“Should I follow my passion or should I work just to earn money?”
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
No matter what stage of life or career you are in, deciding which path to follow usually requires weighing your options to know exactly what you are getting into.
There are 3 groups of people: Those who follow their passion, those who follow the money and those who are lucky enough to do both. This article provides a description of what each category entails.
Those Who Follow Their Passion
Basically, following your passion means going for a job you love and working with zeal because you love it. Say for instance, a person who loves art decides to follow his passion, he may eventually work as an art consultant or a painter.
The good thing about following your passion is that you get to do what you love and are intrinsically motivated. Regardless of monetary rewards, you are happy doing what you do. Everyday, you wake up and look forward to going to work. You put your heart into your work and give it your best shot everyday because it’s what you love.
On the flip side however, not everyone who follows their passion ends up earning money from it or even succeeding at it.
Suggesting that people follow their passion has become a common subject of controversy and it is often referred to as "bad advice". If the underlying reason why most people work in the first place, is to meet their rent/mortgage payments, put food on the table and generally live a comfortable life, is it good advice to be told to do what you love even if what you love, (say horse riding), cannot pay the bills? What happens if what you love does not translate into well-paying opportunities or it creates discontentment that impedes your progress? Would it be logical to continue pursuing that course?
The quest to follow one's passion, some believe, can quickly lead down the path of frustration and create discontentment with present opportunities. This article recommends that mastering what you do, learning to love it and finding fulfilment thereafter should be everyone's main focus.
Consider a graduate who has just left school, with no experience working, how does he identify his passion? For one to be passionate about something, it goes without saying that one must first have some experience in it, be knowledgeable about it and find it enjoyable. It’s difficult to identify what your passion is if you have not tried much of anything.
Those Who Work to Earn Money
When you work to earn money, you are fundamentally doing your job to get paid. People who are really in need of money (well, all of us do, right?), are the ones who end up in this situation.
In this group of professionals, some are content with pursuing what they are passionate about outside work while others have given up on their dreams. This could be due to the fear of leaving a secure job for the unknown after accepting that pursuing their passion will not pay the bills.
The main advantage of this choice is that you earn "enough" money and are better able to sustain your needs, as well as your family’s.
There's a downside, however. Doing what you do not love day in, day out can increase your stress levels and create massive feelings of discontentment in you. This is not a sustainable way of life. At some point, you are likely to burn out and desire to break free.
So, what should you do?
I would say that if you are lucky enough to identify what you are passionate about – something you see yourself waking up to do fifty years from now, then find a way to make it work. It may mean settling for lower benefits or less money but you will at least find fulfilment and meaning in it.
If it is clear that there's not much demand for what you are passionate about, then find something else you enjoy doing or learn to love what you are doing. Whatever you decide – make sure you are not miserable. You deserve that much.
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