November 25th, 2016
By Wes Annac
Guest writer for Wake Up World
Do you ever hear an old song from a favorite musician or band – a song from when they were just starting out – and notice that they were beginning to develop the sound you’ve come to recognize from them in later albums? It’s like stepping back in time to a point when the artist knew they had something good but were still in the beginning stages of working it out. “If only they knew how far they’ll go”, you might think to yourself, “they would’ve been even more motivated”.
I see the same thing in the conscious community. Our community is flooded with great writers, researchers, filmmakers, musicians and organizers on the front lines — and I get the sense that the best is yet to come.
This motivates me to pursue my own work with a sense of urgency and the desire to get better, knowing that something genuine can come of it if I refuse to give up, despite failures or setbacks. That sense of urgency comes with the feeling that your work is in its beginning states and something much better will come if you pursue the path ahead wisely.
Do you feel like pursuing your passion is no longer a desire but a need?
I’ve never felt like I had a career before, because I technically don’t. The need to commit to writing is the closest feeling I’ve ever had to a long-term career, because I don’t plan to stop. I plan to improve and one day reach the same heights as those who inspired me to pursue independent living.
I feel like I have no choice but to pursue this path, even though I pursue it by choice.
If I wanted them, enough opportunities for employment would be available for my family to get by. But it’s hard to explain the conviction that no matter what I do for money, writing is my real job and great things will come if I stick with it.
I feel the same way when I read an article or watch a video from other writers and activists who you can tell will achieve meaningful things. The thought of them giving up before they achieve that dream is painful, especially if you consider how many people have succeeded by following their passion.
For me, writing and sharing information has become an obligation; but not in a negative way. I’ve never been committed to anything before, and for the first time I’ve found an obligation I’m willing to see through. The word “obligation” has negative connotations yet accurately describes the commitment necessary if you want to follow your passion. This might sound cold, but sometimes, you have to get over feeling low or tired because your work is too important to too many people for you to stop. Sometimes you have to extend yourself when you’d rather relax or call it a day, but this doesn’t mean you should burn yourself out. By setting healthy boundaries when you overwork yourself, you can ensure you achieve more without overdoing it.
In any case, following your passion inevitably requires countless hours spent honing your craft and accepting that in the beginning, it won’t be as great as it will in those later stages you look forward to. Therefore, enjoy what you’re doing and try to avoid treating it like a burden even when you extend yourself or stress about it. It feels good to pursue your passion, but you’ll be sorely disappointed if you’re only in it to feel good. It’ll challenge you and stretch you to your limit, but if you love it enough, you won’t get discouraged. If you do, you’ll overcome. You’ll know you can achieve the impossible, so you’ll put up with the feelings of stress and separation from your comfort zone that come with it.
I’ve never put more effort into anything in my life, because I want the result to be something legitimate and meaningful. I’m also aware that if I stop now, all the momentum that’s built up to this moment will be wasted. Even if they’ve helped people, these writings won’t mean as much because they won’t build up to something that can really help the world. Because of this, I know I have to keep going — even when I don’t want to.
For the activists, musicians, filmmakers and writers in the conscious community hoping to make a living from your passion: keep going. The rest of us see your work and appreciate you more than you know. We couldn’t do what we’re doing without you, and we hope you take your work as far as it can possibly go. Take it beyond the bounds of reason and reach higher than you thought possible, because the rest of us will be doing the same.
Most importantly, don’t let the world put out your fire.