Why Finding Your Passion Might Not Be The Right Route To Riches

Are you still struggling to find your passion? Have you considered that what you love to do might be different to something you enjoy spending your time doing that can make you money? Could it be that a disconnect between passion and business is healthy after all? Challenge convention. Read on.

Trends

There is a meme in the personal development, lifestyle design, make money online blogging world that discusses finding your passion so that you can make money from it. But what if you don’t need to ‘find your passion’ to find something you can make a living out of that you enjoy doing? Sure enough, people really struggle with finding their passions citing a lack of focus, interests or completely the opposite – too many to choose from. Often the advice is that you are not moving forward because of fear.

This so-called fear to move forward, I think, is driven essentially out of people’s belief that they need a passion to monetize in some way. Well I call false on the concept of finding your passion to make money from and here is why.

Show Me The Money

My passion is to travel. But I have no intention of monetizing it (aside from maybe becoming a Top Gear presenter). I’ve tried. For example, despite the low pay scale, I had a short-lived foray in to travel writing. I did not enjoy it. My passion is too travel, not to write about it. The best way for me to indulge in my passion is to do it. To plan for it and to execute it. Maybe you could become a travel agent you say. No, this is quite simply turning a passion in to a day job – not a trait of the world’s best lifestyle designer.

Passion v Maintained Interest

Instead of thinking that you have to find a passion, how about finding something that you care about enough and interests you enough for you to make it in to a viable business. Sure you can be ‘passionate’ about this, but really your ultimate goal is to fund doing what you love through the most effective route. For example, after university I went the classic route of finding a career and I went in to IT project management because I have an interest in it, but also because it was the best way for me to earn a high salary without having to spend a lot of time and money training to be a doctor, lawyer or accountant. This is an effective approach to making money – minimum input for maximum output.

I think therefore that there is a disconnect between a monetizable interest and your passion. Putting passion up on such a pedestal and making it the be all and end all can, for high achievers and wannabe lifestyle designers, be a highly stressful journey.

I think that people are either stuck trying to find the thing they want to do or they have too many things that they want to do (my problem) and they can’t narrow it down to what it is they truly want to pursue in life. Your interest should keep you sufficiently motivated to make enough money to fund the pursuit of your passion (which is the thing you want to be doing the majority of your time).

Think about Bill Gates. He is quite interested in computers but he has discovered that his passion is helping others through his foundation. His main interest (day job) has funded his passion.

Many Interests. Get Specific?

I suspect that most people, in the classic over-achiever category, have more than one interest. The key is identifying what you would like to spend all your time doing versus what can maintain your interest enough to make money from it. Play to your strengths that enable you to fund you passion. Ultimately most people’s passion will be to be true to themselves and do what they want to do each day. How they fund that might be the key element and missing link in truly discovering monetizable revenue streams to make dreams become reality. Perhaps this is the true formula for successful lifestyle design.

Passion Stress

I know that the pressure to find a passion is something that I have struggled with in the past. This post is not for people who have found something that makes them money and they truly want to do. Something that you would do for free, without being paid. Of course it is possible to find this but I think that the people who actually get to this point are very few and far between. Stop putting the pressure on yourself and try and find something more relevant and useful for you to do to enable you to pursue your dreams. Find your driving interest.

Actions to take now:

  1. Stop worrying about how to find your passion – whatever that may be.
  2. Instead start noticing what interests you, and ask how you could turn this in to an income generating asset.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up about what you need to do with your life, just focus on finding something meaningful for now that will reach your medium term goals.
  4. Accept that your passion and what you do to for your independent business may be different, or only loosely related.
  5. Play to your strengths.

 

What do you think? Do you struggle with the concept of passion? Has it got you frustrated? Have you found and do you believe in what your passion is? How can I help you further?

Photo by Zach Klein

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9 Responses to Why Finding Your Passion Might Not Be The Right Route To Riches

  1. JL Palmetto May 5, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    This is a question worth pondering, and your point is well-taken.

    Maybe it depends on the person.

    While one travel fan might dread writing about the subject, someone else (who enjoys the anticipation and preparation part of travel) might actually get a kick out of compiling data about a destination and sharing it.

    Another thing is, as soon as money gets involved in any topic, the purity of it all gets a bit muddied up. When we feel that we must do something to get that revenue, and that obligation part of it all can serve to take the fun out of things, too.

    • Chris May 5, 2011 at 8:42 am #

      Hi JL,

      Thanks for your comment. Yes I see your point about different people enjoying different aspects of what they enjoy doing. Really everyone is unique and their take on things is going to be different.

      The point you sum up well is that as soon as money gets involved it gets a bit complicated. That is why I think that maybe separating a monetizable interest from a ‘passion’ might be the best route to go.

      Thanks,

      Chris

  2. pierrebastien November 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    I think you’re right to recommend people stop worrying about their passion. I myself fell into the “what’s my passion” trap a while back. I call it a trap and I mean it. When I think about my passions I imagine some future self that is burning with passion, living in the moment, doing whatever magic thing I’m doing that’s causing me to feel fulfilled. But what’s really happening is I’m creating a second version of myself that feels engaged and passionate. Meanwhile, my current self feels inferior because it’s comparing itself to that future me that doesn’t exist yet. Similarly, I might be sitting at my desk thinking, I don’t really want to manage such-and-such project, I’d rather be doing something else. Same thing, I’m creating a fake future version of myself that’s happy with how I make money, meanwhile my current self is grumbling.

    I think the way around this is to focus on enjoying the present moment. If you focus on the future too much, imaginging that you will enjoy yourself at some point, then usually you aren’t enjoying the present. If all you want is to enjoy the present, you can just cut to the chase and enjoy the present.

    Anway I don’t mean to say these are the thoughts you’re going through. They’re thoughts I’ve experienced myself. When I read your post, it reminded me of those mental ups and downs not too long ago. I eventually realized that, hey, I actually like my job after all. And I can tinker with blogging and making money online without feeling as much pressure to be someone different. Anyway, I hope that’s helpful. Cheers

    • cjstott November 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      @pierrebastien That is helpful. Thanks for an insightful comment. I totally agree with you that it can be a trap. Certainly being more mindful of the present is something I need to practice some more.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. JetSetCitizen November 26, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Great post Chris.

    I feel that a single, perfect passion is a myth. We can spend our lives searching for this mythical perfect passion and never take action on something that could actually provide a decent income and quality life.

    To me, passion is more about personal excellence. Lasting happiness comes striving to become better and overcoming obstacles, not from the qualities of the work itself. If you are not challenging yourself and doing the best work you can, any job can get boring.

    • cjstott November 29, 2011 at 8:30 am #

      @JetSetCitizen Hi John, thanks! and thanks for stopping by.

      I’m glad that you agree.

      Of course in the post I’m still advocating doing something that really interests you, just not with the extra pressure to have it as your ‘passion’ – maybe it can just help fund it.

  4. Miles January 27, 2012 at 4:06 am #

    I love what I have been doing for the past 22 years, working in the engineering / automation field. Massive problem solving, creating ‘real’ solutions, getting real results (no results, no payment) I love it. Unfortunately to work at the level that keeps things exciting requires me to be married to the job.

    No time left for the more important things in life. Spiritual, Family and of course exploring the world.

    On the other hand, starting something that can ‘fund’ all the new and interesting things I have always wanted to get involved in, flying, exploring the cracks and crevices of the earth, sleeping in jungles etc. it puts a whole different spin on things.

    In the past trying to find perfect passion=payment synergy has not worked well with me, I found that I put what could have been a great passion funding idea into a dusty archive because it was not perfect.

    I have been waiting and waiting I can see this all working and lining up.

    Great insight Chris!

  5. Chris January 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Hey Miles,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I have certainly found that focusing on something to ‘fund’ a passion has helped me in 2011 and in to 2012. I wrote this article nearly 7 months ago and I still feel it is really relevant.

    Glad it is all coming together for you.

    Peace,

    Chris

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  1. The Secret to Finding Your Passion | JetSetCitizen.com - November 28, 2011

    [...] CJ Scott: Why Finding Your Passion Might Not Be The Right Route To Riches [...]

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