The world is often set up in a very binary way of thinking, which is probably the true enemy of any creative mind. In fact, that would be all minds.
We, as human beings, are creative, but we’re not all creative in the same way. Even the most rigid mathematician is a creative soul in one way or another.
For example, did you know that Pythagoras created the musical system we use today from listening to a hammer hitting the anvil, and he then used that insight into sound waves to measure the distance between heavenly objects?  The guy knew more about math than the combined world of math brains do today, and he created the system, used by every musician today, from listening to a smith work. If that’s not thinking outside the box and doing something creative with something as fixed in true/false statements as math is, I dunno what is…
Da Vinci did more than paint. He was a polymath (a person who knows a lot about a lot of things). Does that mean he had way more than one passion? I don’t think so. Passion is more like the sum of its parts. Passion is the driving force that makes us hunger for more within the same sphere of…something. In Da Vinci’s case, it was creativity. The urge to think outside the box. To challenge those walls. To learn, evolve, explore, and he did that within every field he could.
The standards of passion
The world of today sets standards that work against passion because it tries to shove it into a box
that can then gain the prestigious label “expert”. And who gives that label? People who don’t have the same passion as the ones creating what gets shoved into said boxes. Our passions are judged by outsiders. That’s a sure way to kill passion in anyone because it cannot be fit into a single box that fits outsiders.
Finding our passion isn’t about looking into boxes made by other people. It’s about looking into ourselves. Passion is found when we explore what we’d spend the rest of our lives doing happily even if no one paid us to do it. It’s the one thing that makes us excited to get out of bed in the morning at the butt crack of dawn because we’re wasting time sleeping and not chasing down the opportunities within our field of passion.
Don’t know that feeling? Don’t be discouraged because the fact of the matter is that passion isn’t a constant, either. It doesn’t fit into a binary system. We have days where we want to sleep in, even if we’ve found our passion. We have days where we don’t feel like it. That doesn’t mean we haven’t found our passion—it merely means that another binary way of thinking is holding us back.
Passion is a mindset of exploration
If your passion is to create unique cupcakes for children’s birthdays, seriously, go for it! Do it. Share that joy with the world and put smiles on chubby little faces full of icing.
What fulfills the baker of those cupcakes? The smiles? The process? The shopping for whatever goes into them? All of the above?
If the cupcake baker was never paid, would they still do it? I’m sure they would. Is there a box out there for them to climb into and become an “expert” to be hailed and tossed gold at? Probably not, considering it’s a craft that most absolutistic minds would expect every housewife to be able to perform.
Is it, though? Absolutely not! The creativity behind making something unique and extraordinary is what sets the cupcake baker apart and elevates them to an artist whose passion just happens to be within a field that isn’t put in a box on a higher shelf of perceived artistic value.
Can one make a living from it? Absolutely! You know how? Share your passion. It’s really that simple.
But here comes the tricky part. Monetizing our passion in a world of boxed thinking and bullshit rules about what’s valuable and what’s not is kicking most people in the sensitive area. Top that off with fear of being judged, imposter syndrome, and not being able to sell...well get to that in another post.
No matter how the world “prices” your passion then it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold value. It just means it holds a perceived value to those who price it, and they can be wrong. In fact, they often are.
The proof of this alone is in the rise of the creator economy, which this year was estimated to be 104.2 billion dollars in the creator economy report. And rising daily.
As an author, I create worlds and imaginary people. All that ends up a physical product to be sold. Authors price the product of our passion from a mindset that is heavily influenced by other people’s perceptions of the value of our area of art. We price our products from that average.
An average indie author novel at 90,000 words is often priced at $4.99 on Amazon. If that same book had been published by a big publishing house, it could run as high as $20 or more. Both have access to the same level of editorial expertise and professional cover artists etc., so why are indie authors and small publishing houses capped at $9.99 on Amazon?
Because someone else has decided the perceived value of art coming out of two different channels.
I slightly digress here, but money is always an aspect when we contemplate our passion in a monetized world. I bring it up because it’s part of the mindset that often holds us back from pursuing our passions and exploring all there is within it.
If it’s not perceived to be valuable enough to make us money, then we often feel like we’re wasting our time on it. We stop pursuing our dreams. We keep it a “hobby” and…don’t even try.
That’s a [insert your preferred level of cussing it out] lie.
Passion is whatever makes us feel alive. Passion is what excites us about being alive. Passion is whatever we share without asking for anything in return, hoping only for a smile or to have made someone’s day a little brighter.
At least that’s when you know you stand at the beginning of your journey to explore passion because passion is a journey of exploration. And if you’re passionate about growth, too, then of course you can monetize it.
Someone who knows a lot about that is Gary Vee (Vaynerchuk). I recently read his book Crushing It, and it completely broke down the boxed thinking I’ve grown up with. In fact, I’ll admit he’s the reason you’re even reading this blogpost. He’s the reason I’m being a fumbling idiot on YouTube and not really afraid of looking stupid, even though I have NO skills with a camera or a piece of video editing software.
What I have is passion. I’ll learn the rest as I go, hoping that my fumbling will inspire you to kick the walls of your box, seek out what you're passionate about, and pursue your dreams, too.