Pursuing your passion: 7 things to remember
Warren Keelan, an Australian photographer with an obsession for the ocean, is the epitome of someone pursuing their passion. Warren spends almost every morning rising at the crack of dawn (or earlier) and devotes the next few hours to swimming and searching for the perfect shot. He’s loaded down with gear – cameras, lenses, and fancy photography equipment. Often the best waves arise in the winter months, so the water can be freezing. But Warren is dedicated to his passion. He puts up with the hardships and inevitable downsides that accompany any hobby.
You like to fish? Sometimes the bait is bad and you can’t find the honey-hole.
You like to hike? Sometimes the trail is steep and your feet get blisters.
You like to watch Netflix? Sometimes –god forbid- your show ends and you don’t have Wifi.
Well, Warren likes photography, seascapes and ocean-life. Sometimes it’s too early, the weather sucks, and the water’s cold. But does that stop him from putting on his wetsuit, loading up with gear, and drifting over waves, kicking to stay above the surface? Does that stop him from pursuing his passion?
As someone with a passion, a dedication to adventure and travel and writing, I am not oblivious to the frequent troubles and excuses that present themselves and are easy to make up. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m so tired. I have so much other work to do. It’s too cold/hot outside. But then, while I was on Facebook one day, I stumbled across Warren’s page. I was blown away by his photography. My mouth literally hung open, awestruck, as I browsed through the variety of shots he took. His work captured unimaginable beauty. It provoked an indescribable perspective.
How could a picture of an ocean wave, something so mundane and abundant, look so incredibly surreal?
I’ve always known the ocean was beautiful, but never this beautiful.
I looked further. I read more about Warren Keelan and spent hours pouring through his collections. I constantly questioned how someone could capture something like this. And then I realized, it’s because this is his passion.
When you are passionate about something, whether its photography or writing or sports or animals or medicine, you have a gift. Your passion is your purpose. And if you pursue it and share it with the world you can show others how you see it. You can inspire others to recognize the beauty in something otherwise unnoticed.
Warren reminded me of seven things I, we, should always keep in mind, seven things to never forget when pursuing our passions.
1. EXPERIMENT. SIMPLE AS THAT.
Try something new.
So you’re unsure about your passion? You really, really like something but don’t really know how to go about pursuing it? Try out a bunch of different things. Get feedback. Find out what works and what doesn’t.
Maybe we’re not all researchers, but school taught us the scientific method for a reason. Get an idea, make a hypothesis, test it, collect data, make a conclusion. You learn through trial and error.
I love writing, but I was always hesitant to actually put words on a page and show it to people. What if what I wrote wasn’t good? What if people hated it? How do I know what to write?
So, I tried everything. Poetry, short stories, essays, narratives, fiction, non-fiction, the list goes on and on. And some people loved certain pieces while some people hated other pieces, but, despite uncertainty, suggestions, and some negativity, I was learning.
Right now, I’m finally writing. And you know what? I’m still figuring it out. I’m still experimenting. I’m still pursuing this passion.
2. EMPTY YOUR MIND AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
Don’t overthink it. Sometimes too much planning or too much contemplation can ruin the beauty of a spontaneous idea.
When you overthink or over-plan or over-compensate, the true message is lost. There’s too much room for critique and negativity and judgment. Emptying your mind allows you to face your passion in its purest form. It’s where you’re truest, most sincere thoughts are expressed. It’s where beauty is born. It’s the origin of creativity.
Before I write a story I get all my thoughts down on paper, not worrying if it sounds okay or even if it makes sense. I just get it all out without thinking.
Emptying your mind creates space for it to be filled with opportunity and imagination.
3. PERSISTENCE IS KEY!
Never give up. Never stop trying.
How many sunsets do you think Warren had to watch before he captured this one? How many waves rolled by, how many thousands of shots were taken, how many days were spent with no good outcome?
There will be struggles. There will be negativity. There will be people who tell you you’re crazy, you can’t do that, and, more importantly, you can’t make money doing that.
But that’s kind of the point in pursuing your passion. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it and I wouldn’t be writing this. Pursuing your passion is supposed to be hard. It makes the reward at the end that much better.
It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to find out that something didn’t work. It is one hundred percent okay to try something and not be able to do it.
But don’t give up. Because the only true failures are the ones who stop trying.
4. EVERY DAY IS A NEW BEGINNING.
This goes hand in hand with never giving up. There will be good days and bad days, but that’s okay, because this is a journey. This is a roller coaster.
Your passion should fuel you. Work on it everyday. Whether it’s painting or singing or running or knitting, for god’s sake, do it. Work on it everyday. If you don’t like what you did the day before, start over. If you wish you did something differently, change it. Literally, there is nothing stopping you.
Wake up every morning thinking this is the day. This is the day my dreams will become reality. And, eventually, it will be.
5. NEVER STOP LEARNING. NEVER SETTLE.
Take the next step. Don’t stop learning about your passion because I promise there is always something new.
If its photography, there will always be new cameras, new lenses, new angles, new lighting, new shots to take, new places to see.
If its sports, there will always be new opponents to defeat, new plays to run, to strategies to practice, new techniques to master.
There is always room for growth. If you think you’ve reached the top, look up, there’s still sky above you.
With that in mind, don’t get discouraged if you’re just starting out and you’re at the bottom and everyone is above you. They’ve all been in your place before. No one was born automatically knowing how to do what they are passionate about. It takes practice. It takes experience. It takes exposure and learning and trial.
6. FIND BEAUTY IN THE SIMPLE THINGS, ESPECIALLY THE THINGS THAT DON’T SEEM SO BEAUTIFUL.
Whether it’s the fleeting moment of a breathtaking sunset or a drawn out day of smiles surrounded by the ones you love, find beauty. Find peace. It’s what will keep you going.
Every day won’t be filled with excitement and success so it’s important to find beauty wherever you can.
The world is a beautiful place, but it can be easy to get wrapped up and swept away by the stressors and negativity of everyday life. It’s important to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take a closer look.
That patch of overgrown weeds isn’t ugly. I’ll bet there’s a four-leaf clover hidden in there.
That scar on your arm isn’t ugly. It’s a sign of strength and overcoming hardship.
There’s something beautiful in everything. You just have to find it.
7. FINALLY, YOU CAN INSPIRE OTHERS.
The reward of inspiring others makes every struggle worth it. That’s what pursuing your passion is all about. Taking something no one else really notices, capturing it, exposing it, showing it to others through your eyes, and making people notice. Making people say “wow”. Making people say “I can’t believe this”. Making people say “how did I not notice this before”.
Being a source of inspiration is what makes the world a better place. Inspiring people to do what they love brings happiness and joy and a better outlook on life.
Pursuing your passion is a personal journey. Finding your purpose should, first and foremost, be about fueling your own happiness. But what if you gave someone else the strength to pursue their passion?
We’re all in this world together, whether we like it or not. We’re all connected, we’re all made from the same stuff, but we all have different perspectives. We all see things a little differently. Everyone has their own passion. Everyone has something they think is beautiful.
So why not share it? The world could use a little more understanding. The world could use a little more beauty. The world could use a little more passion.
By: Sarah Walls