I came to Los Angeles to follow a dream. My dream led me to my wife, my kids and creating this site.
But there’s something intangible and unknowable about dreams. They’re elusive. It’s a tough thing to pursue a passion. Though I would argue there’s something important and character-building in the journey of it, I also think we need to be armed with a sense of reality.
Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs, etc.) discusses this topic and I’m not quite sure what I make of it. I want my children to seek out their passion and follow them to the ends of the Earth, but I don’t want to them to starve in the pursuit, emotionally or physically. Mike, himself, has followed his passions and made a great deal out of them. So, it’s bit incongruous of him to be speaking like this. He also has a point. When do we stop chasing the feeling of fulfillment and start building a world that fulfills others and ourselves?
I only have a partial answer to the question of what to teach my kids about achievement and pursuit of happiness. If the pursuit overtakes figuring out your passion, seeking it, and being smart about your life in the interim, then it’s time to readjust. If you get lost in trying to “figure out your dream” or in the pursuit of a lofty goal, you can lose yourself.
I’ve watched so many actors and artists give up on their dreams prematurely. And yet I’ve also seen people who languished under what they thought was limelight when it was just a smog-colored street lamp. The entire American Dream (if that is still a thing) is predicated on this idea that we can and should achieve of goals. But maybe our economic and cultural systems aren’t set up for that.
Sometimes passions aren’t enough to survive on, but what if they’re part of our survival as human beings? Mike Rowe says, “Don’t follow your passion.” I would say don’t follow your passion at the cost of experiencing and building a life. But for some, pursuit of a dream is enough of a life.