When people say to follow your passion and the money will follow, what exactly do they mean? I have friends who are passionate about their painting and living an organic lifestyle. They may not have much money, but they have a better life than most because they are doing what they love and they have everything they need. On paper they may not even be profitable, but they are prosperous.
Profit is the money left over after all costs are covered. Prosperity is a way of living.
When we think about Prosperity we think about having enough. It’s hard to feel like we have enough. There’s always something more we would like to have. So prosperity feels unattainable. It’s something other people have, you know, the ones who, if we had what they had, we’d be happy.
We could blame advertising for creating a whole lifetime of wants out of thin air. We could blame our hollow lifestyles that have us craving some meaning and trying instead to fill the void with stuff. We could blame our natures, which have been conditioned, for us to continually strive for more. Who else can we blame? Our parents? Yes, they bought into the whole post-war industrial, suburban, ride-on-mower-in-every-garage lifestyle.
That’s irrelevant at this point, because we are the bosses of our lives. We have the choice. We can choose to live a life with meaning, purpose and passion. When we focus on those, the things don’t matter anymore.
That doesn’t mean we have to go the haircloth route (what is haircloth?) or live in a freezing garret to be true to our art and ourselves. It means that we focus on our art rather than on stuff that forces us to take jobs just to pay off the ride on mower we bought on the credit card.
Philosophers have been studying ‘the Good Life’ for as long as people have been aware that life could be more than just hunting and eating, etc. They inevitably come back to simpler is better. The less stuff we have in our lives, the more we have to fill our lives with meaning. As we search for meaning we find our passion.
So maybe what we should say is: Follow your passion and the good life will follow.