If you’ve been on the fence about pursuing your passions, it’s time to go for it. You may have been talked out of your dreams as a child because your passion won’t pay the bills. Or, maybe you’re not an expert yet and are still developing your skills. Your passions are worth pursuing regardless of your current abilities, and it’s time to take money out of the equation.
Skills and abilities will naturally evolve
Follow your passion regardless of where you have to start. If you’re a beginner, be a beginner until your skills develop. You wouldn’t tell a student passionate about learning PHP to quit because they don’t understand everything about inheritance. That’s something they’ll learn as they go. If skills and abilities were a requirement for pursuing a passion, we wouldn’t have experts in any field. Expertise develops over time.
Look at yoga, for example. Everyone starts out as a beginner, and it takes time to deepen their practice. You may not consider yoga a passion that would make a difference in the world, but consider that thousands of people every year experience life-changing results from practicing yoga. All teachers, regardless of skill level, had to start somewhere.
Yoga instructor Shakta Khalsa knows this first hand, having planted the seed of passion for yoga in her three-year-old student named Madeleine. Although Madeleine left Yoga for many years, at the age of twenty-five, she returned to her passion and became a hatha yoga teacher.
Madeleine teaches fourteen classes a week and feels honored to teach. “All these people come into one room together,” Madeleine told her former teacher. “It is probably the one time of the day that they don’t have their cell phones. They aren’t paying attention to anything else. No technology, just breathing… it feels like home. And I can go to a yoga class anywhere in the world and feel that I am back home.”
Every yoga instructor will tell you, regardless of how easy they make it look, they had to start at zero.
Leave money out of the equation (at least for a while)
“Follow your bliss” is wise advice, so long as you’re not filled with expectations of becoming a millionaire. That’s not to say you can’t generate millions of dollars by following your passion. Richard Branson and many other entrepreneurs have. It’s just not a guarantee, and when you’re driven by promises of fame or fortune, it’s easy to compromise on your dreams.
Successful business owners have to make decisions that compromise their passions to protect their bottom line. If your priority is to be a millionaire, you’ll have to compromise, too. If your priority is to make a difference in the world, you won’t be swayed to compromise by promises of profit.
Not all passions are inherently profitable
Whoever said, “follow your passion and the money will come” wasn’t being completely honest. To generate financial profit by following your passion, your passion must be consumer-friendly. People must be willing to pay money to consume goods or services related to your passion, or be willing to pay you directly for it. Not all passions are profitable in this sense, and that’s okay.
When you follow your passion for the sake of making an impact, money will be incidental.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become a millionaire, but “follow your bliss” is advice best suited for those who are committed to making a positive, productive impact in the world.
If you’ve given up pursuing your passion because it won’t make you rich, you may want to reconsider. Countless people find lasting contentment in pursuing passions that make a difference for others, moving through life as if money was no object.
Don’t stake your happiness on achieving success
When your happiness depends on achieving any kind of goal, you set yourself up for unhappiness. The truth is, pursuing happiness is exhausting. It’s fleeting and impossible to pin down. A recent psychological experiment demonstrated that when happiness becomes a duty, it makes people feel worse when they can’t accomplish it.
Pursuing happiness won’t get you very far, but pursuing your passion regardless of outcome – whether you become a millionaire, famous, or successful – will. It will bring you fulfillment you can’t find anywhere else. When you’re fulfilled, you can focus your attention on others, so commit yourself to your passions, and soon you’ll find yourself making an impact on the world.