During my incredible video interview with Digital Lifestyle Expert and TODAY Show correspondent, Mario Armstrong, we were talking about what inspired us to be an entrepreneur and I said, “I want to be a shining example to my 20 month old twins of what’s possible when you believe in yourself and follow your passion,” and not just play it safe.
Then I said, “It’s risky playing it safe,” which intrigued Mario.
A Life Of Regret
What inspired my risky-safe riff was an article I read a few months back by a palliative care nurse whose job was to take care of patients who were sent home and expected to only live another few months. The nurse said the most common regret from all her terminally ill patients was:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Then the nurse said:
When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
Wow. Powerful stuff.
Passion Doesn’t Pay
Obviously, as an entrepreneur, these insights resonate with me. But I wanted to see what other people thought about the merits of following one’s passion in life. I came across this article in Forbes titled, 3 Reasons Following Your Passion Will Send You To The Poor House. In the Forbes article, the author suggests the 3 reasons are:
- Your passion is probably not profitable;
- People expect you to do what you love for free; and
- Sometimes, life is about solving problems.
As an explanation of the third reason the Forbes author says:
None of us are owed a life in which we get paid to do exactly what makes us happiest and the sooner you get over your resentment at the rarefied few who do make a living from their love, the better off you’ll be.
Really? Wow. Interesting.
Now, I’m no life expert and I don’t have all the answers-mostly all I have is questions. But, while her reasons seem somewhat practical, the Forbes author’s take strikes me as incredibly cynical and devoid of hope, and gives no credence to a person’s ability to choose a life of her/his own.
Since I’m busting my ass on my startup, WeMontage, which has not exactly taken off according to plan, I’m naturally more inclined to live a life guided by the insights shared by the nurse. That is, I don’t want to be at the end of my life and regret that I didn’t honor my truth, or as it is described in the book, The Alchemist, my personal legend, which is to be a successful entrepreneur and inspire others to honor their personal legend.
The Power To Choose
I just started listening to The Alchemist audio book and so far, one of the more noteworthy passages is what the book describes as the world’s biggest lie, which is:
At a certain point in our lives, we lose control over what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.
I do not believe the lie. I believe we have the power to choose what we want to be. Maybe this is what drives me so hard.
And, yes, I believe it IS risky playing it safe with life.
What do you believe? Do you relate more to the insights of the palliative care nurse, or the Forbes author? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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