A lot of us aspire to have an idealistic life of being able to turn our passion into a job. The idea of doing a hobby that you love for the rest of your life as a job sounds so fulfilling, but sometimes the idea of something is a lot more enjoyable than reality. In this case, turning your passion into a job could drastically affect your relationship with it through changing the dynamics when it comes to motivation.
Why is a passion a passion?
Our hobbies are hobbies because they are things that give us satisfaction. These hobbies provide us with fulfilment, enthusiasm and enjoyment. But why do they do so? It’s because these ‘passions’ provide us with intrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation refers to the actions that one might take due to the internal satisfaction of doing an activity rather than for external rewards.
What are we working for? (Extrinsic Motivation)
In that case, what are these external rewards? These rewards are are tangible, and some examples would include money, grades or material goods. This is where extrinsic motivation comes in, where motivation is drawn from an external source. Besides the tangible, they can also come from intangible sources. For example, one might draw extrinsic motivation from not wanting to get punished – you’re pretty likely to listen to your supervisor’s orders to do a certain task so that you don’t run the risk of getting fired. Or perhaps, earn money to survive.
Intrinsic VS. Extrinsic Motivation
The problem comes when we mix extrinsic motivation into something that we already have intrinsic motivation for. Starting out, we would likely get used to the blend of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation when it comes to enjoying our craft. But down the line, should that source of extrinsic motivation dry up (e.g., you stop getting gigs as often as you used to; You start earning less), it might be hard to find yourself enjoying what you’re doing as much as it was before.
Additionally, no matter how much one might love their hobby, once it’s turned into a job, it’ll be work. Work is work, and it’ll always be bound up with moments of frustration and stress. You might love photography, but at the same time you might not be able to take the types of photos that you’d want all the time. If you’re freelancing, you’ll have to do your own invoices and find your own clients. Some of us don’t realise that making our passion our job also encompasses those elements.
The key would be to ensure that you have a boundary with your passion when it comes to doing it for work and doing it for intrinsic joy. My personal behaviour would be ensuring that I take time to enjoy my hobby outside of work rather than just doing it for work all the time.
Making our passion our job might come across as something idealistic, but with the proper mindset, discipline and awareness to deal with its unique set of issues, it is much more possible than one might think.
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A young Singaporean concerned about issues workers face. As humans, we spend a third of our lives sleeping and recharging, and another third for our personal life, and the last third at work (based on a 24-hr distribution). That’s why we should pay attention to issues surrounding work.