking their holy acts), and I've also read lots of psychology-related books (e.g. The Social Animal, Emotional Intelligence, The Road Less Traveled, Blink, Drive, Switch, Decisive, etc.) so I can be confident in what I'm doing and talking about. I put the skill to good use by observing other people in their work. And in my opinion, seven out of ten people are not working for the art or the significance of what they're doing, they’re just doing it for the paycheck.

And what’s wrong with that? You might ask. Nothing. There’s nothing malicious about it, we all need to support ourselves and our family financially. I think all of us would be willing to sweep the streets or fix toilets if we have no other choice and if our kids are getting impatient because they cannot find their dinner. But the "I have no choice" mentality is an illusion. Throw that idea in the trash can, wash your eyes and see the opportunities that are in front of you. It's up to you to grab them.

We all have set of activities that we love. When we’re doing them, we don’t notice the time and we don’t care if it would bring some cash in. Engaging with our passion is the reward itself, we feel success in its purest essence on every minute spent.

What are those “golden” activities for you? Are you doing them in your free time? Or are you working like a horse in a field you don’t want just to have a ton of cash and wait until retirement before living a real life? Please don’t. You're not a horse, you're a human. Take every step like a human caring for meaning and art, not like a horse grudgingly taking every step just because somebody is telling or pushing you do it, promising a reward after you've done it. One previous workaholic is Charlie Hoehn, and after waking up disillusioned with his crazy life schedule, he decided to play it away - he became intentional about his time for play and creative expression, and his life gets better and more meaningful as a result.

I love writing. I love teaching. I love designing. I’m half in-love with coding. Some of these activities bring rewards like money and accolades, but even if the rewards don’t come in, I would still continue to wake up hungry for the opportunity to do them again, because I'm doing them not to get a living, I'm doing them because they make me feel living.

Success doesn’t just means hitting a target or reaching a goal, success also means engaging fully with your being in a work that you care for, expressing your creativity and returning the glory to where it’s due. Money is a support for life - like oxygen to our body. Don’t live to breathe oxygen, live to express your spirit. Don’t live accumulating money, live contributing with your creativity.


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