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Doing What You Love

Yesterday, I saw this ad on a bus stop. I have to say, it bothered the fuck out of me some:

Dockers Bus Stop AdLook at the bottom:

Win $100K to do what you love

The problem is that we live in a world where people think this is how you “do what you love.”  That you need to quit your job, or be independently rich (or, as I’ve joked in the past, independently middle class). And sure, there are things that in order to do them in certain ways requires a significant time & monetary investment. But that’s only if you go extreme, and that’s foolish territory.

Want to be a world traveler? Start by going to one place for a few days on vacation.

Want to be a writer? That’s what mornings, evenings, weekends, lunch breaks, whatever are for.

Want to be an artist, or entrepreneur, or otherwise “do what you love”? You don’t need some big break to do it. You need to just do it.[1] Do it a couple hours a day — if you can, you probably love it. If you can’t even do that, then this “thing you love” is probably just a romantic escapism from a boring life, in which case you probably don’t actually want to do it as your full-time job. It would stop being the thing you love.

It’s okay if something’s romantic escapism. It’s okay if something’s a thing you really want to do with your life, and you don’t have 100% free time to do it. If you’re playing what I call “the long game” — assume you’ll be alive for a long time and don’t need to achieve a mountain of work and notoriety in only a year or two, then you have time to build up a thing you love into something viable as a day job. No matter how you slice it, though, just remember:

Thousands of people around you are doing what they love, through sweat and effort. No one gave them some sort of big break, they don’t have a sugardaddy or sugarmama, they aren’t independently middle class. They work in the mornings or evenings or weekends or whenever they have time. They have one thing is common: they didn’t wait for some magic bullshit to start doing it. They just did it.[2]

You don’t need a magic $100K to do what you love. If you think you do, you aren’t ready. That said, hey, if you are ready, go for the contest. $100 grand wouldn’t hurt. :)

– Ryan

[1] </Tidball>

[2] And be aware that this could change over time. Maybe in the process of doing it, you love it less. People change, and that’s cool. Just be aware.

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7 Responses to Doing What You Love

  1. I am in complete agreement with you. No one gave me permission to write Chronica Feudalis. No one asked for it. No one gave me a break from my day job or payed me in advance. I just had to sit down, when I could, and write it. Because that’s what I wanted to do. All of my personal writing projects have worked the same way.

    Your post calls to mind an advice column I read last year (http://therumpus.net/2010/08/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-48-write-like-a-motherfucker/) that has given me a new mantra.

  2. msilver says:

    Makes sense. Our old mutual friend Lorin decided he liked traveling and became a travel agent to facilitate doing this… or maybe he started to like traveling as a result of the job choice.. but I’ll pretend it’s the former.

  3. I loved this and would like to share it with the (Spanish speaking) world. May I have your permission to translate and publish this for others to see?

  4. Man, this hits me right where I live.

    I thought the poster was rad and inspiring, then you pointed out the 500K bit and my stomach turned. Not because it wouldn’t be great to get 500K AND be doing what I love, but because it commoditizes my yearnings and I hate being manipulated in a place closest to my heart.

    And given that there are things that I love and the things that I do to survive which take many hours away from the doing of what I love…it hurts. It hurts so damn bad that when someone comes along with a slick art poster to tell me that the magic wishing fairy will give me my “big break” and take me away from all this and net me my 500K…God help me a little sliver of myself leaps at the thought. And then Goddammit the rest of me realizes I’ve been manipulated, and so, the stomach-turning.

    Thank you for the does of reality. Thank you for the reminder that the magic wishing fairy is a whore who couldn’t care less about my dreams; she just wants to sell me something. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but thank you anyway. Thank you for reminding me that for me to do it, I have to do it.

    I’m gonna start carrying a pocket notebook at work.

    Peace,
    -Joel