Why Doing What You Love Fast-Tracks Failure
“Find a job doing what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Just imagine a world where you can make up your own work and people will throw money at you to do it!
With social media and the fictional representations so many put out there of themselves, you may even think it’s possible. Well, sorry to say, it isn’t. At least not in the sense you’re probably thinking.
In the following article, we’ll be examining the damage this oft-regurgitated ideal does to your professional development and momentum. We’ll also be offering a better way to think about your future. It’s important you get this information now so you can start planning for it after graduation. Let’s begin.
1. ‘Doing What You Love’ Puts Too Much Pressure on Achieving Perfection
Everyone wants the perfect life, but that simply doesn’t exist. Nor will it ever. Things happen that are outside of your control. Curveballs designed — either by accident or on purpose — to royally screw up your day.
Some of those curveballs will even be of your own making. When you spend too much time chasing passion instead of allowing passion to flow through the things you do, you’re destined to be disappointed.
When the trajectory of your life depends, in part, on others’ thoughts or actions, you cannot reach the perfect vision you’ve set for yourself. But when you bring passion to everything you do, it ends up creating opportunities you didn’t see coming.
2. ‘Doing What You Love’ Undercuts Your Own Uniqueness
What we mean by this is that you, as a high school or college student on the cusp of graduation, are only a fraction of the success you’re capable of becoming. As you go through life, you’ll pick up new skills and brainstorm new ideas, concepts, outlooks, and techniques. All of this will turn you into a better person who is surer of what you believe and what you truly want out of life.
If your only aspiration is to do what you think you love, and you achieve it, then you run a serious risk of stalling your growth and getting stuck in something that may or may not be around five years from now. Yes, you could get what you want in the short term, but it may come at the long-term cost of keeping you from discovering your true talent or gift.
3. ‘Doing What You Love’ Isolates You in a Networking Bubble
When you follow a single path because it’s “what you love,” you have a tendency to shut yourself off from other possibilities. You think, “I don’t need anyone else,” because they’re doing things you don’t love. Why bother?
Don’t allow the proverbial bird-in-the-hand shut you off from collaborative opportunities. Take an active interest in the passions and interests of others. It will open up worlds that may, at present, be either unfamiliar or more interesting than you think.
4. ‘Doing What You Love’ Wastes Your Talent
Say you’re a great writer but you have trouble drawing stick figures. Pursuing a job as a comic book artist isn’t going to get you to where you want to be in life because anything that comes out of your art attempts looks like crap on a cracker.
What your passion is may not necessarily be what you’re good at. If you spend all your time pursuing what you want, you risk wasting the talents and abilities that could actually improve your life.
5. ‘Doing What You Love’ Keeps You from Something Better
Get blinded by passion, and you almost always waste massive opportunities. One acquaintance’s father always lamented the fact that he didn’t take the few thousand dollars he’d made in real estate in the 1970s and invest it in Walmart stock when Sam Walton himself made a personal plea for him to do so.
Twenty years later and that small investment would have been worth $6 million. Because he was too focused on what he wanted to do — purchase a small plot of real estate he later sold at a modest profit — he ended up bypassing an opportunity that would have set him and his children up, quite possibly, for life.
The lesson: be open. You might be happy with where you are, but it could actually be holding you back from something far better. Don’t rest on your laurels.
6. ‘Doing What You Love’ Will Make You No Longer Love What You Love
A friend said he always wanted to make a living with his writing ability. Then, he became a journalist and a copywriter. He now hates his job and with each passing year feels bad about the books he hasn’t written. Furthermore, he feels no sense of pride in the work he’s actually paid for. It feels an awful lot like he’s wasted his talents.
Every moment of free time is directed toward television or mindlessly getting lost on his smartphone. It has essentially made him hate doing the thing he initially loved. Now he’s middle-aged and thinking about a complete career overhaul. His reasoning: “So I can love writing again.”
Don’t think you’ll always love doing what you love if the only way to make a living with it is to use it in a way that doesn’t speak to your true passions.
7. ‘Doing What You Love’ Will Bring Society to a Halt
In short, it’s a pretty selfish way of approaching the world. Economist Peter Schiff states that the real way people get rich is to find a problem in the world and create a way to solve it. When you’re locked up in your own selfish pursuits, you leave a lot of real-world problems to other people to figure out. And ultimately, they’re the ones who find fulfillment.
So What Should You Take Away from This?
Doing what you love is not why you were put on this earth. You were put here to learn, to grow, and to leave the world a little better place than you found it. You will more easily achieve this by doing the following:
- Stop pursuing your current depiction of “perfect.”
- Embrace your uniqueness, but apply it to a common problem.
- Collaborate with others.
- Use your talents, yes, but not at the expense of developing other talents you may not even be aware that you have.
- Be open to better opportunities.
- Always remember what it is that makes you love what you love, and don’t sell it for a cheap dollar that will make you end up hating it.
- Grow, learn, and create with an audience of others in mind. Find your pack, and figure out ways you can improve their lives. That will give you a deeper sense of fulfillment that nothing else can.
When you stop getting hung up on doing what you love, you’ll be more open to finding your true purpose. And it’s really hard not to love that!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]