Making money from your passion is not easy.
You may feel that life is not worth living unless you are following your dreams and doing what really makes your heart happy. But the chances that your dreams and a steady stream of revenue are best friends are close to zero. There really is no better advice than ‘don’t give up your day job’.
So should you ditch the idea of starting a band that will rival Nirvana? No, but just do it in your spare time.
The commercial success of dreams are few and far between and those dreams can quickly turn into nightmares when your passion needs to pay the mortgage and cover the car insurance every month. It’s a far better idea to carry on with your day job as an engineer or mathematician and tinker with what makes you happy at night instead of wasting your life in front of the TV. Maybe that hobby blossoms into something that generates a bit of revenue and you can build on it from there. Maybe…if you are damn lucky.
But remember the statistical odds of hitting the big time are probably better if you are trying to win the lottery jackpot.
Happiness comes from having the means and ability to explore what makes you happy – and that you cannot do from a place of struggle. Get the best education you can possibly get. Push yourself into areas of professional specialisation that will be in high demand and generate a good income. And play Stairway to Heaven at night in the underground studio that you built from the proceeds from your real job.
Popular culture is way too generous with its blind encouragement of following dreams. If all you want to do is live like a journeyman and rely on meals from a night shelter, then absolutely follow your own path. But life in 2014 is a lot more complicated and ruthless than that. You just don’t want to give anyone the power over you to say ‘no’. Otherwise make sure you have rich parents.