The Sails: When Doing What You Love Brings In No Money. . .

03/19/11

We're told that we should pursue what we love, what were good at, and eventually the money will come. We're told that no matter the circumstances, no matter the adversity, no matter the immediate hardships, that the pursuit of making money off what we love and what we're good at is noble. We're told that this is what successful people do. Successful people tell us that's what they do. We're told that if it's not working, we just need to try a "little harder", show a little more patience, maybe go back to school, etc. We must plot, plan, and be determined. This is the winners’ attitude, or so we've been told. We must fight, fight, and fight to make our dreams come true!

None of this takes into consideration the numerous amounts of people who don't make it. Oh, don't think about them, we're told. They’re lazy, unmotivated, and losers! I'm here to challenge this thinking process. What if there is truly no probable method in this day and age to make money off of what you love, or what you're good at? Think about it, those who are successful are often the benefactors of timing and location. From the moment they were born to the moment they came of age, they were blessed with certain talents and abilities that matched perfectly with what was in demand for the current time period and location. It's possible that if they were born ten years earlier, or ten years later, or simply born in another country, that this success may have never had the chance to manifest itself.

No problem, says the detractors. If a certain talent can't conceivably bring you in any cash, find another! None of this of course takes into consideration that simply finding one talent that you enjoy is already hard enough, but let's say you do discover another talent? Who is to say the same situation won't happen again?

I'm an individual who not only had the privilege of finding a talent that I enjoyed once, but twice, make that three times all before the age of 30! Wow, not too many people can say that! All three talents that I enjoyed had one thing in common though: They didn't bring in any money, and if they did, it was inconsistent at best, absolute poverty at worse.

However, there are still the detractors in your head. Let's call him, or maybe her? Mrs. Capitalism. Mrs. Capitalism is telling you to innovate, create and enterprise your way to success! Quit whining, get off your butt, go, go, go! So you go, with Mrs. Capitalism on your side, and the drive of a fiery ant, how can you fail? You'll force the world to actually pay you for what you love and your talents if it's the last thing you'll do! Only it's still not working. . . As you struggle, you're discovering that while the environment is different, the fundamentals remain the same. Entrepreneurship may be a good way to do what you love and make money if your goal is to free yourself from a tyrannical boss, but what entrepreneurship can't do is turn copper into gold. The reasons you couldn't get a job doing what you love are the same reasons you're business is failing doing what you love. The customers simply don't care about what you love!

Now, I'm hardly the person to fleece customers with a sub par product or not offer any conceivable product at all. In fact, I would go on to say that many of the products I did offer would have done much good for the person who bought them and would have improved the world, but if people would rather pay $10 for a GMO fat-MacBurger, satisfy their pedophiliac impulses with Justin Beiber, or buy a mansion made of plywood that will certainly depreciate 10 fold in thirty years, etc. there's nothing I can do about it. It's difficult enough to create a unique product, but now I must cure idiocy as well? You see, the fact of the matter is we're all under the mercy of the dumb masses. At this point I had a choice: Take the easy path, sell the crap that the dumb arse masses want, and make money OR continue to do what I love and fight, fight, fight for business. I chose to fight; I lost not once, but twice. Still people are telling me I should do what I love and the money will follow. . .

Now, the reaction of many in my situation would be to panic. Yes, I did panic. Another reaction would be to toughen up and fight, as I described already, I fought myself to exhaustion. Many would slip into a depression; yes I did slip into a horrible depression. There's another way though. . . Ways were you don't have to torture yourself in finding what you love, and finding the money. A way where you don't have to listen to the condescending advice of wealthy men and women who spout garbage such as "if I can do it, you can do it too!" Ways were you can shut off your televisions, your radios, and close that book telling you to manage every facet of your life. Methods were you have to fight no longer. What is this method you ask? Simply let it be and set sail!

You're Jacques Cartier setting sail, only this time on a raft with a small sail, unaware of where the winds will take you. You have no idea what awaits you. You're traveling un-chartered waters. You have no set destination and many nights you find yourself alone, gazing up at the stars, wondering if there is any point to this journey. At first this will seem frightening, but over time you'll come to understand that this is the closest to freedom a mortal man could ever achieve. Letting the wind blow and setting sail is simply accepting where the world wishes to place you in terms of generating money, any money. Rather than fight and say "no, I don't want that," or "no, I won't enjoy that", just say "okay." Because when it comes to fighting the world, you will lose every time. You could be perfectly right, and the world could be completely wrong, and still you will lose. The world is the winds of your sails. It would be wise to respect that fact. This is difficult, because you're completely surrendering yourself to fate, with only your ability to navigate the waves as a means to guide you.

The consequences may seem dire. Certainly it's a massive storm with tall waves to start, but if the howling wind that is the world thinks you're best suited to travel in this direction, the treasures and money will come provided you competently adjust the sails. That's because people appreciate a person who fills in a service they lack, want, and that they perceive you have. Notice how I used the word perceive. It's possible you feel you're not good at where the sailing vessel is guiding you. It's possible you're better off traveling in other directions. It's possible you're not particularly enjoying your experience. Hey, I believe you! Nobody knows you better than yourself! Unfortunately, what matters most is where others perceive you to be best suited. In time, you'll find it's not unfortunate but fortunate, and it's so easy. You'll have more than enough time to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Never fight the wind. If your dreams, talents, and skills are working against the wind, then that's not a dream, that's a ship wreck! Just allow the wind to carry you even though you can't always understand the reasoning behind it. You can't fight the wind, but you can steer the rudder and adjust the sails for smoother sailing. Before you're too quick to judge, let's just see where the wind takes you. . . If the wind is directing you down a path where success seems improbable, constantly bypassing what on the surface looks possible, then what remains no matter how improbable, is possible.

-Donovan D. Westhaver

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