Thought #20: Money v. Passion

To start, shout-out to Shivonne Bascom (@euphoria1981) for leaving the comment that inspired Thought #20 – thanks for reading Thoughts!

The topic of money and passion is relevant for me because the only reason I worry about money as much as I do is debt – crippling student loan debt to be exact. I will spare you the details here, but encourage you to read “Thought #5: 3 Ways to Manage Student Loan Debt” for more.

Essentially, my goal is to pay-off my loans within the next couple of years, so I can give my dad a thank you card and show him that his investment as a cosigner paid-off; however, at the rate I’m currently able to pay my loans, it’s a very real possibility that my dad may never see the return on his investment.

I bring up my struggle with student loan debt because it’s the source of any doubts I have that passion exceeds money in importance. While I’m passionate about the mission of Critical Thinkers Consulting and teaching composition, I can barely boast that these passions are generating enough money to cover my non-discretionary expenses, yet alone get me out of debt anytime in the near future.

I mull over the reasons why I don’t earn more money and ponder what’s holding me back from pursuing a higher paying career in another industry; I seek answers on Indeed, my favorite job search engine, where I spend hours doing key word searches for fantasy careers, so I can compare salaries with whatever information I’m able to find on Glassdoor. Even though I’ve been able to estimate exactly how profitable it could be for me to pivot and take off on a new career trajectory, I’m unwilling to give up on my vision.

For Thought #20, I want discuss a couple different perspectives on pursuing money versus pursuing a passion. With this information on the table, I’ll let you decide for yourself which is most important: money or passion? Plus, I’ll share my thoughts on why I don’t give up.

Cultivate a Sense of Purpose

In an article from Inc. Magazine, Amy Morin shares recent research that claims:

People who [feel] a sense of purpose [accumulate] more wealth than those who feel as though their lives lack meaning (see “A therapist explains why you don’t have to choose between earning more money and doing something meaningful“)

Rather than asking yourself whether you should chase after money or follow your passions, you should ask: do I have/feel a sense of purpose in my life and career? The point here being that there should be a purpose that motivates you other than making enormous amounts of money. To identify your purpose, Morin recommends thinking carefully about what you would like for your legacy to be.

If you’re living a purposeful life, odds are that the money will naturally just work itself out.

Create Passive Income

The concept of passive income is:

  1. You exert a lot of effort into creating or developing something upfront, like a product or an investment, that will generate income for you 24/7 year-round with minimal upkeep or supervision.
  2. You go off and create better and new products or make better and new investments, which create new sources of passive income.

The objective of passive income is generate enough income to fund your desired lifestyle, so you will never have to worry about holding a traditional 9 to 5 job in order to keep a roof over your head, food on the table, or clothes on your back – the basics (see “8 great ways to earn passive income“).

Just imagine, if you didn’t HAVE to work 40 hours each week to sustain your lifestyle, the issue of money versus passion wouldn’t matter – you would be able to wake up each day and pursue the things that make you happy and bring meaning to your life.

My Thoughts

Money is sometimes just money, i.e. a resource you need to survive and support yourself; Additionally, passions are sometimes just passions, i.e. those things that bring you joy and pleasure – not jobs.

It’s great when money and passion converge in a career; however, there is nothing wrong with working a job you’re inpassionate about, e.g. an indifferent partner in major accounting firm, if it affords you opportunities to pursue your passions outside of work.

For me, It’s hard to imagine that I would ever voluntarily give up my vision which consists of Critical Thinkers Consulting and teaching. As a result, I’m willing to deal with the immediate discomfort and insecurity that come with being a neophyte instructor and sole proprietor because my purpose is to develop young people and professionals that understand equity and social justice.

If you’re feeling that your life lacks a sense of purpose, I suggest (re)evaluating your situation and making a change because life is short – take a chance and do what makes you happy and gives your life meaning.

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