The Hard Truth About Pursuing Your Passion


“I’m struggling to choose between a career that pays well and pursuing my real passion. What should I do?”

For most of us, this seems like a normal and intelligent question to ask, right?

But what are the underlying assumptions?

In order for this to be an intelligent question, what must we already believe?

  1. Pursuing your passion will not pay well.
  2. Doing something that you’re not that into WILL pay well.
  3. You really have a choice and you’ll have the emotional fortitude to stick with one direction.

Let’s break these down.

False Assumption #1:

“Pursuing your passion will not pay well.”

What idiot taught us this? In what world does doing the thing you’re most interested in, and presumably great at, end up paying poorly?!

“Pursuing your passion doesn’t pay…”

Tell that to Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg, Dwayne Johnson…

Tell that to Jennifer Aniston as she prepares a bath of her Friends residual cheques…

Last time I checked, Gwen Stefani was really struggling to pay the bills…as is Johnny Depp, Ricky Gervais, and Ellen Degeneres…

I hear Jerry Seinfeld is waiting tables to get by these days…he totally didn’t buy a few dozen Porsches just by being funny and loving life.

Of Course It’s Hard Work!

Yes, I will admit, if you half-ass your passion for 6 months and then give up, well, it probably isn’t going to pay very well.

Imagine you were considering going to University and you met someone at a party…

They immediately begin talking you out of it. “There’s no jobs! You’re going to go broke! Trust me, I did it, and it never works out!”

Wow, that’s really insightful you think, considering changing your views a bit. You ask:

Where did you go to school?

“Well, I got into UCLA and went for a few months, but I slept in a lot and missed classes so I had to leave. Then I tried University of Phoenix for 6 months but then I talked to my friend who found this new school and so I switched to that one…”

How much credibility would you really give this person?

Yes, the first couple years won’t pay nearly as well as a cushy corporate gig, but after that, the sky’s the limit when you do your own thing.

Wealth = Passion + Creation + Value

Despite what Bernie wants you to believe, most wealthy people didn’t come from some elitist cult (The Clintons and Bushes aside), they’re almost always people who pursued a passion. Entrepreneurs, Doctors, Inventors, Athletes and Artists among others.

People who serve others and create something from nothing while following their passion.

Look it up if you don’t believe me.


False Assumption #2:

“Doing something that you’re not that into WILL pay well.”

No, just no.

Here’s why.

Even if you do manage to get a job unsuited for you, that pays well, and somehow hold it down…

You’ll spend a lot more money. After a 50 hour week of work you dread, you’re going to blow some money. Shoes, drinks, fancy food…you’ll spend cash to try and feel happier.

So at the end of the month, after paying more taxes, and buying things you don’t need, you’ll end up with less money in your pocket…and feeling worse…than the person actively working at their passion.

There are other people wired for that job you don’t really like…and they’re going to crush you.

Will an INFP really be able to out-accountant the ISTJs? Will an ESFP be able to out-strategize the ENTPs? Will an ENFP ever thrive working longer hours than the ENTJs and crush the corporate world…I doubt it.

Also, and now I’m getting a bit mad, aren’t you doing the world a disservice?

Who do you think you are to fake it and stuff yourself in an unhappy box pursuing a career you’re not really into just because you’re afraid or because Daddy said you need to start saving for retirement when you’re 14.

All the while you’re stamping pages and pretending to care, there’s a whole heap of people out there missing out on the good you could actually do if you had the guts to follow your passion and serve them.

((Alright, maybe that was just my Dad…and maybe if I had started saving my paper-route money instead of buying hockey cards…or just bought better hockey cards…I’d be writing this from a yacht…)))

False Assumption #3:

That you really have a choice and that you’ll have the emotional fortitude to stick with one direction.

Here’s the real reason you won’t retire rich going against your grain.

Ultimately being unhappy with your choices, you’ll end up quitting prematurely, getting fired, getting divorced, or falling into some other financially devastating situation.

Either you’ll “self-sabotage”, i.e. your unconscious will rescue you…or someone else will do it for you.

At that point you can’t blame anyone but yourself.

Who wants to be married to someone who’s always unhappy and regrets their choices?

Who wants to hire someone who doesn’t really want to be there?

How you feeling?

If you enjoyed this article, found yourself nodding, and, well, feeling content…then there’s a good chance you’re already on the right track.

Keep it up.

If you’re feeling inspired at this point…good. That tells me you’ve been on the fence and perhaps now are ready to make something happen.

And if you’re angry…

If you’re ruminating thoughts like: “This internet asshole doesn’t understand. I’ve got responsibilities. I’ve got…blah blah blah…”

Well. You’re probably not ready to make a change yet…but I’ll tell you…if this hit a nerve…it means you, more than anyone, need to.

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