In this essay I’m going to share a bit of my struggles with my so-called “gifts.” A lot of us yearn to pursue our passion, yet it comes at a bit of price, it turns out. What is it, and are you willing to pay it?
I once had a co-worker who told me that she loves to write.
Naturally, I told her that I’d love to read what she wrote.
But her reply was like this: “I don’t let anyone read it. It’s too important to me.”
The Burden of Gifts
Often, when I share that I am a musician and that I play the guitar, people say things like this: Oh, I have no musical talent. I don’t have any talents.
I do accept and am grateful for my gifts. However, I didn’t always feel that way. When I was little, I thought my musical talent was worthless — as all the kids good at music were girls. Boys were supposed to be good at sports! I wished I could run faster, kick the ball harder, or climb trees higher. There were probably 1 boy playing the piano to every 20 girls.
All that changed when I was a teenager and discovered rock music. Soon I started playing the guitar.
Talent, meet passion.
I still didn’t feel gifted or anything, but I loved what I was doing. I wrote my first song when I was 18. I enthusiastically played my song to everyone with ears to listen, thinking that they would love it as much as I did.
To my great surprise, this was not always the case. Most people didn’t openly say that they hated it, but I could pickup awkwardness or insincerity in their response. They didn’t like it.
I was devastated.
Soon I became more careful about who to show my precious jewels that are my songs. I just couldn’t stand the rejection, the disappointment. And who am I to say my songs are good, when so many others don’t agree? Maybe my songs aren’t so good.
Talents, gifts, passions. These are qualities people admire — but some may not realize how such things can be a burden and a source of fear. To use it involves a risk — of being rejected. Of being wrong.
But to not use it is also a risk. Of not being fulfilled. And of regretting.
Persistence Pays Off
Even after those initial stings, I kept on writing songs and sharing it. I simply felt too passionate about what I was doing not to do so otherwise. The sting of rejection never goes away completely, but I got used to it. But some days, I wished if my passion was something less risky, something easier to pursue.
Fortunately, I did find people who liked what I was doing. My craft also got more realized, to a point where people could see goodness in it.
I can’t begin to describe the ecstasy I feel every time someone buys my CD or leaves a glowing review. But the best part is that the person who bought it is very excited and grateful, too.
The gratifying part of sharing is that both the giver and receiver feel grateful. One act of sharing makes two people happy. I can’t think of anything better to happen.
Yet this is only possible because I licked my early wounds, gathered my courage and kept on sharing.
The Courageous Choice
Allow me to state the obvious here. What good is the greatest song in the world, the very best novel in the world, if it stayed inside head?
No good. No good at all.
By choosing to spare your fragile heart the chance to get hurt, you’re also locking up a great potential, an opportunity to make the greatest contribution in your life. For the best things we can create in life are those that we create with passion. Consider it this way: the scarier it is to share, the more power your creation contains within. No, I’m not saying your first piece will be a blockbuster. But the art you create with your passion — whether it’s blogging, poetry, painting, photography, pottery, figure skating — its overall potential for impact can be measured by the depth of your passion. However precise, advanced or well-executed, an art without heart cannot touch other hearts. It is what you pour into it that can reach out and touch others.
Some others, of course, and that is the scary part. Nobody is spared from the sting of rejection. Not everyone loves Beethoven, Shakespere, or every song by the Beatles. The more passionate you are about what you’re doing, the greater the potential of hurt also.
Yet, you must take those chances. As hard as it may be, that is the only way if you plan to live a life without regret.
Speak of being a burden! Is it a happy life when you have passion so great that it forces you to do it, even when the world appears to disagree?
But this is what I believe: if you create with passion, refine it with passion, get better passionately — your contribution will be well-received eventually. By someone, somewhere, and they may not be where you think they are. It may surprise you how many, and how deeply your offering will reach.
Your job is to surrender yourself to your passion. And travel the world to find people whose needs you can meet with that passion of yours.
They are out there. And connecting with them will bring you joy you never thought possible. You really owe it to yourself to seek this reward.
I know it’s scary, I know it can hurt terribly. But when you persist until you connect those dots, your passion and people who needs your passion —
The world will thank you.
You will thank you.