#AskAppy: “I have a passion for arts but they want me to pursue a *real* career.” March 27, 2017 – Posted in: Lifestyle – Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Q) Hi Appy, I’ve been following your blog for quite sometime now and I really love it. I’m also a creative person. I love arts and design. I want to build my own brand but people around me think it is stupid and doesn’t pay the bills. They want me to pursue a “real” career and grow up but I’m not sure they understand. I have passion for arts but not for other jobs. This is something I get excited about and enjoy doing. How can I start my brand irrespective of other people’s opinion?? Love, Susan.

Dear Susan,

Thank you for writing in. That’s a great question! I believe there are many many other creative people facing the same dilemma as you do. To distill down your query, I’ll reframe it as ‘How to do what you love and make a career out of it irrespective of the naysayers?’

I deeply relate to how you feel having felt the same way as you do. There’s always some invisible podium for those aspiring to be doctors or engineers while those aspiring to be writers, photographers, designers or artists are looked upon as dreamy, impractical or sometimes, insane. See, that’s how it is. Our social environment is such that we’re thrust underneath the safest roof rather than encouraged to walk out in the rain. And sadly, this conditioning ruins great many creative minds who could have achieved more and felt a sense of fulfilment doing what they loved to do. I’ll do my best to list a few things that will help you pursue your passion.

1. People will think you’re crazy and that’s okay

As explained above, our society (the elderly generations perhaps) will prefer you to have a secure career (maybe a bank, a govt. office). They’ll get excited about words such as engineers or surgeons. That’s not their fault. A generation that grew up with comparatively lesser options and tougher lifestyle will inevitably want you to find contentment in a more secure environment. Anything related to arts seem risky and unfeasible. That’s ok. It is but a slight change of perspectives derived from social conditioning for them and for us. We grew up in a world of increasingly rapid changes with lots of options and much easier lifestyle. Our thinking is not shaped by survival but by striving to do something more. This perspective of ours, like anything else, is prone to duality – the possibility of your dreams or its failure. So, what I would suggest you is to not garner any negative feelings towards those that do not understand you. Try to see that they want the best for you but they just don’t get the possibility angle as you do. Everyone thinks you’re crazy or naive but that’s okay. Isn’t it?

2. It will be hard

There’s this old joke of how the souls of all creative artistic people are born sad. It’s funny cause it’s kinda  true. I remember reading about a similar dilemma the Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh faced from his family when he decided to become a painter. His father wouldn’t take him seriously and predicts that he is purposely rooting for pain. Vincent replies, ‘From pain comes beauty.’ And for an aspiring artist as yourself, you’ll be inspired to know that he started painting at the age of 28. Yes, his life was very hard indeed. But that’s just reinforcing the point and helping you prepare yourself mentally that it will be hard. You need to be stubborn, bold, unrelenting and iron willed. Easy. No? Will it make you cry? Definitely. But that’ll add some uniqueness to your art.

3. The Otherside is actually not that green

When you’re surrounded by people who seem to push you towards the alternative career, it makes you rethink or question yourself. Pause and analyse. Imagine the so called “better secure life”. Will the air tight glass cubicle offices comfort you? Will financial security compensate your freedom? Will designation override your need to express yourself in the form of art? Will the approval of others bring contentment to your life? Think deeply about these questions. Meet someone similar who has abandoned their passions to take the safe route. Have they found themselves yet?

4. Look Around

Look around you, you’ll notice massive changes. Changes so huge that it’s invisible to many purely due to the subtle nature of this change. With the advent of the Internet age, more and more people are becoming creators. More people are rejecting company-employee model and embracing creative-collaborative models. It is much easier to connect with people and share your work. It is easier to browse great works and be inspired whilst inspiring others at the same time. This change will usher a new era of how we think of work/career. So take advantage of this.

5. Forget all reason why it won’t work and find one reason why it will

Do I sound like a motivational speaker? Cliche? Heck, who cares? You gotta find your own fuel to pull you out of the water.  You need to anchor your belief system into one reason why it will work and you need to stick to it. Apparently, Kanye West has a huuuuuge Kanye West painting inside his living room; so this journalist asked him, ‘Kanye, why do you have a painting of yourself inside your own house?’ Kanye replied, ‘Cause I gotta cheer for myself before anyone else does’. Gotta take that from him! You gotta focus on the possibilities and cheer yourself on when everyone says no.

I hope these points help you figure your path. I, thank you for this great question. I’m sure many people reading this will relate to you. Damn, I feel like Yoda. May the force be with you, my young padawan.