Whether we like it or not, we can’t master every single skill we feel passionate about. Especially in an era when the ambitions of people have grown to the level of pursuing global recognition, it may be difficult to swallow that we might never become professional athletes, singers or authors and instead have to settle for less. It seems we have forgotten that amateurism is not only acceptable but also valuable.
The word amateur frequently has a negative ring to it. The word was brought into English from Old French, in which the word signified a “lover”, a person who had a passion or taste for an act. Later on the word developed into an insult, as the passion was sometimes perceived as superficial or the act was practiced with lack of expertise. Furthermore it can also signify a person who does what he does non-profit.
Having that in mind, the history has seen numerous amateurs who have since been renowned for their achievements. William Shakespeare was mocked for his use of blank verse and Charles Darwin never held a position in field of science. Even Anne Frank, imagining she was writing a personal diary, was in fact writing a literature classic. All of these people, who were driven by a passion while some were even running a risk of sacrificing their livelihoods, were amateurs.
Nevertheless, they became famous in a way they would’ve probably never comprehended. Nowadays it is a different story; the visibility having been guaranteed by the internet, the amateurs have risen directly from the local fairs into the World Series in hopes of fame. The increased competition has naturally also affected on the expectations of the audience. While few get thousands of views a day, the rest of us are lucky if we can even attract the attention of a single viewer. Consequently, this has lead to a phenomenal growth of individuals who identify themselves with amateurs.
The problem isn’t as much in the globalization as it is in the mentality of a modern man. Currently there exists an ideal of transforming a hobby into a profession. This encourages people, especially the youth, in pursuing a career as pop stars, artists and sportsmen. The positions in trades being limited and the likelihood of profitability being little, some are eventually forced to give in and quit altogether.
These people have forgotten why they wanted to make a career out of the hobby in the first place: they found pleasure in it. But, after years of competition and stress over further achievement, they ceased to enjoy the activity.
Luckily there are still some of us who, despite the odds, attempt to find more opportunities to indulge our passions. Being fully aware of our (lack of) abilities, we try to avoid being thrown into the wheels of competition with the sole goal of surpassing others. We take pride in calling ourselves amateurs and you are welcome to join us.
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