Around six years ago, I had some odd health complaints that were severely disrupting my daily life. Many trips to the doctor and over $1000 out of pocket and I wasn’t even close to a remedy. I stumbled across some information on the internet (gasp) that seemed to describe my issues in a specific way I had not seen before, so I began voraciously reading more on the subject. Six months later (and with minimal cost), I felt in the most excellent form of my life.
Even though I was healthy, I found an obsessive fascination with how the body works and started consuming literature across many different medical and health fields – purely for fun. Now, occasionally, a close friend or family member will ask me, “Hey, what would you do about X?” Or, “Wow, I have had this thing going on, do you know anything about that?” Sometimes, I do know exactly what would help that, and the process in the body by which it occurs. Afterward, I get some version of, “You know, you really should do this for a living and be a Dr or whatever.”
I politely say, “Nawww…” and drop it. Because I vehemently disagree.
First, and specifically in the health field, just because I know what to change to increase cognitive performance or how to help a sluggish gallbladder (mostly from personal experience), does not mean I can help a wide range of people. But secondly and most important of all – I do not want to turn my hobby into a living.
“It’s always good to have a hobby where there’s no way to monetize it…So follow your dreams, but right up to the point where they become your job, and then run in the other direction.”
Careers demand focus, grit, frustration, and sacrifice. Interestingly enough, a hobby that you love requires those things also – but in a different way. When you’re doing it for money, there will come a time when you are faced with the decision to sacrifice some aspect of your work to put food on the table. Most of us aren’t strong enough to resist that.
I am not saying it cannot be done – Walt Disney spent years doing things I would never do to make his dream come true. I think the empire he built is exactly what he deserved for it as well. Countless others have sacrificed comfort and pride to make their dreams happen also, but they were delusional and lived an utterly out-of-balance life to make it happen, including not putting dinner on the table many, many nights.
People say, oh if I won the lottery, I would do such and such. Wrong. I am convinced that the lottery ruins more lives than it improves because no one can resist the pull of their baser instincts at extreme moments – almost always when money is involved – of having too much or too little of something.
Maybe the worst part of all is something no one thinks of beforehand. Don’t you use a hobby as an escape from your day-to-day? If your hobby becomes your full-time gig, what do you escape to?
So, what is the worst advice you’ve ever heard?
“You are so good at ________! You should do it for a living!”