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Dear Dr. Rob: Should I Choose a Career Just for the Money?

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

By Dr. Rob Carpenter:

Everybody has to decide between whether they will follow their passions or whether they will follow their wallet.

On the one hand, following your passion is what almost everybody tells you to do. But on the other hand, very few people seem to be doing it. And the reason most aren’t doing it is because it is not as easy as it looks.

Not only is following your passion often more financially difficult than many realize, it is also more mentally and emotionally difficult too.

For example, if you speak to superstar athletes, celebrities, or even successful entrepreneurs—who often represent only a tiny fraction of people who are living (or pursuing) their dreams—you will realize that the amount of work necessary to accomplish the desires of your heart can be taxing. It can be draining. It can take every part of your heart and soul to pull off and can make you question yourself, question your decisions, and question your identity.

That said, it can also be rewarding, and not just financially rewarding. It can be rewarding in terms of giving you a sense of fulfillment and purpose, a sense of happiness and achievement from just being brave and bold enough to think you can actually live your dreams. It can give you a quiet confidence that few others possess.

Still, it can be difficult—particularly in the early stages or early years. In my own experience, I knew I wanted to follow my passion, but nobody ever told me about the sleepless nights I would encounter doing so. Nobody ever told me about the dreams that would sometimes become nightmares. Nobody ever told me that doors wouldn’t automatically open just because I was smart and talented and thought that they should open. Nobody ever told me that there wasn’t a proven roadmap that others followed to make it to the promised (money) land. Nobody ever told me I had to figure it out on my own.

In your life, if you want to follow your passion—which I 100% recommend that you do—you will have to figure it out on your own too. But I would urge you to be strategic and careful about how you figure it out. To be patient. To allow others to catch up with the vision you have for your life. To create opportunities for yourself that aren’t available in a job description online. To realize that you don’t need to build a “career,” but that you need to instead chase a calling.

Even if you have to follow the money for a season in your life—or for a few seasons in your life because of practical considerations like bills and loans—do not put off pursuing your passion for too long.

You only have one life to live, and the number #1 thing people regret most on their deathbeds is being too afraid to go after the things that they wanted in life.

You don’t have to be a part of this group of people when you look back on everything. You can choose to be among the select few who designed the life they wanted and who went after their passions despite how hard it was at times. You got this, so go after your passions no matter what it costs you.


Dr. Rob is an author, filmmaker, and host of The Dr. Rob Show. He advises celebrities, pro athletes, and everyday people on how to live their best lives and has been published in The Oxford Business Review and The Harvard Journal for Public Health, among others. His book, The 48 Laws of Happiness: Secrets Revealed For Becoming the Happiest You, is available where books are sold.

Read our interview with Dr. Rob here!

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