Going against adversity, as we are pursuing something meaningful in our lives, is serious work! You need patience, dedication, commitment and self-belief, and this is just simply simplifying it to make it very easy to understand.
So, if you are like me; i. one who does not believe in living a mediocre life ii. one who wants to live a meaningful life iii. one who wants to take charge of our destinies then, you know this will not going to be a smooth sailing. It will not be; because if the process does not worry you, then probably the goals aren't that meaningful enough for you.
Before you set out on a journey into an uncharted territory, there is a simple way for you to determine whether the goal you set is something that you really want:
i. Do you sleep well at night thinking about it?
ii. After all the considerations you've put into your decision-making, do you still want it?
iii. Do you think that the goals you set out to achieve, impossible or near impossible?
Ask these 3 questions and answer them honestly. If it's easy, everybody else would be doing it. But if you're serious about living a meaningful life; a fulfilling life that you can be proud of, then it will take one hell of an effort to get there.
Worry not, though.
If you're completely sure about something, there is almost nothing that will be able to stop you.
The fear that comes from facing an uncertain future is natural. But it's entirely up to you. If your heart is set on defeating and conquering those fears that have long held you back in your life, you will be victorious. Nothing can stop a determined heart from achieving something that truly means the world to them.
I am every bit influenced by what I read, watch and listen to. And a practice which has been very helpful in my development as an free-spirited entrepreneur, is by learning about other successful people's stories out there.
And one of the most common life lessons they generously shared is to dream. It sounds simple enough, isn't it? Most, if not all, have our own respective dreams. We dream of being successful, living great lives, enjoying great relationships with the people around us; it is, an image of our higher-selves.
But here's the problem about the dream as we grow older. The dreams that used to be visions of grandeur, are steadily scaled down by the realities that we experience in our adult lives; we settle for an inferior life because that is perceived as safe and living in reality.
That's the problem.
I hate that we limit our potentials and the endless possibilities that life has to offer, just because a lot of people have been telling us, "don't do it, it's impossible, you're wasting your time".
An image of our higher-self does not always translate to a wealthy life. We should not limit the possibilities to mere bling-bling.
It should be about something that gives us the opportunity to live a fulfilling life; one that gives a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that we love and approved of.
I haven't been writing much for the past few months; yes, months. And I think, to help me write consistently, I should move away from some of the writing pieces on motivational and life lessons that I used to write before and write about the progress and the journey as an entrepreneur since I've started this journey last year instead.
I'm getting better in using Adobe Premier Pro as my main editing software for my wedding videos. I thought it would be tricky and much more difficult to use compare to Windows Movie Maker. I was wrong though, and I'm glad I was proven wrong.
Yes, the features and how things are done, added, removed and editing in Premier Pro are trickier than Windows Movie Maker. But after spending quite a good number of weeks watching Youtube videos, the whole process became a lot easier and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it turned out eventually; using Premier Pro to edit a whole movie.
I've been inspired by a lot of other film-makers that generously shared their short videos on either Youtube or Vimeo lately.
Here's one, by Brandon Li. I absolutely love his works. They are all really inspirational!
I took the plunge and decided to become a full-time wedding photographer. Of all the things I have done so far, this one turns out to be the most fulfilling.
Not that I don't love writing anymore, but being a photographer has opened doors for me that I never thought possible before. My clients have become my friends, weekends are when I am super busy and I get to actually start building my business the way I want it to be - different, creative and start doing all the things I've learned from the business books I poured over before.
For me, this is my dream job.
This is the one. I cannot think of any other thing I wanted to do with my life (apart from writing, of course) than simply being a wedding photographer.
And another fun part about this; the job allows me to write any book that I want without feeling any pressure of writing about that is "marketable".
So, for the first half of 2016, here's my report:
I'm a wedding photographer, video producer (more on this later)and a writer.
It was not too long ago, when all I wanted from this life was to buy nice things to wear and eat at high-end restaurants. I was almost always naively fallen to Capitalism's power of persuasion.
But that seemed a million years away now. When it was all about show of wealth and glamour, I concluded, it would always be a never-ending battle. Some say it's the trend of the time we live in, and some others spat out that it's progress-the more successful you are, the better you are able to afford the nice things in life.
Why do we seem to long for other people's approval so much so that in the end, the pursuit usually leaves us in a position of losing sight of ourselves that we so desperately craved for in the beginning of our journey?
This year, I started more seriously on something that I find very beautiful: taking photos of weddings; where two people come together, tying the knot and become husband and wife. It's always a joyous occasion, and personally, I don't mind the hurdle of running around during a wedding just so I could capture those special moments.
But after a chaotic day running around, I would usually find the time to sit down with the bride and groom after the whole thing is over, and have a chat. And one common point where we would find ourselves land upon eventually is the amount of money that was spent on their wedding day. All for a single day.
This piece is written today because I felt that to spend so much on a single day, just so we could impress other people is not really the wisest of choice. I would normally say this thing out loud, out of concern for the way all of us have been heavily manipulated by the things we see on magazines and celebrities' weddings.
There are many ways you can celebrate a day to mark it as special, and many of these 'ways' are quite cheap. Look at it this way: while you are spending so heavily on a single day, what about the days that follow after the wedding?
Too often, the pursuit of happiness leaves us empty, in spite of our best intentions.
To be truly happy, does it require a huge investment?
To feel special, do we really need to feel as though we are adored by the people?
It is something that I have embarked upon a couple of years ago, when I began to spend more time on the pursuit of happiness. And one of the answers that I found is this: back to the basics. I am usually happy when I learn something new and do the things that I love.
One of the best decisions I have made recently:
# You don't need other people's approval nor acknowledgement to feel you are special.
# Your happiness does not require you to spend a huge amount of money.
And let me share you one more. Once you start to appreciate what you already haveinstead of chasing after things that you don't have, then you will see a huge difference in your happiness. It will last longer.
If you need to wear expensive clothes and eat at expensive restaurants to feel special, prepare yourself for a vicious cycle of making money and spending it as soon as your pocket is filled.
Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn't stop to enjoy it. William Feather
The best decision I've made over the years, since I've dedicated my life to pursue my life's dream to become a writer, is not giving in when the going gets tough.
I may not be a best-seller (just yet). And I may not write as beautifully as most of the writers out there. However, the dedication and commitment to see this through, has helped me to develop the character that I never thought existed inside of me before.
I am able to absorb difficult moments in my life because of the hardship I have had to go through in the past; those times when I did not have any money to pay for food and rent, banks kept calling me to pay up my monthly car installment and the pressure of seeing my friends around me doing so well in their respective careers while I was trying to write my books and doing odd jobs to make ends meet.
My friends, it was tough. There were moments when I cried a lot on my own until I became so tired and sick of those tears, and the only thing that kept me going forward was the faith I had on my ability to see this through.
I began listening to motivational talks on YouTube (free and a lot of excellent contents) and my favorite will have to be Les Brown. I continued writing, coming up with my books and articles. I also subscribed a lot of newsletters from blogging websites so I could learn from other authors'; their writing styles and the way they express themselves.
And although some things did not happen as I thought they would, but I chose to see the whole thing differently. At one point, I thought, well, if no one is interested to publish my books, then I'll publish them on my own. And I thought too, if it's quite difficult to penetrate the book market here in my home country (Malaysia), then I should make full use of Amazon or Google Play to sell my self-published books. And when it was still difficult to make a living from my writing, I opted to pursue the wedding photography business while still maintaining my writing works at night.
The whole point here: I did not give up. I chose to keep on fighting for what I believe in. I chose to keep on working on my books that require thousands of hours of self-learning as well as being flexible and creative enough to pursue other things to keep me alive.
I am glad that, despite the hardship and some moments of insecurities and doubts, I did not give up. It is by far the best decision I've made in my life.
You shouldn't either.
You shouldn't point your fingers at other people and blaming them for your failures or your missed-opportunities. You're only making things difficult for you.
Instead, use what ever energy you have within you to improve what you know now, and focus all of that on making things better in your life, as you pursue the things that make you feel alive.
I wish you all the best and during those hard times, think of your reasons. Why are you doing this in the first place?