It’s a beautiful summer day, the sun is shining, the clouds are hiding somewhere on the other side of the Earth, you can smell the delicate smell of roses nearby and your only desire is to go out and have fun. Nothing unusual, just taking a little walk alone and working on your paper sculptures (they are so gorgeous you suspect your old neighbor inadvertently transported one into his living room), but..
You have to make money
Of course, you have to work. Those damn reports won’t compile themselves, will they? So, you’re struggling, not able to decide with a clear conscience to do one thing or the other. You can’t enjoy the day because you should be working. But you can’t focus on your work either, because, really, you should be enjoying yourself. Who asked for these reports anyway? Will they ever read them? What are you doing? Don’t even think about forgetting all of it and simply relaxing.
Make enough money, and then, you can have fun.
This phrase is so common, so ingrained into our brains since we’re little kids, we need to make money before we can have fun. Whether it’s on a summer day, or in your life. Finish the reports, then you can chill out. Work for dozens of years, then you may enjoy life (if you still can).
But here, I want to propose another paradigm.
What if you had to do what you love in order to earn money?
I can already hear the comments “I hate my job but it makes me money so I can travel/buy stuff/feed my kids/eat pizzas with my friends while watching American Idol”. Err.. really?
Ok. But let me ask you a question… How long are you gonna live that way?
Forget about your current situation for a minute, and ask yourself what happens when you’re doing something that you hate (or at least not love to a certain, high, degree).
- You wake up without energy, dreading the time to go to work
- You think about what you’d like to do instead
- You do the minimum that’ll get you what you need (not get fired, enough money, some consideration, maybe even a promotion)
- You tell yourself it’s not that bad, there are lots of things you kinda like in your job
- You live for the paycheck, if it wasn’t there every month or so, you’d be happy not being here
- You complain more than often about how much your job sucks
Not too pretty, I know.
Now, what happens if you love what you do all day?
- You wake up energized, ready to go seize the day, wondering what opportunities will come knocking at your door
- You feel like there’s nothing else you’d rather be doing
- You give the best of yourself in order to accomplish the unthinkable (to people who hate their job)
- You tell yourself you’re lucky to be doing something that you love without feeling any ounce of guilt
- You live for your passion, if you weren’t paid, you’d still be doing the same thing (albeit, with less time and energy)
- You don’t understand why people complain about their work
If you compare the two, the difference is obvious. If you hate what you do, you’ll struggle, if you love it, you’ll thrive. So yes, you can make some money doing something that you hate, you can even get good at it and earn enough to live comfortably (in a materialistic way). But if you love what you do, your potential will be much higher. Whatever level of success you’re achieving doing something you hate would be ten times higher doing something you love, with the same perceived level of effort. Don’t you find it easier to spend time and energy on something you like?
You might be thinking that there’s no way you’d be able to make money with what you love, after all, paper sculptures are not a hot topic on eBay (or are they?).
But what if you had to? Maybe you don’t see a way because you haven’t invested enough into what was only a hobby. After all, you spent a couple (or a dozen) years to obtain a degree in your field, then perfected your skills for even more time. So there’s no comparison.
But if you really, really, had to earn a living doing something you love… You’d find a way. You’d invest whatever time and energy necessary and you’d make it. Because you’d care enough. You’d research the competition, learn about marketing, try to sell your creations on Etsy, talk about it to your friends and colleagues, and slowly build a business. There’s no magic bullet here, but imagine how you’d feel once you’d managed to achieve that.
Isn’t it worth just a little then, to develop your passion? Spend a little more time, invest in what you love. Whether it’s paper sculptures, music, writing, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you start right now and continue everyday, until what you have to do next is clear. Then do it. And most important of all: don’t forget to enjoy.