Every day, people just like you take charge of their destiny by committing to their dreams and being bold in the pursuit. At revolution.is, we share stories of remarkable people living unconventional lives. Each week for eight weeks, we’ll share one of those stories here, in hopes of inspiring you to begin your revolution. Enjoy!
“Passion: The Ultimate Security”
by revolution.is contributor, Melissa Joy Kong
I was working for a top media company with world-class brands, intelligent co-workers, a decent salary and great benefits. When I started out three years ago, that’s all I thought I wanted. But somewhere along the way, I found myself changing. I began to develop a deep understanding of my passions and the kind of difference I wanted to make in the world. Suddenly, the dream job I thought I always wanted was no longer my dream. So, I left my job.
Don’t get me wrong—I didn’t quit my job because I hated it. I quit because I wasn’t in love with it.
Now I know that to a lot of people this might seem crazy. We’re on the fringe of a recession when the unemployment rate for young people is the highest that it’s been since World War II. But I couldn’t ignore what I knew to be true any longer. I understood my purpose, but wasn’t living it.
The change I experienced happens for many of us. We graduate from school with the best intentions of changing the world: writing a bestselling book, finding the cure for cancer, eradicating poverty, founding the next big tech company, etc.
And then somehow, years later, we find ourselves stuck. Stuck in a cube with a rigidly structured nine-to-five day, creating stuff we aren’t that passionate about, and wasting far too much time on things that don’t really change anything.
We stop growing. We stop caring. We stop dreaming.
How does this happen?
It starts in the moment we forget that pursuing what we are fiercely passionate about is the only path to true and lasting happiness. In my case, I began to convince myself that salary and corporate prestige could somehow make up for a passionless career.
Many of us do this, not because we don’t know better, but because it is scary to choose passion over security.
Choosing to follow your passion doesn’t often come with a high base salary, a comprehensive healthcare plan or a fancy wardrobe.
Sometimes, pursuing your passion means eating ramen noodles five days a week and taking on another part-time job to pay the bills for a while. Sometimes it means leaving behind what is familiar and comfortable in search of life-changing adventure and challenge. And almost always, it involves making a choice that everyone else thinks is completely crazy.
Choosing to pursue what you’re passionate about is usually not the easy route. In fact, it’s often the downright scary route. But if you want to live a genuinely happy and fulfilling life, it is the only route. Having taken a few passionless routes myself, I’ve road tested the crap out of this theory and come to realize just how true it is. The scary choice became the only choice.
I left a job that I liked (and all the security that came along with it), packed my bags, moved to my favorite city in the world, and began pursuing opportunities that light me up and fill me with passion every single day.
Have I taken big risks? Yes. Am I scared? Sure. But that’s a great thing. Because being scared is how we know that we’re fighting for something worth fighting for. And it’s often the scary choices we make in life that wind up being the most worthwhile.
Melissa is the Editorial Director at Technori, a company that celebrates Chicago entrepreneurship and those who take risks, chase their dreams, build brands, and change communities. She also does cool tech stuff for Outbrain, a content marketing start-up dedicated to helping readers discover the most interesting content. Whenever she can, Melissa speaks at U.S. colleges and universities, encouraging students to pursue their passions. She currently lives in Chicago, the best city in the world.
Amber Rae is a passion catalyst, authority challenger, and motivational muse. In the last 365 days, Amber worked with Seth Godin to launch The Domino Project, helped Derek Sivers turn his book into a best-seller, created revolution.is which shares stories of remarkable people living unconventional lives, and launched a “Passion Experiment” program where she helps people give their dreams direction. She’s been seen in The New York Times, Inc., Forbes, BBC, and on ABC World News. For more about Amber you can visit her website or Twitter.