Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do What You Love And The Money Will Follow?

This platitude sounds nice, but is it true? Chris Guillebeau asks some people he thinks might know:
If you deliberately take steps to do the work you love instead of the work you don’t enjoy, most of us would agree that you’ll feel a lot better about yourself.

But will you also make more money?

This is a controversial issue, so I asked some of the writers I read on a regular basis to chime in with their thoughts.

I asked each writer what they thought about the original essay, and also about the concept of “following your passion” in general.

Here are some highlights of what some of them had to say. I found their advice to be both pragmatic and healthy.

On following your passion to the bank:

Mignon Fogarty: I think it’s a myth. There are all kinds of people who follow their passion and don’t make a lot of money. Some even go bankrupt. Having passion and loving something don’t guarantee that you’re good at it or that it will make a successful business.

John Wesley: I think there is truth to it, but it’s also a bit dangerous. Simply following a passion won’t help you build income unless you develop it as a business. You need to actively look for opportunities to create value with your passions. You need to use them to help others, instead of just indulging yourself.

Naomi Dunford: This might make me the bad guy, but I don’t believe that passion inherently begets money. I believe that passion makes it far easier to navigate the hurdles that come between you and money.

Leo Babuata: It sounds a bit too much like a guaranteed statement. I don’t agree that it’s a sure thing, but as I said, you have better odds if you follow your passion. I’d change it to something like, “Follow your passion, and don’t worry about the money. You’ll be happier, and you’ll give yourself a better chance at the money.” It’s not as catchy, though.

On financial success following you:

JD Roth: Well, I’m not convinced there’s a strong correlation. I think that financial success can be related to doing what you love, but it’s not always the case. I have friends who love to teach, but they’re never going to get rich at it. I have friends who hate their jobs but make a killing.

I think it’s more apt to say that happiness is related to doing what you love. My friends who teach are happy; my friends who hate their high-paying jobs are not. I’m a strong proponent of “following your bliss,” but it does take some creativity to make it pay off sometimes.

More advice after the link.

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