Would You Still Do What You Do If It Made No Money?

There is always talk about how you should plan for retirement. You’ll find an abundance of calculators online that will help you figure out exactly how much money you should have saved in order to have a comfortable retirement. You’ll find so many people looking forward to the day when they can stop working for good and finally live the good life in retirement.

Except, if you retire at the age that society expects you to retire, you’re already going to be pretty old (and you’re only going to get older). Your golden years, more likely than not, are going to be riddled with more health concerns than your younger, more active years. And then there’s all this talk about people who are just so bored in retirement, because they don’t know what to do with all this “free time” they now have.

Which brings us to the question that serves as the title to this blog post. If the work that you do today, whatever it may be, no longer provided you with any income whatsoever, would you continue to do it?


I’d suspect that the vast majority of the general population would laugh at this question. Of course they wouldn’t want to work anymore, right? And therein lies a fundamental problem with the traditional views on having a regular job. You’re in it only for the paycheck. But if you’re going to spend upwards of 60 hours a week doing this work, doesn’t it make a lot more sense to do something you actually want to do?

Many regular people will likely say that doing what you love for a living is a pipe dream, because the money will not follow automatically. That’s true, to a certain extent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you love, even if it’s a slightly adapted version of that vision you have in your head.

For years, I wrote articles on the Internet, long before I knew anything about blogging or monetization. I did it, because I enjoyed it and not because it made any money (because it didn’t). If I were to suddenly come into millions of dollars tomorrow and I didn’t have to work another day in my life, I suspect I would continue writing. It may look a little different and I may not take on clients for my freelance business, but I would keep writing, because I enjoy it.

And the same thing can be said about all sorts of different people with all sorts of different interests. If you really enjoy making videos, you’ll probably keep publishing them on YouTube even if you don’t make another dime. If you really enjoy music, you’ll probably keep writing songs and playing instruments, even if you never make another sale on iTunes. When you ask yourself the question of whether you’d keep “working” at what you do today if there was no more money, you really get at the heart of what you should be doing.

Go ahead and ask John exactly the same question. If John Chow dot Com suddenly stopped earning any money whatsoever, I imagine this site would still exist. John would still do what he does, because there is an intrinsic source of satisfaction and happiness here. The money, however great it may be, is a secondary benefit.

The real benefit here is the ability to freely live the dot com lifestyle how he sees fit, when he sees fit, where he sees fit. And if what you choose to do happens to rake in the dough to enable this kind of lifestyle, then you’ve won. And you can keep doing what you want to do without restriction or inhibition.

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