What You Do With What You Have

by Jim Stovall


Efficiency and productivity can offset and overcome virtually any disability, deficiency, or shortfall.  College graduates with degrees in engineering make $4.8 million over their careers while early childhood education graduates make $1.4 million throughout their working lives.  This would seem to indicate that anyone who wants to succeed financially should gravitate toward a career in engineering as opposed to teaching.  While this is logical, it would not be my advice. 


I recommend everyone pursue their passion both in their personal and their professional lives.  While it is true that school teachers earn less than engineers, I personally know public school teachers who have become multimillionaires through diligent saving and investing while you won’t have to look very hard to find engineers who seem to be able to master virtually any mathematical problem except their own finances.


The pursuit of money is a road that leads to dissatisfaction and, quite often, financial ruin.  The pursuit of passion invariably leads to happiness, satisfaction, and financial success. 


There are people who are succeeding in every field of endeavor while there is no career path that guarantees success. 


I have written 30 books to date, and six of them have been turned into major motion pictures.  I have played a cameo role in each of these movies.  In the first several films, I was a limo driver, but in the most recent movie—due to the fact we had a multimillion dollar limo with Raquel Welch riding in the back—I made my movie debut as a bartender. 


Because of these insignificant screen roles, I had to become a member of the actors union known as the Screen Actors Guild.  If you were to ask people randomly to describe individuals who pursue professions that make them rich, you would undoubtedly hear about movie stars, athletes, and recording artists.  As a union cardholder, I can tell you that the average member of the Screen Actors Guild, which represents the elite people in the profession who have acted in at least one movie or TV show, earns less than $1,000 per year. 


We all hear about the astronomical salaries in the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball; however, these salary numbers only apply to the top fraction of a percent of athletes who pursue a career in those sports.  While there are a relative handful of fabulously wealthy recording artists, the rock star lifestyle is only a myth for the vast majority of gifted and talented musicians.  While I would never discourage anyone from a career in entertainment, sports, or music, I would warn everyone against pursuing these professions or any other based on an expectation of wealth and riches. 


As a professional speaker, I have many people contact me who want to join our profession.  They have invariably heard about the lofty speaking fees.  While I am blessed to earn more money for an hour onstage than the annual income of the average family that lives in my home state, it’s important to remember that I made hundreds of speeches for free before I got paid, and had I been pursuing the speaking profession as a road to wealth, I would have quit years before I reached the promised land. 


As you go through your day today, pursue your passion instead of money, and you will have both.


Today’s the day!


Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift.  He is also a columnist and motivational speaker.  He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK74145-9082; by email