I’m Slowly Building the Life of my Dreams Based on Discipline, Not Passion


The biggest lie that young people have been sold is the idea that you can have whatever you want in life as long as you’re passionate enough. In theory, this actually sounds like a great idea. But in reality, it turns out to be a horribly ineffective strategy.

First of all, I don’t believe in the idea that we all have some specific, predisposed passion that once discovered will allow us to live a life of meaning and fulfillment. Sure, we all have interests and preferences, but these can hardly be considered passions. Some people like to paint, others like making music, writing, building things, making clothing, programming apps, playing sports. We all have interests. But for 99% of us, we won’t make a living from our interests.

At least, not following the traditional approach.

My Ideal Day vs. My Actual Day

For me, I love writing, creating financial info-graphics and charts, and creating interesting content for people to read and think about. If I had the freedom, I would spend most of my waking hours doing this type of work, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with people I love. My ideal day would look like this:

5AM – Wake up and meditate

5:30AM – Make some coffee, sit and write/create content for several few hours

10AM – Go to the gym

11:30AM – Eat breakfast

12PM – Sit and read for a while

1PM – Go for a hike in some mountains, explore the local city, or run on the beach

2PM – Meet up with friends for lunch

3:30PM – Do some miscellaneous work on other side projects

5PM – 9PM – Hang out with family, maybe watch a movie

If I could do this each day, I’d be content.

But currently, a typical day for me looks like this:

5AM – Wake up and meditate

5:15AM – Make coffee and write for a few hours

8AM – 5:30PM – Commute and work at 9-5 job

6PM – Go to the gym

7:30-9:30 – Dinner and hang out with family

Based on this schedule, it doesn’t look like I’m following my passion to create the life of my dreams like I should be. But actually, I am slowly working towards creating my dream life in the best way I know how. Let me explain.

Mo Money Mo Freedom

Each morning I wake up and work on my blog for several hours. By developing the habit of writing each morning and remaining disciplined, slowly but surely the blog is earning a little more money and gaining a slightly larger audience each month.

I would love to make this blog my full time job, which is why I dedicate so much time to it. It also gives me so much joy. I’d like to keep blogging forever, whether or not I earn a living from it or not. 

By working at a relatively high-income 9-5 job through the week, I’m slowly building up savings so I can one day take the leap from Corporate America and spend most of my time writing and blogging without being tied to a 9-5 job.

From the outside looking in, it doesn’t actually look like I’m following my passion like I should be. After all, if I was truly passionate enough, wouldn’t I just quit my day job and pursue the blog full time?

But here’s where I am taking an unconventional approach: By working at a 9-5 I’m building up my finances, which gives me more and more confidence and ability to step away from a traditional job. The more money I save up, the less dependent I am on a job to support my living expenses. Inch by inch, paycheck by paycheck, I’m building up a pile of money that will help me buy my freedom. 

I’m not blindly following my passion and quitting my day job in an attempt to become a full-time writer and blogger overnight. Instead, I’m taking a disciplined approach. I’m letting my traditional job (9-5 as a data analyst) slowly create the means for me to pursue an unconventional job (full-time writer/blogger). 

Slowly But Surely

I think working a conventional job to save up money and slowly gain financial freedom is the best approach to actually obtaining a dream job. This is not a popular approach. Most young people would rather be told to just go for their dream job by depending entirely on their passion. But that’s a great way to end up broke and unable to have the means to pursue your dream job. 

The great paradox is: by focusing on building up your finances, you allow yourself the ability to actually pursue your dream job more effectively. By developing discipline and saving up money, you’re giving yourself the ability to one day take the leap from a conventional job to the job of your dreams, without worrying about how you’ll support yourself. 

This is why I’m working on my blog each morning, but still dedicating a significant amount of time to a 9-5 job. I’m building up my finances. I’m slowly gaining freedom. I’m taking the disciplined approach to patiently build the life of my dreams.

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11 Replies to “I’m Slowly Building the Life of my Dreams Based on Discipline, Not Passion”

  1. Yeah, I think too often our generation has been peddled the “dream it and be it!” mentality that just doesn’t work. It’s necessary to dream big and know what you want, but you do need the discipline to, y’know, actually get there. Successful people make it look easy, but it’s far from the truth.

  2. Great article. Yet another blog from you to get my teens to read tonight.
    If you think about it, if you all you do is blog, what would you blog about? You need to be out in society to blog about finances, how to get raise, why people do not save, financial characteristic of coworkers, etc.
    Before I look at blogs, I check out the “about” tab on the blogger. If you were writing a blog that you are a disciplined person, but all you do is sit at home blogging, I may skip your website. From reading all your blogs, I can see that is not you though.
    If you don’t have a job, you may dry up a major source of your blog depending on your topic.

    1. That’s a great point, if all I blogged about was…blogging…that would be pretty uninteresting and pointless. Fortunately I plan on doing many different things with my free time once I become financially free, which will give me even more opportunities to blog. After all, money is supposed to let you do more of what you love, not just sit around and stare at your pile of money. Thanks as always for sharing my posts with your family 🙂

  3. Reminds me of the tortoise and the hare. Slow and steady wins the race (which is funny because I have this as a work in process post for the future). I really don’t know what I do if I had FI. Like I don’t know what I would do if I retired early. So I just keep chugging along and the truth is I like my 9-5…..for now 🙂

    1. I think the end goal should be to enjoy whatever you’re doing – if you enjoy your 9-5 right now, keep enjoying it! It’s not about quitting work at all, it’s about being able to put yourself in a position where you can love the work you’re doing 🙂

      1. SMM,
        Zach hit it on the head, if you enjoy the work at your 9-5 then you are doing good. However, don’t think about your 9-5 as something to do because you don’t know what you would do if you decided to retire early. Think about what are your hobbies and interests that you cannot do because you are working 9-5. That is at least 40 hours a week you are not able to do what you want to do. Then when you come home, you may be tired and lack energy to do the things you really want to do. I myself am guilty of this many times. That is why I plan to retire early…

  4. This is such a great post, Zach! I’m really looking forward to following your blogging journey. I’m essentially working on the same goals as you are – I’m saving to become a financially independent dividend investor and I want to blog a lot more with the free time it provides. This post really got me motivated though. It’s impressive that you’re working a 9 to 5 and still blogging so consistently. Maybe it’s because my job involves writing e-mails and answering social media all day, but I have a hard time writing articles on a frequent basis. The ideas are there but it’s difficult to force myself to write after work. I think I need to focus on building a more disciplined approach so I can reach my dreams too. Keep it up man!

    1. Graham, I really appreciate the kind words. And I know the feeling you’re going through of having ideas but struggling to find the time to blog about them. I also used to try to force myself to write after work but I just had no energy or desire to even write after a long day at work and a commute during rush hour. What I have found helps is whenever I think of an idea for an article, I jot it down in the “Notes” App on my phone, so I have a huge list of article ideas waiting for me whenever I do have the time and energy to write. The other habit that helped me was waking up earlier to write and going into work a little later and staying later. It sounds like you might not have this flexibility with your job, which I completely understand. Either way, thanks for the feedback and best of luck on your financial journey as well!

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