I just watched “Life Itself”, the documentary about the life of Roger Ebert. What an intriguing man. His influence extended around the globe to people beyond the film industry. He launched careers. He inspired people to pursue film as a career or film criticism as a career.
And all of this happened by reviewing films. There are more prestigious, more powerful journalism gigs. Yet he changed his world, he affected thousands of people.
Over the weekend, I took my girls to visit an art school in Chicago. Amid their pitch came the comment about finding something you love for a career. If you plan to do something for twenty, thirty or even forty years, they argued that it might as well be something you enjoy if not love.
My job intrigues me. Challenges me. Engages me. Some days I enjoy it; many I don’t. But that’s work. I don’t go to play everyday; I go to work. I find my enjoyment in what I do off the clock.
Ebert seemed to truly enjoy his work. He was passionate about writing. He was passionate about writing about movies. He was quite skilled at what he did,
There is something powerful in doing something you are passionate about. There is something powerful in doing things well.
I took my girls to check out this school because they love art. And they are pretty good at it too. I want them to factor that into their school decisions.
One of my coworkers told me that his daughter will get a degree in a design field. Apparently it is a growing industry which he seems suspect about. But he’s glad that she’s pursuing something she loves rather than making choices based on what will bring a better paycheck. His tone told me that he regretted not doing so himself. He truly was glad his child was pursuing a better path.
I don’t want my kids to repeat my mistakes. I want them to learn from me. I want them to find a better path. But I want the better path to be their path.
I hope they find the power of doing what they love. I hope they find the power of doing it well. I hope they get to do that for their full career – a good thirty to forty years, or more.
The trick for me is to find the time to do this on the side, to find my power, my passion, my joy around the other stuff. To be diligent at this rather than wallow in the depression of seeing others find this, and lament in my own failure to do so.
I must fight each day so that I don’t just give up.