When I was little I used to always hear, “you can be anything you want when you grow up.” But as time went by and I grew older, it seemed like there was actually less and less that I could be. I’ve always had an interest in business and finance but my degree in aerospace engineering almost precludes me now from working in those fields. It’s tough to pick a major when you’re only 18, and that’s probably one of the reasons why so many college freshmen go in undeclared. But after a year or two, you’re going to be forced to pick between passion and practicality.
I’ve always been good at math and science but it’s never been my passion. I was a great student growing up but I would always pick sports over studying or hanging with my friends over homework and that’s pretty much how I am now. I don’t mind working my ass off during the 8 hours a day I’m at work, but once that clock hits 5, I’m ready to go home and move on with my life.
Following My Passion
Even though I work during the day, it’s what I do when I get home that I’m passionate about. When I started blogging a few years ago, my goal wasn’t to make a lot of money. Instead, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts since I felt what I had to say could probably help a lot of people. In the back of my mind I always knew that there was a possibility I could make a couple bucks here and there but it was never my intention.
Fast forward two years later and I’ve been able to turn my passion into a viable business opportunity. But the funny thing is, I probably never would have even discovered this passion without my day job. I only started caring about my money once I was getting a paycheck every two weeks.
Is Your Passion Practical?
Most passions don’t make for the best careers. But unfortunately you can’t always pick and choose what you want to be passionate about. I think a lot of people make the mistake of following their passion too early on in life and that can really hurt their chances for achieving financial independence. I was lucky to find a passion that’s now blossomed into nearly half of my monthly income. Trust me this doesn’t happen very often since normally when you think of people following their passions, you picture poor musicians or homeless artists roaming the Boardwalk.
For every action you take in life, there’s always going to be a reaction. Newton once said those famous words about the universe but I think they apply here too. In an ideal world, it would be great if everyone could follow their passion and paint butterflies or write poetry but then there’d be no one to clean up the shit. It’s commendable if you have an interest in art history or bible studies but that’s not going to open many doors for you employment-wise. Most passions in life don’t provide for very stable incomes so why not pursue them later on once you’ve established yourself in a more practical career?
Passion Never Feels Like Work
One of the reasons why I love working online, whether it’s blogging, writing or even managing my sites, is because it hardly seems like work. I get home after a long 8 hour work day and I still have the energy to go on my computer and work for another four hours. That’s my four hour work day(plus an 8 hour day job of course) right there.
I like my passion so much that I’m even willing to work on vacation or when I’m away from home. On the other hand, I wouldn’t dream of opening up my day job laptop while I’m sipping on a Mai Tai in Hawaii. I’ve always wondered why people kill themselves for their jobs by going in on weekends or staying late every night. If it’s because they’re passionate about their job and they want to be on top then more power to them! But if it’s because they need the money or they’re scared of getting fired, I don’t understand that logic. Is money that important that you’re willing to sacrifice your personal life in order to be promoted or get a bigger bonus?
I think there are too many people on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to following your passion. You’ve got the free wielding hippies and artists who want to ‘live life their way’ and you’ve also got the devoted 60 hour a week day jobbers. There’s nothing out there that says you can’t have the best of both worlds. And since it’s not easy to make a great living off your passion, my advice is to start off in a more practical career before moving on and pursuing your passion.
It’s not easy to make money doing something that you love, otherwise I might be online gambling for a living. You have to be willing to take on calculated risks and make sacrifices in order to ultimately get to where you want to be. Once you’ve secured at least part of your financial future, start taking the necessary steps to following your passion. It will still be there waiting for you no matter how long you take to find it.
Readers, you already know what I think you should do so I’d love to hear what you have to say. Do you think it’s commendable to follow your passion right out of the gates? Or is it more prudent to work in a more practical job and then try to follow your passion?
-Harry @ the Four Hour Work Day