You Can’t Ignore Your Passion

This post, from Andrew B. Clark (a.k.a. The Brand Chef), originally appeared on his The Brand Chef site on 10/2 and is reprinted here in its entirety with his permission. The cartoon panel which appears in this post is also by the author, and is copyright Andrew B. Clark, all rights reserved.

What’s your passion?  Is it your job?  Do you paint?  Play an instrument?  Are you lucky enough to get paid to do what you love?

That’s okay…  I don’t either.

In college, I thought I was going to be the next superstar cartoonist – the next Berkeley Breathed, Bill Watterson, or even the freakishly odd Gary Larson or Robert Crumb.

baile_cartoonIn retrospect, I had a good start. I had a small following for my cartoons – mostly girlfriends and fraternity brothers; but the word was starting to spread.  Their parents were requesting copies of my panels.  Some (of the less offensive) panels were being reviewed by King Syndication.  I even had a professor from The University of Iowa contact me asking if he could put one of my panels onto the last page of his biology mid-term as a “stress-reliever”  for his students. Nice!

For a brief period in 1991, I was living the dream…

Then, I started listening to people.  I took suggestions (gasp). I “commoditized” my art – my passion.  I kowtowed to the masses. I stopped being creative.  I stopped trying to surprise.  It stopped being fun.

So, I stopped cartooning… I put down my pen and refused to do another silly panel.  I always intended to start it up again, but one thing led to another and, well, we’ve all heard it before.

Then, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon this post from Brand Autopsy.  I immediately re-posted my thoughts on their video as well as ordered the book, Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys To Creativity by Hugh MacLeod.  I devoured the book in about 10 lunches (about the only time I get to read these days), all the time, Hugh was making me think back on my “more creative” days.

Hugh is bizarre, sarcastic, brilliant and pragmatic all at once.  His blog,, was an outlet for his passion – drawing cartoons on the back of business cards – which was quite unique in itself.  But then you add his view on corporate nonsense, marketing, social media, social networking, communication and dating, and it becomes hilariously addictive. He took his blog, the wisest and wise-ass-est of it, and made it into a perfect, creative self-help manual… just for me.

If you have a passion, a dream that you want to or wanted to pursue, “Ignore Everybody…” is a great place to start.  It succinctly provides a “how-to” on fostering the creative inspiration that led Hugh MacLeod to create and turn his professional  and personal world upside-down – in a good way…  It’s kind of a Cinderella story, but Hugh gives great reason and forethought to his success.

Here’s a little nugget that really got me thinking about my own passion:

ignore_everybodyChapter 10: Everybody has their own Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven.  But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snowline, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.

So, after reading the book, I put it down and immediately registered two new domains that will hold my past and future cartoons, illustrations, and musings.

Will I “make it big” like MacLeod?  Who’s to say?  But I’ll start by ignoring everybody…  and listening to my passion.

What’s your passion?  Painting? Accounting? Pan flute? Are you doing it right now?

Keep Cooking! (your own brand of passion)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef