Mark Cuban is totally fucking wrong … unless he’s not, in which case: My bad.

So my Work Wife (who, just so we’re clear, is a dude) sent me this link to a blog entry by Mark Cuban, whom I didn’t know had a blog, and of whom I only am peripherally aware because of his cameo appearances on “Entourage” and the occasional glimpses I’ve had of that “Shark Tank” show (and that really funny legal brief he filed after his Mavericks won the NBA championship). Basically, I know he’s rich and, at least in entrepreneurial terms, successful.

So here’s what Mark Cuban said in the aforementioned blog entry, which he titled “Dont [sic] Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort”:

I hear it all the time from people. “I’m passionate about it.” “I’m not going to quit, It’s my passion”. Or I hear it as advice to students and others “Follow your passion”.

What a bunch of BS. “Follow Your Passion” is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.

Hmmm.

The “Follow Your Passion” thing has been the unstated theme of my existence since I decided to part ways with the United States Army some 20 years ago. “Follow Your Passion” led me away from a career in law enforcement and into a career as a music journalist, and guess which one of those two things I enjoyed more? Hint: Driving around the Mojave Desert in a patrol car in the middle of the night with a police dog had its moments, but hanging out with Van Halen was marginally better.

“Follow Your Passion” also led me to launch this blog, which has been the most rewarding experience I’ve had thus far as a writer. And that experience has further solidified for me that creative writing is what I want to do for a living. It is my “Passion,” if you will. And, despite what Mark Cuban says, I plan to follow it … as stated here just recently.

But not long after my recent assertion that I would be taking my writing pursuits to the next level, our 15-year-old Honda CR-V, the odometer on which reads in excess of 180,000 miles, finally sustained an injury so costly that we simply can’t justify getting it repaired. And the blown head gasket in question has brought into even sharper focus the critical nature of the death-defying balancing act known as The Scratches Family Finances (Or Glaring Lack Thereof).

Basically, we’re fucked.

And now I’m at a bit of a crossroads, because on the one hand, I’m all, “Follow your passion, Jon!,” and on the other hand, I’m all, “Hey, Jon, look where following your passion has gotten you!”

Disclaimer: Not really our car. (The one shown above is much nicer.)

For the sake of argument, here’s what Mark Cuban drives:

Disclaimer: I don't know if this is what Mark Cuban drives ... but I know he could if he wanted to, is my point.

I am passionate about writing, and greatly enamored with the idea of getting paid well for it. I have a couple of story ideas that I plan to turn into novels and/or screenplays, I have a sitcom idea, and I am tempted also to write a memoir (which is why I, thus far, haven’t written for my blog the many tales I have to share about my experiences as a teen and as a soldier in the army, among other things). And I have this blog, which continues to be my favorite writing platform.

And everything I’ve mentioned in the preceding paragraph currently yields approximately zero-point-zero dollars.

And I have a 15-year-old CR-V that just died, and a 13-year-old coupe that sooner rather than later will follow in the footsteps of its recently deceased drivewaymate, and an imminent need for a new automobile that we can’t afford, and a family whose options in all areas of life have been, and continue to be, overwhelmingly limited by a severe lack of cash. And that makes me feel like this whole “Follow Your Passion” thing hasn’t worked out so well.

Fortunately, I am still stupid enough to believe that, eventually, my “Passion” is going to lead me to a place of financial security and professional success. So I’m not abandoning that dream.

However, in the wake of my failure to procure a winning ticket in last Friday’s Mega Millions drawing, and barring a sudden and unexpected ability to leverage this blog for some $$, a life-changing financial payoff from my “Follow Your Passion” gamble most likely isn’t going to arrive in, say, the next month or so … which is why, in the meantime, I need to augment my income by diverting some of my energy into a less passionate endeavor.

When I got laid off from my music-journalism gig for the first time back in 2002, I bought a stack of books and taught myself how to build websites. When I got laid off from my music-journalism gig for the second time back in 2010, I landed my current day job as a web designer/developer based largely on a résumé that said I had spent the past 10 years writing about bands, and, oh yeah, did some freelance web work on the side.

It turns out that building websites is a more immediately marketable skill than writing about bands or developing a manuscript or a memoir or a sitcom pilot … or whining about one’s life on a blog, for that matter. So, while I plan to continue doing those things, I’m now also dedicating some of my time to drumming up freelance web-design/web-development work. Which pains me, because I’d rather be dedicating all of my spare time (read: those five minutes) to my “Passion.”

But maybe Mark Cuban’s onto something. For now.

(Hey, Mark: Your blog needs a design makeover. Call me.)

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17 Comments

  1. Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I feel your pain. My passion has been diverted by a new roof, new car and braces. I keep telling myself that most of the successful people have been bankrupt at least 3 times. By my estimation, I am almost to the promise land.
    Onethirdacrewoods´s most recent blog post: The Case of the Missing CupcakeMy Profile

  2. Posted April 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Are we to believe that monetary gain is the only measure of our worth and happiness? I think not. There is something to be said for making sound financial decisions and working a job so that you can pay the bills. But there is also great importance in feeding one’s soul. Clearly Mark Cuban isn’t feeding his douchebaggy soul. And when you have no soul, you need to drive a douchebaggy car so that hot, shallow chicks will dig you. Following your passion will net you a grounded and happy soul and real love in your life. You may need to take the bus or ride your bike, but you will have a life of such depth and meaning (even if only to you and your loved ones) that true contentment and clarity will be yours.

    Yeah, we’re broke, too.
    XLMIC´s most recent blog post: The Time We Went Hamsterballing…My Profile

    • Posted April 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Best. Blog. Comment. Ever.

      If there was a Pullitzer or a Nobel prize for insight, I’d be handing it to you right now (no, I’m not being sarcastic). I am so sick of our society putting financial “success” on a pedestal – to the detriment of our mental and emotional (not to mention CULTURAL – oh hi, remember when we had a culture?) well-being. It’s not all about money.

      Jon, if it means taking the bus, keep writing.

      dw
      (a fellow quasi-hovel dweller and broken-down appliance owner)(and artist/designer/knitter/gardener with a soul)
      dw´s most recent blog post: On the off-chance you thought it was all-knitting-all-the-time around hereMy Profile

  3. Allyssa
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I think you should send the publishers of the “go the fuck to sleep” book your “take the fucking medicine” nursery rhyme. It definitely needs to be expanded to a book. Money troubles suck, and I think they suck even more, emotionally, for men of your generation since ya’ll are raised to believe you should be the ones to bring home the bacon. I’m sure you’ll work something out…it’s the American way these days. Good luck!

  4. Posted April 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I always heard it as “follow your bliss”. And I do, but I guess I don’t take it to mean “follow your bliss to the exclusion of all else.”

    Otherwise I’d be acting in NYC. But I can’t handle the thought of myself as a tortured, starving artist. So I continue to have a day-job. c’est la vie!
    red´s most recent blog post: The Movie Whore Takes on John CarterMy Profile

  5. Carole
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Dude, I think he’s telling you to put more effort into your passion.

    Easy for a millionaire to say, though.

  6. Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I think there is a Modern Family type sitcom desperately awaiting a script from you.
    Meg at the Members Lounge´s most recent blog post: Ten Gallon MegMy Profile

  7. Buffy Summers
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure I totally agree with her, but there’s some merit to her argument: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2007/12/18/bad-career-advice-do-what-you-love/

  8. Posted April 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    First of all, I don’t know who this Mark Cuban is (and no, I’m NOT going to Google him to find out) but seriously? Do you really trust anyone who doesn’t know basic punctuation and grammar?!

    And second; sometimes our passion has to take a back seat to needs. It doesn’t mean that it gets locked away forever – it’s just put to the side for a moment. Keep on going, Jon. Writing feeds your soul – I can see that from here. The job? It brings home a paycheck. Both are necessary at this point.
    Gigi´s most recent blog post: And THAT is how I found myself creating a tutorial about indoor fountains.My Profile

  9. Posted April 2, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    This hits close to home. My husband was burned out and miserable during his last couple years at a big tech company. I completely backed him on his decision to quit and finish the winemaking and viticulture degrees he’d been working at part time for years. He graduated last summer and has had two job interviews for all the dozens or hundreds of applications he’s put in. At this point he’s applying for ANYTHING, not just wine related jobs. It’s hard, and scary, as we’re about to double our family through adoption. Whenever I try to give him a pep talk about “It’s not you; it’s the economy!” he tells me that he doesn’t really care WHY he doesn’t have a job, he just NEEDS A JOB. But he was so freaking depressed at the old job–I still can’t say that it was a bad decision to leave.
    Wendy´s most recent blog post: Damn, we have good friends.My Profile

  10. Mark
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Keep writing Jon, because you’re damn good at it! I’d love for you to write a book about your experiences in the Army. I’d buy it the day it came out.

    BTW, Mark Cuban is the man who came up with the idea to build a website that broadcasts radio stations around the world on his site broadcast.com. He sold that site for a BOATLOAD of money.

    P.S. – Keep following your passion, but pay the bills as well.

  11. Posted April 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I think you can try and do both perhaps…have you heard of this book? Maybe give it a read: http://www.quitterbook.com/
    the muskrat´s most recent blog post: meme like it’s 2008 (compliments of “always home and uncool” kevin)My Profile

  12. Ann
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s easier for most people to push harder, further and faster with things that they are not “passionate” about because their heart isn’t wrapped inside that project. When it’s something you love doing, and you’ve put all of youself into it, it’s harder to sell yourself and your project to others especially in the beginning. As someone whose just getting back into writing again, I know how hard it is. The only advice I’ve gotten from my family is just keep sending it out there. Wow. Something I didn’t know. Oh and it’s hard. Right, great answer to the question, do you know any writers who won’t mind if I pick their brains about a few things. It wasn’t the worst advice. The worst was being told to email Ellen and Oprah. Sometimes you just need to treat what your passionate about like your not and sometimes you need to look at things you do well from the perspective of someone whose passionate about it to get better results. Just found your blog today, maybe in the upcoming months when I’m ready you’ll create a kick ass website for me!

  13. Posted April 6, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    I totally feel your pain. I keep thinking I could be getting so much more done if it wasn’t for this “work” and “paycheck” and “college tuition” situation. Not to mention the “laundry” and the “oh-my-god-mom-I’m-starving-what’s-for-dinner” or “has-it-really-been-that-long-since-I’ve-cleaned-the-shower?” situations.

    In an alternate universe, my doppelganger has a bitchin’ studio office (not located in the middle of the dining room), a maid, an assistant, and turns out page after published page.

    OH my god, is my doppelganger James Patterson?

  14. Tammy
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    How can you truly put your best effort into something you are not passionate about?

  15. Posted May 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

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