Ever since I was young, I loved making videos. It began when I was 12 years old, and my brother and I started to brainstorm ways to make money online. I was always drawn towards the creative aspects of filmmaking, and even found out ways to make a few videos go viral.
As I continued to explore this newfound passion, I made a bold choice: to join film school at the Temasek Polytechnic School of Design.
I say “bold” because, growing up in Singapore, creative careers were always frowned upon, or met with raised eyebrows. The idea of the artist was not essential to society. But, as I continued to pursue this, I realized it was more than just the culture: I felt pressure as a man to be in a non-technical field.
My male peers began to go after careers in science, medicine, tech, and entrepreneurship, and they didn’t understand why I was committing time both in school and out of school to honing my filmmaking skills.
Learning How Much I Needed Creativity
I never did try a career in a solely technical field, but I learned how much I thrived on creativity when I entered the National Service (NS), which is mandatory for two years in Singapore. Those days ended up being some of the worst of my life.
I believe that when you’re a creative person, you need creative outlets to feel content. It was the first time in my life that I wasn’t creative. Plus, I wasn’t used to the harsh regime and environment.
I battled with depression and suicidal thoughts during that phase of my life, which makes me wonder how other men adjust when they leave behind their creativity and passions for lives that seem ‘right’ by society’s standards of what’s practical and worthwhile. By not being able to express myself, I felt in some ways like I was losing myself.
My Take on Creative Careers Now
Now, I believe more than ever that it’s important to have a skill set that you’re passionate about, whether it’s technical or nontechnical. Especially in post-COVID times, people are looking for sheer talent.
You need to be good at what you do to stay relevant. I do believe it’s possible to be good at something you don’t particularly enjoy, but there’s nothing like being the best at something that you love doing.
That was always making videos for me, and as I’ve embraced that, my male peers have begun to cheer me on. They see that when you follow your calling, amazing things happen. You achieve results and tap into greater happiness.
It’s easier said than done, but after my lifelong battle with it, I believe the best way to move past the concern that being in a non-technical field is ‘wrong’ or not worthwhile is to begin to see that we succeed when we do what we’re best at.
There are many ways to apply creativity to other ventures, too. I’ve turned my love for filmmaking into a resource for my business. There are ways you can incorporate your creativity into what you do in business or otherwise, too.
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Photo Credit: @kalvisuals on Unsplash