Want Financial Independence? Forget Passion. Do What You’re Good at | Briefing v10

From the time we’re in grammar school, we’re told our primary objective in school, university, and life graduation is to “find your passion.” Once you find your passion, you pursue it for the rest of your days and will likely evolve into financial independence. However, we argue this one-size-fits-all template for your education, work career, and life is hardly universal for everyone; in fact, for many people, this approach may be exactly the wrong predication for one’s ideal pursuit(s).

Why? Good question. Here’s our contention:

The underlying presumption is that everyone has a subconscious, life-calling passion. While this is certainly true for many, it is far from an absolute truth for every single individual. A not insignificant segment of the population would certainly agree they have activities or hobbies they enjoy, however don’t have or identify with any passions. This presumption also implies that absolutely whatever one’s passion about, can be monetized and transferred into a sustainable, even lucrative, career.

For example, consider post-grads, an overwhelming segment of which feels a frustrating sense of lack of direction and inability to identify a strong, singular ‘passion’ on which to predicate their entire career. Coincidence? Perhaps. Let’s assume that every single person is born with a subconscious, life-calling passion. How is everyone supposed to identify their passion before starting college, when they have to declare a major, begin taking major-specific coursework, applying for major-specific internships during sophomore year, and apply for major-related jobs before even graduating; if they haven’t even identified what their passion is yet? Is it even possible to learn what your passion is by the time you’re 18 years old, when you’ve barely any life experience yet to determine how you want to spend the next 40+ years of your adult life pursuing? How about after graduating from college, after you’ve spent your entire life up until then in school, with maybe a couple entry-level part-time jobs and internships?

There is also no correlation between passion and talent, skill, expertise, or capability whatsoever. Passion may inspire motivation, discipline, and will to allocate time, effort, and capital in a pursuit. However, it is with strong reason that venture capitalists do not factor ‘passion’ into a potential investment’s viability for success over time. Watch any episode of ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ for the recurring theme of investors declining to even make a private equity offer on the basis despite an entrepreneur’s demonstrable passion for their business and willingness to put in the necessary time and effort. Passion in no way correlates to profits, revenue growth, user growth and adoption, market penetration, industry disruption, and more.

Get a job at a bank or a commercial lender, and your boss may tell you, ‘A lot of people will come in looking for a loan so they can pursue their passion. That’s great, but they usually don’t last long. Give a loan to the guy who’s starting a boring business that makes money. In fact, the more boring the business, the better.’ It may be a cliché, but it’s true. Running a laundromat, manufacturing inexpensive plastic bottle caps, and other get-your-hands-dirty ventures aren’t glamorous businesses, but they are consistently reliable year-over-year and the most likely to enable financial independence.

Passion is an emotion. Business isn’t personal, but passion often is. Just because you’re fascinated or sentimental about something, this emotional feeling does not necessitate other people share the same sentiment as well. Any successful investor, entrepreneur, or businessperson will tell you that making decisions based on emotion is probably not a good idea.

Passion is a great attribute, especially if it’s in something you’re naturally gifted or highly skilled in. But this is a best-case scenario that is far from applicable for everyone. If you’re passionate about something you’re not very good at, maybe that shouldn’t be your primary focus for the next 40+ years. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be a great hobby or something fun to do during free time! However, if you’re good at something you’re not passionate about, which we believe is the case for many people, you have an amazing opportunity to build and improve upon something you’re probably already above average in relative to others. There’s a funny saying, that doing something you’re good at can ultimately lead to you to become passionate about it. Though that may not always be the case, success begets success, and can snowball your interest, discipline, and energy towards a pursuit you had never even considered (props, Mike Rowe).

Originally published at https://www.moneyredpill.com on December 30, 2019.

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