I received a heartfelt email last week from an unhappy accountant who’s seeking advice on pursuing his dream of boxing. While I can completely understand why crunching numbers all day would make you want to crunch the shit out of someone else’s face, James has a unique dilemma: He’s 26, and it could be too late to accomplish his dream.

I feel under-qualified to be this man’s advisor. Most days I can’t decide which pair of underpants to wear, so what the hell do I know? But James agreed to let me post this on my blog so that I could ask you … what should James do?

Hey Torre,

I’m going through a crisis of sorts, and came across your fantastic blog. Currently, I am training to be an accountant with a large accountancy firm. It’s a job with great prospects and it took me a long time and great effort to get here.

All I can think about is leaving. Giving up the security for freedom. It’s a mere means to an end – good money and a stable career, but I realised it is not my passion. I feel my life is slipping by. I want to leave and find my passion.

I effectively left school early at 15, and spent the next two+ years unemployed, drinking, smoking weed, getting into trouble with the police, etc. I was even so depressed I self-harmed. At 18 I plucked up the courage to go to a community college in an attempt to avoid becoming a bum for the rest of my life and continue my education.

Thinking I would do awful, I found I excelled at my exams, eventually going onto university were I gained a 1st class honours in accounting. Within a couple of years of graduating, I got a job at a Big 4 accountancy firm, which is where I am now, thinking at long last I’ve achieved my goal of landing a successful and secure career.

You’d think I’d be happy after all that effort?


I always wanted to box, but I kept on putting it off. I know it sounds crazy but that’s all I think about is boxing. That is my dream. I know it doesn’t sound noble; some people are born to change lives; to work with the poor and needy; to serve others. For that I feel bad, but I can’t deny myself that this is what I’ve really always wanted to do. It is my dream. I’ve wanted to box ever since I was a youngster, but was never confident enough to join a club. As an adult I became a fitness fanatic and have trained myself regularly, but always put off joining a club until x or y happens/ is out of the way.

Although it’s highly unlikely to become a great boxer starting out this late, it has happened. There are many examples of men who have had great success in boxing after starting out late (although they are the exception). Sacrificing what I’ve grafted so hard for to try and become a boxer is beginning to occupy my mind more and more. The accounting exams are tough, and lacking motivation it now looks increasingly likely I’m going to fail them, and leave the firm at some point anyway. I’ve already failed two (one very badly!), so I am already contemplating quitting. It’s such a big decision; I’m scared that after a few years, if I don’t find my passion or something to excel at, it may be the biggest mistake of my life.

But at the same time, I don’t want to pursue this just in case I could have had a happier life would I just make the leap. I keep asking myself, what if? What if? Even if there is only a one in a million chance of leaving and becoming a good professional boxer, is it really worth the risk? It really is something I would actually have passion for, and surely that is the important thing, but if things don’t work out I’m scared I will regret giving up the potential of a good career with good money. If things don’t work out, will I end up feeling even worse than I do now?

I feel even more determined to live the life of my dreams as I don’t feel I made the most of my early life; looking back, I didn’t have the happiest time growing up, and I didn’t make the most of my adolescent and early adult years – years that should be the best of most people’s lives. It makes me feel sad that I didn’t make the most of my life, and that I’m continuing to do so. It doesn’t help that I have such a questioning, analytical mind.

I like your quote “if you don’t grab the steering wheel and take control, you’re just careening blindly towards death with nobody manning the vehicle” – this is exactly how I feel!

I apologize to sound so selfish in a world where there is so much suffering. I know I am already relatively lucky; 4/5 people on this planet live in poverty, and though I feel unfulfilled and unhappy, I try and remain grateful. Although I suppose that’s no reason to not at least try and make the most out of life.

It is my belief that we have many lives, and in our earlier lives we yearn to achieve more material things, and once this is satisfied, in later lives we aspire to more lofty and noble ideals. I feel my stage of development is at this earlier stage, however I am also trying to push my development by studying philosophy, spirituality and human psychology when I can. I do yearn for material success and but I want to develop myself as a person too.

I feel so depressed and feel that life is slipping me by. I guess I’m looking for a nudge in the right direction, as I still lack the confidence to try and find my passion and live it.

Any comments welcome.


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38 Response Comments

  • Dave  March 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

    James, it sounds to me like you’ve already made your decision and are looking more for validation than guidance. You don’t need anyone to give you permission to do what you’d like to do, and in so-called normal circles you’re unlikely to ever get it anyway.

    If you’re not passionate about accounting now, I imagine you’ll be even less so in the future. How many more 80 hour weeks doing something you hate will you have put in a year from now? Two years from now? Assuming you pass the exams at all, of course, which -as you say – is far from a certainty if you don’t really care about them.

    I can only advise based on my own life. I’ve had more ‘good jobs’ than I should ever have been entitled to. I’ve left senior positions paying 100k+ a year three times now. Why? Because my passion lay somewhere else. I wanted to travel, as long and as far as possible.

    I’ve had a couple of false starts – travelling for six months, then going back and getting another job for a while, before quitting it and trying again. The funny thing is that my demonstrated wanderlust never held me back in a subsequent interview. Employers (or the good ones, at least) want people who bring passion and drive to the workplace, and if you can show that, the job can well be yours. So even if you do try boxing (or anything else) and it doesn’t work out, don’t assume you’re unemployable elsewhere. It may not be in accounting … but do you really care? You don’t want to do it anyway, remember?

    And just imagine how great you’ll feel if you do succeed. I am writing this from a villa in the mountains in Ubud, Bali. The monkeys are playing outside my room and somewhere nearby I can hear wind chimes and a bubbling fountain. I’m a travel writer and blogger these days, following my own dream. Have I succeeded? Financially, I’m just starting to. In terms of my own happiness, I am successful beyond my wildest imagination.

    Don’t wait for permission. Follow your own dreams. You get one chance at this life.

    Don’t waste it.

  • Allison  March 6, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Hi James –

    I have a similar (but also not so similar) story. About three months ago, I quit my career as a tax lawyer to become a photographer. The only difference – I had finished my qualifications and had a few years of practice, so it would be easier to fall back on if I decided to give up on my dreams. You don’t really have that luxury of completing your qualifications, given that you need to start… yesterday.

    However, I think you need to get out. You can hear how miserable your job is making you.

    If you are too scared to take the plunge completely – talk to your firm/the accountancy board about a leave of absence/deferring your exams for personal reasons. It’s a lot easier, psychologically at least – to “take a break” to follow your dreams, rather than “to quit” to follow your dreams. When the time comes to make the hard decision you’ll have more information, and you’ll be used to not self-identifying as an accountant anymore.


  • Katja  March 6, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Dave’s already said, very eloquently, what I’d like to say, so I would only add: make the jump, James. Don’t spend the rest of your life thinking ‘what if …?’ I was an actor for ten years, and I was permanently broke, but I was happy, because that was what I really wanted to do.

    Make the jump.

  • Sam  March 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Articulating all of this is an excellent step towards being honest with yourself and facing up to something really scary: uncertainty. You’re clearly an intelligent, considerate person, and from your words it seems to me that you’re capable of so much more than you may give yourself credit for. There seems to be a lot of shame/regret around how you spent your younger years, which could’ve left you with a low self-esteem or a lack of trust for yourself and your decisions? However, it seems you don’t give yourself credit for the strength and courage it took to break away from that at 18. I think you’re smarter and more insightful than you realise. You probably have much more courage than you know. You should trust your vision and trust in your ability to go for it. All the best.

  • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot  March 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Hi James (and Torre;)

    Listen to everyone here, not your loved ones and not your inner fear.

    I read somewhere that most people have three careers in their life. Sounds like you are ready for no. 2.

    Who knows where it will end? Sports manager/fitness center owner? It doesn’t really matter as long as you are loving it.

    Follow your dream. Dance like a butterfly, sting like a bee:)

  • Dina Santorelli  March 6, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Gosh, I truly don’t know what to say. And that’s because I really think this is a private decision, one that you need to make on your own. Everyone — your family, friends, colleagues, the people commenting on this blog — is different, with different histories, values, dreams. Although we can empathize with you, no one really can BE you and understand all that’s involved in making this decision. In my opinion, whatever choice you make, as long as you make it with an informed mind and a full heart, will be the right one.

  • Nicole  March 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    This is what I would do: keep working where you are & start boxing every moment you’re not at the office. I worked full time at a CPA firm while going to college full time & earning a pilot certificate. It wasn’t easy waking up while the rest of the city slept to scrape ice off the wing of a single engine airplane in single digit temps, or to sit in classes at night while friends shot pool at the bar, but I had no other way to fund my dream. Before you quit your job, make a plan for if everything goes to shit. Let go of wanting monetary success. But definitely pursue your dream.

    • Emma  March 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      You should absolutely go for it, but nobody jumps right into making money as an athlete, so you’ll also have to figure out how to make a living while you’re training. I like Nicole’s suggestion. You can find out whether you really *do* love boxing as much as you think you will. And chances are good that you might be happier at work if you’re working toward your dream on the side. Or, look into getting a job at a gym. Perhaps that would provide the inspiration you seek. Good luck!

  • Tucker Bradford  March 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Dude, you are so not alone. I have felt the yearning; known that I was not pursuing my life’s ambition. Here’s my 2¢

    Finish your exams. Get accredited, maybe even land that job. You want to be a champion, don’t quit when you have just secured a title fight. That would set the wrong tone for following your passion, and you may later look back and wonder if you could have even done it at all. Make this final push a metaphor for your unusual and intentional life. My dad always encouraged me to quit on top, and I’ve found that it has always been good advice.

    That said, you don’t have forever, and you are responsible for your own happiness. Get this done and start working on your dream. You don’t need Torre or I to tell you this. You knew it when you started writing. What you do need is a supportive community. You need hoisters. Those people who will lift you up even when you are at the bottom and help you on your way. I think you’ve found a bit of that here.

    Your heart tells you that you need to box. That’s not anything to be ashamed of. People who do humanitarian work, people who serve as social workers, they are following their passion too. I dropped out of the 9-5 to sail with my family around the world. I contend that when we are passionate about what we do, we bring the world into harmony (by some small amount). It seems funny to apply that to boxing, but I have to say, it doesn’t make me doubt the veracity of my statement.

    Go live your life like you mean it.

  • Simba Russeau  March 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Greetings James,

    I lived on the streets for 7 years as a youth. I’ve been on my own most of my life. While living on the street I got the crazy idea that I wanted to be a dancer. I saw dancing as a way to celebrate my life. Homelessness was just part of the spiritual journey. To make it happen, I sought out a dance studio that offered free classes in exchange for my cleaning services. A volunteer. Some time later I met a retired English professor whose house I started cleaning. After some months, he gave me $1500 and told me to go and look for a flat.

    I was excited. Life was rewarding me for not abandoning the path. To maintain my rent I continued cleaning houses and art modeling. This allowed me to also make some money to seek out better dance schools. I was old for a dance career. I even went to an audition for one of the best schools. The first part of the exam was ballet. I only new African dance. I tried. Didn’t get in. Fuck it. I was celebrating my life.

    Eventually, I discovered that I enjoyed other things. My life journey has led me to being a photojournalist. Imagine, I went from living on the streets to seeing many countries. I don’t have education. I read, ask questions and find mentors and then I go out and do. My latest love is now being a Dj and people love my sounds.

    Whenever I abandoned my authentic self I found myself drinking or mad at the world. The reality was that I was angry at myself for abandoning my soul. I let fear convince that all I had experienced was not real. Going from the streets where I was a hustler to living my life like a true artist.

    I love this quote from Kafka on the Shore: “Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change directions but the sandstorm chases you.”

    Every few years the wind comes and I find myself homeless and starting from scratch again. Life takes care of me. I have no clue how I travel but I do. What I need comes when I need it. Life rewards me for embracing the journey.

    I leave you with this quote: “It matter not how much time you have spent to gain that which never belonged to you but which you called your own; today you understand it is yours no longer. And it is the same with all you possess in life, your property, friends, relations; even your own body and mind. All that you call ‘my’, not being your true property, will leave you, and only that which you name ‘I’, which is absolutely disconnected with all that is called ‘my’, will remain. Why not go forth and strive for that which is worth gaining in life? Why not thus attain to true glory, instead of wasting your valuable opportunities in vain greed for wealth, fame, reputation, and those worldly honours which are here today and forgotten tomorrow?” – Hazrat Inayat Khan, Sufi mystic

    Go and be an artist of life. The sandstorm is chasing you!

  • Sarah  March 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Dear James,

    Are you boxing currently? Have you joined a club? If not, you should go sign up today. For the moment, just today, try hard to put that deep feeling of urgency to make this your career on the back burner. I know how it feels, and it’s very hard to not indulge in that feeling because it feels as though your soul were screaming out to you to hurry up, but just for today, humor yourself and try not to. Instead, go put on some gloves, and enjoy the crap out of it. As you continue, learn as much as you can. Go to the club after work when you’ve been thinking about it all day, and can’t wait to do it, anticipating the joy it will bring you (this is how I feel about playing piano). Stop worrying about feeling that you’re not qualified, or too old, or whatever. This should simply be pleasurable. For now. Just let yourself have fun with it, and be in the moment.

    Give yourself time to really get to know what you’re doing, and then you can start thinking about making this your career. I don’t know anything about boxing, honestly, but I absolutely do not think it’s too late to start, and honestly, if you fall in love with this sport and cannot get it out of your head, then you will make this happen. If they tell you you’re too old, then you’ll find a way around it. You’ll be innovative. You’ll open doors for yourself, or maybe you’ll make new doors. This is your life, and you only get one. Do not ever let anyone tell you how to spend it.

    Since I have also always struggled with depression, I also recommend that you give meditation a try, if it is not part of your life. There are tons of different styles of it, not just the sitting crossed-legged and trying not to think kind. Look up some dudes like Jon Kabat-zin. He’s pretty good, and does a kind of body-scan meditation in which you become extremely aware of the way you feel in your body and it is deeply relaxing.

    You should feel very proud of yourself. You basically reinvented yourself. Give yourself some credit for that. You were doing some things you weren’t proud of, and even though you’re not satisfied right now, look at yourself. You have achieved a lot, and even if it’s not where you’d like to be, appreciate the effort you’ve put into getting there. It came from a really good place in yourself.

    And who knows – maybe this new-found energy will help you cope at work, too, until you’re ready to move on. I wish you a very fulfilling life.

  • Bex  March 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I read this and really felt for you. As the others here have so eloquently written, it seems that your heart has already made that decision for you.
    Our heads and hearts are often at bipolar ends of the spectrum, but the heart mostly wins out (and should, in my opinion – especially about life changing decisions).
    You had the motivation to change your life around all those years ago, you can do it now. No, maybe you’re not destined to be a world champ, but you’ve done your research and you’ll be a champ to yourself and be able to sleep at night – that’s the only person you need to live with at the end of the day – and the only person you need to justify any life decisions.

    I wish you the best of luck and do let us know what happens.


  • Gillian  March 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    James, you’ve got to stop beating yourself up for what you did in the past. It’s done and you’ve learned a lot from it. That time was NOT wasted, it was what you had to go through at the time. You did your best and have changed a lot since then.

    Do you know how often I hear someone who has found out what their passion in life is? Almost never. It is a gift and not something you should ignore. Even if you never make it to the big leagues in boxing, you should at least try. You might be one of the few who makes it big but, even if you don’t, you at least will have the satisfaction of spending time doing something you love and knowing that you tried your absolute best to achieve your goals.

    Having switched careers myself, I would imagine that you can always go back to accounting, if you wish. There’s absolutely nothing that would stop you from studying and taking your exams a few years from now and, in that time, you may find that you care about the field more, essentially making you a better accountant.

    Don’t give up on your dreams. They make you who you are. Following them now may take your life in a completely different direction than you once thought possible.

  • Linda D.  March 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Hi James (and thanks, Torre, for opening your blog and providing this space for exploration)

    There’s alot of advice floating out there in the world, but my life isn’t your life. Even if I could offer you advice, it’s likely better suited to my life than yous. After all, one size does not fit all.

    Instead, I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions. There’s no right or wrong answers to any of these – only your answers. It’s like playing an open-ended What If game:

    When’s the last time you lost track of time?
    When’s the last time you felt energized and creative?
    What makes you smile?
    How do you feel when there’s not enough money at the end of the month?
    How good are you at shifting to ‘Plan B’ midstream?
    Do you have a Plan B?
    Are you the kind of guy who prefers making it up as he goes along? How do you measure success?
    How self destructive do you get when you’re unhappy?
    Do you have something set aside for a rainy day?
    Is anyone but you depending on your financial support?
    Do you think in black and white or in shades of grey?
    Do you think there’s a difference between settling and compromise?
    How will you feel if you don’t try?
    How do you feed your passions?
    What messages did you get growing up about success?
    What messages did you get growing up about being unique?
    Where do you like to live?
    Are you happier traveling around or staying in one place?
    What does your boxer’s life look like?
    Do you know anyone in the boxing world who’d let you ‘pick their brains’ about what they like and/or what they’d change about their own lives?
    What attracts you to boxing?
    What else (if anything) offers those same opportunities for you to feel the way you do about boxing?
    What makes you happy?

    By all means, if you are unhappy, find a way to express yourself in a positive way. You have more power than you know. The first hurdle for me was getting a clearer understanding about what I wanted my life to look like – not just my career. Once I pick a goal, I tend to work backwards from there, working out several ‘routes’ to my journey. But each of us handles that journey in his own unique way. Draw your own map to your view of personal happiness. Here’s wishing you the best of success – however YOU view it. Please keep us posted.

  • Anthony Rose  March 7, 2012 at 2:37 am

    James, you didn’t say why you picked accounting but it seems that, from your late failing exams, you have the brain power but not the enthusiasm for it, so I guess perhaps you chose it with your head for its financial reward.
    On the other hand, you have loved boxing before you ever thought responsibly and financially. Obviously you have a talent here. It may be that boxing is the best thing for you, yet it carries great risks as a career, which may also be an emotional decision.
    People are more complex than this either/or choice. Your ultimate career may be neither accounting nor boxing, but something which takes advantage of both these your talents, and others which you may not yet even realise you possess.
    So may I suggest that if you don’t love your current career, a) life is not worth living, and b) you are not fully employing your design. Therefore explore the things you enjoy doing. Open doors. Join a boxing club. You don’t need to commit straight away. Learn more. Not just about the possibilities in boxing but also about yourself. Take numerous psychological profiles. Get to understand the way you tick, your talents and brain power. Look for the things you love, what you are naturally good at. Talk to people about what they do. See how they tick. You may be surprised to find, even if boxing doesn’t turn out right, that there is something else you enjoy just as much which you simply did not think of when you were less mature. You are more complex than to have just the two choices. Maybe you are a great leader and strategist, or a great businessman, or teacher. Whatever, there will be more choices, whuich you will find only as you continue to seek and do what you love, and grow in the seeking and doing, as you are growing now.
    Even if you find that boxing is all you love, and have to commit to it to make progress, then do it with all your heart. Better to live loving life, than just to live.
    But I think that as you grow

  • Sarah Somewhere  March 8, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Oh James, I can identify with you so much! The regret, the missed opportunities, the sense of urgency and the fear! Oh yes, the fear! I commend you for giving a voice to your dreams, hopefully it will help you to gain some clarity on them. I quit my job of ten years to travel long term recently. Like you, I was full of fear. I realize now that I saw everything in black and white, like the decision was final, and that I might regret it, and this terrified me. What if I was crazy? What if I failed? What if I looked stupid? But these were all self-imposed fears that my head used to keep me trapped in a job that I once loved, but no longer made me happy. There are plenty of jobs out there James, plenty of ways to make a living if you need to. But you only have one life, and only you can decide how you want to live it. Good Luck! 🙂

    • Vacay Girl  March 9, 2012 at 1:42 am

      Though I haven’t read everyone’s posts I’m probably echoing many of their replies. I vote you go for your dream. If you keep your dream bottled inside of you, you will definitely have it gnawing at you years later. “What ifs” are very underrated. They can eat at you and eat at you until you eventually find yourself beating yourself up for not at least giving it a shot. And the way I see it, if you were able to find a job once you will be able to find another if the boxing doesn’t work out.

      Again I say go for it. We only live once and if you get any older you might miss your window altogether. My dream is to move to Mexico and that definitely will include leaving my stable job of 4 years. I went to school, got a job and just like you I’m deciding to put it aside for a “foolish” dream that I think isn’t so foolish. But if I didn’t and and chose to stay because I was afraid of losing something that’s stable then I wouldn’t really be living my life to the fullest. I’d be letting myself down. The choice is up to you but whatever happens I truly believe you are young enough to bounce back. Just make sure you have some savings built up in case things don’t work out. That way you will have a cushion to land on if you have to find another job.

      I hope all works out for you. Best wishes and Good Luck!!!

  • Kim  March 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Oh James, welcome to the identity crisis that all of us that are currently chasing our dreams has had. I’m not qualified to help you either, but to give you my own experience, I’m leaving the great job that I worked so hard to get, 70K paycheck at 30 years old to chase my dream of traveling and writing. I might end up poor and I might end up back in the cubicle but at least I will not end up wondering for the rest of my life “what if.”

  • Laura  March 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    You may never hear the end of “and you gave up such a great career…” from your family, but at least you will be able to look back on your life without regret. If you currently lack the support of friends and family in your pursuit, don’t worry. People following their passions possess an infectious energy (just look at Torre!) and soon enough you’ll find yourself surrounded by a whole new circle of friends who respect and appreciate you having the courage to do what you love. And I truly believe if you do what you love, the money will come. You may have to adjust to getting by on a lot less, but don’t worry about that either. You’ll get used to it, and might even find you’re happier for it.
    All you have to do is take that first courageous step, and the universe will conspire to help you. You can’t go wrong.

  • Peter G James Sinclair  March 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm


    One word….


    The plane is crashing. Your passion is your parachute and it will protect you from the crash and burn if you leap forth in faith.

    Leave the pirate ship of your hum drum life and walk the plank called faith – for an ocean of possibilities lies before you. You will not sink. You will learn to swim because you will have no choice but to learn. You will not drown if you have a dream in your heart and are willing to pay the price no matter what.

    How can I say this….because I did the same decades ago and I’m still breathing, still dreaming, still succeeding, and loving every day engaging in my passion.


  • James  March 15, 2012 at 1:11 am


    First of all, please accept my apologies to reply and say thankyou. What an overwhelming response – thank you to everyone who has chosen to give me their time and advice.

    The most logical step would be to join a club, and train as much as possible around work; however, were I to remain here, I would literally have to spend my evenings and weekends for the rest of the year studying if I had any chance of passing the exams; if I wasn’t willing to do this, I may as well just quit now. I’m not getting any younger, so I don’t want to waste any time.

    I’m going to talk to my manager tomorrow, however, I have found out there is a clause in my contract that says if I leave early, I may have to repay training fees, which could be around $3.5k, which eats into any safety nest I have. But I stay positive.

    It doesn’t help that I have a very analytical mind, I constantly think things over so just have to learn to trust my feelings, rather than my thoughts.

    I should be happy now as things are, as this being in this job right now is, on paper, my biggest achievement. But I feel out of sorts, unfulfilled, confused, and depressed.

    I’ll keep y’all posted. Thanks again for the inspiring stories and heartfelt advice; if I do make the jump, I will be printing your replies for permanent reference. I found this post inspring, and would like to share it with you: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-harsh-truths-they-dont-tell-you-about-following-your-passion/

    Kind regards,


    • Vacay Girl  March 17, 2012 at 2:21 am

      Maybe in the meantime, outside of training, you can squeeze into your time training little kids to box. No you won’t win any big time belts for it but maybe in someway you can fulfill your desires through mentoring.

  • Davis  March 17, 2012 at 8:44 pm



    Your problem isn’t that you are not boxing, but we can’t do therapy in this format. Figure out what boxing represents to you and how you can get that within the constraints of a career.

    Or figure out how you can put your accounting on hold and try boxing, keeping open a return either to that career or one related to it.

    Any calling that is almost too late to enter by the time you are 25 is likely not one that is going to sustain you through your life.

    On the other hand, when you are young you have a lot of room to recover from any mistakes. I just don’t want to see you out there with those unscrubbed ruffians at Occupy Wall Street if following your dream doesn’t work out.

    The great challenge of life is not in following your dream, but in avoiding poverty, which has been the natural condition of mankind.

  • Marla  March 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    Just do it, you only live once and there are other jobs to be had!

  • Chris  March 20, 2012 at 12:33 am

    I saw a cartoon once. A guy would pray to god everyday, asking him to help the man win the lottery. Over and over, day after day, the man would ask and he didn’t win. He asked god why he hasn’t helped the man win the lottery? God said to the man “you have to buy a ticket first!”

    In this example, “Ticket” = boxing gym membership.

  • Chris  March 20, 2012 at 4:45 am

    Also, read “Quitter” by John Acuff. You don’t just want to up and quit your job because that is sustaining you for now. Plan your exit gradually. Good book.

  • Leif  March 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Torre,
    Crunch the shit out of someones face hahahaha. You always crack me up, seriously. How have you been? What’s going on with the book/movie?

  • Lauren (aka Roamingtheworld)  March 26, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    James- Here’s a quote for you

    What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? Unknown

    Often in life you have to take risks to pursue happiness. It sounds like you know what you want but it’s scary to imagine giving up the security of a good job.
    But you have to ask yourself, what’s more important- Taking the risk and being happy or being unhappy with a good job always wondering, What if?

  • Suejung  August 16, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I know I’m late but I just wanted to say that Jame’s letter touched my soul as did the quote by Hazrat, I too am unsure, the uncertainty and the reality and struggle I’ve seen first hand is what holds me back, but my heart dreams so loudly that I can’t help but listen, I’m only 21 but I feel as though i need to decide now or my life will pass me by.

  • Shawn Duntz  September 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    great writing!

  • Willie  December 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    It’s been 9 months now, how’s James doing?

  • Sonya Sleem  February 27, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Dear James..This article is now a year old and you have probably made your choice. But if it can help the next person in a similar situation, I will be pleased. I too was once in your shoes. I was 24 years old and faced with what would become the paramount decision of my life, only I did not know it then. I was pondering changing my career from a steady sure thing to my true passion. Unfortunately, I wish I could say I followed my dream…but sadlly, I did not. I let the security of a “good Job” keep me from realizing what could have been and “excellent career/business”. And I have only myself to blame. Back then, I thought I had a lot of good reasons to stay in the profession I had been trained and educated for, even though year after miserable, failing year…it became obvious, I was not in my gift. I thought, I’ll do it just one more year….I am now 45 and still miserable about my profession of 20 years. Worse still is the regret I now have because of all the wasted time. This year I have decided to take a stand. I deserve to be passionate about my life’s career, and so do you…..please understand that when you choose to follow another path other than the one you love, you are choosing to live half a life/ a decreased existence, because part of you was meant to be something greater. You will always be able to go back to accounting if need be…but your passion deserves a chance, while you still have a chance. Follow your dream…This time I will!

  • Wendi  July 11, 2013 at 4:09 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone. I am also a CPA working at a prestigious international public accounting firm. Recently I have reassessed my goal in live, and realized that what I have been doing in the past few years and not taking me there. I realized that my passion is to heal people, and I have looked into going back to school for a degree in Integrative Medicine. Over the past few weeks I have received so many objection by those close to me, because there is no guarantee that I could succeed, since Integrative Medicine is fairly new to the health care profession. For the longest time I, like you, wanted someone wise to give me an absolute answer.

    A few days ago I realized that there is no right or wrong answer. It is entirely up to me to make the decision, because it will be I walking the path I chose. If you are not happy with your current situation, then what you are doing is not worth it. You cannot move forward without letting go first. Let go of your hesitations and any fear of failure. What is worth the prize is always worth the fight. Plus, even if your new profession does not work out, you could always fall back on your accounting background.

    I have left my job a few weeks ago, and I will go back to school in the fall semester. I can’t promise myself that I will be successful. All I can promise is that it will be worth it.

    Good luck to the both of us.

    • Torre DeRoche  July 11, 2013 at 8:38 am

      Great advice, Wendi! Thanks for leaving your words of wisdom here. I wish you all the best with your new path.

  • Sarah  August 7, 2013 at 6:21 am

    Hi James,

    I have currently started on the journey you are contemplating. I have left a high paying job to pursue a career in fashion which I have been passionate about and dying to do for so long!!!

    Having only done this recently, I can honestly say there are days of questioning if I have indeed made the right decision but I know deep in my heart that it is right and I wish I had only done it sooner (I’m two years older than you).

    One thing that has totally surprised me is the number of opportunities that open up when you do decide to make the switch!!

    Do, what you know is right in your heart 🙂

    Good luck, Pocket Lady xx

  • Subs  May 15, 2015 at 12:25 pm


    Let me share with you what happened to me.

    A little background: teaching for 10 years, always wanted to be photographer, writer. Parents both sick at one point, needed to look after them.

    Words of doom: How will you make money?! How will you survive?

    What happened: I fell into teaching which I was genuinely passionate about. Looked after family since 19 – 25. Now at thirty, teaching making me ill. Feeling trapped, miserable and even though I knew what the right thing to do was, what I feared was ‘what will people think?’.

    This was what really spoke to my heart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWZGAExj-es
    The album 1000 forms of fear. My interpretation, is that the intuition part of him is screaming at him to get out, and at the end of the video, he wants to and just gives up. I thought to myself, why doesn’t he just walk out? Exactly. Why didn’t I?

    What I did about it: My family being traditional asians and all, didn’t go down well when I said I wanted to quit. I was told ‘Get out of my house’ as a form of emotional blackmail. Still living with parents…
    But they calmed down eventually, saw how ill I was, and now I have quit. Starting of building my photography business. I’ll supply teach here and there for money.

    We have nothing to lose. Stay, and we lose ourselves. That was what drove me out of my cage.

    Read: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    Read: everything on law of attraction.
    Stop negative thoughts because you attract more of it in your life.
    get off your arse and start boxing.
    Finish your accountancy, set up a timeline. Finish your exams, and then go as a consultant so you can choose your own hours. Box one hour a week so accountancy doesn’t seem like a demon anymore. Start small. And grow.


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