Having your own hobby or interest is somewhat satisfying, not to mention some people perceive those who have strong passion in things they love are sexy. Such a rewarding combo, some people have exciting hobbies they can make money from and it is very interesting to witness how they dedicate hours to sharpen their skills in it.
Most of us are familiar with the saying of “do what you love or love what you do”, where we commonly interpret it as turning our hobbies into income-generating activities. However, the bitter truth when it comes to real business is; not all things we are passionate about are valuable. Come to think of it, if you love to sing, winning many singing competitions, spending your spare hours to sing, can you ensure that people will pay you for it? The wise answer might be: depends. Yet, frankly speaking you have to admit the real answer: there is no guarantee. We understand that having a hobby or doing what excites us is very fulfilling for our beings in a way that we feel content and we can shine the best version of our true selves by doing it; in sum, we feel successful and alive. At this point, we can argue that the success indicator is not always about how much money we make out of the hobby.
However, in reality, money is the measurable indicator of success and value. This fact actually leads to an assumption that a businessman is way more promising than an amateur artist even though the artist himself is probably more satisfied with his life just because he loves what he does for living.
In the realm of business, money matters. So, with this logic, if you love what you do for living but people will not easily give up their money to pay you for it, then you have no power to claim that you can do what you love, simply because it is not that valuable for people to support you. Cal Newport, the author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, argues that it is way wiser to love what you do instead of believing the saying of “do what you love”. Some facts to back up his argument are first, in order to create money, people have to create the market for their hobby passion first. Once we are sure that the things we are passionate about is sellable and marketable, we have a good starting point.
Secondly, when we can guarantee it is valuable and start creating our innovation in it, we will be more driven by the response and feedbacks from others in which can motivate us to be more creative, thus gaining skills to master our passion will be much reasonable. As a result, when we invest our time and energy in improving our skills and passion, we will end up loving what we do; and according to him, this logic also applies to things we once were not passionate about at the beginning. From his argument, we can draw a conclusion, we need the right amount of recognition and achievement to encourage ourselves to go from the point of “do what we love” to reach the state of “love what we do”.
Nevertheless, even after having his argument digested in our mind that we keep nodding in agreement, some people still choose to do what they love at all cost although it is not financially promising or valuable. How so? Don’t they need money to maintain their life? Why don’t they just give up their passion and opt for the typical career path to work from 9 to 5 to obtain the sense of certainty? Are they really happy?
The other side of the coin reveals, some people have a different perspective of happiness itself thus affects their set of thinking that motivates them to do things they love. Because, motivation stems from both extrinsic and intrinsic urges where extrinsic motivation mainly talks about reward—usually money—as part of what motivate people and the stressor is any forms of punishment that hinder them from getting the reward. While it does not necessarily mean some people devalue the need to get more money from what they do, intrinsic motivation, in the other hand, believes there are three factors that highly motivate people to do things they are passionate about; namely the autonomy, purpose, and mastery.
Dan Pink argues, people are free to decide the definition of success. Therefore, although it is widely believed that money, power, and control are things we require to have to define success, he assumes that happiness and success can be real when people can really share and contribute to their surroundings. This logic is in line with positive psychology which discusses about our nature to be an altruist at heart. Happiness will only last if we can help others and make a positive impact in the lives of others as our existence in this world will be more recognized if we can lift others up to the level where they want themselves to be at.
We surely can continue doing what we love regardless it will financially benefit us or not; or just pushing and motivating ourselves to actually love what we do. Because we, ourselves, are the one who responsible to define our success and happiness.