Why Passion is More Important Than Paychecks

Most people think (because it is deeply instilled in us as children) that work and play must be separate.  Play time is only allotted for one hour at recess. You can’t have dessert until you eat your green beans. You can’t play video games until you’ve done your laundry. We’re taught that the bad needs to come before the good. We're taught that the majority of the week is for responsibilities and work, and if we’re lucky, if there’s time, we can have some fun.

As we grow up, we equate this “work then play” principle to the notion that the things that bring us the most pleasure can’t also bring us paychecks. Money can’t buy happiness, so why do we think working to get that money shouldn’t make us happy, either? If the work we do isn’t making us happy, and we already know the money we get from it won’t make us happy—what are we doing?

Too often we let ourselves settle into jobs we don’t love instead of pursuing our greatest passions. But when you follow a passion instead of a paycheck you will reap the rewards greater than you thought possible. No one can take your passion away from you.

If you want to be honest and true to yourself, you need to spend more time focusing on your passion than you do worrying about your paycheck.

1. When you work for your passion, not a paycheck, you’ll be rich your whole life.

When you work out of duty and requirement, you’re often left deflated, depleted and resentful. But when you work out of genuine interest and love, you become inspired and fulfilled.

2. You can’t blow your passion recklessly like you do your paycheck.

Unlike money, the more of it that you use, the more of it that you get. It can only grow, and you won’t ever wake up wondering if you spent too much passion at the bar, or if you will have enough of it to last until the next pay period.

3. Commitment comes naturally.

When you feed your passion, hard work comes naturally - so will success. If you aren’t working towards your ultimate goals and working to make your biggest dreams come true, there is a good chance you’re just going to end up helping someone else achieve theirs. Some people believe that they’re already too far down a particular path, and turning around now would be counterproductive. But being counterproductive is far less self-destructive than being counter-intuitive is.

4. You can’t put a number on it.

You can’t put a number on passion like you can a paycheck. Your passion is unique and subjective—it does not separate you into a particular class.  You can only become pregnant with meaning and purpose when you wholeheartedly believe in the value of the work you’re doing. Even if you are great at it, if your heart is not entirely in it, you’re not nearly as fulfilled and happy as you could be.

To reap the rewards of living a life of passion, you need to be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make it bountiful; you have to be prepared to say ‘no’ to things that aren’t in alignment with your goals. For most people, especially when they first start out, that means letting go of the security of a steady income. But when you approach something with genuine interest, dedication and hard work, there’s no way it cannot end in some type of reward.

All we have in this world is what we create for ourselves. Every day, it is so easy to just think about the “what ifs” and accept them. We mistake what is normal for what is right. We excuse this because so many people are doing it too. As Jim Carrey so wisely phrased it, “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take on chance on doing what you love.” You can’t spend your days hoping to get lucky. Don’t let life be one big coincidence, or you’ll end up with a lot of mediocrity.