Common Pitfalls + Tips

There are several pitfalls and myths surrounding making a living while following your passions.

1. Myth: You need a formal education before you can …

For some professions such as medical physicians, yes, this is true. In most cases, education is optional. In cases where formal education is optional, this myth only acts as a mind trap to cause self-doubt and friction on the path to pursuing our passions.

In many professions, experience, a solid skill set and a drive to succeed are much more valuable and essential than a formal education.

2. Tip: Become your own teacher and your own best student.

Many exceptional people are in their respective fields as a result of self taught skills. Go out of your way to learn, read as much as you can on the subject, take classes that will expand your skills. Then practice as much as you can.

3. Question: “But what if I don’t have any experience? No one will hire me without experience. I’m doomed. Poor me.“

Stop complaining. Go out and get some experience! Talking about it is a waste of time - it gains you nothing, except the conviction that you’re doomed.

Offer your time and skill for free. Create the opportunity for yourself by initiating your own projects. Offer yourself as an intern in your desired industry, continue cold calling companies until you get something. Never give up.

4. Tip: Believing In Yourself - Confidence Building

What often stops us from pursuing and succeeding in our chosen passion is ourselves. Out mind gets so cluttered with doubt and self-defeating thoughts that we end up believing them and giving up.

This fear and resistance to change is something we all experience and can relate to. There is no magic pill that’ll make these thoughts go away. Only this advice: practice taking action despite fear and doubt, as often as possible. We are creatures of habit, the more we repeat something, the better we get at it, the more automatic it becomes, and the more natural it feels.

Here are some tips that I have personally found helpful in confidence building:

* Take Massive Action - And doing so often. As much as possible. The more you do this, the less scary it will seem, and the more confident you will feel.
* Visualization - Our repeated thoughts (whether conscious or unconscious) create the tracks for the train of our mind to run on. The train ends up looping in a cycle unless we create new tracks for it. Visualization is an effective tool for creating new neural pathways in our brains, thereby introducing new experiences through our imagination. Our brains cannot distinguish between what is happening in reality and what is being vividly imagined. (Shakti Gawain has a great book on the topic if you’d like to learn more.)
* Affirmations - Similar to visualization techniques, affirmations create or thicken neural pathways in our brains. It’s effective in replacing negative thought patterns with thoughts more conducive to our wellbeing. Affirmation is simply writing down a positive statement in present tense that includes where you want to be or states qualities of the more wholesome ‘you’ that you would like to embody. Repeat this statement as often and as much as you can. Posting this statement on walls where you’ll see it is also helpful. Examples, “I am an outstanding person. I live in the present moment. I embody love, compassion and kindness towards others.” Or “I am an achiever. I achieve my goals. I live life with passion! I am contributing in massive ways. I am outstanding!” Note: This is not lying to yourself, but rather feeding positive messages to your unconscious mind. We get enough self-defeating thoughts as it is from our ‘ego-ic’ minds. This is just a tool to help us undo some of that.

As you strengthen your beliefs about your skills and continue to perfect your craft, you’ll notice a shift in the way in which people respond to you. They will start to see you as the more wholesome you.

5. Tip: Talk often about what you want

In addition to taking action towards what you want, tell other people about it. Tell your close friends, your manager, and your family. Telling others does four things:

* Helps you define your intentions. You’ll gain more clarity through talking about it.
* Sends out your intentions to the Universe.
* Let your inner-circle and support-system in on your desires, so they can help support you in your desires to attain something that means a lot to you.
* Telling other about what your doing has a tendency to hold you accountable, and encourages you to continue taking action towards its attainment.

Continue to take action every day and every week towards your target. However small the action may seem, it will help you get one step closer to your goal.

My only caveat is to avoid telling people who generally lean towards the negative. Reserve it for people who want to help you, are supportive, and preferably have a positive outlook on life.

6. Tip: Find a Mentor

Having a mentor will not only accelerate your learning in a particular field and steer you away from common mistakes, but also gives you valuable insight and visibility to helping you determine whether this is something you really want.

If you’re working at a company as a computer programmer but are interested in working as a project manager, talk to a senior PM and see if you can be mentored by them. Make it clear that you won’t take too much of their time.

If you’re a photographer trying to get into commercial photography, find someone who is already doing that and offer your time as an assistant for free, in exchange to be in the studio to watch and learn.

If you don’t know anyone personally who is achieving the kind of results you desire, go out and find them. Go to cultural events where such people would frequent. Alternatively, a wealth of information is available online or in books at minimal cost.

Be thoughtful and considerate when approaching potential mentors. Don’t take “no” personally. Think about what you can offer them (that is actually valuable to them) in exchange for their time.

MAKE, MEET AND FIND FRIENDS! BE OUTSTANDING!































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