When I Grow Up…

If I could choose my passion, It would be Medicine. In terms of all the categories that are generally important to most people, its right up there…

  1. Making a meaningful contribution to the well being of individuals- check!
  2. Fantastic salary- check!
  3. Social status- check!
  4. Job security- check!

Indeed, the journey toward becoming a doctor is long and hard! However, if this is your passion it’s a rewarding challenge and once you qualify, there are guaranteed rewards at the end of the journey. But, alas, I don’t believe one can choose their core passion. It’s something that burns deep within you that you can’t just simply learn to love. It’s part of who you are.

Mine, along with so many others, happens to be extremely difficult to live out, with almost no guaranteed success…filmmaking! The Film and TV industry is tough enough anywhere in the world at the best of times, but particularly bad in South Africa at the moment. At a point where the SABC is still in shambles, particularly with regard to financial mismanagement; the impending Media restrictive bills; the hundreds of production companies that have had to shut down as they have still not received payment for work produced; the new satellite TV channel that seemed promising, yet has encountered serious problems even before it’s really begun- the Film and TV industry is looking particularly bleak.

Does this mean those talented and passionate artists, producers, directors, editors, camera operators and everyone else involved in production, need to seek practical alternatives?

Is it better to stay true to yourself and die a starving artist, or to die a little every day in a “sensible” job that you silently hate with a passion? Or, is there some middle ground that can be reasonably reached?

Don’t get me wrong, having any job at all, is an incredible blessing in itself! However, once those basic needs have been met and one is privileged with choice- does one take the risk and follow what one truly desires, even when the odds are clearly not in ones favour? Or is it better to reside in the realms of what is safe? Do we grow up and realize that dreams don’t really matter anymore and still manage to live a fulfilling life? Perhaps this is true for some, perhaps they are living part of, if not all of their core dreams despite the daily frustrations of their jobs i.e. having a family, their own home, being intellectually challenged at work or whatever it may be.

I met an inspiring entrepreneur at a woman’s conference three years ago, sadly her name has escaped me, however her words of wisdom have not. She said there are three questions you need to ask yourself when selecting a career or pursuing a business opportunity that will ensure success:

  1. Are you passionate about it? This one was of utmost importance.
  2. Are you the best at it? There’s no use putting your energy and focus in something that you are mediocre at. It’s more about finding that unique talent that you have, that would separate you from your competitors. Nobody can beat you at being you, so what is that key factor you can tailor your business idea or profession that will allow you to excel?
  3. Can you make money from it? This is the part many artist’s tend to neglect. At the end of it, we all need to eat. It’s easy to get so caught up in the creativity of your craft, that you don’t think about the business aspect. This does not mean you have to sell your soul. If you are passionate about painting, for example, find smart avenues where you can auction your work; approach galleries; create a website, approach quaint restaurants that may value your technique and paint for them etc, without changing your actual artistic style. The options are limitless.

I’m a dreamer and a risk taker, with a dash of inbuilt stability. I can only throw myself into activities I love or work wholeheartedly for causes I believe in. Whilst others may not understand, in the same light I battle to understand those without a dream. However, I’ve come to realize that this world needs all sorts- dreamers, risk takers, implementers, leaders, followers, skeptics, analyzers, stable workers, movers and shakers, homemakers etc. We all need to look at where we are and firstly be grateful for what we have. We then need to assess what is most important to us and whether or not we are being true to ourselves. It may require some brave, radical changes- or the sweet realization that we are exactly where we want/ need to be.

You may have wanted to be a gourmet chef as a child, but when you carefully account for what you have and what you truly want underneath it all, you may just see that you are much happier as a mother preparing meals for those you love the most.

Feint & Margin

Feint & Margin is a weekly, online, Pan-African publication featuring writings and thoughts from Ordinary Africans who have Extraordinary minds. We represent the True Voice of the African Citizen.

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