TMBA 206 – Should You Deprioritize Your Income and Go After Your Passion?

TMBA 206 – Should You Deprioritize Your Income and Go After Your Passion? post image

This week on the Tropical MBA Podcast we decided to give Mark Manson a call to dig further into his idea that “passion is practical.” Mark walked away from big income to focus on a project he was passionate about, and it ended up working out better in the end. Was it just a fluke? Did he get lucky? Or is there a broader lesson in all of this?

On the show this week:

  • Why “The Dip” is the exact reason that passion is practical.
  • A perfect example of using some pain to be able to transition to a passion based business.
  • The power of the “ultimate luxury.”
  • What to do if you’re having trouble finding what you’re passionate about (and if your passion doesn’t line up with money).
  • How to know if your entrepreneurial prospects are in danger.

People on this episode:


What we’re excited about this week:

Listening options:

Thanks for listening to our show! We’ll be back next Thursday morning 8AM EST.



Dan & Ian

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photo credit: WanderingtheWorld ( via photopin cc

Published on 08.22.13
  • Hey guys great episode, loving the new format thus far.

    BTdubs I LOVE Clarity and have had 18 calls as a mentor in the Biz Dev space and also spoke with a few ballers in the VC space.

    I would be happy to rap about it with you guys if you wanted…

  • Cristina C. Ansbjerg

    Unlike DT I am not a big fan of the new format. I guess I need to get used to it and maybe then I’ll love it. I don’t know exactly why. It still lacks the “power” that the LBP had. And it sounds kind of “messy”, too many different things in less than 20 minutes.

  • Cristina C. Ansbjerg

    Oh, but I love your chat with Mark Manson. He’s always so inspirational.

  • Dan

    Yeah just give the guy a mic!

  • Dan

    I’m not sure how long we’ll keep this up with the intros and all that, just playing ! Next week might actually just be raw audio as I’m on book deadline… one thing I like is the freedom to do anything, or just keep it very meat/potatoes. one mic and publish kind of thing. we’ll toy around with that as well and see where we come out.

    good point re-going through so many segments in so short a time.

  • Dan

    thanks DT! yeah looks like bossman is gonna get on the line with some players who could really give us pointed and relevant advice.. would be good to swap notes

  • Podcast Listener

    I’m currently excited about “The Power Of Now”, which is about living in the present moment, instead of the future or the past.

    This might help people who are for example stuck with worries about the future like job security, retirement planing etc. instead of pursuing their passions that lead them to a gratificating “now” instead of suffering in a crappy job for a dreamed up future perfect time, which hardly ever will manifest.

    45min audio reading:

  • How DARE you disagree with me! ;)

  • Lloyd Robinson

    Great episode as usual! Does anyone have a link to the blog post about how meaning is the new luxury? That sounds really interesting.

  • Kyle

    Great podcast! Mark Manson is quickly rising to the top of my list of heroes. Searching for your passion is kind of a funny process, I have been spending a lot of tie in the last year trying to dig deep and really find what’s at my core and what I could do for five hours. Trying so hard to find your passion almost seems like a dog chasing its tail around. I feel taking the entrepreneurial journey will flush out my passions in the process.

  • jamiebeach

    “Meaning is the new luxury.” That’s such a powerful, provocative statement.

    I searched for it on Google and came across a couple of fairly well written posts and articles from 2006 through 2008. Lots of links pointing to the quote being used on a full page ad in the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair for the Product RED campaign (fighting AIDS in Africa – charity through consumerism). Interesting use of the quote in that context…

    On a loosely connected note, I’m a big fan of the podcast. Keep up the outstanding work!!

    – Jamie

    P.S. I personally really like the obscure intros.

  • Dan

    hey Jamie thanks for the research there! This is the first time I’ve heard it and agree it really jumped out for me… I believe it gestures towards a lot of the broader themes this whole lifestyle design movement is moving towards, but haven’t quite articulated yet…. thank you for listening very much appreciate it

  • Dan

    yeah this guy Mark is a boss !

    I spent years in a phase where it was completely unclear to me what i was supposed to, or even wanted to, be doing.

    wish i could remember what exactly snapped me out of it ! :D

  • Dan

    can’t find it put see the comment above for a reference.

  • Dan

    thanks for the links, very good book as well!

  • I recently read The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. It’s in line with the ideas discussed in the podcast. The book is based on a BBC documentary where Moyers interviews Campbell.

    Campbell’s overall position is to encourage people to “follow their bliss”. Here’s what he says shortly after he introduces the idea of following your bliss:

    “Moyers: In this sense, unlike heroes such as Prometheus or Jesus, we’re not going on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves.

    Campbell: But in doing that, you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalises, there’s no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become yourself.”

    I like the idea that “the influence of a vital person vitalises”. I think you can feel it when someone is excited about his or her work. It definitely comes across in what both Mark and Dan & Ian are doing.

    Great episode guys!

  • Bettina

    The old podcast felt very energetic and powerful to me, too. Bam, bam, bam, rushing through the show! The new format sounds much more relaxed. Maybe it just depends on whether someone needs a kick in the a… to get started (like me!) or whether they are looking for the virtual equivalent to hanging out with friends? Anyway, thank you for all the good work! I keep recommending you to friends all the time.

  • Really glad to see you guys talking about passion. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time reassessing and re-prioritizing based on “meaning” as opposed to “having”. I come from the “whoever dies with the most toys wins” generation, so I’ve had to unlearn some things.

    In that pursuit I was introduced to some ideas that has really helped me see through a lot of the noise. I am a big fan of Mark’s and really enjoyed getting to know him at the DCBER speakers dinner in Berlin. However the concept of “passion” can be taken to a much deeper level.

    I like to use the words “intention” and “identity”. The quest of all human interaction is a quest for identity. We all want to be seen as valuable to someone. So we avoid things that might be risky or humiliating as we try to protect this elusive sense of who we are — our identity.

    Our identity is the outward manifestation of our intention. Mark makes a great point. When asked how to find your passion he says to go back when you were a kid and think about what you were good at. I give the same advice and it is precisely what I did myself. We need to go back to the 3rd, 4th or 5th grade, before society and the western school system turned many of us into robotic information regurgitation machines and think about what made us really happy and fulfilled. What are some of the things that we did where we lost track of time? The calls from your mom that dinner was ready went unanswered because you were so in the zone of what you were doing. That’s where you can possibly find what you are really meant to do, create and be.

    This may seem like dime store psycho-babble to many, but it has really worked for me. The cycle should start with your Identity, then Time, then Work and then Money. The trap most people fall into is they start with the MONEY. We’ve got to make money somehow to pay our bills and propagate our debt ridden lifestyles. So we WORK to devise schemes, take shortcuts and apply tactics to get the money which in turn takes lots of TIME. Time that we have difficulty finding or justifying because we aren’t coming from a genuine place — the true IDENTITY that we want to establish.

    In the absence of an authentic identity ‘compass’ we are subject to identity short cuts and distractions. Buy this or do that to be ‘seen as successful’…or follow these 7 steps to ‘get what you want’. Wants are temporal and insatiable.

    Needs on the other hand are based on intention. In order to manifest my intention, I NEED the following…

  • Dan

    thanks for sharing that Stefan, that’s a really interesting idea…….

    Gonna think about it.

  • Dan

    I love this Cam, and to be honest I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately. Even when you own your own thing we aren’t without all kinds of pressures to do “the right thing” which of course can be pretty arbitrary and often counter to our identity.

    This even is relevant when our businesses and marketplaces are “asking” certain things of us and we train ourselves to respond…

    It’s also important to lead and to do that often we need to listen to something more fundamental….

    Love the school point to, btw, man I had a hard time sitting in class….. hardly could get out of bed in the morning.

    Would love to do a podcast sometime, email me when you’re ready and have some spare time.

  • I’d be happy to. I will PM you. Should be able to ablige in a couple of weeks.

  • Dev

    Dan, Ian:

    For the last year or so, I have been an avid listener to LBP/TMBA podcasts.

    One of the reasons many of us have come to really enjoy this podcast is because its message generally stays away from the typical “convention/conference entrepreneurship” fluff and third-dimension/”Eben Pagan-style”/Power of X mysticism.

    However, this particular episode is really quite a departure for you guys with
    regard to your core message. In fact, I think that the takeaway from this particular interview will be counterproductive to most of your audience members and I sincerely hope that most people don’t take the message from this particular episode too seriously.

    Bottom line is that for most of the “ALBOs” (Aspiring Lifestyle Business Owners aka your audience), the basic goal is to develop/build the business so they can enjoy the lifestyle/travel/family/free time/occasional luxury toys and not be trapped in their business. It’s really not about awakening and/or finding some great inner
    purpose or all-mighty entrepreneurial spirit. To put it in practical terms, for most ALBOs, the end-goal is nothing more than achieving $200K-$2M personal after-tax annual income from a business that they generally enjoy and that requires little work (or alternatively, a sizeable exist that guarantees similar levels of income for years to come). I realize that this is a pretty crude assessment and perhaps does not apply to every single listener (e.g. for younger guys and gals, this number might be a lot lower and for some, a lot higher) but I think that’s really the end game for most people here.

    Anyway, I am guessing the real culprit here is you guys trying to be too nice to Mark Manson and not wanting to contradict his psychological blah.

    Congrats on the great podcast otherwise :-) and would love to hear your
    perspective on this.


  • Dan

    Hey Dev thanks for your comment, I’m working up a longer response because you bring up a lot of interesting points. I’ll post it shortly and alert you.

  • Dan

    Hey Dev… wrote to you here… not sure if it hit the nugget of it, but curious to hear your thoughts::

  • Dan,

    I started listening to the LBP’s episodes for 2013 and have caught up to this one. Really liked this one, because it got me thinking and maybe I’ll figure things out…

    When Ian made the passionate golfer comment about how creating golf clubs just takes you further away from golf. Well I’m a musician that runs a web show with the purpose of finding solutions to the issue of income from music.

    Does this take me away from making music? I’m not sure that it does, but I have this fear that it may. Well I only have so much time in the day and part of me HAS to believe it’s possible to do both.

    But to me there is something that lies deeper than any vocation, something that is at the core of who you are, your personal myth, which I think is true passion.

    So for me living a life of change, freedom, and adventure is my true passion. Entrepreneurship and music can feed this passion. What are your thoughts?


  • Ian


    Great insights. I think my basic idea was very few people who make the decision to build golf clubs understand that they will physically be making golf clubs for 8 hours a day instead of golfing for 8 hours a day. I agree very much that if pressed our passions may lie deeper than we think and I have too struggled with getting some of my hobbies mixed up with my passions.


  • Dan

    Sounds like a winner. I used to be a performer on stage too, and it pulls all the same strings as performing on recorded audio as well. I love doing business, and talking about it and bringing others in only enhances my appreciation.

    Traditional lifestyle businesses often tend to take people who love something as a hobby (like scuba diving), and toss them in the water everyday :)

  • Yup, that’s what I want to be tossed into Reason or Cubase everyday :)

    By the way, you guys kick ass with responding to comments. Great job!

  • Dan

    Where do the guys who make these programs hang out? When using Reason etc. I feel vaguely like I should be doing more with my life. I’m assuming they have super human powers.

  • I’m working on my super human powers.

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