10 Famous People Prove Following Your Passion Pays Big

Harry Potter author JK Rowling arrives at Edinburgh Castle where she will read passages from the sixth magical children’s title “Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince”, on July 15, 2005 in Edinburgh, Scotland. 70 junior reporters from around the world, aged between eight and 16, make up the audience, and meet and ask questions to the author ahead of the midnight release of the new volume. *** Local Caption *** JK Rowling

Does the thought of being at your current job for the rest of your working life make you cringe? Do you daydream about a new, exciting career? Have you thought of what that career might be?

Changing careers can seem scary, especially when you’ve stayed with the same job for years, but being passionate about what you do is important. Enthusiasm for your work not only improves your well-being, but also, indisputably, increases your performance.

Here are nine inspirational people who’ve proven that following your passion can create lasting success.



In his pre- Star Wars days,  Ford made his way as a carpenter. In fact, he was still working as a carpenter when he got the role of  Han Solo. While he probably didn’t shed any tears over the career change, he was, in fact, trading a life of certainty to embrace what can often be a tumultuous life, as an actor. Whatever Ford’s reasons, he decided to follow his passion no matter where it led, and for that, he is an inspiration!


Would you believe that this beloved comedian turned talk show host used to pay the rent shucking oyster’s? Before becoming an entertainer, Ellen worked as a paralegal doing clerical work for a law firm, sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door, and yes– even shucked oysters for a short time. Talk about a 180!



Perhaps the biggest career jump on this list, Whoopi, now one of the most well-known actor-comedians, once paid her bills applying make up to dead people. Besides being a morgue beautician, she also worked as a brick layer for a time– creating a highly unusual resume, to say the least.



Before Cuban started his first company, MicroSolutions, and made over $2.4 billion, he worked as a salesman at a computer store. But Cuban was swiftly fired after failing to open the store one day because he was busy with a potential client. Needless to say, it was the last time he would work for anyone but himself. Some people just know they’re a boss… Even when they’re fired by their boss!



Prior to his iconic role as Don Draper in the award winning TV series “Mad Men“, Hamm worked as a set-dresser for porn films. It turns out his real life work experience vaguely resembled the childhood of his character, Draper. Coincidence? Perhaps not. Hamm is quick to point out that the porn was ‘soft-core’ and he just ‘moved furniture around naked people’.  I’m sure Hamm has little nostalgia over his past.



Despite the fact that Clooney had Hollywood in his blood, he didn’t always have it easy. Among other jobs, Clooney worked as a door-to-door insurance salesman. He also tested his hand at playing professional baseball, trying out for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977, but luckily didn’t make the cut. It’s clear to see now that George is doing what he loves, but, even for him, it took trial and error.



Before he dominated the cartoon and amusement-park empire, Walt Disney was an ambulance driver in France during World War I. He then took a job as a newspaper editor, but was fired for “lacking imagination” and having “no good ideas”. Criticisms that seem incomprehensible now. The loss of his job was a blessing in disguise, as it freed him up to do something he really loved. Heading to Hollywood, Walt proved that successful people don’t give up, and set goals bigger than any before– he had his heart set on producing a cartoon series. Disney followed his passion even when others doubted his talent, for that the world will never be the same.



You know his as Mr. Chow in The Hangover, but would you believe it’s actually “Dr. Jeong”? Jeong practiced as a Doctor of Internal Medicine before making the drastic career change to comedic actor. He is a living example that it’s never too late to pursue your passion. Jeong credits the support of his family and wife as being one of the main factors in his shift.



Before becoming a legend as Rocky Balboa in the movie “Rocky“, Stallone worked in a variety of off-beat jobs that included a lion cage cleaner, where he earned a scanty $1.12 an hour. Sheer perseverance has been the key to his success and the suffering he endured before finally selling the “Rocky” script is well documented.



Best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, Rowling first worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International. After losing her job, she lived in poverty, while focusing all of her effort on writing her series. For Rowling, following her passion even through poverty turned out to be the right choice. In 2004, Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a billionaire by writing books.


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