Passive Revenue

We’re all on a quest for passive revenue – to make money while we sleep, but I’m starting to think that this is not the right aspiration for us.

We like to hate our work – it’s a widely accepted belief in greeting cards and on TV shows, for example – which means we’re forgetting that it’s our way of contributing.

I’ve worked with plenty of people who have set up passive revenue streams – a genius mathemetician who designed an algorithm to buy low and sell high on eBay without lifting a finger, a startup founder who shifted into a silent partner role after a big acquisition, a book author who finally got on the Best Seller list, a corporate executive who left the office to invest his riches while living on a beach to snorkel and skydive…

I’ve noticed something. These moments of leisure, these hammocks that people weave out of passive revenue dollars, they’re not the happiest moments in these peoples’ lives. Indeed, sometimes they’re their lowest.

The happiest moments, the ones that make people come alive, are the ones of building the thing in the first place, of the earthly rise, not the heavenly plateau.

Humans weren’t made to sit down. Being passive is not something to strive for.

I think it’s common to want to win the lottery or sell off a company for millions of dollars because then, we tell ourselves, we can do what we really want to do, as if our real life begins on the other side of the finish line.

But by then our sense of urgency has left us and we’ve lost the context to be inspired.

There is nothing comparable to the motivation of not making it. That’s when our greatest creations manifest, when our opus is written, and – most important – when we seek to actively contribute to and connect with the rest of the world.