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The Thing Itself / Blog

Is "Follow Your Dream," a cliche?

You hear it all the time. "Follow your dream." Another good one is "Do what you love and the money will follow." Or how about "Leap and the net will appear." Wonderful sentiments, and they feel so good to say, but how do you make them work when your bills need paid.

You're a true artist and you'd love to take that gig or quit your job to paint or go on tour or take a couple months off to write a novel. And yet, the impracticality of it stares you in the face.You need money to live. Utilities and cell phone bills and mortgages or rent must be paid. Musn't they?

Well after nearly 4 yrs of making my own leap I can tell you that often it feels like the net got yanked just before the soft landing. Some of the bills are yet to be paid. I've lost some friends but gained some new ones. Amazingly my marriage is still intact.

I don't feel qualified to advise someone else on whether or not they should make the leap. That's a personal decision that only you can make. But here's some questions you should be asking yourself. Can I imagine myself doing anything else? Does staying on my current path, with my current job, feel like I'm condemning myself to a life of misery and heartache? Would I be happy engaging in my particular form of artistic expression as a hobby, like a part time thing? Answer those questions and act accordingly. But whatever you choose to do, GO ALL IN! If decide to be an artist and live and artists life, then BE AN ARTIST! If you decide you can be fullfilled by doing it part-time, NOT quitting your job at the shoe store , or the brokerage firm, or the supermarket or the telephone company or whatever it is you do to pay the bills, by all means do that. But whatever you choose to do...Commit! A fully commited life is a full life, no matter whether you're a professional musician or you work at Costco. Follow your dream, cliche or no.