One of the greatest struggles I see young people facing is whether to follow a less lucrative dream or take a well-paying job. What young people fail to realize is the third option: do both.
Five summers ago, after I finished my sophomore year at Pitt, I split my time as a courier for a local office and an intern at a film and television studio. It was one of the best summers I’ve ever experienced.
With a few responsibilities, and only a couple bills to pay, I was free to pursue a dream I had since high school: make it in the film biz. The part time work helped to support that dream. But the pursuit didn’t last long. As I grew older, life nudged its way between me and my dream.
To Chase a Dream or Make a Living?
A lot has changed in five years. As of last month, I now have two people I need to support, a full-time job, and considerably more holes for my income to leak out of (insurance, car payments, retirement, etc.).
Needless to say, the majority of my time and energy is spent making a living rather than pursuing a dream. What happened?
Life. Life happened.
Life is sneaky, it creeps up on you – slowly crowding out your dreams and ambitions. If you don’t keep life in check, it may obliterate your dreams all together.
But what if there was a way for your dreams and life responsibilities to coexist; for a way they could thrive off of each other?
The 80/20 Rule
In my field of study (industrial engineering) there is something called the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 Rule. In layman terms, the 80/20 rule means 80% of your profits come from 20% of your products.
It also applies to a wide variety of situations, but for our sake, I’ve found that the 80/20 rule strikes the right balance between living life and pursuing a dream.
If we assume there are 16 waking hours in a day, 80% of my time is spent making a living and taking care of life’s responsibilities and the other 20% spent pursuing my dreams. If you don’t want to do the math: 13 hours on life and 3 hours on my dreams.
It may seem small, but if you are dedicated and intentional with your time, you’ll be surprised how much you can actually accomplish.
Personally, I’m able to spend a solid hour writing a day, with the rest of my three hours split up in smaller increments learning, networking, reading, or brainstorming.
In a few short months, our subscribers quadrupled and our readership increased 144%. Progress is possible.
Make it happen
These amazing role models chased their dreams on the side while still accounting for their life responsibilities.
It is possible, but not easy, to turn your dreams into an income. But we can’t neglect our responsibilities, our family, our well-being. Our dreams must stem from who we are, not consume us like a cancerous growth.
If we can accept this reality, we can do it. We can make it happen.
Discussion Question: How much time do you spend chasing your dream?