The Joy of Living a Creative Life

In my article about Money and Happiness, I quoted an interview with Tiny Wings creator Andreas Illiger. There he was asked about what he would like to be doing in five years. His answer was: “I live my passion and never want to do something else, so I would like to do the same thing I do now.”

As it turns out, it’s a common attitude among creative people. They live their passion and don’t want to do anything else, even when they have a lot of money.

I found two more good examples recently.

The first one is John Carmack, the man behind popular games such as Doom and Quake. In Masters of Doom, the author (David Kushner) wrote this about Carmack:

He was doing what he had always wanted to do: code games… If he could be here working on games with enough money for food and shelter, that was good enough for him.

There were similar statements throughout the book. They underline the fact that Carmack cared about one thing above virtually all else: making games. The main purpose of making money for him is to allow him to keep making games.

The second example I found is Markus Persson, the creator of Minecraft, a currently popular game. He loves making games, but he also knows that not all of them will be a commercial success. So what does he do? Here is what he said in an interview:

“We are definitely just trying to pile up as much money as possible with Minecraft so we can keep making games even if there are no true successors. I kind of see this a little bit like my hobby: just being able to just work on games and not have too much external pressure that (those games) have to make money or whatever.”

Interesting, isn’t it? The reason he wants to make money from Minecraft is to allow him to keep making games without having to worry about their commercial success.

We can find a pattern from these examples. These people already live their dream lifestyle. They don’t want to live a different life. And guess what? Their dream lifestyle has nothing to do with material possessions. Instead, it’s about living their passion. It’s about pouring out their heart into something they love. Yes, they still need money, but the reason might not be what we expect: it’s to allow them to keep doing what they’ve been doing. The work itself is the reward, not status or material possessions.

What do you think? What experience do you have related to this?

Comments here.

Photo by Bigstock


  1. That’s exactly how I picture my mindset when I find my passion. The money isn’t what drives me as much as the desire to do what I actually want to do. It’s great that some people are able to find that but it’s disheartening that the majority of people are driven by money and only that.

    • Glad to hear that you already have that mindset. Applying the mindset requires courage and some sacrifice (at least initially). I guess that’s why not many people do it.

  2. As Jiro, a 3 Michelin Stars sushi chef, puts it: ‘You have to love your job.’

    When the film was made about this amazing man and his son, he was 85 and was still striving for perfection! He’s won fame and fortune, but that’s of no interest to him, since all he dreams of is making sushi.

    Here’s a link to the film’s site:

    I believe that the more you invest yourself in something and the more you give of yourself, the stronger the love that grows, until one day it becomes a passion.

  3. well thats a 100 billion dollar question for me personally just this year alone.

  4. Marissa Kurtzhals
    Marissa Kurtzhals

    I work at a non-profit theatre as the Marketing Director. Everyone told me I had to give up my passion for theatre when I graduated high school, but I discovered a love for arts administration and marketing in college! Now I get to flex my marketing muscles and participate in performing and creating theatre! I love the point in the day when audiences start flooding into our space. It makes me so happy to be a part of this process in any way. I’m not rich by any means but I live in a modest apartment, eat delicious food, see endless amounts of theatre, and live life to the fullest! Sure, I have days that I don’t want to work (who doesnt?), but I’m always able to overcome it because I love what I do! I don’t really have a desire to participate in comercial theatre because I love challenging and inspiring audiences through live theatre. I am, however, considering pursuing a career in marketing to make some money to open my own arts organization…And I would still live in a modest apartment!

  5. Donald,
    Thank you for sharing these stories. Few people are able to find something to
    be so passionate about, while most people work with only the goal to make money,
    and then even more. I may not have as inspiring a story but I know that I’m
    passionate about helping people and I live each day with
    a sense of purpose, a vision that keeps me going. That vision is to create,
    share and learn with other conscious people. I truly believe that if you’re
    not green and growing, you’re ripe and rotting.

  6. Making money for the making money leads nowhere. There has got to be a prevailing,more important reason for doing that. Without it, a desert is more full of life.

  7. Mary Ng Shwu Ling
    Mary Ng Shwu Ling

    Recently, I discovered washi tapes and started collecting them. I even created a card game with it and started making a few sets to give away. Today, I taught my students how to play them. I suggested more than three ways of playing and all my students wanted a set for their children’s day gift. A student even asked for another set for Christmas present 🙂

  8. I recently quit my career with no plan in mind other than to hopefully find my passion in the few months of solitude I could afford before having to find a new job. In the first couple of weeks to myself, the creative side of me was reawakened. I had thoughts and ideas that energized me! I’m now working on bringing these ideas to life. I don’t know that I’ll ever settle into one specific craft, but I know that creating is what makes me feel alive.

  9. Passion wins all the time. If all you think about is making money, with time you will struggle because you discover that something is missing.

  10. Now, my life has been stucked. I want to chase my dream but I have no money to do it. So, I chose to work to make money and I felt terrible these couples of days. How can people keep doing their dream without caring about money? I do find some solutions but cannot. Anyone can help me, plz? Many thanks and best regards.

Comments are closed.