10 Reasons to Chase Your Dream Not the Money


There is a difference between doing something out of want and out of need. When you want to do something, you are fueled by an inner force to fulfill your dream. When you need to do something, there is an external force that is motivating you to move.

Now, what happens when that external force is gone? Dreams do not cost you a cent. But preceding them will cost you more than just money. It is one thing to dream, and another “to do.”

Here are ten reasons to chase your dream, not the money:

1. Dreams are Priceless

He wakes up early; even before the rooster crows. Groggy, he makes his way out of bed, put on a pair of running shoes and starts the day with a punishing 20-kilometer run.

He is preparing for a marathon, the most grueling race in the world. And he is not being paid to run it. He is like countless others around the world who dream of running a marathon.

Why does he do it? Because he wants to; finishing a marathon puts him in rarified air. Only 550,637 out of 320 Million people finish a marathon. He wants to be part of the 0.17%! He is chasing his dream, not for money but for glory.

Not everything is motivated by money; nor should it. Money is just currency. It allows you to purchase things and pay for your needs. But it doesn’t make things happen for you.

Having money may give you the means to buy running shoes and hire a coach, but it will not guarantee a finish. That comes from your will and determination; 2 qualities which money cannot buy!

2. Money Will Not Make You Happy

A friend of mine shared this poignant story. For purposes of story-telling let’s call my friend “Larry” and his childhood friend, “Bob.”

Larry and Bob had not seen each in decades. The last time Larry heard was Bob became a successful Investment Banker in New York.

He had a beautiful house in Manhattan, a wife, and three children who should be in high school or college. Larry had seen pictures of Bob’s luxuries: a fleet of expensive cars, sail boats, muscle bikes and houses in Europe.

They finally saw each other at their high school reunion. Larry wanted to hear all about Bob’s success and say in jest, “how’s life treating you?”

Bob’s eyes could not belie his sadness. He told Larry that his kids don’t respect him. He doesn’t have any relationship with them. The daughter calls him “Bob” not “Dad.” The wife is divorcing him, taking the kids and will hit him for a ridiculous amount of money.

Bob says he loved his wife and children but had hoped the money would compensate for the time he did not spend with them.

“If I could take it all back, I would.” Larry believed him.

Money allows you to buy things and pay the bills. The happiness you feel with money is just temporary because it will not buy you love. In the end, it is still only currency.

3. Money Follows Dream Not the Other Way Around!

“Iron Man,” “Captain America,” “Thor” and “Spider-Man.” These are among the most beloved literary figures in the world. We grew up reading their comic books that today have been made to the big budget Hollywood movies.

We owe our thanks to one man, the iconic Stan Lee of Marvel Comics, who followed his dream of bringing his comic book creations to life. Not many people know that the origin of comic books was rooted in depression and times of turbulence.

“Captain America” was born out of World War 2. “Spider-Man” was meant to be an inspiration for kids who were regularly bullied in school.

And in the real world, the hero does not always win. In 1996, Marvel filed for bankruptcy and the world was at risk of losing its beloved heroes.

But Stan Lee, like the superheroes he created, refused to give up on his dreams and clawed Marvel back into the top of the comic book world like Wolverine.

Today, Stan Lee has a net worth of US$50 Million. But he had no dreams of becoming rich. All he wanted was to chase his dream and give people the feelings of joy, hope, and inspiration.

4. Money Does Not Last Forever

Have you heard about the “Lottery Curse”? There are many stories about people who won the lottery but lost everything and more.

Is winning the Lottery a curse? No. The problem is not the lottery. The problem lies with the person who wins the lottery. They let the money define who they are. People change overnight after winning the lottery.

It’s the same thing with people who suddenly make a lot of money. You’ve heard stories of athletes and celebrities who made millions in their career but now don’t have a penny to their name.

If you let money define you, it will consume you. Everything that you do becomes tied up with money. The “new friends” you made and chose over your childhood friends are nothing but enablers.

“Long lost relatives” who never bothered to get in touch with you when you had nothing are now coming out of the woodwork. They don’t want you, just your money.

So you find yourself in this cycle of finding validation and love through money. When it runs out, you have no one and less than what you had before all the money started coming in.

NBA Superstar Kobe Bryant learned the hard way how money changes everything in his “Letter to My 17 year Old Self”.

In his brilliant essay, Bryant relates how he wished he had not used his money to make everyone happy. According to Kobe, money had destroyed his relationship with his parents. If he could do it all over again, instead of giving out, money Kobe said he would create more opportunities for others to earn money.

Today, the retired Kobe Bryant heads Bryant Stibel, a US$100 Million venture capital company that seeks to help entrepreneurs in media, technology, and data find funding for their dreams.

5. You Cannot Buy Experiences

What is the cost of a Louis Moinet Meteoris Watch? US$4.6 Million. What is the cost of climbing Mount Everest? US$60,000 for travel, the guides, supplies, lodging, and equipment. But the experience? Priceless!

If both people enter a room, many will gravitate to the Louis Moinet at the start. But soon as word gets out that there is a survivor of Mount Everest in their presence, the Louis Moinet will only be an after-thought.

In the context of social media, people would take a picture of the Louis Moinet but have a picture with the Mount Everest climber. People will only care about the watch, not the person.

Besides the Louis Moinet may cost more but it can be stolen, become lost or get damaged. But the climb to Mt. Everest will last forever! No one can ever take that away.

The same goes for our friend the marathon runner! A watch only tells time, but the marathon builds character!

6. Dreams Give You Purpose

What makes you want to wake up every morning and seize the day? Your purpose!

Purpose gives you direction. It sets the path where you want to go and because you know what you want to achieve. At the heart of this purpose is you.

Your values determine your purpose. The beliefs you hold guide every decision that you have to make.

Money is not a value thus it cannot define your purpose. If you allow money to set the direction of where you want to go you will end up in misery. And you may never find it.

I know of a person who was given an opportunity to work for one of the biggest corporations in the Philippines. Out of 10 candidates, he was the only one the company selected.

But he declined the offer because the job only offered him 11,000 Pesos a month. Instead, he took the job of a sales rep which paid him slightly more plus a company car.

He asked me what I had thought. I did not want to come across as self-righteous. So instead I phrased it in a way that would encourage introspection:

“The experience and knowledge you gain working with the greatest minds in business is a huge opportunity that holds more weight than money. It’s like going to class everyday but getting paid a higher allowance plus benefits.”

Then I asked him, “Do you like being a sales rep?”

He replied, “I just need the money.”

That response answered my question in more ways than one.

Understand why you do what you do every day. Ask yourself if what you do is fulfilling your purpose. Money should never be your purpose because its value only lies in the currency, not in achievement.

7. You Become an Inspiration to Others

People who have watched his show over the years will describe chef/author Anthony Bourdain as a “chain smoker,” “hard drinker,” “foul-mouthed ‘snarkologist’” and he is. Or rather, he was. Well, he’s still a snark.

Bourdain makes no bones that for years he suffered an addiction to substances. I would watch his shows and note how old he had gotten over the years. The once lean Bourdain had a paunch by the time his show “No Reservations” entered its 2nd season.

Last year I read Bourdain had taken up Brazilian Jujitsu under the revered Carlson Gracie family in New York. Bourdain was quoted that the only time he would justify renting a helicopter was to arrive early for Jujitsu class. He was hooked! Jujitsu was his new addiction.

Early this year at age 59, Bourdain sporting a deeply etched set of 6-pack abs won the New York Brazilian Jujitsu Open!

He’s not paid to wear the “Gracie Jujitsu” t-shirts and sweaters you see him wear on “Parts Unknown.” He wears them because he loves Jujitsu. For Bourdain, it’s not about the money. It’s a way to honor the sport he says saved his life.

So if a 59-year-old former chain smoker can win the prestigious New York Open what can’t we do with our lives?

8. You Become Unstoppable

What made superstar LeBron James and the overachieving Cleveland Cavaliers defy history, rally from a 1-3 deficit versus the record-setting Golden State Warriors and win Game 7 in their opponent’s home court in the NBA Finals to win the first world championship for Cleveland in 50 years?

Some call it destiny; the Cavaliers say it has been their dream to win it for their city.

James does not need money. He closed a lifetime billion dollar deal with Nike. He makes almost US$100 Million a year in endorsement deals and salary.

Beating the Warriors wasn’t about the money. It was about doing the impossible. It was about proving the naysayers wrong. It was about making history.

When you are chasing a dream, it does not matter if you have the current 2-time MVP, the league’s most feared offense, 3 NBA All-Stars, the team with the most wins in history in front of you.

You will be unstoppable!

9. You Live a Life with No Regrets

The worst thing in life is to live with regrets. Time is constantly moving. Once lost, you can never regain it. Dreams fuel our desire to accomplish great things.

How many people do you know still dwell on the past? They say, “I wish I could have studied harder in school” or “I wish I had accepted that offer to work in Canada” or “I wish I had been more serious about golf when I was younger.”

These are all regrets.

Regret happens when you don’t “pull the trigger.” Why? For some people, it is a fear of failure. Others allow themselves to get influenced by other people.

In the end, no one can pursue your dream except you. No one will go through the hardship and difficulties except you.

When you pursue a dream, sometimes it will come at great cost. How do you expect your business to succeed if you don’t invest or re-invest the proceeds in it?

Ray Kroc of McDonald’s went without a salary for eight years because he wanted to fulfill his dream of making the chain the success it is today. Obviously with 32,737 restaurants worldwide, if Kroc were still alive today he would not regret his decision to forego pay for his vision!

10. Money Presents No Challenge

How many people do you know are paid well but are unhappy? Years ago I met a person who worked in the call center. He was a Dialer Manager and earning 85,000 Pesos every month; twice than the average Filipino household!

But he was unhappy. His job required him to work graveyard and made him miss so many milestones of his only child: first birthday, first day at school, awards and recognition day, and countless performances. He could never get those days back.

Eventually, he grew to hate his job. He hated waking up in the middle of the day to get to work. He would wake up, and his child would be at school. He would come home, and his child would be asleep.

So he made a choice and quit his job. He started a home-based website design and development business. He is making good money though not at the same level as he did as a Dialer Manager.

But starting a new business and a career is a challenge. He knows it will take time to grow his website design and development company, but he is up for it.

In time, he knows he will bring in better income because unlike his days as a Dialer Manager, he is happy! He has motivation and spirit to give it his best everyday because he loves his job.

Related: 20 Financial To Do’s Before You Hit 30

Chase Your Dream Not the Money

Life can only be as beautiful as what you make of it. It may sound cheesy, but the reason you value the present is that it is a gift. You should capitalize on the opportunities you have before they are gone forever.

Confucius said it best:

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

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