The biggest lie that young people have been sold is the idea that you can have whatever you want in life as long as you’re passionate enough. In theory, this actually sounds like a great idea. But in reality, it turns out to be a horribly ineffective strategy.
First of all, I don’t believe in the idea that we all have some specific, predisposed passion that once discovered will allow us to live a life of meaning and fulfillment. Sure, we all have interests and preferences, but these can hardly be considered passions. Some people like to paint, others like making music, writing, building things, making clothing, programming apps, playing sports. We all have interests. But for 99% of us, we won’t make a living from our interests.
At least, not following the traditional approach.
My Ideal Day vs. My Actual Day
For me, I love writing, creating financial info-graphics and charts, and creating interesting content for people to read and think about. If I had the freedom, I would spend most of my waking hours doing this type of work, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with people I love. My ideal day would look like this:
5AM – Wake up and meditate
5:30AM – Make some coffee, sit and write/create content for several few hours
10AM – Go to the gym
11:30AM – Eat breakfast
12PM – Sit and read for a while
1PM – Go for a hike in some mountains, explore the local city, or run on the beach
2PM – Meet up with friends for lunch
3:30PM – Do some miscellaneous work on other side projects
5PM – 9PM – Hang out with family, maybe watch a movie
If I could do this each day, I’d be content.
But currently, a typical day for me looks like this:
5AM – Wake up and meditate
5:15AM – Make coffee and write for a few hours
8AM – 5:30PM – Commute and work at 9-5 job
6PM – Go to the gym
7:30-9:30 – Dinner and hang out with family
Based on this schedule, it doesn’t look like I’m following my passion to create the life of my dreams like I should be. But actually, I am slowly working towards creating my dream life in the best way I know how. Let me explain.
Mo Money Mo Freedom
Each morning I wake up and work on my blog for several hours. By developing the habit of writing each morning and remaining disciplined, slowly but surely the blog is earning a little more money and gaining a slightly larger audience each month.
I would love to make this blog my full time job, which is why I dedicate so much time to it. It also gives me so much joy. I’d like to keep blogging forever, whether or not I earn a living from it or not.
By working at a relatively high-income 9-5 job through the week, I’m slowly building up savings so I can one day take the leap from Corporate America and spend most of my time writing and blogging without being tied to a 9-5 job.
From the outside looking in, it doesn’t actually look like I’m following my passion like I should be. After all, if I was truly passionate enough, wouldn’t I just quit my day job and pursue the blog full time?
But here’s where I am taking an unconventional approach: By working at a 9-5 I’m building up my finances, which gives me more and more confidence and ability to step away from a traditional job. The more money I save up, the less dependent I am on a job to support my living expenses. Inch by inch, paycheck by paycheck, I’m building up a pile of money that will help me buy my freedom.
I’m not blindly following my passion and quitting my day job in an attempt to become a full-time writer and blogger overnight. Instead, I’m taking a disciplined approach. I’m letting my traditional job (9-5 as a data analyst) slowly create the means for me to pursue an unconventional job (full-time writer/blogger).
Slowly But Surely
I think working a conventional job to save up money and slowly gain financial freedom is the best approach to actually obtaining a dream job. This is not a popular approach. Most young people would rather be told to just go for their dream job by depending entirely on their passion. But that’s a great way to end up broke and unable to have the means to pursue your dream job.
The great paradox is: by focusing on building up your finances, you allow yourself the ability to actually pursue your dream job more effectively. By developing discipline and saving up money, you’re giving yourself the ability to one day take the leap from a conventional job to the job of your dreams, without worrying about how you’ll support yourself.
This is why I’m working on my blog each morning, but still dedicating a significant amount of time to a 9-5 job. I’m building up my finances. I’m slowly gaining freedom. I’m taking the disciplined approach to patiently build the life of my dreams.
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