310 – Chase Thy Grabbable Tiger

Beware the two snares of propaganda for knowing your direction in life: Chase whatever head-in-the-clouds, childish whim you feel like or be “realistic” and get a boring job doing what you hate because “that’s the way to make money”. There are options other than these, though it wouldn’t seem like it, given the free advice in plenty. Don’t chase your dreams; chase your skills and follow whatever doable path you are most passionate about.

A thirteen year old stood out at the skate park. He would coach and coax rookies into quickly reaching higher levels and attaining new skills. He asked me the probability of being sponsored. I told him, with his skill level, fifty percent. But, why would he want to be sponsored? “So I can skate all day,” he said. He can get rich and do that, but what about after he retires? What will he do then? “Teach skating.”

I answered, “You’re already doing that. Don’t look for a sponsor to boss you around. Do what you love now, then sponsorship won’t matter, then companies are more likely to line up to sponsor you.”

Another friend asked me if he should quit his stable job for a risky job as a teacher—his dream. “No,” I said. “Teachers love learning; your job is still teaching you. That’s your answer.”

There are different types of dreaming: worthy and silly. Following one’s childhood, passionate dream is different from following one’s childish fantasy. As long as a dream is doable and has a non-artificial time table, go for it. Jeremy Lin and Will Smith had that “see how it goes” conversation with their dads, but they didn’t spin their wheels, practicing for hours without good coaching.

Hotly pursue whatever you can do that makes you come alive, and learn effectively.

Maybe you have a knack for a craft, art, science, or sport from an early age. Do it, whether for money or hobby. Maybe you love your family or know that you need to pay old bills, so a special grace falls on you, empowering you to work in a factory you otherwise hate. Whatever tigers you can grab by the tail, go git ’em!