6 Neil Gaiman inspirational lessons to take in the 2017 New Year

Make Good Art was a speech that Neil Gaiman delivered for some graduates at an university back in 2012 and it was after that event, that it was put into a very beautifully designed book named Make Good Art that I read and even though its teachings refer to what it needs to be done to accomplish a good art in the arts field, I believe I can twist them and make them be valuable as a inspiration to take on for the 2017 New Year for anything that you wish to accomplish. Or for your New Year’s Resolutions’ tools to help you attain the goals you have set up to.

how to follow your passion in 2017

First of all, Neil Gaiman says that “When you start a career in the arts you have no idea what you are doing” and that is an awesome aspect because if no one knows then there were no rules set up, and if there are no rules, then no one can tell you that something in particular it’s impossible because no one has went beyond any boundaries, since there were none discussed.

I would put that into whatever career you start, you have no idea where it is going to take you or if it is going to take you anywhere as nowadays every day a new career appears with the emerge of technology, social media and overall the internet. Therefore, even though there are specific rules for each job you take, it does not mean that you cannot innovate and try out things or recommend ideas. Be open to opportunities, but make sure to take those that take you closer to that career you seek. Which can change in the future as much as you change your path through those opportunities you take, that make you grow and thus, change your ideas of your career.

“If you don’t know it’s possible, it’s easier to do.” Neil Gaiman

how to follow your passion in 2017

The second lesson is that if you know what you want to do, then just go ahead and do it. #justdoit right? Neil Gaiman discussed that in the field of arts it is hard to establish a balance between what you want to achieve and what it is correct to do taking into account that you need to pay debts, rent, food and life in general and at the same time, work on your creative dreams. What the author mentions worked for him was to imagine he was walking towards a mountain that was his dream and if at any point in time, he would be uncertain about what he should do, he would then stop and ask himself if that road it taking him closer to the mountain and taking him away from the destination. That links to the first thing to be open to opportunities but pay attention not to be diverted to someone else’s mountain when taking specific opportunities. This applies to all jobs and all life events, not just in the creative fields.

The third lesson is the one that we encounter in every book, with any motivational or inspirational figures out there, and that relates to dealing with failures, resilience, self-esteem and confidence in what you do that it will work out.

“The problems of failure are problems of discouragement, of hopelessness, of hunger. You want everything to happen and you want it now. And things go wrong.” Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman advised us not to do anything just for the money as it will turn out we will not have anything else apart from the experience of the money, usually spent or maybe not received.

He says “nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money, was ever worth it”.

There are always problems of success. Sometimes you take on jobs that you not necessarily like, but they pay the bills and you start creating a comfort zone, a lifestyle that you cannot give up because it won’t be able to be paid by what you actually want to work. Neil Gaiman shares the following: “the biggest problem of success is that the world conspires to stop you doing the thing that you do, because you are successful”.

The forth lessons connects with the previous ones, because it is connected to failure. ” I hope you make mistakes” it’s Neil Gaiman’s message. Because it means you have tried and you have learned something from it to take on in the future. It means you have tried what you wanted to try and you will have no regrets.

how to follow your passion in 2017

“Fifthly, make your art.” Neil Gaiman

Do that thing that you are passionate about and that only you can do. You are unique and your passion will thrive if you put your skills up to work it out. There is no one else in the world like you to do it and have the success that you can have. I want to share with you another paragraph that I found very inspirational and motivational to keep going on and to follow that passion you have:

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. THAT’S THE MOMENT YOU MAY BE STARTING TO GET IT RIGHT.” Neil Gaiman

Lastly, the sixth lesson to take in the 2017 New Year is that you need to have 2 of the following 3 traits in any passion you follow and in any job you apply for:

  1. Your work is good
  2. You are easy to get along with
  3. You deliver your work on time

2 out of 3 is fine 


  • “People will tolerate how unpleasant you are if your work is good and you deliver it on time.
  • They’ll forgive the lateness of your work if it’s good and if they like you.
  • You do not need to be as good as the others if you’re on time and it’s always a pleasure to hear from you.” Neil Gaiman, Make good art 

At the end of the speech and of the book, because I read the book, Neil Gaiman shares the best advice he had ever received and it was from the Sandman’s book written by Stephen King that says:

“This is really great. You should enjoy it.”

how to follow your passion in 2017

Enjoy your journey to your destination. Being too much worried will take that joy and that’s ultimately what matters, that you have lived each day consciously. In the present, Now. 

Should and Must in the pursuit of passions and dreams

It is time you followed your dreams, passions and talents. The pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of your vocation. If you feel you are not living at the fullness of your life it is because you are not expressing the fullness of your gifts, of your talents, of your passions.

Here’s what Elle Luna, the author of a beautiful book I read in less than 1 hour, named “The Crossroads of Should and Must” advises us:

how to follow your dreams

how to follow your dreams

If you find yourself in the position I found myself as well, that you do not know why you are alive, then you need to ask yourself that question and follow the answers, because it is only you who has those answers.

How to follow your passions

Elle Luna is a wonderful writer who goes straight to the point and makes sure she clarifies every aspect of your quest to discover what you need to do in your life. I highly recommend for you to check her book here.

So, what is this book about anyway?

Obviously, about you and how you can discover the path to you mapping your future based on your vocation, on your gifts that are not used. Sometimes it is hard to pursue a vocation because school teaches us we need to study something based on our skills and aptitudes and excel in that field of operation. Of course, not always you are passionate about that. There is a distinction that we need to take into account and that Elle Luna explains so well in the pictures she has created in her book.

how to follow your path

how to follow your talents

Elle Luna explores these 3 aspects in a hypothesis.

“What if who we are and what we do become one and the same? What if our work is so thoroughly autobiographical that we can’t parse the product from the person? In this place, job descriptions and titles no longer make sense, we no longer go to work, we are the work.

how to make a career


how to follow your dreams

Should and Must are 2 concepts that Elle Luna refers to in order to explain the concept of pursuing your dreams and pursuing someone else’s dream. Should is something you should do, you should get a degree, you should get a job, you should get married, you should be that and do that. Shoulds are put on you from the moment you are born.

“You have to grow up under someone else’s wing. It’s a normal healthy process for parents to give Shoulds and for children to receive them. Because you – the child – must learn how to navigate the world. In addition to what you receive from your parents, you inherit a worldview from the community, culture and specific time into which you are born. As you grow up, you get to decide how you feel about that worldview. It is a natural process to become your own person, to find your voice, convictions, opinions and to challenge and shed the Shoulds that no longer serve your evolving beliefs. But sometimes, we linger in Should a little longer than expected.”

Elle Luna, The Crossroads of Should and Must 

Must, on the other hand, is your soul. Your talents, your gifts. It is your way to attain the core desired feelings that bring you to your goals, to your soul, to your reason to be alive, to your pursuit of happiness. Must is your vocation.

“Must is who we are, what we believe, and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. (…) Must is when we stop conforming to other people’s ideals and start connecting to our own – and this allows us to cultivate our full potential as individuals.

To choose Must is to say yes to hard work and constant effort, to say yes to a journey without a road map or guarantees, and in doing so, to say yes to <being alive>.” Choosing Must is the greatest thing we can do with our lives. ”

Elle Luna, The Crossroads of Should and Must 

how to make a career

Should is the society’s expectations of what you need to do and become, it is what your parents dream of you to be and do, it is what it is easiest to do: to give up your dreams and become a tool in someone else’s courage to pursue their passions and vocations. Must is your true unique power, the one that got you onto this Earth, in this life, in your current situation. Must is hard to follow because it is so much easier to believe a lifetime of Shoulds, to go on the safe road instead of creating your own road.

Elle Luna gives some ideas on how to discover your gifts, the gifts that God gave you to become who you have chosen to become in this life, and if you find it is not simple for you to remember it, then here are some things for you to do.

how to follow your dreams and passions

guide to follow your dreams

guide to follow your dreams


Yes, it is exceptionally fundamental to follow your own talents and passions. Yes, you need to put that creative spark within you to work, however, you do not need to do something reckless in order to pursue your dream. For some people it works to just hand over their resignation letter, for some people, it works to work in parallel until an income arrives from the other activity. For some people, the passion does not come with an income. And that is ok.

It is ok to not get money from whatever you are gifted at or passionate about. It may mean that you are not ready yet, or that you need to work on your craft more to excel. It does not mean that you should stop doing that just because it is not paying off the bills.

For instance, I ran this website, but I am not being paid for it. I do it for my own pleasure, for my own ego, for my own need to do something creative. To be creative. It is nothing wrong in doing that. On the contrary, it is the best way to pursue a vocation, a dream, a passion. Because the more you experience your core desired feelings, the more you will wish to live all moments in those feelings. And that will make you change your life, little by little, with one step at a time, building your brand, and getting more confident in your passion, to be able to start gaining an income from it.

guide to follow your path

Getting doubts over your passions or over following your path or dreams, will only make you turn back to a lifetime of regretful of Shoulds.

If your life does not revolve solely on your Must, it does not mean it is a life full of Shoulds. It means you were able to balance the Must and the Shoulds, until you will reach the point of living in the Must.

how to follow your path

how to follow your path

how to follow your dreams

what if I fail

“Must feels inherently selfish at first. But when you choose Must, you inspire others to choose it, too. When you follow Must, every day, you impact not only what you create for your work, but also who you become in your life. This is how your work and your live become one and the same. When you choose Must, what you create is YOURSELF. It is a body of work. As you change, so too does your work. As you grow, so too does the creation. Your work lives and breathes because you live and breathe. When you live the fullness of your life, you lift the collective human experience.”

Elle Luna, The Crossroads of Should and Must 

how to make a career

Please share me with your precious ones! 

Pictures are courtesy of Elle Luna’s book, The Crossroads of Should and Must

You may read more about mapping your future by finding out what affirmations can lift you to empower and energize you in your pursuit of happiness, in you following your path and vocation here.

how do you want to feel