How many times have you gotten this advice? How many times have you given it to someone? How many movies and Instagram posts can you recall that advocate “follow your passion” as the ‘only’ way to achieve anything meaningful in life?
As cliched as it may sound, this is one advice that you see the experts, the movies, the social media and the folks stuck with you in a traffic jam recommend. But to think of it, is it really a good advice?
What if my passion is watching every Netflix and Amazon Prime original ever made, shall I pursue it?
Here’s the deal, who’s going to pay for your Netflix and Amazon Prime subscriptions? I know this question can quickly turn anyone off particularly the young that don’t have bills to pay.
Am I saying you shouldn’t follow your passion and get a 9 to 6 job instead of building your empire? Not really. My question has more to do with who is funding your passion project?
If someone’s willing to pay you while you watch Netflix on your laptop, go for it. Many women, passionate about beauty and make up, get paid for getting ready online through their beauty YouTube channels. So you might as well continue with your passion and hope to make money one day. Right? Here’s a little problem,
Hope is not a strategy.
Here’s a model that should clean up the mess,
This model proposes that Passion alone is not enough. You need to consider three components – Passion, Proficiency and Profit
I first got to know about this model through a post by Michael Hyatt and he has also defined them as below:
This is where it begins. What do you care about? What moves you? What problems do you want to solve or issues you want to address? If your heart is not in your work, you have a job but not a calling.
Passion alone is not enough. You have to be good at what you do. Being good enough will not give you the satisfaction you desire. You have to excel at your craft and be awesome. Mastery is the goal.
To enjoy a successful career, people must be willing to pay you for what you do. You don’t have to get rich, but there must be a market for your product or service. Otherwise, your career is not sustainable.
Note the following equations from the Venn diagram,
Passion + Proficiency = Hobby
Proficiency + Profit = Boredom
Profit + Passion = Failure
Passion + Proficiency + Profit = Satisfaction
So while watching Netflix is something that you can be passionate about and be totally proficient at, as long as there is no profit to be made out of it, it is just a hobby. Unless you can produce something with market viability or value and profit from your hobby, you might not be able to go too far with it.
Practically speaking, its better to be bored and do something that you are good at, while making some bucks, so that you can fund your passion projects. In other words, so that you can pay for your Netflix subscription.
I myself am a big believer in pursuing my hobbies. I have had several such passion projects bite the dust because I realized they weren’t sustainable in the long term. In fact ShoaibQureshi.in is a passion project for me. It is self sustaining but isn’t really moving the needle too much when it comes to profit but then PMCLounge.com is another project that checks all three boxes of the Venn diagram.
I am often told that my blog should be about a niche topic, that my Instagram and YouTube is all over the place and should focus on a specific subject. But that is by design. It is intentional. I do not really care about profit from these avenues. It is a hobby that I can afford.
If you blindly follow your passion, you might ignore proficiency and profitability and that isn’t a good place to be. “Follow you passion”, after all, isn’t really a good advice unless you can bring in proficiency and profitability along.