Passion vs. Prosperity and How to Find Balance
One of my favorite things to ask people is: if you could do anything in the world without worrying about money, what would it be? Many times the person I've asked has to take a moment and think about it, as if they've never considered what they actually want to do in life or thought about the possibility of not having to worry about money. Often times people will answer that they simply don't know. They haven't gotten that far, either experience-wise or within themselves to find something that they truly love.
If they do have an answer, my next question is usually: why aren't you doing that? The response to that is always the same. It's usually accompanied by a short laugh or a wistful smile as they answer: Money.
There is a myth in our society that has been passed down from generation to generation. It goes something like, the things you love to do are never going to make you money. You need a steady job to pay your bills and live a comfortable life and provide for your family. Most of us have grown up watching our parents and family members work 9-5 or longer hours. It's the responsible thing to do, having a well-paying job. Very low risk.
And yet, we all complain about our jobs. We moan and groan when Monday comes around, and celebrate when it's Friday and we are released from the prison that is our career. Somehow that doesn't seem right. Why should we be constantly stressed over something that we might not even care about that much? Why are we always tired, wishing we could stay in bed all day instead of getting up to go to work? What if instead we woke up everyday excited, filled with ideas and inspiration and feeling driven to do something we loved?
So why don't we do it? Why don't we follow our dreams and create a career based on passion? I've found the lament goes something like this. We say to ourselves, "I really love doing this thing and I know I could do it and be successful if I really wanted to, but I just don't have the means to make it happen right now." We all know what the 'means' are: money, time, ambition, courage. Those things that we convince ourselves we need in order to follow our passions. If our ego tells us we don't have what it takes, we tell ourselves that we don't have what it takes. We just need another month, a little more in our savings, another year of experience. We are scared to fail, afraid to take advantage of this moment right now, worried what others will think of our choices, and most of all swayed to believe that we just aren't good enough.
It's much easier to continue complaining about the job that we hate but that pays us well than it is to let go of steady income and pursue that thing we love. Time and time again we make excuses for ourselves. In another month I'll be ready, when I have a little more money I'll feel secure, if I can just get this done first then I'll go after it. We procrastinate and delay until the time has passed and suddenly we're 80 and all that time is gone. It's our own choice to stay in the space we're in right now, or to grow past it and look for new opportunities that may provide the same benefits as well as providing passionate work.
How can we find balance between doing something we are passionate about and making that passion prosperous so that we can lead the life we desire? Let's say you choose to pursue your dream job, whatever it may be. First you need to become an expert in whatever it is that you love so much. Chances are if it's your passion, you're already going to know a lot about it. Learn as much as you can about everything that relates to it and start to build. When I say build I mean applying for the job, creating the website, making the connections, putting in the training, the time, the extra effort and giving your sweat, blood and tears to this thing.
Of course, nothing that's worth it is going to be easy. It will take time to begin building your dream. It's important to remember while you are building that patience is the key to success. You won't become a prima ballerina overnight. You won't get into a perfect scorpion pose after taking one yoga class. These things, as with all things, take time. There are so many talented people out there who have started down the path and then said, 'this is too hard' and given up. That's where perseverance comes in. Along with patience, we must persevere. If we keep going just a little longer, who knows what opportunities could arise? As long as we are on the path of passion, as long as we are working toward something great, then every day is a successful one.
Now, back to balancing. For some, it is enough to be working at their passion everyday. Not everyone feels the same way however. Money is needed to survive in this world of ours. If your passion is not one that easily acquires currency you may need to find a part-time solution so as not to starve. This is where the balancing happens. Perhaps you are able to save up money and then have a long period of time to pursue your dream. Or perhaps you can get by working to be paid half of the time, and working on your dream the other half. Remember that this period is only temporary until you find prosperity in your passion.
It is inevitable if we put in our full effort, thought, and time into something we love that prosperity will find us. Passion creates plenty and what we put out is eventually going to come back to us. We've all heard of greats like Disney, Michael Jordan, and Eminem who repeatedly 'failed' but had so much love for their craft and belief in themselves that they kept at it. Fame aside, the concept is the same. Pursue what you love, be patient, persevere when it gets tough, tell yourself you can, find balance, and success will come with time.
Tell me what you'd do with your time if money was no option in the comments below!