SLR 062: Cultivate Your Passion…With Margin!

Simple Life RebYou hear a lot of people talking these days about following your passion.  Too often this advice includes dropping everything to go after that one thing in life that “fulfills” you.  But what effect does “dropping everything”  have on the people who depend on you?

Following your passion is not something we advocate here at Simple Life Reboot.  We do, however, encourage you to adopt habits and principles that make it more likely you will cultivate your passion.  It’s why we talk so much about margin, …  but more about that in a moment.

What exactly does follow your passion mean?  Think about it, to follow something is to let it be in control.  It leads you.

In a recent exchange between Joshua Fields Millburn, of  The Minimalists, and Cal Newport, whose popular blog, Study Hacks, looks at the habits of people who lead successful, meaningful lives, Cal put it this way, “‘Follow’ implies that you discover the passion in advance then go match it to a job.  At which point, you’re done.”

Indeed, the whole concept of follow is tempting, drawing us in by suggesting we can throw caution to the wind, and listen to our muse, the internal voice that all “true artists” give themselves over to…..or do they?

I think a “true artist” becomes aware of the bigger framework within which all art is expressed, that life, itself, is the beautiful creation, and that every possible human expression contained within it is but a shallow reflection of the original vision.  Give credit where credit is due.  God made it possible for us to love before we were capable of other expression.

Cultivate… Don’t Follow

When you cultivate, rather than follow your passion, you control the machinery.  You manage the challenge before you.  Then, it becomes a process as you go about acquiring and developing the skills and qualities necessary to fulfill the potential.  You maintain control over how much the cultivation of your passion interferes with the rest of your life… and the rest of your life involves quite a bit of stuff.  Things like people, events, the work you do to sustain yourself and those around you.

So, this concept of cultivating your passion is a completely different approach than following your passion.   We must take ownership of our personal responsibilities first.

3 Ways Margin Allows Us To Cultivate Our Passion

Another important difference between following and cultivating our passion, is that one is a little desperate and unpredictable, offering a do-or-die kind of scenario, while the other can be conducted with a sense of peace and security, where life does not have to spiral out of control in the process.

Now, let’s take a look at margin as it relates to cultivating our passion.

Declining to live on the edge financially gives us an immense logistical and psychological power to achieve our long-term goals.

With Margin we can:

1)  Act with intention

2)  Monitor our progress

3)  Have the assurance that with time we will be successful – that time won’t run out because our resources do

So, if your monthly obligations are less than your monthly income, you are already one step closer to having the ability to cultivate your passion without ignoring the larger, more important framework within which everything else is expressed.

After all, the love and caring we have for each other is the truest and most beautiful artistic vision we can express, one that cannot be contained on a canvas or computer screen.


For more information about how to get out of debt and enjoy the benefits of margin, we recommend  Start by checking out The Seven Baby Steps.  If you like what you see, consider signing up for a basic course through Financial Peace University.


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3 thoughts on “SLR 062: Cultivate Your Passion…With Margin!

  1. I whole heartedly agree; I believe passion is a byproduct of doing work we are skilled at, good at, and serve others well in.

  2. Love this sentiment. It has been a myth all my life of “having it all” — the joy and happiness is earned through hard work, being responsible, caring for others and knowing each day that your choices lead you on a great journey. I really commend you both on sharing your journey and for making the tough choices to reach your dreams.