Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. Rrrrrright.

How many times have we heard or read this slogan? How many of us have done what we love, and we're still waiting for the money?

I've pursued a number of passions, and had some great experiences doing so. But the financial return on my investment in each case has not just been nil, but negative.

If we are to believe the "Do What You Love" phrase, then merely practicing a hobby should naturally fill up our bank accounts.

The truth, however, is far different.

For me, the money's always followed when I've done something I didn't particularly love.

However, I find tons of subjects interesting. But "Love?" That's asking quite a lot.

It's time to nuke this advice and and show it for the sentimental platitude it really is! I prefer to revise the phrase into "Do something you find interesting that also offers a salary or other cash renumeration and the money will follow."

While you make up your own newer, more accurate version, consider the potential dangers of "Doing What You Love," as described in Beware of Turning Hobbies into Jobs at Gaping Void.

And for a very effective dismantling of a similarly erroneous aphorism, check out I keep reading the argument that “Money can’t buy happiness.” It’s not that simple! at The Happiness Project.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Top 20 Tactics for Taming Terrible TV Addiction Madness

I basically made one New Year's Resolution last week: to work on my TV addiction. It's been with me for a long, long time, from my early days when I rushed home from school to watch Dark Shadows, through my higher education years (majoring in Television and Communications - what else?) I've realized I need to do something to curb my nightly channel surfing activities, but I wasn't having much luck in figuring out exactly what to replace the tube with until I fell upon The 9 Step Television Diet (at Think Simple Now, by way of The Happiness Project.)

Tina's list of television's evil effects hit home for me, and her options for battling this particular monkey are simple and achievable. They also encouraged me to come up with my own list of Things To Do Instead of Watching TV and Ways To Battle the Madness. They are:

1. Turn the TV on later in the evening. (I got used to this when I was working at home all last summer and fall.)
2. Cultivate the ability to turn things off. (I turn off the stove after using it - think of the TV as the stove.)
3. Increase my stamina. (This helps with number 15, below.)
4. Replace with working out, a class, a hobby
5. Move to someplace more active all year round
6. Turn on the radio - methadone for TV addicts
7. Call people on the phone
8. Take the laptop to a coffee shop
9. Turn the set on, but turn off the sound
10. Figure out other relaxation methods
11. Go to bed earlier. (This will allow me to Get up earlier.)
12. Move the Tube - to a less central and accessible location.
13. Get rid of cable. (This one's tough, unless I really start thinking about what I can buy with the money I've saved after 6 months - which amounts to a weekend trip to the beach!)
14. Stay longer at work.
15. Move my gym workouts to the evening.
16. Do home improvements
17. Plan out tomorrow or next week (lunches, dinners, work plan, workouts)
18. Allow for some (few) days when I will watch TV the way I used to. (During blizzards. And cold torrential downpours. When I'm sick. Or after a particularly stressful week or month.)
19. Freelance! (Make extra money!)
20. Blog.

(I would put "reading" as number 21, but for me, reading can become an addiction too. So while I definitely think it's better than watching "The Biggest Loser," I also consider it the methadone of TV addiction cures.)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why You Might Change Your Passions and/or Dreams in Mid-Life

I used to be all about performing. Onstage, in concerts. Watching others tackle my original work. Paying big bucks to see the masters at work. I've sung in Carnegie Hall and on CBS for the Kennedy Center Honors. I've watched as television actors made my words their own and gave life to my characters in Los Angeles. I've witnessed firsthand some of the most legendary performers of the 20th century.

So why isn't it all that important for me to work in the performing arts anymore? I have my reasons, which I'll list below. Perhaps you'll recognize some of them yourself, if you're challenged by a major shift in your goals.

But first, check out what Hugh Mcleod has to say about this phenomenon, in his post Allow Your Work To Age With You at Gaping Void.

Hugh advocates quitting and moving on. I'm analyzing the possible reasons why one would quit that support Hugh's take on the subject. The reasons?

Those things are no longer fun.
Pursuing them makes no business sense - too much money expended for less and less returns.
Quitting allows for investigating other options and opportunities.
You've found something better.
It was never about [fill in the blank], and you've had enough of what it's about.
You've lost faith in the issue/idea/area.
You've lost respect for the issue/idea/area.
You've fulfilled your dream and don't need to go further.
The money didn't follow.
You feel there are too many sacrifices you continue to have to make.
It was someone else's dream in the first place.
It was more about proving something about yourself than a love for it (the issue, idea or area.)
You're much more enamored of part of the dream than the whole thing.
You've found easier/cheaper/better ways of working at your dream.
You ran out of ideas.
You've decided the amount of work you have to do isn't worth it in the long run.
It really is too hard to pull off.

I used to dream about making movies. Now I dream about travel, following the sun, being outdoors, athletic activity.

But it is strange to say goodbye to a passion that's taken up so much time and energy. But it needs to happen, since the passion is just not there anymore.