Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Daniel Batten: Why You Have No Choice But To Follow Your Passion

Image from awesome talk on Talent + Passion here.
I was going to write a big post today responding to Kadie's challenge post, and talk about how, because it's so easy for me to lose faith in a project, I spend far, far more time putting my passion off for another day, when I have the time/energy/inspiration required -- and how that approach is ultimately hurting my art practice.

But then I found this brilliant summary of all the things by Daniel Batten:

(Originally posted by Daniel Batten at
Have you noticed how many people there are that are doing things they don’t enjoy, saying “I’m just doing this for a short while, and then I’ll be able to…”

Sometimes this is true. But if you are still doing things you really don’t enjoy after three months of becoming conscious you don’t enjoy what you are doing, then I’d suggest you are kidding yourself.

The problem with kidding yourself is that it makes you into someone that you can’t trust. And as soon as that happens, you will also stop trusting – your ability to realize any goal – your talents – your integrity.

That’s a pretty big consequence. So how do you stop yourself from self-decepetions? That’s a good question – and one which I’ll answer,

But first, to help you root out all such self-deceptions from your life, lets look at 3 all-too common examples of how these self-deceptions manifest.
  1. An entrepreneur starts a business because she loves x, and wants freedom. Three years later, she is operating the business (which she hates), doing very little of x, and has less money and less freedom than she had as an employee.
  2. An employee says “I really don’t enjoy this job, but I’ll do it for now because it pays off my mortgage”. Twenty years later, he has switched job 7 times, got a few promotions – but still doesn’t really enjoy the work, and never feels that he has enough of a financial buffer to do what he loves.
  3. An artist takes the plunge and “does what she loves” but doesn’t earn much money from it, so carves out 30-40 hours a week to do itinerant work to support what she does until she “makes it big”. Each person is living life from the standpoint of “I will be happy when…” (I get the house/ boyfriend/ job/ IPO/ big account/ ….). But even if for example the entrepreneur does hit pay-dirt – so what? For 10 years, she has practiced putting on hold what she loves – and so this is what she’s become an expert at.
Even if this person decides to give back by becoming a business mentor – without a lot of self-enquiry, she will only be able to mentor other companies to follow the script she followed. Seek whatever you want in this life – but know that the minute you say “I will be happy when…” you have lost something precious.

Whatever you practice is what you will get better at. Practice the guitar, and you will get better at the guitar. Practice putting your dreams on ice, and you will soon be an expert at putting your dreams on ice.

The remedy is that you must follow your passion. Do you see how you really have no alternative? It is too dangerous not too. We think that we will get financial gains and progress for doing “good enough” for a time. But trying to live a life without our passion is like saying, “I’ll just drive this car for a while then I’ll put some fuel in it later.”

Without fuel, we go nowhere fast, and so we end up coming slower as well as having less fun. A lose-lose. We end up pushing a car around, huffing and puffing, rather than relaxing and letting the fuel power the car while we relax.

So if you want happiness as an “end goal” that means you need to practice being happy, and stop practicing things that make you unhappy. Put fuel in your tank by daring to do what you are passionate about, right now.
Stop it, Daniel Batten. Stop being so awesome right now.

If you want to read more from Daniel Batten, check out his site, or go read this article as it originally appeared on

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