I was preparing this post as a draft and before I got it ready to published, La Papillion beat me to it! But you should carry on reading this post before moving to his. If you don’t read this, you should at least read his (I’m serious).
I have been told not to focus on making money, but to find what I am passionate about and do it. Chances are if you are passionate about something, you tend to do it better than most people and this puts you to the top of the field. Hence, money will come as a second nature. We know all the top earners are people that are passionate in their respective fields. Take Warren Buffett and Bill Gates for examples. Wealth is a byproduct. I have collected what the most passionate people have to say:
“What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come… And, I truly believe, that the reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.”
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“Would you do your job and not be paid for it?” In asking this question herself, Oprah replies, “I would do this job, and take on a second job just to make ends meet if nobody paid me. That’s how you know you are doing the right thing.” [taken from http://www.evancarmichael.com/Famous-Entrepreneurs/514/Lesson-5-Find-Your-Passion.html]
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates:
“They say success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get. I don’t know which one applies in this case, but I do know I wouldn’t be doing anything else. … I always worry about people who say, ‘I’m only going to do this for 10 years. I really don’t like it very well. And then I’ll do this …’That’s a little like saving up sex for your old age. Not a very good idea.” [Taken from http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/articles/10111/1/Warren-Buffett-pursuing-your-passion/Page1.html]
Forty-one McGill students travelled to Omaha for a two-hour question-and-answer period with the 75-year-old behind Berkshire Hathaway on 13 Jan 06. MBA student David Derlachter says another student asked Buffett whether it’s good to go for a job because it’ll look good on the resumé. “Buffett said you have to go where your passion is. Basically, if you’re not going after what you want it’s a big waste of time.” Derlachter says it was inspiring to see someone so successful telling you to do what you love. [Taken from http://www.mcgill.ca/reporter/38/10/buffett/]
The man has more money than I can comprehend. Buying 120 people lunch is like me buying a gumball, or more likely, sharing a gumball. But he drives a simple car (a 1980s Cadillac), has lived in the same home for his entire life, and doesn’t seem to want more. His investment philosophy is the same. Find an undervalued company with good management, buy low, sell high. He doesn’t need fancy financial products that no one really understands; he just looks for good businesses. Oh, and he loves what he does. You can see how it sustains him, keeping him engaged day in and day out. I think he wanted to show us that. At a time in our lives when we’ve taken ourselves out of the workforce to build our skill set and reflect on our careers, he wanted to show us that money follows passion and simplicity brings happiness. [Taken from http://depts.washington.edu/foster/a-visit-with-the-oracle-warren-buffett/]
While Bill Gates mentioned several, Warren Buffett simply said, “find what turns you on”. If he’d been drawn in by the opportunity in Gates’s industry, he “wouldn’t have done so well”.
Buffett said: “do what you would do if … the money meant nothing to you… You’ll have more fun and be more successful”.
Gates used a phrase straight out of Jim Collins’s hedgehog concept: “Find a thing that you’re passionate about, and that you’re good at”. [Taken from http://blogs.bnet.co.uk/sterling-performance/2009/11/17/gates-and-buffetts-advice-for-entrepreneurs/]
Virgin founder Richard Branson once said that if you can indulge your passion, life will be far more interesting than if you’re working. Every business Branson enters, whether it’s airlines, music, or space travel, has to be fun for him. He has to have a passion for it. Otherwise he’s working, and who wants to do that? I believe the secret behind Branson’s charisma lies in the simple fact that he finds joy and passion in what he does, and it comes across in the way he articulates the vision behind his brand. [Taken from http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/aug2006/sb20060831_090137.htm\]
Believe in it more than anybody else. I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work. I don’t know if you’re born with this kind of passion, or if you can learn it. But I do know you need it. If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you — like a fever. [Taken from http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol76/walton.htm]
I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle. [Taken from http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html]
So as La Papillion put it: Should you be Realistic or Idealistic? He argues that if the field that you are passionate in cannot earn you a decent living, you should be more realistic and not idealistic.
He was quoting a real life example of a potential professional golfer that gave up the pursue because it cannot pay well enough in Singapore. But what I know is that you need to be very very good, comparable to international standards, to be possibly earning big bucks. It is possible but it is very tough. If you do not have that ambition, forget about it. Almost everything follows the 80/20 principle. The top 20% of golfers earn 80% of the prize money (just to illustrate and the actual percentage may vary). So if your passion cannot carry you that far, it is true that being realistic is a better choice.
On the other hand, I feel that LP is weighing it with monetary returns. What about the intangible part? If he does not earn more than anyone else but he has enough to survive, and happily doing what he likes to do, is it wrong? I suppose left brain dominated people and engineers are likely to be realistic. Right brain people and artists are likely to be idealistic.
I am Confused
I am not sure. I think I am like most people, who do not know what our passion is. So I think the best way is to be realistic until you find what you want to do. LP says, “you must be one of the lucky few that can marry the wishes of the heart and the wallet.” I think you must be lucky to find what is the wish of your heart.