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Finding the Courage to Pursue Your Own Interests

Tatiana was feeling down. Down the road, she could not see anything good for herself.

So I said to her, “To make your life more alive and animated, see if you can shift your focus away from what you can’t do to what you can do.”

“But I have no idea what I can do or even what I want to do,” bemoaned Tatiana.

“None at all?” I inquired.

“Well, I have a few things I’d like to do, but nothing I can pour my heart and soul into.”

“Like what?” I prodded.

“Well, I like fashion. And I like art. But I have no real talent in any area. So, what could I do?”

“What are you doing to develop any talent you may have,” I asked.

“I told you I don’t have any talent.”  Tatiana was getting a bit annoyed.

Rather than backing off, I pushed her a bit further. “Okay, so you’re not a natural talent. But how would you know what you can learn, if you aren’t developing your skills?”

“But there’s nothing that I could do!”

Tatiana’s verbal and body language were loud and clear. She was telling me to back off. So I did. For the moment. But that didn’t stop me from thinking about how many others are so fearful of not measuring up, that they do nothing to develop their interests, enhance their careers, or improve their lives.  

If you see a similarity between you and Tatiana, here’s what you need to do to move ahead:  

  1. Quit comparing yourself to the best. You’re a beginner. Let yourself be one. Take a beginning course in your field of interest, or read a “Dummy” book, or talk to someone who is, or was, working in the field who might give you a new perspective.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Don’t ridicule your heart’s desire. Don’t belittle yourself. Sure, you can laugh good-naturedly at your naiveté, but no derogatory name-calling, please.
  3. Persist in pursuing your interests. As long as you’re involved in your area of interest, you’re increasing your skill level. Good for you! In contrast, if you’re sitting on the sidelines, thinking about you want to do but doing zip, guess where this will get you?
  4. Tolerate feelings of inadequacy. There will be times when you will feel unequal to the task. Think of this as a “down day.” We all have them. At this particular moment in time, you’re not up to the task.  So, let it go. Just don’t let those down days become your life position.
  5. Notice how your interest develops. Do not strive to make your interest fit into the box where you originally thought it belonged. Maybe you believed an interest in fashion meant you should be a clothes designer. Now, you notice that you’re moving toward being a personal shopper. Appreciate your new direction. Rather than fight it, celebrate it!
  6. Don’t let other people’s judgments steer you away from what you believe is right for you. Yes, others may offer their opinions. And you may evaluate their perspectives. Useful or not? You decide. Just make sure you’re keeping your focus on the road that’s right for you.
  7. Take heart, late bloomers. Perhaps you’ve been too busy raising a family or working at a ho-hum job. Maybe your interests have withered; your talents have wilted. That’s your present reality. Just don’t let anybody convince you it’s too late. Now is the time to marshal those talents you’ve been sitting on all these years. Shift your focus away from what you can’t do to what you can do. Do something out of the ordinary so that others will say, “WHAT, are you crazy???” Go ahead, take a risk. No more thinking about it. Time to take an action!

I am glad to report to you that Tatiana did get out of her funk and into her funnel. She began the journey by taking one small step at a time, beginning by enrolling in an art design course at her local college.

Now what about you? If you are yearning to lead a more enriched life, begin by changing the way you think. Then, change what you do. Then, rejoice in watching yourself grow!


Finding the Courage to Pursue Your Own Interests

Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

Dr. Linda Sapadin, psychologist, success coach and author is proud to announce the publication of her new book, Overcoming Your Procrastination: College Student Edition – Advice for 6 Personality Styles available on Amazon. Now more than ever with remote learning, this book is a must-have. If you’re a perfectionist, dreamer, worrier, crisis-maker, defier or please, grab your copy. No longer a student? Get my book How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age – 6 Change Programs for 6 Personality Styles. Visit to subscribe to my free e-newsletter. Contact her at

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APA Reference
Sapadin, L. (2019). Finding the Courage to Pursue Your Own Interests. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Mar 2019 (Originally: 2 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Mar 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.