I was reading this entry on the HBR blog and found it incredibly perceptive if not insightful. We all have this incredibly strange tendency to believe in an 'all-or-nothing' situation even when we don't actually live such lives. Perhaps we enjoy the binary-choice questions both because they are simple and elegantly reflects our priorities but we almost definitely would hate to be put into that kind of situation where there appears to be no 'third' way.
So must there really be a trade-off? Can't you hold on to your job while trying out something new in the backyard of your home in hopes that you'd create a new product for your future firm? Can you not work as an accountant by day and sing in a bar in the evenings? The people who succeed in doing what they really enjoy and receive the financial fruits do not always simply plunge into something that was initially judged as impossible or unprofitable. They experiment and achieve small wins that leads on to big wins; sometimes it is about persisting through the whole series of failures and hanging on (which might be impossible if you take the all-or-nothing mindset).
OMGPOP, the firm behind the overnight sensation app 'Draw Something' started out as a 'joke' according to its founder and was on the verge of winding up after 35 failed attempts to create an app that generates sufficient revenue for the firm. And then all of a sudden, Zynga came and bought the struggling start-up for $180 million. So were those guys lucky? Yes. But did they hold on to the firm because they believe they'll get lucky? I guess not; it was something closer to passion.
Sure, you can always imagine that if you had not put in that much in your passion, you could have made more money and live a more comfortable life. Or that if you had not suppressed your passion and pursued that high-paying job, you'll be happier. The grass is always greener on the other side. Learn to realise that you can actually balance it. And that life is not all-or-nothing.