Follow your bliss, end up with blisters. How and when to use your “passion” as decision-breaker

I never wanted to grow up. And I was pretty certain I’d never have to. Not having a plan, following my dreams and desires, pursuing my goals with reckless abandon, refusing to “be practical” and “think about the future” – those were some of the things that made my life fun and exciting.

“Follow Your Bliss” can be a great rule – if you want to be happy. If you want to have exciting, crazy, random experiences and meet new people.

But then all of a sudden, you have people depending on you, you have to pay the rent, you hate being a drag on your friends – the guy who can’t afford to go out to eat, give nice presents, or pay for his fair share. The girl people say “She’s creative, but she needs to get her life together and be more responsible.”

If you’re reached this stage, you might be catching on to the fact that following your bliss doesn’t always lead to the money.

The problem with “The Secret”

The entire self-help, spiritual, new age industry (made manifest most popularly by the book “The Secret”) tells you that you can get anything you want if you believe in it and persevere. Anything.

The problem with “follow your bliss or passion” type of people is that they often don’t know what they want (Gemini, Sagitarius, I’m talking to you). They follow their changeable whims, and don’t get anywhere.

It’s important to understand that “The Secret” is about long term goal setting and repetition. You have to choose where you’re going and what you want. And then you have to insist upon it, and repeat it. (With intention and feelings of positive emotions).

I’m not going to say that that won’t work, because it can – goal setting has been proven to be effective.

But it still won’t necessarily lead to the money!

Where money comes from

People pay for things they want. Whatever it is that you want to do, no matter how strange, you can make it a business if you’re able to convince people that they want what you have. That takes powerful copy writing and marketing, but it can be done.

An easier way is to find out what people want, and sell it to them.

On one hand you have the author who writes a personal memoir that he feels is incredible, amazing – but no one wants to read. But he followed his passion.

On the other hand you have an author who’s not that into vampire romance novels, but he writes one, because it’s a hot genre. He makes sure to make the characters similar to the characters of other best selling books in the industry, and follow the basic format of paranormal romance. He writes a mediocre book, and it sells thousands of copies.

Do you deserve to be happy?

What makes you happy? I used to like being poor. I never knew where I would end up. I didn’t need money to survive. But then I started noticing that a lot of the things that make me happy, like travel, or nice meals, cost money. Having money also cut down on worry and stress.

Maybe it takes money to be happy.

Is your goal to write the book in your heart? Or to write a book that sells?

Do you want to make the art that you enjoy? Or become so in demand that your art is worth lots of money?

These may not be the same thing.

Your two selves

You have a little kid inside you. He’s moody and selfish. But she’s also creative and joyful. You need to give that kid as much as you can, by taking him to the park, letting the grass slide through her toes, buying them toys and nice clothes, letting them play and be happy.

But you also have an adult, who worries about money, because it’s his responsibility to take care of the kid.

You two are in it alone. Nobody else is responsible for taking care of you.

What’s more important? Neither.

To unlock your joy, your creativity, your passion, you need to give the kid as much love and support as you can.

And it is possible that this will lead to a lucrative freelance or self-employed career, if you can master the business side of it.

But don’t expect the universe to reward you simply because you’re following your bliss. (The universe gives you the opportunity to build in it, but it doesn’t care if you succeed or fail).

On Making Decisions

I used to make all decisions with my heart. If it felt wrong or scary, I fled. If it felt great and exciting, I was in. I finally figured out, that’s like letting the kid do all the decision making (eating ice-cream all day for every meal). As the adult, you need to sometimes do things you don’t want to do, like force yourselves to eat more vegetables, because you can see the long term plan.

How do you make decisions? With your head or your heart? Which ones work out the best for you?

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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