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Extraordinary Passion: Making a Dream Come True

Just as much as we see in others we have in ourselves.” ~William Hazlitt

As an American living and working abroad in Barcelona with only local Spanish and Catalan television, I often look to the Internet for entertainment when I have downtime. I particularly enjoy looking up songs I’ve heard on the radio.

I recently fell in love with the song We Are Young by the band Fun. I can still relate to this youthful anthem, even as an almost 40-year-old. I am fully aware that I probably just made the band hugely unpopular by admitting this.

This is how I found the acoustic version of another Fun song, Carry On on YouTube. The accompanying instrumental music was simple and pure. And when Nate Ruess opened his mouth to sing, it appeared so effortless and natural, and created sounds so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes.

I couldn’t believe how emotional I was over watching this young, skinny guy sing!

What struck my emotions so hard? It was the absolute beauty of someone, who looked like an ordinary guy, doing what he obviously loves, so well.

The first thing I thought after watching him belt out Carry On was,I want to do a thing so well that I feel like what he must feel like when he sings, or at least what he makes me feel like when he sings.”

I was completely fascinated to find that Ruess never had formal musical training, couldn’t play an instrument, and pursued a musical career even in the face of being told that he wasn’t good enough and would never make it professionally. But he was, and he did, it appears purely out of true love for music.

Had Nate Ruess been a more practical person, he may have forgone making a life out of his passion and pursued a college education and business or law. Had he done this, the world would have missed out on his incredibly unique musical gift.

I have always stood in awe of people who are able to make their passion a main focus of their life. Many people don’t. And further, many people seem to think that it’s asking too much of life to live one’s passion.

What makes people like Ruess appear so extraordinary is that they believed in their dreams enough to pursue them.

I’ve often thought about other people who have realized their dreams by pursuing their passion or life calling: the Brazilian author Paulo Coelho; my cousin who is a gifted actor and musician; a world-class scientist friend of mine; Mother Teresa; the Buddha.

I realized what they all have in common is that they are just ordinary people who pushed beyond conventional boundaries—and often, great opposition—to lead extraordinary lives. These ordinary-turned-extraordinary people lead lives that are both personally fulfilling and that ultimately benefit their communities or the greater world.

This realization was so exciting to me! This means that I, an ordinary person like anyone else, can also pursue my true passion, and in doing so become extraordinary. Like most people I have hopes and dreams, but also anxieties and doubts about my life’s purpose. But I am starting to realize that I can find it and make it tangible.

Now, I have no delusion that I will ever be a top-selling recording artist, and it’s highly unlikely that I will ever win the Nobel Prize in Medicine. But I know that I have at least some rudimentary writing skills and that I love writing.

I am a writer. I want to make it my life’s work in a way that is both personally satisfying and that adds something significant to the greater good.

Never mind that I am an incredibly busy wife, mother, and equestrienne, who happened to take an enormous detour around my passion by becoming a physician with an extremely demanding career. This is but a minor detail.

I am virtually certain that all I need to become the writer I want to be is a massive amount of faith, practice, constructive criticism, late nights, improvement, rejection, anguish, joy, and inspiration.

Ultimately we all need inspiration to keep us moving toward our dreams. We need only to look to other ordinary people who are pursuing their dreams and passions.

Inspiring people are all around us. The medium is irrelevant. For some, inspiration might come from watching a local dance troupe or band, by analyzing a beautiful work of art or an architectural wonder, or by watching a yogi master an extremely difficult pose—ordinary people do it all!

We also have to realize that we can be the source of inspiration for others.

While we can’t always be role models for everyone in every specific endeavor, we can always offer encouraging words and support. It is amazing how a few encouraging words can be a catalyst for someone.

Encouragement can remind others that to be extraordinary, one only has to be ordinary!

I recently had the pleasure to become acquainted online with a young lady who is blind and who has found a passion for horseback riding. Reading about her abilities as a rider amazed me. She recently posted a link about Paralympic equestrian competition, clearly demonstrating interest in this level of competition.

But when I asked her in a post if this was a future goal, she replied how she doubted she would ever be that good, and that it would only be “in her wildest dreams.”

When I assured her that of course she could become that good, and I pointed out my epiphany about what ordinary people can do, the tone of her reply changed to “I’d like to see how far I can take it.”

She probably had this thought somewhere in the back of her mind to begin with, but was afraid to verbalize it to someone else. A few encouraging words gave her permission to give her wildest dreams life and make them a real possibility.

The only thing we must remember is that people who have already realized their dreams didn’t just wake up one morning being extraordinary at what they do. They fiercely protected and nurtured their dreams.

If we want to make our dreams come true, we must do the same—and we must realize the things we want most are, in fact, entirely within us.

Photo by Justin Ornellas

Avatar of Mary Padilla

About Mary Padilla

Mary is a wife, mom, equestrienne, physician and writer from Tucson, Arizona who is based in Barcelona, Spain. She writes a blog, www.myhorseisafrequentflyer.com about her life as an expat in Spain with her family and her horse. She recently started an experimental shared writer's blog, www.garagebandwriters.com.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • lv2terp

    Good for you!!!! I wish you much luck on your venture to live out your passion! This post is very inspiring :) :) Fantastic points!

  • http://twitter.com/enenmon EEK

    The first few paragraph about your views on the lead singer of Fun had tears stinging in my eyes. those were the feelings of people when they watch Susan Boyle or Peter Potts perform on Britian’s Got Talent or some other amazing talents/performers in the spin offs in various countries. I also have dreams to inspire/entertain people with my voice but just can’t seem to find the courage/confidence to do it. The fear of being ridicule or discouraged is just too overwhelming. But i supposed for any person to succeed that’s a hurdle they’d have to overcome it…. I hope we can all achieve our dreams some day, however small or unrealistic they are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=562734766 Stephanie T. Serres

    Well said! A beautiful writer you are. Bravo.

  • http://twitter.com/yuftee Yuftee

    Fantastic post !!

  • Mary

    Thanks Yuftee, Stephanie, EEK and Iv2terp for the encouraging words! Best wishes to you all in all that you do. And MANY MANY MANY thanks to Tiny Buddha for publishing my post!

  • Mary

    Thanks Yuftee!

  • Mary

    Thanks Stephanie!

  • Mary

    EEK, you can do it! Don’t hold yourself back. Best luck!

  • Mary

    Thanks Iv2terp! Glad you are inspired! Best wishes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/melvinhoyk Melvin Hoyk

    Thank you, what an inspiring piece. And the sceptic over, not another boy band with blunt name FUN. I love the song now.

  • Mary

    Thanks Melvin! Cheers.

  • Melanie

    You are one step closer to your dreams as this is a beautifully written piece! How inspiring, just the words I needed to hear as I pursue my dreams of being an extraordinary illustrator…

  • Mary

    Thanks Melanie. Best wishes on your path! Cheers.

  • Alanna

    Reading through this I feel I had the same feeling as you listening to Fun. I was completely inspired because this article is coming from someone following their dreams and passions. Thank you for this!

  • inspiredgreatness

    Great article. You have a wonderful writing ‘voice’ and great message. Keep it up and I see your destiny coming to fruition! ;)

  • Jessica

    What a sweet article. I came here via Google wondering if anyone felt the same way about his voice. Good lord, what a talent. I also found it interesting that he is 30 years old, as well as a chainsmoker.

  • Jacob

    I came to this article because I too am feeling slightly discouraged; however, this article makes me feel that I should continue pushing to pursue my dreams. Fantastic job, Mary. Keep up the good work, and I wish you the best of luck in making your dream a reality.