Read the original article on my website: fifslife.com
“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” - Confucius.
Ok, so maybe it isn’t the worst quote in the world, but this very quote has been the bane of my existence and potentially, for most people of my generation. I understand that there are various ways to interpret this quote, however, I still think it should be read and interpreted with caution. I feel that this quote is similar to the social media era that we live in today. We see photos of supermodels and fitness models that look spectacular. They would even (unintentionally) have us believe that they naturally look like that, all year round. Those images are a result of dedication and grit. They have endured many challenges and have to continuously “put in work” to look that way. Most of these profiles will show you only the highlights of their lives, not the mental breakdowns or the general sh*t that life throws at all of us.
Coming back to the quote... I like that it challenges people to consider what it is they do for work, and whether or not it brings them any satisfaction, other than monetary reward. I can also appreciate that it may spark inspiration to upskill and learn about an industry or line of work that one is interested in. However, I think that it also has an undesired effect on people, particularly those brought up in my generation where we are taught to “do what we love” and to make sure that we “make an impact”. That’s really nice that we are being encouraged to pursue our dreams, but there are minor details that have been left out.
Firstly – there are often times that we have to do what we don’t like. That’s just life, period. In order to get to where we want, in the example of building a career, that involves leg work. For some, that might mean incurring debt, working crazy hours in a part-time job they hate, being supervised by an a-hole of a mentor, or even just pushing through something when they don’t have anything left “in the tank”. These are all non-preferred tasks that lead up to a desired end-goal. It doesn’t stop there though. Say that we do end up in a job that we “love” after all of that hard work. The “work” must go on. We are continually evolving and learning. Yes, we might learn about new things that we enjoy to improve our skillset, but we may also need to learn less favourable things, e.g. the basic finances and marketing aspects of your personal training business/hair salon/clinic. A teacher might love face-to-face time with their students and the art of teaching itself, but despise administrative tasks – it's part of the job. It doesn’t matter what we choose to do in life, we still need to do things that we don’t enjoy (until we are potentially able to pay someone else to do it!).
Secondly, it takes time. I am guilty of being impatient and expecting things to fall in place because I think that I have worked hard and long enough for my goal (lol). Things take time and it will usually happen within a timeline that you are likely to be uncomfortable with, or impatient about. On this note, it may also take a few learning curves and creative thinking to figure out what’s working, what’s not and what else that needs to be implemented.
Third point: Monetising a passion can cause that passion to fade. I have several people in my life who are extremely creative and talented, but they flat-out refuse to turn it into a living. The most common theme among them is that if they had to do that kind of work for other people, they fear they would not enjoy it anymore. This is true, for some people - adding pressure can restrict their creative flow. For others, they are content with working jobs that they don’t have to think about once they are home. Some prefer to use that energy to invest in their hobbies and interests. For others, it suits their stage of life e.g. mothers working part-time jobs for a little cash on the side and some adult interaction. If you’re not working a job that you’re passionate about, that is ok too. Just as long as it’s not killing your spirit and bleeding into other areas of your life where you don’t want it to.
In truth, this article was not really about discrediting the above quote, but to remind us all to be realistic and patient. Pursue your dreams, but take educated and calculated risks. Remember that work still needs to be put in, whether we enjoy it or not, and the pay-off won’t happen straight away either. We have many roles in our lives and it is so easy to get caught up in just one of them – what we do for a living.
We all make a positive impact in our own way, big or small. It doesn’t have to just be through a career.
"Success is never owned; it is only rented, and rent is due everyday” - Rory Vaden