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How your passions can save the economy

Last month I started learning Enbukan Battojutsu (a style of Japanese sword drawing) from a local master.  He also happens to be a physics professor, so he’s not teaching this class for the money.  He charges us a pittance, and we meet twice a week in a park, where we get to whack and slice at each other with wooden swords.

Our instructor talks almost nonstop during these lessons, jumping from specific techniques to comments about the design and structure of the sword to short lectures on Japanese history, language and culture. His excitement is contagious, and this class is clearly a passion far more than a “job” or even a profession.

But in his own small way, he’s stimulating the economy.

My girlfriend and I have made repeated trips to a local martial arts store to buy swords, tabi (the traditional shoes), various robes and belts and all the other uniforms and equipment necessary to practice the art. I’ve spent nearly $100 on books this past month, and Johana has probably spent even more.

These are small cash infusions that aren’t going to save the economy by themselves, but multiply it by dozens of other students who want to learn this art, and you have a potential handful of jobs saved or created. Especially when you consider how little it takes to make a difference.

All over the county, I suspect, there are managers and business owners crunching the numbers and saying, “If I don’ t make at least x dollars this week, I’ll have to let two people go.” In cases like this, one customer spending $50 might ensure that somebody else has a job next week.

If you’ve got something you’re passionate about, this is a good time to share it. People need inspiration and escape right now. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to sail, or take a bike tour, or brew your own beer, this is a good time to get started.

It’s one of the most helpful and painless things you can do.

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