“Follow your passions”.

That’s probably the worst advice you can give someone.

What? Are you serious Jacques? That’s the advice I heard at my school graduation!

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day.”

Here’s the truth. Your passions will change. What you love will change. You will change. If you only ever chase your passions, you’ll never be grounded. Passions are like a leaf in the wind. They’re unrooted. Disciplines and hard work, however, are concrete.

Here’s the real advice; find a skill you’re good at, work like hell day and night to become the best at that skill. You’ll become so good at that skill that you’ll develop a passion for it. Not only that, you’ll be indispensable as well. You’ll be, wait for it, successful!

We all have a relative that’s waiting for that ‘big thing’ to come off. We all know that the ‘big thing’ isn’t going to come off, just like the last 100 ‘big things’ didn’t come off either. It’s not because said relative isn’t trying, it’s because said relative keeps chasing different ‘things’. Somewhat like a leaf in the wind. Said relative is a dreamer, who can fault said relative? But dreaming unfortunately never built anything. Only discipline, routine and hard work did.

I know it’s rich coming from a 32-year-old. What do I know right? I’ve hardly lived. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in my short life it’s that I’m not who I was ten years ago. I’ve changed. What I fundamentally believed back then is not what I fundamentally believe now, and probably won’t be what I fundamentally believe in another 15 years time.

I’m a husband, a father and a business owner. My life is dedicated to making sure my family is successful. I’m not going to do that if I only ever chase passions and try to make myself feel good. Sometimes I need to knuckle down, do things that aren’t sexy. Work hard, sharpen my skills, become indispensable to my clients.

Routine, process, discipline and hard work don’t sound like ambition. But it will always trump feeling good at the moment in the long run. It’s often easier to eat the one marshmallow now, but if you wait and don’t succumb to your need for instant gratification who knows, you might get two marshmallows.

It’s time to knuckle down.

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