Encouraging children to follow their passions, and become skilled and knowledgeable in that capacity is important. Parents and teachers have a moral responsibility to do so, yet it's rarely exercised. Sir Ken Robinson's famous TED Talk discusses this in detail; children are conditioned to prioritise money over creativity in the belief that only money will make them happy.
However, pursuing a career in your passion is often counterintuitive.
Video entrepreneur, Hank Green, recently published a video diary of his stay in Los Angeles where he discusses the magic behind being a fan. He collaborated with dozens of YouTubers in his short stay - all people of whom he was a fan of their work. He was overwhelmed by the magic and excitement of his visit but realised he didn't want to be inside it. Hank could enjoy it more by returning home and cherishing the memory. He had no desire to live in LA because that magic would die.
As a teenager I was obsessed with music. I listened to the radio with my tape recorder at hand. I learned to play guitars, keyboards, drums, and wrote songs. Fortunately my mother encouraged me and I spent twenty-five years in the music industry. I eventually ran a record promotions company, but strangely during that time, I became disillusioned by the industry.
Industry is how I saw it. The magic had gone. It wasn't about creativity, it was about money. I saw artists forced to compromise creativity for commerciality and musicians spoke of marketing more than their art. Withdrawing myself from the industry enabled me to view it from the outside and indeed the magic returned. I enjoy the creation of music again with renewed respect for what the artists have to go through.
This is not to say that we shouldn't pursue our passions, on the contrary in fact. It's when the creativity stops or is compromised where these problems occur, as I found out. We need to be as good or as knowledgeable as we can within our field and it helps to be aware of the industry trappings. Any company that invests in creativity needs to market their product, so any aspiring artist will always have to bear that in mind and be prepared to be innovative with their art.
A creative career is a brave decision for anybody to make and there are genuinely times when we need to ask ourselves if our passions would be more enjoyable from the outside because that magic is important. Sometimes an artist is happier playing to a loyal local audience than pushing for global success.
Creativity and passion are the essence from where everything happens. We should honour the gifts we have and encourage them in our children, whether they become a career or not. Creative people shape the world and will shape the future.