Should You Do What You Love?
By Steve Gillman
There is a saying that goes something like this; "Do
what you love and the money will follow." It is also the
name of a book that was popular for quite a while. But is it
true? Sort of. Okay, that's not a very inspiring answer, but
these things are rarely black and white.
In any case, how much of your life do want to spend doing
things you hate or that cause you boredom? So even if we rework
the saying to "Do what you love and the money might come,"
that thought ought to be enough motivation to get you going in
the direction of your passions. But let's look at some research
to see how likely this is to work.
Here's a short excerpt from the book Secrets
of Lucky People:
In 1960, psychologist Srully Blotnik set up a study to
track the lives of people who wanted to become wealthy. He started
with 1,500 people, split into two groups. The first group was
the largest, with 1,245 people. These individuals each said that
they would try to get rich first, and afterwards would pursue
their passions. In other words, they planned to chase after money,
hoping that this would someday make it easier to do the things
they really wanted to do.
The second group had just 255 people. These individuals
all said that they would follow their passions and interests
first, and trust that money would come somehow. They shared a
"Do what you love and the money will follow" philosophy.
What happened? Twenty years later Blotnik had lost track
of a few hundred of the people, as can be expected. Some of them
undoubtedly died or had moved and couldn't be located. But among
the remaining people in the two groups, there were 83 millionaires.
Remember that all of the people in both groups said they
wanted to be wealthy. These 83 millionaires were evidence that
the desire to become wealthy can certainly help. In fact, about
8% of the people he could locate were millionaires, while at
the time less than 1% of the general adult population were.
However, the really interesting part of the study is which
group those millionaires came from. Of the 83, only one came
from the first group, the people who said that they would try
to get rich first, and afterwards would pursue their passions.
82 of them came from the smaller second group, the people who
said they would follow their passions and interests first, and
trust that money would come somehow.
That's a pretty amazing statistic, isn't it? 1 out of 1,245
became a millionaire in the first group, versus 82 out of 255
in the second. I'll do the math for you: This seems to indicate
that you are 400 times more likely to become wealthy if you follow
your passions rather than chase after money.
Do what you love and the money seems likely to follow. Of
course there will be times where you have to do things you don't
want to do, and even times when you have to keep a hated job
for a while. I once worked for years at a decent but boring job
so I could pay off my first home and save money to travel. I
love the business I'm in now -- writing about whatever interests
me and making money doing it. But I still have tedious tasks
that are a part of it.
Many internet marketers will tell you to forget about your
passions and create websites on hot topics and high-value keywords.
I can tell you that I could never write the thousands of pages
and articles I have written if they were about things of no interest
to me. I also could never have sustained my motivation during
those first six months when my wife and I made almost nothing
online if I was creating sites that bored me.
On the other hand, I am blessed with many interests. That
has meant that I can afford the time spent on our poetry site
that makes forty dollars annually because others that are also
based on passions make hundreds of dollars per month each. The
lesson in that is perhaps to follow your passions, but start
with those that are most likely to make money for you.
Sometimes there may not be a financial reward. For example,
I love to play chess, and do so every week at a local coffee
house, but it would bore me to tears to write about chess, and
I can't think of any way to make much money playing (I'm not
good enough to win big prizes nor willing to study that hard).
So do what you love, and if the money doesn't come, do it anyway
and find another way to make money.