Follow Your Bliss, Satisfy Your Soul [Pic]


I don’t know how old this is, but I was faced with two choices recently, and this came along at just the right time. Bill Watterson has done it again.

Follow your bliss, my friends.

Editor’s note: This comic is an adaptation of a graduation speech given by Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes creator) at Kenyon College back in 1990. It was drawn by Zen Pencils.


[Source: Zen Pencils]


10 Responses to Follow Your Bliss, Satisfy Your Soul [Pic]

  1. Follow your bliss only seems like good advice from people who did so and were massively successful.

    But from the baseball player who skipped college and wound up 31 with no job skills and unable to get a minor league contract, no so much.

    Or the poet who refused to take a job in public relations because it was too demeaning to the “words” and winds up 45 with cancer and no insurance, not so much.

    Or the ballet dancer who wound up performing in regional theater and breaks her foot at 25, unable to dance and without training as a choreographer or business manager at a theater, not so much.

    Tens of thousands of people take this ludicrous advice every year, and wind up middle aged and facing another 50 years or life with no savings, no pension, no health insurance, no prospects. Instead of taking a crappy job for 35 hours a week — just 20 percent of the hours in a week — to make some money and set themselves up for a future, they decided that was too much to bear.

    For Watterson it worked. For thousands of other cartoonists, not so much. And those cartoonists could have still drawn their comics while working for a corporation or garbage company or anything else instead of “following their bliss” and accomplished exactly as much bliss.

    Myself, I write fiction. I love it. I wanted to do it for a living. I make a few bucks at it, but in my mid 40s I still do it. Because I love writing. But I also have a 9-5, a wonderful marriage, a phenomenal daughter, a passable house (just redid the basement!), savings, health insurance, etc.

    And that’s the real lesson. Balance your dreams with your life. Art is not about purity, but about the art. There are lots of hours in a day to get a paycheck, cook dinner, scrub the toilet, help the kid with homework, make love to your spouse, and write stories/ draw comics/ paint pictures/ etc., etc., etc.

    • We had a speaker at our highschool once that echoed this sentiment. He said the hardest part was letting go of one career and taking another, and most people feared the space between, yadda yadda. I told him my father hated his job, but how exactly was he going to pay mortgage, car payments, food, heat hydro and support 2 kids during the ‘in between’? Guy had no answer.

    • Thank you for that dose of very well-argued realism, nathanrudy. Exactly my own default response when presented with the ‘follow your dream!’ idiocy.

      I have friends and relatives who did and still are and are living with the consequences, none of them pleasant.

    • You are right with what you write, but you are wrong about what you read in the comic. Right in the middle it says “Someone who takes an undemanding job…to pursue other interests…”. So it is not about refusing jobs to follow your dreams, it is about to not follow the ambitions of others to climb the ladder but to find your personal balance between stuff you have to do and stuff you want to do – like you did.

  2. Lucky for this guy that he has an understanding wife to tow the line for him while he sits on his arse painting dinosaurs. I bet she hates work just as much as he did.