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“You should do that professionally!”

There’s constant pressure on some hobbyists to turn “pro” and make their passion their livelihood.

Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. But when it fails, I think it’s for one reason: They find they were tricked (or tricked themselves) into chasing the wrong dream.

Playing professional baseball and the wealth that sometimes accompanies that career are two different dreams. Can you imagine being a .500 hitter and taking the bus to games, bringing along your own lunch? Sure. It’s not impossible. It’s also possible to live a life of wealth and fame without doing much of anything at all, including baseball.

So is your dream to play ball or to have massive disposable income? They are two separate dreams. Any given activity and any attendant lifestyle or standard of living (or fame) are frequently separate.

What brought this to mind was this wonderful, inspiring, sad, beautiful story on Buzzfeed about the first woman to fly around the world: Jerrie Mock.

Ever hear of her? Why not?

Her dream was to fly–Just to fly. Her husband — in that typically American huckster can-do way — insisted she make a thing about it.

She successfully made it around the world on a journey that turned bitter.

 

“And she had experienced indescribable peace, the beauty of clouds glowing gold at sunrise. As she crossed the Atlantic one night, the starry sky perfectly clear, she actually pinched herself to see if she was dreaming. Yet in phone calls placed around the world, what her husband wanted to discuss first were the newspaper stories, the race.”

The decision to “go pro” led to stress, the failure of the marriage, and possibly to ill effects on their three children (two who of whom died in early middle-age). It made this story one of the most tragic I’ve read in a while. It’s an American tragedy.

So the point is this: Always make sure you’re chasing the right dream.

jerrie mock

She just didn’t see it. Others were the blind ones.