The bad advice
You have heard it…
“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life!”
Here is a brief synopsis why this is methodology can be a recipe for disaster…
Being forced to “do what you love” for your entire working life will lead to a loss in passion and, worst case scenario, a complete disdain and hatred for what you used to love!
Yes, if you love piano (as I do) by all means, find out how to play more piano but for the love of God, don’t put yourself in a position that piano is no longer enjoyable and becomes something you have to do to survive.
Advice for truly gratifying “work”
1. Do what gives you the most freedom
Let’s say you have to do your passion 75 hrs a week to pay the bills (let’s say it is composing piano music) OR you can work writing romance novels(something you don’t really love, but are great at and make much more money in less time) for 20 hrs a week , I say do the latter! Write the novels and you will have more time to do what you love AND won’t have the weight of “needing” to do it.
What you do doesn’t have to be sexy or glamorous. It has to get you where you want to be and doing the most of what you love in a way that doesn’t stress you out. If that means you are the worlds greatest Microsoft Excel Worksheet formatter (I don’t know, just an example) and you are making enough money doing that to spend time on what you love, I’d do that!
2. Choose to become passionate about the process and big picture results
“I am a writer, but I love sex more than I love writing and I am not getting paid for sex, but I don’t sit up at night thinking, should I do writing or sex? Because career decisions are not decisions about ‘what do I love most?’ Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself.” –Penelope Trunk
- solving problems
- making money without relying on others
- being creative
- seeing my ideas culminate into the real world
I can become passionate about nearly anything that allows me to make money while being creative, solving problems, and bringing things to market so long as it doesn’t compromise my values. Most of today’s successful entrepreneurs will agree.
And guess what? I have a mad amount of hobbies and passions that make me $0 but I get to do them on my own time! Pressure free.
As long as I am still able to spend time with loved ones and pursue the things that excite me (like playing piano, reading, learning foreign languages etc.), I am good to go!
3. Follow your natural talents if possible
Sometimes, our passions follow our talents.
Many passions exist because we feel good about how well we do them. When you perform well, you enjoy the way that thing makes you feel.
But you’re in luck, even if you have been messing this up because it is never to late to start doing something new.
Daniel Coyle of the New York Times writes about the connection of passion and talent:
The key fact to realize is that passions aren’t fixed — they’re flexible and alive. They grow and change in connection with our abilities and accomplishments.
We live in an age of information and you don’t have to ever say “I am a _______ and I will be until I retire.” People who think like this are usually dissatisfied and/or poor. Truth.
The Bottom Line
Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t living some supreme “purpose” built around doing what you love most. It is overrated.
Let yourself love the process of building your business, whatever it is. In doing this, you can now truly do great work and find the time to pursue what you love on your own terms, not because you need the money.