One critical element of achieving a work-life balance is having a job you can wake up happy to. That way you aren’t living most of your life looking at the clock.
I’ve been studying the most successful people on the planet for years. They’ve been saying the same thing over and over about passion.
We have Pewdiepie, who has the most subscribers on YouTube. He says
“Life is too short to be doing something you don’t want to do”
Richard Branson has also talked about passion a TON. (Check out his book, The Virgin Way — a ton of life lessons in there). He recently wrote an article on the topic and said:
“Life’s too short to waste your time doing things that don’t light your fire.” -Sir Richard Branson
Now, let’s be honest. You’ve probably hear about passion all the time.
There’s a million “Life is too short” quotes out there.
“Life is too short for long-term grudges.” –Elon Musk
Many are true, while some are used to justify stupid short-term decisions that screw you over for the long-term: gambling, drugs, cheating, or illegal activities. But we never do anything about it because it’s not practical. They were the “lucky ones.” It can’t happen to us, right?
Consider work-life balance. We now live in a time that allows us to have a job that we can thoroughly enjoy and live a life we enjoy BUT I don’t think this falls from the sky. I think this is something we have to work towards.
The reason why these quotes perplex me is because it’s tough to get there.
I’m trying to work out how I can have a lifestyle I love.
It’s tough. What if you enjoy tropical destinations and a comfortable living and beautiful women? How do you turn that into a job that pays to afford your living?
Some people say travel hack but that usually involves skimping out on purchases and living way below your means.
What if I don’t want to?
I’ve read almost every book that covers the topic. Some books are not worth the read. Others are interesting and somewhat useful but don’t give the full picture, like So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
I’ve watched every lecture and video I can find on the topic on YouTube.
I have my own Follow Your Passion playlist of my own videos and experiences of the topic on my YouTube channel.
I have NOT given up hope. The more I learn from successful people, the more I realize that they say the same thing.
Gary Vaynerchuk, a mult-millionaire investor and a thought leader in social media, has said numerous times how you can turn a passion out of everything. He gives worm-collecting as an example. If he loved worm-collecting, he would make it work by getting the experts of worm-collecting together, starting a social media show, and getting sponsorships.
Tai Lopez, another multi-millionaire, has said the same thing. When he was first getting started, I asked him on a live stream about this. What if I wanted to travel and/or play video games? He pointed to Pewdiepie if you want to be a paid gamer, and he pointed to numerous business owners who get to travel.
Is this the truth though?
Can You Turn ANYTHING Into A Lot of Money?
I don’t think so.
If it was easy, then everyone would be doing it already.
People WANT to do what they love for a passion.
But it’s not simple. It requires hard work and strategy.
And more importantly: Not everything can be turned into something that makes a decent amount of money.
Contrary to popular belief, not everything can be turned into a profitable income engine:
Eating potato chips on the coach point blank WILL NOT make you much money.
Nor will playing video games point blank.
No one will pay for this.
You may have to pivot to something with more DEMAND.
People will sit through ads to watch an entertaining and well-editted video of someone playing video games though.
Generally speaking, everyone would RATHER play videos or watch TV than be a janitor or have an office job.
But you have to be smart and work hard to get there.
You must recognize market demand and spin your passions to follow this. But not so far that they are no longer passions..
It’s Do-Able But MUCH TOUGHER Than You Think
I’m someone who has actually tried it out.
I’ve watched hundreds, if not thousands, of YouTube advice videos on becoming a YouTuber.
I know the largest e-sports scene better than 99% of people on Earth.
I’ve invested a TON of money to learn more from YouTube experts like Tim Schmoyer and Derral Eves.
Especially with the more glamorous occupations like actor or YouTuber, there is a TON of competition.
There’s hundreds of thousands of YouTubers and millions of video gamers.
For every e-sports pro gamer, there are 5 that have tried and failed. And all of these people are in the top 1% of the 1% of the millions who play in terms of skill on the ranked ladder.
This doesn’t mean don’t try.
Every successful person will still try and persevere make sure. But given that we have a limited time on this Earth, it may be more efficient to better assess the landscape and find the best point to proceed first.
YouTube is incredibly difficult because of the low barrier to entry.
Most of the stuff can be done for free or cheap if you have a smartphone and a computer, which everyone does.
The 2nd thing you must recognize on top of market demand is your skillset in comparison to the competition.
Can you compete in the top 25% of the market?
Maybe you can’t now but can you 5 years down the line as you hone your skills?
For some markets, you have to be in the top 1%.
Can you outclass some of the top YouTubers? When you really look at what they do, it’s very tough: there’s a ton of subtle things they do that are overlooked: extensive video-editing, beautiful thumbnails, consistent daily or weekly uploading, and so on.
If you can’t beat them at their own style and topic, can you do things in a UNIQUE way that you can do better and/or is never done before?
Ideally, you also want to be really good at it or be the best at it because first-mover’s advantage only occurs for so long before people rush in to compete with you.
This happens ALL the time in every business and it also does on YouTube: The first Pranksters got millions of views.. now there are tens of thousands of pranksters posting thousands of prank videos every day… and many get millions of views (the market demand got bigger but so did the competition).
Don’t fall for the American Idol Syndrome!
American Idol was a TV singing competition where anyone could audition.
Every year, people come on who are completely terrible at singing but don’t realize it.
Make sure you get a very objective gauge on your skillset.
Have a large sample size of at least 20 people who are not your friends and family give their honest opinions on your skills so that you get an honest view of yourself without bias.
TLDR: Long story short: Recognize if you can develop the skillset to do things fairly well and better than most others.
Not all competition has to be cutthroat. In fact, if you do become a thought leader, many online leaders will collaborate to grow their audiences. But still, for people to want to follow you in the first place, you have to be fairly skilled at what you do.
The Problem with Finding Your Passion
Finally, let’s dispel some myths about “following your passion”.
- Your passions can change.
- You can find new passions.
- You could have a very rigid idea of passions because you have barely explored them and you don’t know how vast the job titles in the real world are.
- Your job does NOT have to include all of your passions.
Evan Carmichael has done a great video illustrating how NUMEROUS billionaires and millionaires have all started at the bottom and risen to great heights pursuing their passions.
He has also done numerous videos on how you should be combining your passions:
I respectfully disagree.
You don’t need to combine your passions.
For some people you can, but it is not a necessity and you can be just as fulfilled not doing all of your passions as part of your job.
Jeff Walker is a multi-millionaire who loves ski-ing. He ski’s almost every day. He made his money teaching people how to package and sell their knowledge online. It’d be tough for him to ski and teach that or add it in, nor does he want to. He may be able to use ski-ing analogies in his teachings, but it would be a very small thing. He’s perfectly happy ski-ing during the free time he now has after he has made enough money.
Ken Fischer is a billionaire and money manager. He wrote numerous books (I’ve read one; don’t read it) and one of his hobbies is collecting and archiving different tree species. It’d be close to impossible for him to make any real money with it, plus it’d be exhausting and counter-productive trying to turn it into a business. He is perfectly fine doing it on the side as a hobby. He has spent millions on protecting the trees as part of charity. He made his money as a money manager, not as a tree collector and he’s completely fine with it.
You CAN combine your passions if it’s applicable, but sometimes it’s not and that’s OK.
Don’t over-strain yourself to add in passions that aren’t fitting the puzzle.
Brute-forcing it won’t work.
Sometimes, creativity and strategy can help add extra passions to your job.
But it’s not a necessity, nor does it always make you more fulfilled.
Having said that, for some jobs, it works really well.
Jimmy Fallon and James Corden are great examples.
They’re both talk show hosts who have added elements of their passion and skillset to their job: singing and entertainment. It has forged a competitive advantage that other talk show hosts can’t duplicate because they can’t sing or perform. (Poor Conan and Kimmel). And it’s created hundreds of millions of views on YouTube. It fits perfectly with their personality.
You can grow out of favor with your passions over the years.
That can also happen.
Some people have loved teaching tennis for years and years, but one day, they get over it and move on.
More importantly, many people are unaware of the possibilities out there.
When you’re young, you’re told that there’s only a few select schools of study: engineering, medicine, computer science, business, and so on.
These are very broad topics.
People get stuck assuming there’s only 1 or 2 passions that they have: basketball and computer programming.
Thanks to Ramit Sethi’s Dream Job course and numerous other influencers, I have realized that there are NUMEROUS job titles out there we are unaware of.
Because the world is a vast place.
Let’s look at Business for example.
Well, in business, there’s a thousand different categories: marketing, sales, HR, PR, and so on.
Let’s drill down to one of these:
Marketing has numerous components and job titles you’ve never heard of: social media manager, marketing director, community manager, and so on.
It’s good to go out there and talk to people to find out more.
Take them out to coffee.
Let’s look at being a doctor. I found this out through a shadowing opportunity: After medical school, there’s thousands of different paths:
The list goes on and on. And you must go to further schooling on one specific field to become skilled in that area.
This is deeply explained in the book the Checklist Manifesto, a great book by a doctor on the power of checklists and the deepening need for specialization.
The point is that we are finding that humans are more and more complicated and we need very specialized training to solve all the complicated illnesses.
The world is a vast place.
Therefore, it’s good to take people out for coffee, learn more online, talk to people, and try new passions to DISCOVER new passions.
Evan Carmichael says to try everything at least once. By doing this, you can find hobbies and interests you didn’t even know about.
I say try it at least twice because the first time could have just been bad because of a bad teacher or some other random error!
Make sure you REALLY love it.
Some people are tricked by the money. They say they love something but really love the money. Some people say they LOVE YouTube but haven’t posted a video in over 7 months and their last one was terrible. They don’t like YouTube, they like money. Some people do the same thing for acting or singing. Over time, these people lose.
Don’t Be Overly Picky Especially When You’re Starting Out
When you’re first starting out, don’t be super-picky.
Even if you’re 50 years old, this still could apply to you if you’re just learning about new stuff.
I have fallen into the trap of super-pickiness and you cannot as well.
While some people will take anything they get their hands out, others make the same mistake on the other extreme: being too picky to even try.
You must remember that for thousands and thousands of years, people have lived fairly happily with a very limited choice of jobs.
It still happens all over the world.
Many economies out there, you are still trapped in an economic system or town where there’s a limited choice: you were the baker’s daughter or the blacksmith’s son.
The point is to not have a bad attitude about it: enjoy the journey of finding and developing a dream job over the years. Still have a sense of urgency to find it sooner because life is short, but also do not become a spoiled brat and constantly remain unhappy because things are great but “not perfect.”
In conclusion, I want to share with you this quick outline to quickly reference while you move towards a job you are passionate about. It is a summation of what I talked about:
3 factors must align:
- Market demand – Enough people have to have shown willingness to pay for it in some form (i.e. millions of people are willing to sit through ads to watch your YouTube videos or people will pay for a massage therapist)
- A good skillset compared to your competition – Do you have or do you have the potential of being really good at what you do so you won’t be outclassed by most or anyone?
- Avoid American Idol Syndrome – When you believe you’re really good at something when you’re not, like singing. Get a large sample size of 20+ people who are not family or friends to critique you at your strengths
- If you don’t have the skillset now, do you have the potential of being good enough so that competitors who are already in the market or will come in later won’t outclass you.
- Can you develop a unique spin or your own way of doing things on a topic that will give you a competitive edge since no one has done it this way before
- Something you are passionate about
- You can incorporate multiple things you are interested into your passion but you don’t need to brute force every little thing in there if you can’t!
- Do you really love it or is it because of the money? If it’s for the money, it doesn’t count. Some people say they LOVE YouTube, singing, or acting, yet they haven’t done it for 7 months. They’re in love with the money, not the skill.
- Learn more about what’s out there. There’s so much more than what you think. Try out new passions and learn about new job titles constantly.
Scott Dinsmore made a TED Talk on the subject, quoting the man who inspired me first to this train of thought: Warren Buffett.
They both talk about follow your passion.
I have expanded on the details about it in this article because I think there’s so much MORE to “following your passion” than what meets the eye and no one really talks about the hang-up’s or difficulties or other elements you must look at.
Scott died in 2015 from a mountain-climbing incident.
He really went out there to follow his.
Let this be a reminder that life is short and that you must be careful out there.
Every year, there’s most speeches on Following Your Dreams.
I think it’s because it has become more of a desire now that the world has advanced.
If you’re on a computer and reading this, you probably have more ability to do that. After basic human needs are met like food and shelter, we start striving for something more.
As this video illustrates, Dianna David, a lady brought up with a very Filipino American family, broke free from her career as a mechanical engineer, what her parents wanted (stable degree, career, and 401k), and followed her passion to be a movement storyteller.
This is happening all over the world and it’s a cultural shift starting in the West and becoming more frequent over time.
This has been occurring for quite a while.
So is it survivorship bias? Is it simply the 1% that succeed that make it seem like it’s possible while the other 99% fail?
Many successful people have said that you won’t know unless you try.
I think it’s true. Dianna David was barely scraping by off income for years before it finally took off.
But even then, that’s sometimes worth it.
Sometimes, such as in Dianna’s case, she was happier living poor than she was living well-off in a dead-end job.
In Chalene Johnson’s Build Your Tribe podcast, there is a woman who revealed in an interview (see her February 2016 broadcasts) that she was making 125,000 plus bonuses as an insurance agent but was sick of her job.
Having observed TONS of people my age and younger, I realize how impressionable people can be. Not just asians. Of all cultures: black, white, and hispanic.
They can easily believe they want to be a doctor or dentist because they love fitness or health without realizing the influence of their parents. Are parents a completely horrible thing? No. It’s genetically based for a reason. Parents want their children to be well off so they push them towards jobs that pay well.
But ultimately, a new type of philosophy is being taught from the super successful, and if you saw Evan Carmichael’s video above, you’ll realize that the most successful people in the world are truly fulfilled doing what they want to do.
Just keep in mind the outline I showed you because not everything pays. You may have to be strategic about it. Rather than a street performer, maybe you can film that and put it on YouTube to get much more attention and build a following online.
Just remember that what you think may be your passion may change over time as it did for Conan O’Brien in his 40’s.
Maybe retiring and living on a beach gets boring after 6 months.
Maybe YouTube is not as great as it seems because you’re in the limelight and get tons of hateful comments.
That may mean more pivoting and that’s OK. (Note: You may be able to cut the learning curve a bit by reading books like the How of Happiness, which will break many myths using science on how money and materialistic things won’t make you that much more happy)
Understand that there is nothing to be ashamed about if you’re getting old and you haven’t “found your passion.”
Steve Ballmer was in his late 50’s when he was back to “looking for another passion” after retiring from Microsoft. And he shared this message in a speech you can watch clicking here.
That still means being urgent in your search because life is short, but don’t stress yourself out too much.
Realize that life can be weird.
Some of the most accomplished writers and artists of all time like Vincent Van Gogh or the author of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo died broke and unrecognized. JK Rowling was broke and distraught for many years, now she’s a billionaire. You may be able to do better by being more strategic, as I’ve shown you.
And make sure you surround yourself with words from successful people. I am really working on this by using audiobooks and YouTube videos. Negative thoughts and average people really do have different beliefs on this that can bring you down.
Let’s get there together. Thanks for reading this article.
If you’re a helpful person, share this with someone.
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