The Motivations of Passion and Money

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do what you loveIn their recent book “Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future“, Schlesinger, Kiefer, and Brown determined that, in order to do your best work, you must either be doing something that you love or something that will lead you to something you love. The desire to do your job well will allow you to be more creative and efficient thus speeding up the progression of a career path. But does doing what you love always lead to money?

The short answer is no, nothing guarantees financial success. But does that mean you should abandon your dreams of being a pioneer, starting a business, or pursuing unconventional work? Of course not. But that answer comes with conditions. For instance, if your passion won’t allow you to subsist at an acceptable level or would affect your education then you probably shouldn’t bet your economic stability on its success. After all, without your basic needs being met you have lack the capacity to pursue your passions in any successful fashion.

But even the threat of economic ruin shouldn’t keep you from participating in your passions to some extent. In fact, research has shown that people who regularly work towards something for which they are passionate are more satisfied and fulfilled than those who do not. This is just as true for individuals who possess the material means to do what makes them happy.

Most of the time, people who have more than enough money to consider pursuing more fulfilling work refuse to do so simply because doing so would shrink their income. To these individuals, the point where they have “enough” money to abandon the work that keeps them unhappy is never reached. But the assumption that they don’t already have sufficient means to do so is frequently wrong.

Another incorrect assumption is that doing what makes you happy can never lead to financial success.  The fact of the matter is that you never know where your passions will lead, what you will produce, and the value that others may find in your inventions or insight. The only way to find out what your dreams have to offer is to act towards reaching them. The only way to turn an uncertainty into a certainty is to actively pursue the consequences.

The fact is that you can never precisely predict the future. You can never plan for every eventuality. All one can do is move slowly, and smartly, towards making a reality and wait and see what happens. Even small steps can change reality in a big way or reveal perspectives that were previously unseen. And, you never know, you may find that your passion can and does turn a profit. But even if it doesn’t, spending part of your day doing something that makes you feel purposeful and content is necessary in being happy and more productive in both your personal and professional lives. Don’t let the money factor keep you from pursuing your dream.

Read more in Career Planning

Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.