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Monday, 13 June 2016

Follow your OWN passion - not someone else's

Follow your passion.

Nothing wrong with it.

Except as with all good things, when they get "parroted" by dumb people, they become clichéd or hackneyed.

I personally prefer this Japanese word: ikigai - the reason you get up in the morning. 

Less used, but its "similar" with passion.

But if a famous author or big time motivational speaker starts to use ikigai, then everyone and anyone will start to put ikigai on their lips.

Ikigai this, ikigai that.

And if I want to attract your attention, what do I do?

Write a book and titled it: Don't follow your ikigai!


In marketing, we call it Product Differentiation. In investing, we call it being a Contrarian.

Yup, its all bullshit. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Don't follow your passion is a winning strategy?

You know and I know the majority of readers and bloggers in our community are seeking financial freedom to escape from their dreary jobs.

If we love what we do, and we are having fun, why would anyone want to retire from it? Duh!

So how is not following your passion working out for you?

Not much good as the opiate for the masses, does it?

Everyone wants to open a café

Notice this trend?

For those not in the financial freedom community, who do you do when you hate your job?

Open a café!

Be your own boss!

If anyone quotes Rich Dad Poor Dad about being a Business Owner, I'll put my middle finger into my mouth.

I tell you, sooner or later some snake oil will start to run workshops or seminars on how to open your own café with no money down!

Nothing new. Old wine in new bottles.

Those with more experience in life may laugh off the silly "distractions" we lived through...

Remember MLM - Multi Level Marketing? You smart; others not stupid.

There were a time when our classified pages were filled with ads screaming you can become a millionaire by becoming an insurance or property agent - build your own "business"!

Clever right? You are "not" working for others.

Like that, are taxi-drivers also "business owners"?

Now what has replaced those classified ads of yesteryears by social media?

You tell me. LOL!

Follow or not follow our passion?

If you have to ask or get your answer from others, then it doesn't really matter. Does it?

P.S.  A special shout out to Passivepeon who's comment in my previous post was the catalyst and inspiration for this Roar of the Heart post.


  1. i say if you know what's your "passions" or goals early in life, you are blessed.
    You have found something that can keep you going for your lifetime.
    Without passion you can not sustain an activity for life.
    You can sustain an activity for part of your life because you need to eat to live.
    Now SMOL, is blogging here, has become one of your passions or just so , so?
    Of course a passion can die down too.
    Then i don't think it's your real passion in the first place.
    Imagine you carry on blogging here for your lifetime.
    Scary to think of it, isn't it?
    Ha! Ha!

    1. temperament,

      That's why I were so envious of my classmates who knew what they wanted to do when they grew up!

      I've no clue what to do until I stumbled into IKEA where I discovered they'll pay me to do "koyok" selling to internal colleagues!? (Hence my previous job hoppings)

      Things only made sense when connecting the dots back.

      My time at the selling floor, interests in history and literature turned out quite useful when writing and giving speeches!

      And of course now for blogging :)

      No. Blogging is not my passion. But its something that I enjoy doing. It's a fun distraction!

      The day when its no longer fun, I'll stop.

      I make a horrible husband. The day the loving feeling is gone; I'm out :(

      Grasshoppers like me should be banned from marriage?

      I get bored easy. Need new things to explore ;)

      I'm curious like the cat.


    2. I have been probing many seniors who are still working at their 60s. They work not because of passion or they need more money. They have no confidence on how to pass their time so they rather work than taking the risks to retire.

    3. CW,

      When every day is Sunday, Sunday soon loses its appeal...

      I've found my sweet spot.

      By "working" weekends, I appreciate Mondays to Fridays a lot more!!!

      Especially now must admit I'm uncle...

      Come home after work, feet sore, body ache, mouth dry from sales talk...

      Knowing I can sleep until 9 or 10 Monday morning makes me feel so blessed :)

      Crash got sound one.

      When you retire this coming Sept, you'll experience what I experienced.

      Fish once in a while is fun. Fish everyday? I don't think so ;)

  2. On the other hand it reminds me of an elephant being chained to the ground.
    After so long it is very frightening to start a new way of life.

    1. True. These old folks are like elephant. Chain to their cubicles. Let see whether smol got chance to laugh at Singapore uncle of leisure?

    2. 1) temperament,

      The Elephant And The Rope Round His Neck

      2) CW,

      I only poke those who are bigger, stronger, or smarter than me ;)

      And people whom I respect or like.

      I don't poke anyone and everyone :)

    3. Ha! Ha!
      Nothing can beat a natural bum like us when we decide to LA BAMBA.
      Grasshoppers should give some lesson to ants.

    4. temperament,

      Thank goodness I have you as a fellow playmate in our community!

      I think beside you and me, no one else has openly admitted they are grasshoppers? (Do we smell that bad?)

      You mad? I would never dare give lessons to ants.

      You know why I only poked?

      Poke and run the hell out!!!


      Because ants are LEGION!

    5. Ha! Ha!
      Ya ho!
      Especially army ants.

  3. Hi Jared
    Thank you for sharing your ideas on life. Your write-up on “passion” caught my eye.
    I personally believe, a sure-fire way to kill your passion (dancer, writer, stand-up comedian, guitarist etc) is to turn it into work and make a living out from it. Do the same work/passion every day also will get sian and jaded. It is hard to resurrect a passion/hobby when it’s dead

    I think rather than ‘follow your passion’, a better alternative is to pinpoint the parts of the day job you do enjoy… and do more of that.
    Some guys enjoys social interaction. So, working as a taxi driver allows multiple opportunities for social interaction. Other people like the outdoor environment. So, as a service technician, they can work outdoors, can eat snake abit and hide from the boss.

    1. i was a service technician.
      The reason i like outdoor environment is i was quite "independent" minded and hate office politics (TC & ST).

    2. temperament,

      I may write a future post to poke those who "hates" office politics.

      I am begging for your forgiveness in advance ;)

    3. chewyc,

      We are pretty much on the same page ;)

      Do what we enjoy; follow our passion; discover our ikigai - just as long we don't get trapped by words, or try to split hairs...

      It's a bit like telling the differences between financial security, freedom, and independence...

      Some can't tell the difference; some see them distinct as night and day!?

      That's where I have a field day poking "parrots" on both sides of the spectrum.

      With Zen, I am trained to see beyond words; and yet my vocabulary grasp of the English language liberates me to perceive the differing shades of meaning ;)

      It's both a gift and curse...

    4. Wah!
      No apology is needed because you can not change a leopard's spot no matter.

    5. temperament,

      The previous company I worked in has a wonderful values system and company culture.

      My mentors told me:

      "Its better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

      Something most Singaporeans are not used to!

  4. Hi SMOL,

    Errrr. Not sure if it's a good thing if I'm the catalyst for this post. Lol. I see many pokes sprouting out from here.

    I believe that it doesn't matter if one has passion for work or not. Everyone has a chance to lead a fulfilling life.

    If one has passion for work or investing or whatever earns you the moolah, then great! We'll probably lead a fulfilling life since we're following our passion!

    However, does it mean that our life will be unfulfilling if working and all that financial hogwash is not our passion and yet we have to do it?

    Fulfilment in life can also be derive when we treat our parents or kids to a feast with what little money we earn from our unpassionate work right;)

    Passion for work is overrated. Passion for life is underrated.

    Now I understand why you labelled yourself a grasshopper😁

    And your angmo is quite cheem. Had to read the 2nd last para several times to catch the drift. Lol

    1. PassivePeon,

      You asked a very potent question in my previous post and we had an interesting conversation.

      Just thought its a bit of a shame to have it hidden in a Bishan Park post...

      "Passion for work is overrated. Passion for life is underrated."

      See? You know how to do word play too ;)

      We are the masters that manipulate words; not the slaves who are ensnarled by them.

      The cafe example has 2 dimensions:

      1) The best shoes in the world are useless if they don't fit our own feet.

      2) Make sure the new shoes we are putting on are not chain and ball in disguise ;)

    2. Hahaha. SMOL!

      Reading ur reply is like deciphering a riddle. I like!

      I see where we are going with the shoes!

      If we don't try the shoes, how do we know if they don't fit or are chain and ball in disguise?

      As your favourite tagline goes, crash got sound one😛

    3. PassivePeon,

      Thank you ;)

      You have fun now!

    4. I will. U have fun too;)

      Thanks! With lotsa love. Hahah

  5. i know a zoo keeper or animal lover who worked part time over weekends during his school days in uni. he said everytime he goes to work in the zoo he is very happy and dont feel tired. after graduation, he quited the zoo job and work in corporate world. so i asked him why? since he loved animals in the zoo so much? why not follow your passion?

    he answered me, the zoo's pay is too low and he cant survived with it

  6. Hi SMOL,

    I think the bigger problem is that pple don't know what their passion is. Some people go through life without knowing what theirs is, and it's fine too.

    To find out passion, it's better to do first, regardless of passion. Once you do, you acquire skills and you get better at it. At that point, it's seems like passion because you're operating a fairly difficult task (since you just started) and is 'in the flow'. So you start learning more and more and eventually two things will happen - you get bored and move on, or you continue to refine your craft.

    After a few years, ask yourself again whether what you do is aligned to your values and personality. I think that's the best way to find passion, instead of brainstorming to think what you like and what you don't like and THEN go and try it out.

    I think passion is not a static thing too. We can grow to like something :)

    1. Jimmy,

      This is a great example where the point is not to trapped by words.

      Its the same reason why I don't say blogging is my passion ;)

      The word "passion" has been so misused that its original meaning of "burning desire" is lost...

      To do something we like is one thing. To have fun doing something is another thing.

      To get paid for doing something we like and having fun with is something else!

      But here comes the rub!

      "Burning desire" is usually associated with - to acquire, to gain, to master, to conquer, to win; etc.

      Being a zoo keeper does not satisfy your friend because he "desires" more.

      There are other zoo keepers who are perfectly happy doing what they do and they can't believe they are getting paid for doing what they like!

      Do we need passion in life?

      Well, if we look at Saint Francis of Assisi, he doesn't have much "passion" for material things... Does he?

      Some Christians avoid mentioning him as they are painfully aware the "burning desire" that Saint Francis exudes put them to shame...

      And on the other extreme of the spectrum we have the Prosperity Gospel.


      How did I reconcile the Buddhist's way of "non desire" and "letting go" with the financial accumulation of wealth?

      Not easy. It's ugly when we stop telling little lies to ourselves... Don't try this at home!

      See? Why do you think we invent new words like Financial Freedom or Independence when we know its all about getting rich!?

      Greed sounds bad right?

      Now tell me the difference between Greed and Burning Desire ;)

      Hey! I should be teaching philosophy!

    2. LP,

      Trust a butterfly to understand a grasshopper!

      How does one understand or discover oneself?

      Through trial and error!

      Do first; figure out later. Crash got sound one!

      Skeptical? How do we know this woman or man will be a good wife or husband for us? We'll only know for sure AFTER marriage!

      That's how babies and young kids learn :)

      Problem is we grew up and picked up bad habits from well meaning adults...

      Not knowing one's passion or purpose in life is a bit of a pity; but not end of the world.

      What's worse is copy and paste other people's passion and pretending its yours just to fill the void in our hearts...

      On our deathbeds, only to regret living other people's lives and not our own :(

    3. my friend is just being practical, he needs to think of his family or his future dependents when he gets married. he's a young chap just starting work.
      if the zoo keeping job is a high paying job i am sure he will jump at it. getting paid well to do things you like. where to find that?
      how abt high paid passion = good passion
      low paid passion = bad passion

    4. Agreed with Jimmy!

      The Real World.

      Being single. You can have all passion that you want. But being married and with children. Forget the part on passion and come to the real world.

      No different from single who doesn't change his underwear for few days. Nobody care a damn about it!

    5. Jimmy and CW,

      Of course. If it makes you both feel better ;)

      Please banish the word "Passion" from your vocabulary.

      You are practical and realist. No money, no talk.

      That's cool too! If that's your anchor in life.

      Passion or having a burning desire is not enough.

      But it helps to SUSTAIN us as we burn and toil to gain proficiencies and competencies that make us professional in what we do.

      Just look at some of the contestants at American Idols who suck big time during the auditions - but they still shout and cry singing is their passion after being rejected!

      So is having a passion the problem?

      Or lacking cognizance of our skill sets the issue?

      It's a bit like that guy sitting on the SMRT bus who wants to be a MP - for the prestige and benefits of the job.

      I don't doubt his passion.

      Another example of the misuse of passion.

      It's not a chant or mantra where we say it - everything will magically come true.

      Have you heard about that goal setting technique where you paste your goal on your mirror and chant it everytime you brush your teeth?

    6. I have a practical bend too. For me, I'll be realistic and practical as long as I'm earning below my expenses. Once I'm past that, I can afford to be more idealistic and go for passion. I blogged about it here with reference to my job, but I guess we can extend it to any others.

      Being able to pay my bills allows my passion to grow, while allowing my passion to grow allows me to keep on working to pay for my bills ;)

    7. LP,

      That's where Maslow's hierarchy of needs comes in.

      We secure our basic physiological and security needs first, then we have earned the right to pursue bigger things ;)

      That's why in trading we say you don't trade with scared money, and in investing we don't invest with money we need in the near future.

      There's another reason why Rich Dad Poor Dad strikes a chord with so many readers is that we KNOW and RECOGNISE people who thinks like Poor Dad - basic and safety needs more than enough but terrified to take calculated risks for fear of failing...

      Sorry cannot, I married (but wife earning as much if not more than you).

      Sorry I got children (children all grown).

      Sorry I got a housing loan (can't downgrade to a smaller property or rent).

      I didn't know being single has so many advantages over married people.

      Next time people ask me how I managed to be a man of leisure at 44, I'll say the secret is stay SINGLE ;)

    8. Hi LP,
      Nothing is static in life.
      You may not like doing something or a job in the beginning.

      Look at me, how i have been learning (struggling actually) from ZERO about Financial Matters & Investing from age 40 till now.
      During the earlier part of my journey, i asked myself (a few times) what was all this i was doing?
      i even disliked it at times.
      i even asked myself, why i must do this?
      Somehow, i carry on the struggle.
      i suppose making some money help.

      By the the time i am 15 or more years in it, i have found that this learning about financial matters and investing can be my lifetime "hobby"
      So now 28 years already, still Johnny Walker.
      Can i call this my passion now?
      i don't know!

  7. "Next time people ask me how I managed to be a man of leisure at 44, I'll say the secret is stay SINGLE ;)"

    No corrections!
    Single and simple wants.

    1. temperament,

      I suspect I know why Buddhist monks need to leave their families.

      Hard to meditate and do nothing all day when wife screams where's her monthly family allowance!?

      And child keeps tugging his robes, "Daddy, can buy me a smart phone? Ahmad, Muthu, and Ah Seng all have one. I want also!"

  8. Hi SMOL

    Back to the topic love what we do vs do what we love. Sometimes, it is the people and not the tasks. As long as you feel satisfied

    1. Frugal Daddy,

      After this vigorous debate, I am humbled and feeling very blessed that I can do what I love, and love what I do TODAY.

      It wasn't so when I left school at 16. And I'm not so conceited and blind to miss the reality of what I am today may not be so tomorrow...

      I think some readers who are climbing the mountain may be a bit taken aback that some who are already financially free are still living in fear of tomorrow...

      Financially free; but not financially independent.

      Networth the same; psychological makeup different.

  9. SMOL,

    This debate is so intriguing that I wrote a blog post to it rather than comment, otherwise it will be a super long comment.

    1. Sillyinvestor,

      Fun right?

      I'll link your post here so readers can continue to your blog post:

      Passion and Interest

      Ahem. Don't mention "long comment" at this watering hole ;)


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