I followed my passion and it worked out. Growing up, I wanted to make websites for a living. Today I make websites for a living.
The cookie could’ve crumbled a different way.
I was passionate about a bunch of other things growing up. What if I followed those instead? What if I tried to be a Counter-Strike professional? Or Brood War? Twitch and influencer culture were about a decade away, so your only route was to be really, really, really, really good at the game. That wouldn’t have panned out well.
Ramit Sethi on The Fizzle Show – “How to Start A Business Without A Passion w/ Ramit Sethi (FS314)”
I would say: pick something where you can win and start winning. I get passionate when I win. And so do most people. You can win by earning 1 dollar, or a thousand dollars. You can win by being able to go to a movie on a Thursday afternoon. Or you can win by helping one person achieve their goals, one of your customers. It doesn’t matter, you define what winning is. But stop waiting for passion to come around. You get passionate when you start winning.
My wins came through side projects. My definition wasn’t earning any money with them. Just knowing someone was looking at it was a win. So I made more things and shared them. I didn’t build up to an enormous audience. But a few of the people looking at what I was making were able to help me make it my main thing.
Here’s something else you can define: the “follow” in “follow your passion”. A lot of people take “follow” to mean end-all-be-all. But you can follow your passion on the side. One of my favorite articles on this is from Derek Sivers: “How to do what you love and make good money”. Spoiler: do them separately.
Don’t try to make your job your whole life. Don’t try to make your art your sole income.
Listen to some more of my thoughts on passion in the latest episode of Active Recall: “Quitter”. Wally and I talk about passion on our latest episode: Quitter. We talk about Jon Acuff’s book “Quitter”, which is about following a passion and not quitting your day job. (At least not quitting right away.)
We also talk about Ramit’s idea of money dials. Which is sort of like “follow your passion, but the right way” advice scoped to personal finance.
And also check out that Fizzle episode, because they bring up the Steve Jobs commencement speech about following your passion. And Ramit has the best response: “… so I was in the audience…”