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Making It Rich or Making It Bold

November 15, 2010

When an 18 year old kid enters school, they have one year to decide what they want to be when they grow up or they face additional years of college and thousands of dollars extra tuition.  Parents always want their children to succeed, and it’s been a long standing struggle between what the parents want and what their children want.  Rolemodels, teachers, and institutions say, “Follow your dreams,” but what if your dreams are viewed as risky or unlikely?

I’m a Senior at Virginia Commonwealth University in the advertising program.  I’ve changed my mind about what I wanted to be at least five times when I was  a kid, from saving lives as a doctor or cooking up delicious dishes as a food network personality.  But now, I suppose one can say I’ve maintained an interest in advertising and marketing.  Unfortunately, I have yet to see this interest grow into a full-on, balls to the wall passion.

Creativity coach Eric Maisel warns that, “You need to distinguish between interests and passion, because mere interest won’t sustain you over the long haul.”

I have the sneaking suspicion that my advertising mentor sees the beginnings of a passion for the art of persuading, so to prompt my inner voyage of grasping a hold on my passions, he sent me on assignment to talk to a stranger about theirr passions in life.  I found Michael, a former financial planner and current rock musician.

Hear me play! Support my passion!

I found Michael while in Carytown, an upscale and artsy neighborhood that holds many of Richmond’s finest local retailers and restaurants.  Many locals and tourists walk the half-mile strip to window shop and enjoy the scenery, which brings many starving artists to exhibit their skills and maybe pocket some cash.  I spotted Michael on a street corner with a dated acoustic guitar and a harmonica pasted to his lips.  His enthusiastic playing drew a crowd, but after a while I was able to have him to myself and ask him why he was so willing to give up his Sunday afternoon to play music for nickles and dimes.

He said he never got bored with music.

Michael graduated from USC with a finance degree in South Carolina and moved to Portland after college.  He said he didn’t like the West Coast because of the liberal “I’m more green and cultured than you” attitude and moved to Richmond where he has friends.  Michael landed a job at Edward Jones as a starting financial planner, but quit just six months later after he felt like his work was unethical. (There was something in there about taking old grandma’s money?

So now Michael works at a BBQ joint during the weekdays and during the nights and weekends he spends his time on playing music.  Michael says he plays the guitar, harmonica, keyboard, drums, and is learning to play the keyboard.

Where did this passion come from that he was so willing to give up a decent job to be a musician?

Michael gave credit to his father’s albums that he discovered when he was 15.  He gives credit to Jimmy Page’s huge guitar talent of Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa’s oddities of fanning the flames.  He taught himself guitar in highschool, and even formed a short-lived band called Zombiewolf.  During college, he spent a lot of time playing the piano and writing his own music.  In Richmond, he is still scouring the city for other musicians to share his love of music with, but hopes that his hard work and his zeal will pay off in the end, hopefully leading to a career in music composition.

Michael has something that I lack: Courage.  He wasn’t afraid of upsetting his parents or not being able to pay back his student loans.  He simply said “Fuck it” and is pursuing what he enjoys most in life.  Who knows? Maybe he will be the next great rock legend.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 17, 2010 3:45 am

    I’ve realized something today. Why do I have to choose one thing to define my life by? I have many interests and all of my interests equal my passion!

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