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Follow Your Dreams/Passion…..Yeah Right

A recurring topic of conversation I seem to have had lately with people starting out in life/business/career has been should you follow your passion. My answer has been simple. If your passion can pay you a million dollars a year then sure go for it. If not forget it.

This may sound somewhat hard headed and mercenary but like all of us I view the question through the prism of my own experience. When I was much much younger I had the opportunity to be a professional martial artist and like all young people I thought this would be uber cool. You have to remember I grew up in the era of Bruce Lee. However, I had an epiphany one night when I looked at the sorts of cars that those who had been involved in the arts for a long time drove. They were all shitboxes.

Every so often I catch up with people from the old days and I look at  what they are doing. It is generally teaching half a dozen people in a church hall and throwing people out of pubs on weekends to make ends meet. Although they refer to chucking dickheads out of  pubs as close protection work as if they are the Aga Khans personal bodyguard.

The message what they did when they were young was their passion and they envisaged a lifetime of doing this one thing. They formulated this view without thinking of the long term consequences of that decision.

Martial arts is still one of my passions but know I pay people to let me hit them. I am not paid by people for them to hit me.



    • Some quick back of the envelope numbers.

      Mean $180,204 – looks pretty good but is distorted by the handful at the top end. Their earnings seem to be further distorted by media deals not fights purses. Which is why they all have a an estimate notation next to their name.
      Median $32,000 – so half earn less than $32k
      Mode $8,000 – most get the living shit knocked out of them for $8k ;-(

      No doubt UFC fighters are becoming increasingly better paid but I was at a fight night last year where the average pay was $250 per fight. Match this against CTE and it is not a good risk reward equation.

  1. Hi Chris,

    So where do charity workers fit in to this or social workers? Many people do these jobs because they are passionate about it but never going to earn one million doing it or am I missing the point. surely it is about doing things that make you happy, fulfilled and content in life. I’m struggling with this concept myself at the minute – reading your blog I should give it up and do something that makes me unhappy and unfulfilled as long as it brings in ripper money.

    • Where passion and profit intersect you have bliss. Where passion and profit diverge and you have not made peace with this decision you have despair.

  2. He he. What if you’d founded the UFC though? There must be alot of people who share your passion for martial arts if UFC is as popular as the dollar figures suggest?

    I that agree if your passion is something so obscure/individual/illegal that no one else on the planet is likely to be interested in it, then you’re up against it.

    Otherwise, go nuts! The guy that founded Cirque du Soleil wouldn’t have had to worry about what cars other performers drove before he started it. They were probably riding unicycles… :)

    • Founding the UFC was a corker of an idea and Dana White has done a tremendous job in publicising his sport. The problem with most martial artists is they simply don’t make any money yet their bodies take a fearful pounding.

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