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Passion or Profit: How Do we Decide Our Futures Without Losing What we Love?

By: Ariella Youssefyeh

Girl dancing in white dress

The balance between doing what we WANT to do in our futures, versus doing what we feel like we HAVE to do with our futures, was one of the big questions weighing on me for a while, especially during college admissions when it felt like my entire life depended on the major that I chose. 

Because this is an issue that still weighs on me from time to time, and a conversation that I’ve had with so many young people, I wanted to address it and help us all find some peace in this madness. 

In life, there are bound to be fluctuations in our emotions. Sometimes the hobby that you are most passionate about isn’t making you as happy as it normally does, or the job that you usually hate doesn’t seem so bad one day. 

But how are we supposed to make decisions that take our future in any direction when we want to be successful, but don’t want to be miserable?

Here are a few ideas that are important to remember when weighing your choices:

If you love interacting with people and being social is your strength, but you aren’t sure how that fits into your future plans, try finding a job that allows you to form connections and work with others while still finding success. If you prefer the solace of working on your own and tend to operate better that way, try finding a job that allows you to work with yourself and your own thoughts. An “all or nothing approach” (either doing a job you hate that has nothing to do with your passions or doing a job you love but you don't have any success whatsoever) is not the solution to this. There is a way to do both, and while that journey can be stressful and overwhelming at times, the payoff can be amazing and worth the hard work. 

When you have your family or even your own nervous thoughts constantly telling you that you need to pick a certain career in order to fit into the box of commercial success, it’s easy to abandon what truly makes you happy. At the end of the day, you’re going to regret never giving yourself the chance the make your passion into something more. Work ethic and intelligence are important yes, but nothing beats the drive that someone has when they are involved in something that they are passionate about. Though you may have to work in industries you aren’t passionate about while on the journey to success, ultimately if you persevere and take action regarding your passions on the side even, you are on the path to greatness. 

Though everyone has a different journey, learning from those who have already taken the steps you’re hoping to take can be inspirational and instill a sense of hope when it feels like all is lost. I suggest finding people who are in similar careers to what you hope to be in, and connecting with them on LinkedIn, social media, and kindly emailing them explaining that your admire their work and would value their advice. I also suggest reading the book Sweet Success: A Simple Recipe to Turn your Passion into Profit  by Candace Nelson (Founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes). I’ve heard more amazing reviews about this book than I can count, and Candace’s story has been such an inspiring entrepreneurial story worth reading, even if her career path doesn’t seem like it would be relevant to yours. 

You might end up loving a job or industry that you never had a passion for in the first place. Don’t knock it until you try it, and whether you loved it or hated it, you learned something about yourself, expanded your experience, and met new people (which are all what life is truly about anyway). 

Overall, your life is meant to be lived fully and is beautiful with all of its joy, sadness, tears, laughter, friendships, “failures”, love, and heartbreak. You deserve to live not just a future you love but also a now that you love. Find ways to incorporate the things that feed your soul and bring you peace into every day!!



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