If you practice martial arts, it is common for people to suggest that you enter a competition or begin fighting so that people can see you. If you have a good voice they may suggest that you go to Hollywood and try to see you if you can make it. Because I speak Chinese I often have people ask me why I don't get a certificate and become a translator. All of these suggestions as harmless as they seem, would certainly lead you down the path of self doubt and eventually destruction.
Just as subtle as the sword we can be cut to ribbons with bad suggestions. Satan told Eve that if she ate the fruit she would be like God. The problem being that she was already like God. When she ate the fruit she lost what she never knew she had.
Our world today is under the very same illusion. Many people are rich in many ways and still seek "success" because we are educated into believing we need something that we don't want. The martial artist who begins competing may enjoy it at first but slowly his view is tainted of the art because he wants to win. The idea of winning is completely contradictory to your ability to learn. When you are hit in combat it teaches you where you need to protect yourself. It doesn't matter how gruesome an MMA fight may appear to be, it still isn't fighting. It is a sport. A fight takes place between you and an enemy. An enemy who seeks to harm you not for the attention of others, but for your destruction. No matter how many competitions you enter, it will never be comparable to a real enemy.
A real enemy one might meet with in competition would be injury. Injury is sure to delay and maybe stop your training all together. Martial arts is a lifestyle. What good is it if you have to quit when you are 30? or 50? Human beings originally were never meant to die. Which means your connection to what you like to do should be eternal. Imagine how much your view would change if you played the piano a 1000 years. It's foolishness to put a time limit on your interest.
The singer that goes to Hollywood will find that she is faced with an invisible empire. One that would appear to be trying to help but they just want to steal your ideas, talent and voice. American idol is a great way to round up lots of talent and kill their dreams all at once. The singers are actually far superior singers compared to those that judge them. They would be kings in a more honest time. Yet they take their "shot" and we throw them away and wait for the next season. In 11 seasons of the show do you know anyone more famous than Mariah Carey?
You don't need a certificate to know my Chinese is good. You don't need approval to practice what you love to do. You don't need the silly form of success that you they would offer you. Your interest is your gift!!!
I'm not saying certificates are evil and yes you may want to go to Hollywood to pursue your dream. What is important for you to understand is that you must do what you do with out justification. It is the reason that kills your dream.
If you continue doing anything that you enjoy, on a long enough timeline it will become valuable to our society. You don't need to make plans for your piano practice or art work. You just need to continually enjoy what God has given you until you finally see the blossoming of his promise. If you are doing it because you are trying to make money, then it is only a matter of time that you will not be interested anymore and you will quit. Money quite easily will replace interest and one day you won't even know why you do what you do.
Do it because you love it. There should be no other reason. If you do this, I promise you will be truly successful.
The most powerful form of kung fu is to know yourself even against the pressure of society. After all society killed Jesus.