Why It Makes Sense to Follow Your Passions Alongside of Work

Neither passion nor work, but both

What always astounds me, is how much of the world’s career advice gravitates towards either working relentlessly or blindly following your passions.

Why is it always one or the other, but not both? Is it really so crazy to pursue your passions the same time alongside of work?

The crazy thing is we have been doing it already — we just don’t realize it. Every relationship we’re in or have been in, are in itself a type of relationship — because how else can we explain why we spend the time to deepen those relationships if not out of passion?

Yet, somehow, none of our other passions seem to matter; instead, we see them as distractions to our work. And because we treat them as distractions, we neglect them until after our career, thinking that there we’ll have more than enough time to pursue them after we’ve retired.

The only problem is, we’ve miscalculated.

When it comes to passion, there isn’t any amount of time that will be ever enough. How many books can you read until you’ve decided you’ve read enough in your lifetime? How many cups of coffee, craft beers? How many fishes, games, art pieces?

The reality is, there isn’t likely to be a point where we’d ever be satisfied with the amount of time we have left to pursue our passion — our passions evolve with knowledge — the more we know, the more we’d want to know and inadvertently, the amount of time required to fully develop that passion.

Which is to say, our passions may very well take beyond an entire lifetime to learn. In that case, is there really enough time left to wait until after our careers to pursue our passion?

The time we’ll have spent on our careers — be it ten, fifteen, twenty years, will have been fifteen years in which we could’ve been developing our passions alongside of our work. Fifteen years. That’s enough time to probably become proficient enough in your passion to have made money from it — after all, how long did it take you to learn the skills for which you’re employed for?

Another misconception is waiting until you’ve made enough before pursuing your passion: I’ll start once I can afford a DSLR for photography. I’ll start once I can afford a Shun knife for cooking. I’ll start once I can afford a Macbook Pro for coding.

Sure — having the equipment helps, but is it required?

Why do you need a camera, much less a DSLR if you want to start photography? Why can’t you start by learning how to photo edit first? Since after all, photo editing is inevitably one of the things you’ll have to learn anyways if photography is your passion.

Passionate about scuba diving? Learn to swim and tread first — because until you do so, you can’t even be certified to dive. Passionate about furniture building? What’s to stop you from making miniature wood or clay models? What’s wrong with learning Italian before visiting Italy?

Not to mention, how unrealistic the goal of waiting until you’ve made enough money to pursue your passion is. Our lifestyles are tied in correspondence with the amount of money we make — the more money we have, the better our lifestyles will be, which is to say, once our lifestyles have expanded, we’ll have no choice other than to continue working in order to maintain that lifestyle. When that happens, will we have the time to pursue our passions?

Every conscious decision we make decides our future — whether or not we hold back on our passion until after our careers is one of them. All it is, is a choice: what do you want your future to look like fifteen years later?

What are your thoughts on the post?