A Passionate Struggle
In a nutshell, Stampabout is all about “walking your talk” and going after what makes you truly happy. While the decision and ability to change one’s life around and follow a dream is a feat in and of itself, sometimes finding out where exactly that happiness comes from is an even greater obstacle.\
Ideally, it would’ve been nice to know what I was passionate about before I graduated high school. If I knew what my passion was by that ominous deadline, I probably would’ve been far better off than 90% of students everywhere, because A) I would’ve known if college was truly my next step, and/or B) I would’ve known exactly what program I should’ve entered and what school I should’ve attended based on that passion.
In retrospect, I believe that’s the only scenario when tuition money is actually put to its best use. Otherwise, it seems to be a bit of a crapshoot.
A Long History of Changing My Mind
When I think back to all of the times I was asked—as a child and beyond—what I wanted to be when I grew up, I believe these were my answers:
Age 5-8: Actor (I remember asking my mother if she would let me “cuss” if I became an actor and the script called for it… I think I stumped her.)
Age 8-10: Roller Coaster Designer (I was unbelievably good—and addicted—to Roller Coaster Tycoon)
Age 10-12: Amusement Park Owner (screw engineering roller coasters, I just wanted to ride them for free)
Age 12-16: Hormones and Stuff (i.e. I was distracted)
Age 16-17: Cinematographer (Still a big fan of this one, but no one else seemed to understand what it entailed, so I felt discouraged to pursue it)
Age 17-20: Music Business (A way to pursue my own music while still having a back up plan on the business side in case everything hit the fan)
Age 20-22: Musician (After internships with SONY and FUSE.TV, I decided the business side of music was just as dry and soul-sucking as a business that sold toothpicks)
Age 22-26: Modern-Day Explorer / World Traveler / Musician / Most Interesting Man in the World (in progress…)
The truth is, most of us have NO IDEA WHAT WE WANT TO DO. Some of us “like” to do a lot of different things, but don’t know which one to go after. So how do we find out what’s best?
Finding the Target(s)
For me, it came down to recognizing feelings I had at certain points in my life, rather than racking my brain for answers on my future. Your “heart” is a powerful muscle and a truer guide than your fleeting and conflicting thoughts (as well as everybody else’s suggestions on what you should do).
In high school, I decided to go into music and wrote my college admission essay based on a single moment of reflection.
While I loved acting, cinematography, and playing soccer and volleyball, I realized that writing music trumped them all. Why?:
- I got shivers up and down my spine when I watched an amazing vocal performance on Broadway when I was 15. (Here’s another example that still gets me.)
- I got shivers simply listening to certain overwhelmingly cinematic songs.
- I started putting songs on repeat for musical intricacies I didn’t hear the first 15 times.
- I had the most fun when I was in choir… 8-part harmony will make you giddy if you’re a part of it (yep, I said it).
- And most importantly, during school, I would ditch lunch to go mess around on a piano in a practice room (teachers hated me because I would pound the keys when I got into it). I would also opt to turn the lights off and play piano and sing nonsense when I was at home instead of watch a movie or go outside and kick a ball around.
Playing music trumped every other activity and I didn’t even know it for several years. Listening to good music also gave me the greatest sense of feeling alive.
Seven years later I still love writing music. All the other things are still just fun hobbies.
So how does Stampabout relate to my passion of music? Well… it doesn’t necessarily. I definitely believe that you can have more than one passion, and that you shouldn’t have to decide on just one. I think we’re growing out of the era that says, “pick one thing you like and only do that one thing for the next 40-50 years…” But that’s a whole separate post for another time.
Realizing When I’m Hooked
What I can tell you is that my desire to travel and explore different challenges has—over the last decade—given me the same exact sensations that music does.
For example, I used to take the Long Island Railroad from my school on Long Island into Manhattan two days a week when I had my internship at FUSE.TV. There is a massive hub called Jamaica Station in Queens and at this hub is the AirTrain to JFK airport.
It honestly killed me to watch the AirTrain take people to the airport as I continued onto my cubicle at FUSE.TV.
When I did have a scheduled flight out of JFK, I would count down the days to when I could get off the train at Jamaica Station and transfer to the AirTrain.
Now that I live 15 minutes from LAX airport in Los Angeles, every time I go to Venice Beach and see all the planes taking off over the ocean, I watch them while craving to be on every. single. one. (I don’t even care where they’re going.)
The moment I reflected on and realized I was having all of these subconscious feelings about going to an airport and taking off for anywhere, I knew that a passion had me hooked.
So at the end of the day, recognizing I’m passionate about something comes down to these three simple signs:
- I’d rather do ‘X’ (music or travel in my case) than Y (sports) or Z (cinematography) NEARLY EVERY SINGLE TIME.
- I get shivers and feel most alive when ‘X’ is happening NEARLY EVERY SINGLE TIME.
- I realize I crave to be doing ‘X’ NEARLY EVERY SINGLE DAY when I am not doing ‘X’ EVERY SINGLE DAY
What are the signs you look for when you’re passionate about something? What passion(s) trump everything else?
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