The phrase “Do what you love, the money will follow” has sent many people chasing unrealistic dreams and feeling lost when they don’t come true. Or worse, causing a standstill while trying to discover their true passion.
For example, maybe we love playing baseball, but there are very few of us who have the ability to actually turn that passion into a successful career, that we will get paid for. More attainably, we could build a career around our passion, such as being an umpire, baseball retailer, or work in a stadium. For some, that direction will turn out well. However, others will feel completely unfulfilled.
For many people, turning the love/money phrase around to focus on our abilities, instead of our passions, is likely to be a faster track to happiness. Finding something that we are good at, adds value to the world, and that we enjoy well enough, has a better chance of growing into something we love to do, than trying to monetize our immediate passions. As we develop our skills, we are likely to enjoy them more and more, to the point that we become passionate about them.
Yes, it’s true that we should do what we love, but the money doesn’t always follow, and our current passions may be better as a hobby instead of a job. It’s our abilities that can attract money and the key is to develop skills that are not only in demand, but that we enjoy enough to grow into a passion.
Take action: Make a list of about 20 things that you are good at, such as analytical thinking, socializing, planning, or creating. Ask people who know you to help – they may see strengths in you that you under appreciate. Then circle the ones that you would enjoy doing long term, as in you could happily do it daily, for years. Take what stands out and think about what project you could work on with these skills. Start small and grow your ability in that area. If your passion starts to follow, keep going. If you don’t like it, tweak it and try again, until you feel you’re on a good path.
:: Inspired by Cal Newport’s book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.
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