Vincent van Gogh followed his passion to the point of obsession.
He created over two thousand works of art, including oil paintings, watercolors, drawings, and sketches. His post-impressionistic work is on display in over twenty countries. Collectors have paid over $60 million for his paintings.
However, van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime. He suffered from mental illness. He had health problems from smoking and drinking. He severed his left ear. He died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Although no one ever found the gun, apparently van Gogh shot himself.
Van Gogh’s brother, Theodore “Theo” van Gogh was an art dealer. He greatly admired Vincent. Theo van Gogh died just two months after the death of Vincent van Gogh. The graves of the two brothers are side by side in Auvers-sur-Oise, a commune in a suburb in northwestern Paris.
Vincent van Gogh might well have passed into obscurity and his art completely forgotten. However, after Theo’s death, Theo’s wife, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, published letters which Vincent and Theo had sent each other. She also worked with art dealers to organize exhibits of Vincent van Gogh’s works. As the result of Johanna van Gogh-Bonger’s work, Vincent van Gogh’s art is now among the most sought after and admired art in the world.
Vincent van Gogh never knew of the fame and fortune that would result from his following his passion as a painter. His career as a painter might serve as one of the best examples of the risks in following your passion into your career.
Don’t’ quit your day job.
If you need to make a living, jumping off into anything simply because you love it is risky. The time to work on your new career in your passion is in the evenings and weekends while you preserve your security through employment.
Keeping a paycheck coming in while you research and establish a base for your new business will relieve you of the financial pressures that come with starting a business.
Do your homework.
Are there companies that will pay you to do things that you truly love? Having a company pay you to do the things you love is a more secure way to follow your passion.
You will find jobs in things that you well.
Companies are looking to hire people who have aptitudes, skills, and experience that show competence. If you lack skills to get a job that will allow you to follow your passion, work on skills development that will make you competitive to work in something you love.