5 lessons I learned the hard way.
The world doesn't care if you love your job. The world owes you nothing, nor is it responsible for your happiness. That is why it's of critical importance to do work you are passionate about. Don't ever make excuses if your career isn't going the way you hoped it would. When you follow your passion, you tend to do good work. When you do good work, you attract people who appreciate your talent and expertise. Do that consistently, and you'll never have to work a day in your life.
Sometimes you can draw more inspiration from the people who don't believe in you than from the ones who do. I have always found it incredibly motivating when people would say to me that I can't do something. That's usually all the fuel I would need to put me on the road to accomplishing the goal. I had someone tell me once that I could never be a graphic designer because I didn't have a college degree. Oh, really? Thanks for the input, now watch as I work twice as hard as everyone else to prove you wrong.
You will need to fail before you can succeed. Failing at something is the only way to ever get better at it. Public speaking was something I always wanted to be able to do, but my first attempt was an unmitigated disaster. My voice cracked, I got cotton mouth, and I had trouble putting two coherent sentences together. Next time, my voice didn't break as much, I brought water to prevent my mouth from getting dry, and I had my thoughts organized on index cards. I learned from my previous failed attempts and made the necessary improvements to ensure they wouldn't happen again.
Stay humble. Humility can be a secret weapon to help you ward off the nasty effects of an overinflated ego. Approaching your work with humility opens you up to learning new techniques and skills which will help you get better at your craft. Nobody wants to work with someone who thinks they know everything. Just know that as you travel on your career path don't let arrogance affect your attitude towards your job or your co-workers.
Never settle. You were born an original, don't die a copy. As much as we like to think of ourselves as individuals, the fact is that society too often encourages us to fit in, and that's how conformity takes over. The world isn't going to arrange itself to make your dreams come true. That's on you, and you won't be able to if every time you meet resistance, you buckle and go with the flow. Your job is to make sure you just keep moving forward and weed out those people who would seek to derail your hopes and dreams.
We all experience life differently. The experiences we have growing up shape who we become and ultimately how we view the world and our place in it. As with any new journey or adventure you go on, be open to making new mistakes and discovering your own universal truths.