I wanted to be that person that changes the world, that uses technology to improve people’s lives and democratize information.
As I started to build companies, I was like: “Holy shit! Taxes, payroll, clients that don’t pay, etc.” I began to realize that following your passion and changing the world while living in a developing country with a highly corrupt government really isn’t that easy.
Many people talk about capitalism and meritocracy—that if you really follow your passion and work hard, you too can become Mark Zuckerberg. Sure, if you’re a white, straight, male, if you went to Harvard, and if you happened to meet Sean Parker.
Today, success is measured in millions of dollars and magazine covers instead of changing cultures and mindsets, which is what’s actually urgently needed.
Does it really make sense to only have one passion and dedicate your entire life to the same thing? I doubt it. I think we can be DJs, philosophers, and politicians all at the same time.
I bought into this discourse and created a social enterprise to foster freedom of speech and help people with disabilities earn a higher income. It failed miserably and I lost friends, money, and time. I had to let the dream go. I followed my passion and it didn’t work like the media said it would.
Today, when people ask me “What’s your passion?,” I tell them I have no idea. And it can feel like you’re a failure because you don’t know what you’re on this planet for.
- we started a project with friends
- we didn’t have a clear vision or goal
- we didn’t believe in hard work (nor did we work hard)
- none of the co-founders joined the project full-time
Despite all this, FUN is now in 250 cities across 79 countries, working with governments and corporations to change public policy and culture based on data from the more than 90% of businesses that fail.
We even appear in magazines now! Even though we do it with more irreverence than others, and with our feet on the ground—or at least we like to think we do.
We didn’t follow our passion, but we kept it simple. We didn’t have a clear vision, but we stayed humble and listen to our community. We put friendship and fun before income and growth for the sake of growth.
Don’t follow your passion. Follow what feels right at every moment: follow your bliss. You’ll get to know yourself better and might even have more impact.
As a good friend said at a Fuckup Night: “Failure doesn’t exist. Success doesn’t exist either. You exist.” Make yourself happier and you’ll probably find ways to make others happier as well.
Author: Pepe Villatoro
Fuckup Inc CEO