Do What You Love by Loving What You Do

“Most people on the earth love what they do,
and very few of them get to do what they love.”

When I was in the 7th grade, my English teacher led a discussion about careers and jobs. As young teenagers excited about the prospect of making money someday, we were very enthusiastic to get the discussion started. Each of us had to discuss which career we wanted to pursue as adults, where we’d like to live, and what we’d love to do.

Somewhere in the middle of the discussion, Mrs. Nalini stopped our chatter and shared this wisdom with us. It caused my young mind to stop and wonder what on earth this could mean. “Most people on the earth love what they do, and very few of them get to do what they love,” she told us.

“Do you want to love what you do, or do what you love?”

Now, 12 years later, I’m still thinking about it. I’m not sure exactly what she meant, and I’m sure that everyone will have a different interpretation. But this is what I’ve decided it means to me and how it’s influenced my life.

I’ve asked this of friends. “Do you want to love what you do, or do what you love?” Almost spontaneously, they are sure that it’s the latter.

Everyone wants to do what they love. It’s romantic. Doing what you love means following your passion, rising every day to embrace your path.

I can’t help but wonder, though: are these unreasonable expectations?

What does it mean to love what you do?

To love what you do, though, seems to me like it’s the nicer version of “settling for whatever is that you are doing”.

So, how do you find the job you love?

The difference in wording is subtle, but I think the interpretation of loving what you do could be one of the many reasons why people tend to feel unmotivated when making their career choices.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”
– Confucius

These words surely were spoken with good intentions, but I think what ends up happening is that people become blocked, mentally, from seeing the opportunities in front of them. None of the “choices” appear to be “the one”.

The idea that a dream job could magically land at your feet seems to be the presumed promise in this old adage. And as soon as you see people around you who seem to be pursuing their passion, your motivation completely sinks.

Or maybe it’s that simple.

Well, that’s where the magic comes in. The secret isn’t that “the one” amazing opportunity waltzed up and did a dance for them.

The secret is that they simply love what they do.

It can be frustrating to be unsure about what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life. You might long to find that one thing that’ll satisfy your soul.

Well, there are several means (standardized tests, counseling) by which you could find compatible career choices, which in turn may end up being something you’d love to pursue. But will you love what you’re doing?

Find a purpose by asking “Why?”

Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, but never thought you’d be good at. It’s possible in every type of job to try to find genuine satisfaction and a sense of purpose at work or whatever you do.

Gerard Ramos, Revelry’s CEO, chipped in this advice as I was considering these questions for this post.

Gerard advised that you shouldn’t limit your thinking to the “What” part of this question, and instead ask yourself “Why?”.

To have a genuine intent – a reason and purpose – behind whatever you’re doing, is what should drive you forward each day. Don’t worry about what you’re doing. Ask yourself why you’re doing it.

When it’s time to pivot

When I was 17 years old, all I would do after a long day at college was play soccer. I was so obsessed with the game (I still am), and would both play and follow the sport with a passion.

I actually had such a passion that I decided that the only logical thing to do would be to drop out of college to pursue a career in football. The dream, “Do what you love”, was within my grasp.  I was looking forward to doing this for the rest of my life. Until I tore a ligament and realized how easily this dream could end.

It scared me. And believe me, I know the “Motivation Gurus” would have said that you’ve got to get back in the game, but during that 4 week bed rest, I realized something.

My love for the game is one thing, but wanting to do that for the rest of my life also means being at peace with the consequences it could bring. I wasn’t comfortable with the sacrifices required to pursue this passion. My Why wasn’t matching up.

And I believe that applies to most, if not all, things in life. If the what isn’t worth the why, then you haven’t found it yet. When you find it, you’ll always be able to look forward to new things.

Remember to always keep trying new things that force you out of your comfort zone. It would suck not to try.

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