Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Doing What One Loves - The Difference Between Theory And Practice

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. ~Yogi Berra

To me, there is a big difference between theory and practice. In theory, doing what one loves should lead to great compensation. However, in practice, doing what one loves may be disappointing financially. Why is there such a big difference between theory and practice? Here are my thoughts:
  • Theory often requires "ideal" conditions. Ideally, "doing what one loves" will work if people are willing to pay for what one loves to do. In practice, I have found people are not willing to pay enough for what I truly "love to do." Of course, there are always the success stories which support this theory. However, Do What You Love and Starve by Marty Nemko points out that for every success story, "there are thousands of wannabes still waiting tables" whose stories are rarely reported.

  • Doing well requires a exceptional level of skills. As much as I wanted to be a NFL football player, I wasn't going to make it. I wasn't fast enough, strong enough or big enough. My football career peaked in high school and ended at the collegiate level.

  • Results also require diligent hard work. For example, in theory I could be a good, even competitive golfer. I understand the mechanics and strategy of golf. I know how I am supposed to hold the club, swing and follow through. However, in practice, I am, at best, a mediocre golfer. Mainly, because I don't invest the time and effort to learn and practice to improve my game. Therefore, whenever I play a round of golf, I do the best I can and hope for a good score.
  • However, all was not lost. In practice, I still do what I love, but for personal enjoyment. For example, I transferred my quickness and speed in football to rugby and tennis, both of which I was able to play many years after college. In practice, I also used what I was good at and applied it to a challenging, good paying job, in which I had interest. This led to a very satisfying career from which I recently retired in my forties this year.

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

    Photo Credit:, Mary R. Vogt

    This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
    Copyright © 2008 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    In theory the difference between practice and theory is due to practical considerations that theorists find it impractical to fit into their theories.

    In practice, theory uses the practice of theorising about practical matters, while not noticing that the theoretical method practically distorts the theory beyond application to practice.

    Theoretically then the practical facts are that the theory is in practice good for predicting what happens in theory, but impractical as a theory with direct implications for practice, except where theory states that the practice is sufficiently close to the theory to make any difference for all practical purposes theoreticaly zero.

    In practice this does not happen very often.