Story 8: Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Motivation

Based on a true story

Okay, so I’ve ran the numbers. Truthfully speaking it’s much easier to discover your passion once you’ve come up with the greatest IDEA ever. Why? Because an IDEA will help guide you on the actions you must take to discover your passion. This of course raises the next question: how does one come up with the greatest IDEA ever? The short answer is: figure out a solution for your setbacks (i.e. your obstacles, the things you struggle with) and go with what feels good. You want to pull from your setbacks because that’s where your motivation is buried. Once you find your motivation, you can use it to build momentum. What’s that… how does one know what feels good? Hey, let’s not get carried away. Some things you have to figure out on your own.

Focus on Your Strengths

My efforts paid off. When I started reading everything I could find on passion and hit on two IDEAS that I saw worthy enough to explore further. The first IDEA was: I always enjoyed motivating and encouraging others in life. And the second was: I always enjoyed multiple facets of the fashion industry. To satisfy my curiosity, I combined both of them. And with those two IDEAS in mind, I started designing inspirational t-shirts.

Now, I’d like to emphasize something here: Reading books on passion didn’t help me discover my passion, action did. The truth is, those passion books only helped me brainstorm my IDEAS and figure out the things I might be passionate about. The key to generating passion is and always will be taking actions.

What was I saying before? Oh yeah, my t-shirts designs were okay, but the only notable fact that made them attractive is that they were fueled and guided by my plaguing Corporate America Experience. After designing dozens of cool t-shirts, I still faced the issue of differentiating my t-shirt line. I knew if I wanted to compete with other popular t-shirt companies, I would have to come up with something new that would give me an edge. So, that’s just what I did.

Pay Attention to What’s in Front of You

I remember it as if it were yesterday: I was sitting at my computer late one night listening to the Michael Jackson channel on Pandora. I glanced over at a book I was currently reading, and there, on top of the book, was a small wine bottle t-shirt cover I’d been given as a gift by a guy who ran a local t-shirt shop. I didn’t think much of it initially, but suddenly, an explosive thought went off in my mind and body. Oh my God! I couldn’t believe it. I had just come up with the most brilliant IDEA ever! No just any IDEA, but an entirely new way to promote my t-shirt designs. (You know you’ve come up with a great IDEA when your heart begins to throb repeatedly). I knew for sure this IDEA would grab people’s attention! I would call it: The T-wrap Sleeve!

“The T-wrap Sleeve”, it’s a cute, quirky detachable binder sleeve that looks and feels identical to an actually blank t-shirt. It has small functional sleeves that wraps around a 3-ring binder to keep the binder secure and closed.

The funny thing is that this IDEA was practically handed to me, all I had to do was pay attention to myself and see what was in front of me the entire time. Ha! At last, I had finally figured out a way to compete against other t-shirt companies. I now had something they didn’t!

Be Your True Self

A lot of people might interpret this story as an accident or a eureka moment, but the truth is, I was in the early stages of self-discovery. Not only would this IDEA catapult me into a life-changing crusade, it would also reveal itself as an outlet for self-expression. Now, let me just say: there are a lot of different ways to come up with great IDEAS, but in my experience, the best IDEAS happen spontaneously when you’re living in true harmony with yourself.

After all these years of living, I am finally starting to make sense of the term “self-expression.” Self-expression means that you accept and praise who you were born to be and communicate who you are through your thoughts, feelings and IDEAS. For example, I have learned over the years that I like to express myself in less traditional ways. I combine fashion, design and keeping an open mind. The freakish thing is that I’ve been this way my entire life, I just didn’t realize it. There’s nothing I wouldn’t offer to have discovered this aspect of myself sooner. Why? It has truly given me total freedom to create unique IDEAS and capture inspiration.

Start Brainstorming

IDEAS aren’t hard to find. IDEAS are basically two thoughts that join together. People get IDEAS all the time. In the shower, driving, sleeping and my most favorite: whenever they are faced with a problem (adversity) in life. Capturing a great IDEA isn’t some huge secret, you know. Truth is, we all have great IDEAS, but few of us actually take the time to acknowledge them. Your best IDEAS are right in front of you: they’re naturally embedded inside you, just waiting to be discovered.

When I hear people say: “Hey, that’s a great IDEA. How’d you come with that?” I think to myself: It’s not hard if you learn to figure out a solution for your setbacks and understand the real meaning of self-expression. Care to know my in-depth theory for coming up with the perfect IDEA? Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you something smart-alecky like: I make my IDEAS up, I get them from my head or anything that will leave you aggravated or annoyed. If you listen and pay very close attention to what I’m about to say, I’ll provide you with your very own guide for creating your own big IDEAS! You can apply this theory to either your past or present life life as you can learn from either one. I personally like to draw my IDEAS from my childhood because they are the first real problems that you will encounter in life. They’re really your purest experiences. In other words, your life hasn’t already been significantly influenced by having a real job, financial problems, or raising a family. Are you ready? Okay, let’s get started.

Painful Experiences vs. Pleasant Experiences

First and foremost, there are two types of life experiences. There are painful experiences and there are pleasant experiences.

Your painful experiences are experiences that have made you mostly angry or upset. Again I recommend pulling from your childhood. For instance, when I was a child, I was diagnosed with a unique learning style called dyslexia. I was teased by friends and family members because I was a slow reader. These experiences haunted me in the worst of ways. I knew at an early age in life that I would like to help motivate others. You see that’s why I’m so passionate about inspiring others… because it’s what I lacked the most.

And then, there are pleasant experiences. These are experiences that spark a sense of happiness. It could have been some hobby that you were really excited or invested a ton of time in when you were a child, and for whatever reason you let them slip to the back of your mind. For instance, my favorite memory as a child was getting dressed up and going to school. Every night, I sorted out what I would wear to school the next day, even on half-days. I spent hours sometimes making sure I had the right attire. You can ask my mother. I realize now that I always had a connection to fashion, but some time in my later life, all those small desires got push toward the back of my mind and forgotten.

Remember, in order to identify the right IDEAS, you need to do your homework… I mean really do your homework. Dig deep into your past or current life and remember two significant experience, one pleasant and one unpleasant. Hone in on what brings you the greatest joy and the greatest pain. The genius in remembering these painful and pleasure experiences is that it will elevated your motivation level, which will trigger your action. Try to think of it as a Yin and Yang: two halves connecting together to make a whole. You need the painful and pleasant experiences in life as they both contribute to your growth and are equally important. When calling upon these experiences, try not to let one overshadow the other.

Think Even Bigger

Once you’ve come up with some inspiring experience from your life, the trick now is to combine the pleasant and unpleasant IDEAS into one IDEA. If the IDEA you come up with doesn’t already exist, congratulations! Act quick by turning your concept into a business! But it’s a big world out there and there’s probably a chance that your IDEA already exists. If so, don’t be discouraged, you’re fine. Every great invention or IDEA is nothing but an updated version of something that already exist. Just follow the next step. This next step is truly the most important and shouldn’t be overlooked. This is the step most people don’t follow when they try to come up with a great IDEA. Instead, they just talk themselves out of pursuing their own great IDEA by saying “It’s already been done”. So don’t sell yourself short by thinking this. Your job now is to get really creative! Here’s the million-dollar piece of advice you’ve been waiting for. Are you ready? Figure out a new way to update your IDEA”. That’s right! In other words, create a compelling new way to introduce your IDEA to the world. Here’s why: Everyone’s got an IDEA for a mobile app, book, movie, a story or a TV series etc. Combining both IDEA principals and then updating your IDEA is critical for discovering your very own unique IDEA. The other benefit to following this advice is that you drastically improve your odds because the competition is practically non-existent. After all, there’s no one else on the face of the planet who has the same experiences as you. Whatever IDEA you come up with, just remember you have to really love it! That’s the key.

Before I end my blog story, I’d like to state something for the record: there’s no such thing as a bad IDEA. The only bad IDEA is to not pursue an IDEA wholeheartedly. It takes legitimate passion to painlessly bring an IDEA to market. I personally wouldn’t recommend pursuing an IDEA unless you’re truly passionate about it. That’s not to say you can’t create a successful product without passion… because you can, but don’t say I didn’t warn you that it will take a ton of hard work. The great thing about having passion is it often numbs the pain of hard work.

My Next Blog Story…

Things were looking up for me. I had just come up with a rocking IDEA and I managed to unlock a few skills that I never even knew I had. Whoop! Whoop! I thought: “Maybe this is a sign that I should return to school and study industrial design?” In a broad sense, this IDEA sounded logical, but then I had to come to my senses…

Power Fact: IDEA is an acronym for Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring that children with disabilities, including dyslexia, have the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children.

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Growing Up with Dyslexia, A Secret I’ve Never Told Anyone

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