Follow Your Bliss, Benefit the World

messy-paintsToo many of us are convinced early in life that our dreams are impossible to achieve, and our creative processes are of no consequence to the world.

I argue that this is a fallacy born of fear and self-doubt. People can sometimes slip into a “misery loves company” mindset, and deride the success of others because we fear what our own perceived “lack” of success says about us.

This type of limiting belief, this energy-stealing thinking, is born of the bad habit of comparison, a sad trap best avoided at all costs.

When it comes to human creativity, it means more than efforts like painting, fiction writing, dance, and the other “traditional” artistic pursuits.

We need a broader definition of creativity and art. In actuality, any effort involving the spark of the human imagination is art. Plumbers, engineers, electricians, and office workers create art when they bring passion and creative problem-solving to their work.

Your Passion is Your Purpose

Joseph Campbell said “follow your bliss.” Listen to the desires and aspirations that call to you from within, that pull at your mind and heart and soul. Because hidden within your passions is your purpose in life.


Too many of us look to external forces, real or imagined, for the meaning and purpose of life. This is just giving away your power. YOU are the creator of your purpose. (TWEET THIS!)

It’s your duty to follow your bliss in this life. You owe it to the world to fulfill your desires. Because when we don’t pursue our passions, we are miserable. The unfulfilled life is a bleak one. Unfulfilled people are prone to causing problems for themselves and everyone around them.

I’ve discussed how creative pursuits can be a type of meditation. Not pursuing your passions deprives you of a potent source of stress relief.

The creative process and the resulting art we create are not frivolous. Rather, an artistic approach to life is a vital, rational, and healthy way to view the pursuit of our passions.

Turning Dreams into Realistic Goals

I’m not advocating suddenly dropping the current circumstances of your life to pursue your dreams. It’s not practical or constructive to do so.

Rather, start by thinking of ways you can incorporate your passions into your everyday life.

When we seek to pursue our dreams, we often set our sights on achieving enormous change too quickly. The human desire for instant gratification is strong. This is the fundamental error that keeps people from succeeding, because we overwhelm ourselves at the beginning of the process.

We need to see the journey to our goals as a series of smaller stages, or mini-goals.

Translate your ultimate desire into smaller, concrete chunks. Identify a list of goals and try to avoid setting strict timeframes. For example, instead of specifying a particular deadline day in the future, commit to checking your progress six months from today.

(There’s a reason they call them “deadlines.” They make you feel dead inside!)

Bottom line: you need to make achievable near-term goals to make the journey toward your big dreams feel real to you. Otherwise, it will be all too easy to give up.

Make a Plan and Get Ready for Work

Another common pitfall is assuming things will just fall into your lap. The truth is, no matter what your creative dream might be, you have to really work for it. It is only through taking action that you will get things done.

However you do it, make a plan of what you need to do to achieve your goal. Do you want to make a living as a traditional artist, like a singer? Have you done your research regarding lessons to sharpen your instrument? Have you looked into the pros and cons of getting an agent? Do you have a streaming service picked out for your songs, or a Nationwide Disc Replication service if you want to make CDs and pass a demo out on the street?

If you don’t know where to begin, just start somewhere. Brainstorm, then take the jumble of ideas you come up with and craft them into a more coherent form.

Recognizing the Role of Failure

To succeed, you need to have a better, healthier relationship with its twin, failure. The stereotypical perception is that failure is the “end of the journey.”

Sorry, wrong. Failure is like steering a car: you need to move the wheel fractionally, back and forth, while cruising down the highway. Failure is like the tiny course corrections of driving. Without them, you’ll crash and burn.

Failures are the lessons we learn along the way to success. So keep on dreaming, keep on working, and keep on failing, until you reach that goal. Then, start working on the next one…

Image Source: Pixabay

Author: Anthony Simeone

I'm a writer, speaker, and an advocate for everyday heroism. I have over two decades of experience in the practical application of literature, philosophy, psychology, and other disciplines. The culmination of my work is the Live the Hero program, a life philosophy that promotes personal development combined with service to others. Live the Hero combines the wisdom found in the arts and humanities with the latest discoveries related to research in heroism science and positive psychology. You can learn more at

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