What To Do When No One Will Pay You To Do What You Love (when passion doesn’t pay)

I frequently hear well-meaning people tell wide-eyed youngsters that they can become whatever they want to become.

It is such an encouraging and inspiring thing to say to someone who is trying to figure out where in life to aim their time, energy and effort.

The only problem is that it’s just not entirely true. Life simply imposes some limitations on us, and we ought to be aware of what those limitation are so we don’t find ourselves down a path that dead ends.

Like it or Not, Life Imposes Conditions

If you never grow taller than 5’3” then sorry to break it to you, but you will never become a professional basketball player. If you were born deaf, you will never become a professional music critic. If you were born to Slovakian parents in Bratislava, you will never become the President of the United States.

That’s just the way things are. There are limits placed on us from time to time by circumstance. I’m 6’4” and will never be a professional horse jockey, for instance.

It wouldn’t matter how badly I hungered to earn my livelihood riding race horses, how positively I thought about it, how completely I manifested it or how hard I worked at it. That door is closed, locked and dead-bolted to me. Period. To believe otherwise is self-delusion.

Ride Your Horse Anyway

But does that mean I can’t ride horses? Or even race them? Does it mean I can’t play in a basketball league just because I’m too short to play professionally? Does it mean I can’t feel the pulse of music speak to my soul and write about it on a blog that no one or everyone comes to read? Am I banned from a life of politics just because a particular office is constitutionally off-limits?

If you have a passion for something, pursue it! If it courses in your veins, give it life. Develop your talents. Become great at what you do. There is beauty and life and happiness and meaning in it irrespective of the dollar value others will or will not pay you to express it.

Something comes alive and grows and expands and blooms inside of us when we pursue those things that stir our souls–even if only as a hobby.

Vocation or Avocation

Who said we had to get other people to pay us to do what we love to do? If you love it, do it because you love it. If others will pay you for it, fine. If not, find something they will pay you to do, and do what moves you in your free time.

It’s a mistake to expect others to pay us to do what we love. If what we love is marketable, more power to you, of course. But if not, so be it. There are still ways to express your passion and still keep food in the fridge and the mortgage paid on time.

Your happiness depends on it.