Do what you love?

We’ve all either given or received the career advice: “Follow your dreams.”  “Do what you love.”  “Love what you do.”

Recently, there have been an increasing number of counterarguments making the case that if we were all going to “do what we love,” we’d starve doing it.

I came across a 2006 post by Paul Graham: “How To Do What You Love” that offers what may be the best thought-leadership on the subject that I have read.

Graham is an essayist, programmer, and investor. In 1995, he co-developed the first web-based application, Viaweb, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998. He has an AB from Cornell and a PhD in Computer Science from Harvard, and studied painting at RISD and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence.  Graham’s blog is one of the most followed in the blogosphere.

It is an essay (longish for those of us with ADD) but I would encourage you to read it in its entirety as my excerpts below don’t give his work its due:

“To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.”

…How much are you supposed to like what you do? Unless you know that, you don’t know when to stop searching. And if, like most people, you underestimate it, you’ll tend to stop searching too early. You’ll end up doing something chosen for you by your parents, or the desire to make money, or prestige—or sheer inertia.

…Here’s an upper bound: Do what you love doesn’t mean, do what you would like to do most this second. Even Einstein probably had moments when he wanted to have a cup of coffee, but told himself he ought to finish what he was working on first…Unproductive pleasures pall eventually. After a while you get tired of lying on the beach. If you want to stay happy, you have to do something…

…As a lower bound, you have to like your work more than any unproductive pleasure. You have to like what you do enough that the concept of “spare time” seems mistaken…I put the lower bound there for practical reasons. If your work is not your favorite thing to do, you’ll have terrible problems with procrastination. You’ll have to force yourself to work, and when you resort to that the results are distinctly inferior.

…To be happy I think you have to be doing something you not only enjoy, but admire. You have to be able to say, at the end, wow, that’s pretty cool.

…What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. When you can ask the opinions of people whose judgment you respect, what does it add to consider the opinions of people you don’t even know? …This is easy advice to give. It’s hard to follow, especially when you’re young.  Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like….Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself…Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige….Similarly, if you admire two kinds of work equally, but one is more prestigious, you should probably choose the other. Your opinions about what’s admirable are always going to be slightly influenced by prestige, so if the two seem equal to you, you probably have more genuine admiration for the less prestigious one.

…The test of whether people love what they do is whether they’d do it even if they weren’t paid for it—even if they had to work at another job to make a living. How many corporate lawyers would do their current work if they had to do it for free, in their spare time, and take day jobs as waiters to support themselves?

…With such powerful forces leading us astray, it’s not surprising we find it so hard to discover what we like to work on. Most people are doomed in childhood by accepting the axiom that work = pain. Those who escape this are nearly all lured onto the rocks by prestige or money. How many even discover something they love to work on? A few hundred thousand, perhaps, out of billions.

…It’s hard to find work you love; it must be, if so few do. So don’t underestimate this task. And don’t feel bad if you haven’t succeeded yet. In fact, if you admit to yourself that you’re discontented, you’re a step ahead of most people, who are still in denial. If you’re surrounded by colleagues who claim to enjoy work that you find contemptible, odds are they’re lying to themselves. Not necessarily, but probably.

…”Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love. If you subject yourself to that constraint, it will automatically push you away from things you think you’re supposed to work on, toward things you actually like. “Always produce” will discover your life’s work the way water, with the aid of gravity, finds the hole in your roof.

…But it’s harder than it looks. Constraints give your life shape. Remove them and most people have no idea what to do: look at what happens to those who win lotteries or inherit money. Much as everyone thinks they want financial security, the happiest people are not those who have it, but those who like what they do. So a plan that promises freedom at the expense of knowing what to do with it may not be as good as it seems.

…Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you’ll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you’re in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you’re practically there.

About these ads

Comments

  1. Great information. Thank you for sharing, Have a Blessed Day, Danny & Laura

  2. I took the advice on Wham’s T-Shirt ‘CHOOSE LIFE’ many years ago and have managed to run a successful business which fuses my three loves: Science, Business and Music. Not everyone seems to be able to make their love their life, but when it happens work is certainly not a chore. The Chemistry Society wrote a piece up about this at http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2010/December/SchoolOfHardKnocks.asp

    All the best

    Peter

  3. Good points here. I think a lot of people do expect to find work that they love right away, and this can take time. I also agree that the struggle leads to greater appreciation and satisfaction. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love this post! Even though it’s not easy I think we all have something we could be good at, the thing is to try, search and even take a risk. That’s sometimes scary. But I think it’s worth it speaking from personal experience;-)

  5. Fantastic Dave. I’m reblogging this. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Reblogged this on The Upside and commented:
    Fellow blogger, David Kanigan, posted this outstanding piece. A very perceptive look at the mechanics of doing what you love and ferreting out the things that lead us astray from that (money, prestige, etc.). Follow David’s blog. It is outstanding (link in my blogroll Lead.Learn.Live).

  7. Reblogged this on Todd's Point of View and commented:
    Another good post by blogger David Kanigan. Click the ‘reblogged’ link to read his entire post…

  8. Thought provoking – VERY!

  9. Great post with many great ideas. :)

  10. Great post with a lot to think about. Thanks for sharing.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

  11. I was lucky to be able to work at something I loved, but really this blog only works for those of us who have some choice. There are people in other parts of the world who take what work they can get to feed their families. Maybe we should qualify this post as being for those who have a choice. Within those parameters, I think it’s a noble philosophy.

  12. David, as usual great post. As I have gotten older my motto has become “life is too short to be doing work that you do not enjoy” this does not mean that there is nothing that I have to do that I might not like, but for the most part, if you search, even in those things you do not like to do you can find something that is either a lesson to be learned or a purpose that you can agree with.
    Enjoy your Sunday!

  13. Reblogged this on Eva Santiago and commented:
    This post is loaded with truth and that’s why it’s so refreshing to read.

  14. Very practical and encouraging post here, David! It certainly distinguishes between producing from what you enjoy doing to just simply “enjoying”.

  15. Wohh exactly what I was searching for, regards for posting . 787539

  16. i don’t know whether to be encouraged or daunted! i think in the times we live in now, most people are thankful for work in general. i know we are. thank you for sharing!

  17. I’ve only just begun doing what I love — I recently became a full-time freelance writer, working from home — so fingers crossed that I won’t starve doing it!
    ;)

  18. Practically my dilemma right now. I’m soon graduating and this is my current concern. I’m torn between choosing a job that pays a lot but have not much interest of and a job that I’m really passionate about but doesn’t pay much. It’s now a choice between practicality and living my dreams.

  19. Reblogged this on The Road to Personal Success and commented:
    David Kanigan wrote a post quoting Paul Graham on how to do what you love. It’s a great read, and gives me something to think about along my road to success.

  20. I came across this article a long time ago and have saved it on my computer. It’s a long read, but definitely worth it! :)

    When I first started reading your post, I thought you were going to be one of those naysayers too….and I’m glad you weren’t. I find that people who tell others that they can’t do what they love, say that b/c they aren’t doing what they love themselves….. I just ignore these naysayers and so my search continues!

  21. Really loved this post – thank you so much for sharing this! I’m glad it was Freshly Pressed.

  22. Thank you so much for this post! I consider myself a Professional Sunshine Spreader and though I have not YET found a way to create regular flowing income doing what I love, I know there must be a way because I love it so much. Spreading sunshine is not just my work, but it is my life and I know since I am so passionate about it, that there must be a way to generate a living from it. I truly love posts like this because it reminds me that it is okay to pursue what I love and it restores my hope in the ideals that live so vividly in my heart.

    I hope you have a lovely day,
    Currie

  23. love from hetch hogan says:

    Reblogged this on ahn-drey-ah and commented:
    Food for thought

  24. wow. and all this time my philosophy was “do what i’m abivalent about.”

    so glad you pointed me in the right direction.

  25. Reblogged this on regulardaze and commented:
    I found this post especially insightful today. Thanks David (and Paul Graham) for reminding us about life’s quest for work that we love, and having the guts to look within and take the steps to find it.

  26. Correct. Especially about forcing yourself to do what you don’t like creates procrastination and produces not so great results. I am there, at age 60. I have tried many things, so now my plan is to do what I love in retirement and I’ll bet I am not the only one.

  27. lnmwonderfulworld says:

    Great advice. After I had a soul-crushing corporate job many years ago I vowed never again to work at a job I hated and it has opened up a whole new world and way of thinking about “work”. I think that few have the courage or imagination to do what they love, or even to seek it.

    Ellen
    unexpecteddestinations.com

  28. Thank you

  29. Wow. I can’t thank you enough for this. The essay talks on so many things going through my head these days (years) that it is almost a sigh of relief. To read something from a man who has walked the same path with the same insecurities… :)

    I also have internet-ADD but your excerpts and bold paragraphs in particular were so wonderful that I’m going to save the full piece. Thanks again.

  30. Fantastic. Exactly the blog entry I needed to read today. Thanks!

  31. “When you can ask the opinions of people whose judgment you respect, what does it add to consider the opinions of people you don’t even know?”<–QOTD!!

    Good post. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Love this post. I am on my own journey trying to decide what I will be. Pursuit of happiness and career and mixing in healthy balance in the rest of my life has been my focus for the past few months. Thanks for the ideas.

  33. Now I am thinking of changing my career path… and chose what I love and admire most :) GREAT POST!

  34. I love what I am doing. You will love what I am doing. I will not ever starve to death.

  35. I love this post, thanks for sharing it comes at a very relavent time in my life when I was working and not enjoying and certainly not loving anything in my life. I took a big leap and took a job and packed up and headed off to the south of Spain. I am still in Spain now, and only work 12 hours a week compared to 55 in the states, and its given me the time and appreciation to rethink and revalue the things that make me happy and what it is I really want to do. I like this post so much because there is a lot of fortune cookie sayings out there, but it breaks down and gives some much needed advice to our over-worked and unhappy society!

  36. So all I have to do is find some 6yr old motivational post and then I get Freshly Pressed?

  37. I think I will post it to one of my clients ;) Thanks ! :)

  38. Reblogged this on Amy Arey, Realtor Real Estate Blog and commented:
    Wonderful post!

  39. I know it’s idealistic but I am big believer in doing what you love for a living. That doesn’t mean your work life will be easy but I think in the long run it is more fulfilling and better for you.

    I have seen people doing jobs they hate end up with some pretty severe physical and mental problems as a result.

    I think you need to balance your heart and your head to find the right path.

  40. I absolutely loved this post. I’ve read a fair amount of success literature, and 98% tells you to do the things that you love. And yet, all too often, some of us get caught in our own little traps, doing the jobs that we abhor. And the years roll on, and turn into decades, and you turn around, and all the joy is gone. Thanks for reminding us that life is short, and we need to pursue our passions!

  41. Reblogged this on doralowxx.

  42. I know how tough this can be from experience. It never was about hating my current job (teaching), but I was always looking for an alternative until the day my boss/the principal took notice of my work as a writer. He saw that I was committed to both my job and that which I love to do, so he has been helping me contact a number of very important people while lending resources straight from the school.

    It was a hard road, but it’s finally paying off. I know I’m lucky.

  43. As an 18 year old boy that is just discovering the world outside of his parent’s home, I found this information revolutionary. I am deeply inspired to a greater patience and a better attitude.

  44. Great post, David. Much truth in it. I’ve been lucky enough to spend most of my life doing what I love. I took a detour for several years due to family stuff, but I’m getting ready to follow my dream again, and I’m very excited about it. I know from experience that it involves hard work, but I also know that it’s well worth it (and it doesn’t feel like work when you love it).

  45. Sometimes it takes forever for people to figure out what they want in life. Some very lucky ones though have their Aha! moment, their defining moment early on in life. For the average person( those who are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth) will have to go through certain stages in life:college, rat race, rat race…before they say, Aha!

    Thanks for sharing. will re-blog this.

    I’m your new follower.

    Marryl

  46. Congratulations! Freshly Pressed……

  47. Follow your bliss, said Joseph Campbell. As is noted about, often time and dues must be paid. Alas, I paid my dues, and at age fifty, dues paid in full, I turned and focused directly to the horizon I’d dreamed of: a simple life of reading, writing and contemplation. I do not take such a thing for granted.

  48. i like what i’m doing now but i’m not doing what i love… it’s probably going to take quite a bit more time to get to the right phase, but thanks for sharing nonetheless!

  49. russelllindsey says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde and commented:
    I couldn’t agree more.

  50. Congratulations on “Do What You Love?” being Freshly Pressed. You can talk the talk but it’s better if you walk the walk.

  51. ‘Do what you like, and let the prestige take care of itself’ – That’s a great line.
    Thanks for sharing!

  52. Very well put! Had to share on my artist page on facebook – E11even Shades of Grey <3

  53. I am positively inspired

    and that is a lot coming from SlavesIncorporated!

    Thanks David

  54. Illeyah Draunidalo says:

    Your post couldn’t not have come at a better time – sound advice. Congratulations on being freshly pressed!

  55. joahnadiyosa says:

    Thank you for sharing. I definitely need this today. Need to revamp! :)

  56. Selene Aswell says:

    Reblogged this on Light of Selene and commented:
    this is excellent. :)

  57. This right here has been my biggest struggle with my 9-5. I went into a career of design because I thought it will never be a day of work, because it was “what I love to do”. I finally got here, started my career and living the 9-5 dream and realizing that it indeed IS work and I’m no longer “doing what I love”. This was really thought provoking and really appreciated this read during this time. Thanks!

  58. I think it was fate that I read this! I just started up a blog, which will be about my journey through starting my own photography business, which is something that I love to do plus something totally different from what I actually do enjoy. But it seems doing what you love is such a very complex relationship (>.<)

  59. AuditCo 401(k) Auditing Firm says:

    Reblogged this on Auditco and commented:
    This is a GREAT article. Hit the nail right on the head! I love my work and have been referred to as a workaholic as a result. When you enjoy your work to the point you can’t believe you actually get paid to do it, it’s a wonderful thing! Thanks for posting this.

  60. reblogging this on my blog…great piece btw!

  61. Reblogged this on बकर.

  62. Reblogged this on kcyu.

  63. Maybe I’m different than most people. But when I have been avoiding some task, and then force myself to start doing it, I become interested in it. Then I want to keep working at it until finished.

  64. Reblogged this on nostalgicnatasha and commented:
    Every few years I get this overwhelming feeling to move on. I know the types of organisations I have chosen to work in so far are not for me. But, hadn’t considered the job itself. I am approaching three years in my current role & beginning to reflect, this blog has helped me.

  65. Thar excerpt just splashed a fountain on my face!!! Loving what you do wins easily anytime over working hard to win!

  66. Nice post, thanx for sharing.

  67. Reblogged this on melissanaomi12 and commented:
    Couldn’t think of a better post to read at 06:45 in the morning…
    I’m glad I came across it

  68. unsignedunhyped says:

    Reblogged this on unsignedunhyped and commented:
    Words to live by

  69. Thank you.

  70. And don’t wait with doing what you love: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/12/30/new-years-resolutions/ !

  71. MasterMind says:

    Hi David (pl also share this with Graham … I scanned through his essay) I HAVE THE PERFECT ANSWER FOR BOTH YOU AND GRAHAM. PLEASE BUY MY MASTERMIND AND READ IT … ITS A 124 PAGE BOOK ON HOW TO CONNECT TO YOUR HIGHER SELF TO ARRIVE AT ANSWERS TO WHAT IS IMP FOR YOU AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO ACHIEVE YOUR SUCCESS. GOOD LUCK . DO LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU GET YOUR ANSWER. …. RODA

  72. jinjersam says:

    Reblogged this on REFLECTIONS.

  73. Walt Viviers says:

    Reblogged this on Walt Viviers | Blog and commented:
    You are born and eventually you die. Everything in between is up to you.
    If you do what you hate, you will die.
    If you do what you love, you will die.
    If you are poor, you will die.
    If you are rich, you will die.

    By accepting the absolutely inevitable fact that this existence is a fleeting, never to be repeated, once in a life time opportunity. I would rather die starving and poor, doing what I love than dying a miserable old man who wishes he had done things differently. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain. Twenty years from now you could be dead, tomorrow you could be dead, before you finish reading this you could be dead.

    Accept death, embrace it, realize there is no escape. At first it seems terrible, but eventually it becomes your salvation. Once it’s over, it’s over. Isn’t that a relief? It sure is for me. I do what I love at the high risk of no “real” career, no savings, no assets, but what are those things worth to a corpse? Sure, life will be better with those things, but not at the cost of the limited time I have at my disposal. I will make a success of myself as an artist or I shall fail in my attempts to do so, either way, the only thing that really matters is that I die trying.

    • “I would rather die starving and poor, doing what I love than dying a miserable old man who wishes he had done things differently.” Walt, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Powerful. Dave

  74. This is just what I needed today, thank you Dave. Today is the one-year anniversary of my blog, which I find equally joyful and terrifying! I have a journalism degree, but the heart of an English major. Seven months ago, I began my first newspaper column. I’m trying to balance my column, my blog, and decide if I can make writing my LIFE. My day job is in sales. I’m thinking about getting into editing– I’m so afraid writing for pay will drain me, I tried it before as a newspaper reporter.

    Your post inspires me. I’m a compulsive writer, but afraid to take the leap to professional. Afraid to surrender my private life to become a public figure, which has already happened in small measure with my column. Afraid or not, I’m not giving up!

    • The words in your comment contain a rapid heartbeat. You can feel the energy and your desire. Inspiring. Love your wp tag: “Unrelenting Amee”. (And your email address!) We might be cousins as I’ve often being described as “relentless.” Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Amee. Dave

  75. Congratulations on being “Freshly Pressed’ – awesome and well deserved!!!

  76. I loved the post. It made me think of a popular sentence:
    “Free is not the one who does what he wants, but who loves what he does”
    (that’s a direct translation from Spanish so it may not sound as meaningful as the original sentence…)
    The essence of it is the same as what you named the upper bound: “Do what you love doesn’t mean do what you would like to do most this second (…)”.
    Search for what you love the most, but try to feel happy doing what you do while you get there. Attitude is everything in the way to find happiness.

  77. So true… It’s so easy to just end up doing what parents chose for us, then fall into the comfort zone or distracted by things like money and power. I quit my job as an economist after I realised that I had no motivation to get up in the morning anymore, and instead of really LIVING, I was just some kind of walk zombie! Now I’m doing something I love and whilst the money isn’t as great, I feel so much more fulfilled!

  78. You are so right on here! I am a visual artist who is constantly told to draw and paint this or that in order to make money. I have tried a few times to confine subject matter to one type of artwork or anouther: seascapes, landscapes, portraits. etc. But I am intrested in everything and passionate about a whole lot of things. I have found that worry about money actually distroys creativity but when I paint because something has excited me not only am I happy with the finished product but it pushes me to tackle the next project. I have won many awards but none for work that I produced for money. Guess what they were not worth it! This was a great post. Thank you!

  79. kidsART2canvas says:

    This is fantastic. I have tried hard to live by this, continuing to work at home while raising my 7 kids. It’s a worthwhile venture as it has helped them understand what it’s like to have a parent that is really passionate about their work. It has encouraged my older ones to dig deep into what they are really interested in feel free to follow what they love. Terrific to read this and have some validation!

  80. I find it’s a tightrope walk: you try to make a living doing something you love without getting burnt out and not loving it anymore. I like your post but I think the problem is the “day in day out” that goes on for years. I went into the dog daycare business because there’s very little in life I love more than being with dogs. 14 years later, I’ve had my fill of other peoples’ dogs – I deal with them happily at work but outside of work… give me a break!

  81. Good points!
    This post really deserves ‘Freshly Pressed’. Maybe it could make someone happier, turn someone’s life to a new direction.

  82. Great post & congratulations on making it to the front page of Freshly Pressed! You write a great blog, I’m glad more people are getting to see it.

  83. Thank you for this post. I have been lucky – or perhaps simply willing and brave enough – to face my discontent in my 20s and yes, after years of struggle and searching, I did find what I loved. Now, in my 30s, I am doing it: running a coaching and mentoring business from home, helping and empowering other people, writing and presenting…doing my bit to contribute something positive to this world.

    It is a fine line, however. to realise that doing what you love is not the same as doing whatever you want – I believe was it Churchill who said that greatness lies not in doing what you want, but in doing what needs to be done. Love takes discipline. And even when you do what you love, there are always aspects that are challenging, hard work or tedious (such as paperwork and tax returns for instance!) – but all of it is worth it to accomplish your beloved works. And so it should be, if you are not challenged and stretched, then you are staying static, in the comfort zone.

    As I learn and grow, I also evolve and find more or new ways of doing what I love, or simply journey to the next steps in my journey of doing what I love.
    Thanks for this blog!

    • Hi Segolene. I read your comment three times. Then proceeded to go to your blog and locked in on your side header “Put simply, I am a big fan of meaningful, no bull*, sacred living.” I’m a believer and we are squarely aligned. :) Thank your sharing your thoughts. Very good! Dave

      • Thank you David, I felt the same when I found your blog (through your FP’ed post). I am completely new at WordPress so still getting started but I hope you enjoy my posts, I sure enjoy yours.
        Hoping to connect again as we continue on… Take care. Segolene x

  84. Ryan Sprout says:

    Agreed!

  85. Reblogged this on Blog Egomaniac.

  86. Reblogged this on hemadamani and commented:
    great post. makes a lot of sense. thanks for sharing.

  87. love what I do…and I’m in the process of taking it a step further to love it even more! hoping, rather praying my dream job comes through. if you want something, go for it. don’t take no for an anwer.

  88. sengthiam says:

    Reblogged this on About St.

  89. My guru on this subject is Marsha Sinetar, author of “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow.” The book in not new; it’s timeless. Ms. Sinetar discusses work as devotion, the role of talent, the power of attention, and much more.

  90. I sometimes think about what it would be like to do what I love, then my boss slaps me round the face with a stapler and reality rushes back like a big fat smelly hippo with a baseball bat.

    Hobbies are nice though, I love them.

  91. Thank you Mr.David It has been a dream for many years every since i graduated high school to do what i lovem and i still on the road to doing what i love, for what i love it’s much of a price to pay, it is a struggle, but in the end it’s so much worth it. i’ve always wanted to be a preacher and to work for GOD, i have lost alot of dear things in my life for His Kingdom but every time i can help somebocy that is in need it’s well worth the struggle; Thank Yuou again. GOD Bless

  92. This is really great stuff. You and I are in the same business, it seems- telling people to do the work, make the sacrifice and do the things they love.

    I publish John Scott Stories on Wp, speaking the same message: NEVER give up!

    I have enjoyed reading you. Keep up the good words.

    John

  93. Great encouragement, aptly timed. Thank you!

  94. I do like the work i do but i hate the company I do it at. I am unhappy, miserable, discouraged, etc and have been for 2 years ! i am sending out resumes all the time so i feel it’s inevitable that someday soon i WILL do work I like in a company i like. Love seems like too high a goal for me too shoot for. i do LOVE my personal life though so that’s a good thing. Thanks for this post. It gives me hope!

  95. I think your last paragraph sums it all up very well. I see young people today not wanting to wait until they are 30 or 40 to feel free enough to pursue their interests and are seeking ways to combine to get there sooner. I applaud that fortitude.
    Happy Pages,
    CricketMuse

  96. Love it. I also read somewhere about how people who are writers can never “do what they love”, because even people who enjoy writing find it excruciating, but they love the feeling of HAVING written when it’s done. That feeling is indeed exhilarating. So, just because you’re not in bliss with the details of your work, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not what you love.

    I remember about 10 years ago, the New Age folks really started pushing the “do what you love” ideal here in the US, and then shortly after the big foreclosure avalanche happened. I always wondered if there was a connection ;)

    Great post.

    • Hi Rita. Interesting. Sort of like running or exercise. Not fun while you are in progress, but you certainly feel great when you are done. Thanks for sharing. Dave

  97. Reblogged this on Always somewhere in between.

  98. Reblogged this on contentconservative.

  99. damn true………

  100. Very interesting, thank you for sharing.

  101. I’ve wanted to write since I was..well since before I can actually remember. Last year I had to choose what degree I would take at university. I excelled in Psychology and my parents were trying to coax me into becoming a psychologist because they thought I’d be more job secure. I found myself stuck with the decision of doing what my family wanted or doing what my heart wanted. I chose my heart and I’ve never been happier.

  102. I blogged on a similar theme to this in “Working for the man” In essence I was trying to say if you dont or can’t do what you love, love why you’re doing it.

  103. Reblogged this on The Social Entrepreneur BTFM and commented:
    Great article! This is #LivingSugarFree

  104. Many thanks for sharing your great post. The best compliments. Greetings from north-east of Italy.

  105. VERY Insightful!!
    I think you will like my future website, http://www.worldstudentblog.com and my blog as well.
    If you’d like, you can check our Facebook page too!
    https://www.facebook.com/worldstudentblog

    Keep up the GREAT POST!!

  106. Reblogged this on Line Press'er and commented:
    …nothing to say.

  107. great blog post. i feel both inspired and sad upon reading this. i need to bulk up on that courage and screw time to actually do what i love… or atleast explore possibilities of things to do other than just being in my comfort zone. well atleast, i’m one of those people who isn’t in denial, right? right? :)

    • Exactly. First step in progress is acknowledgment that there is something off or something that needs to be done. You are already on the path to a better place…

  108. Reblogged this on i won't worry my life away and commented:
    Do What You Love. I know, right? :P

  109. Love this!

  110. By the way, thanks for liking my post on 50 Awesome Quotes on the Power of Your Ideas.

  111. Reblogged this on Jenny's Serendipity and commented:
    Love this piece…Do what you love? Not all can do what they love in life but at least, do something on the side that will give you joy.

  112. Totally true

  113. Maybe need some money to do what you love…….but if you want it bad enough you will find a way.
    bloggeroutcast.blogspot.com/

  114. I really appreciate this blog, and the excerpt from Graham is so insightful. I especially like his comments about the upper and lower bounds and unproductive pleasures. Definitely something to ponder. Thanks for sharing all of this!

  115. Loved it!! Absolutly loved it!! This is exactly what i needed today!!! Thanks.

  116. Reblogged this on Call Me Dizzle and commented:
    Absolutly!!!

  117. loving this post. Really enjoy reading it :)

  118. I`m learning to become a journalist in the future! I feel so lucky and happy when I can do what I love. And I also love what I do!!!

    Thanks for this post! It`s so interesting and useful~

  119. I work in advertising, and it’s almost 2am where I am, and what am I doing? I’m at the studio. I’ve been here since 11am. Your post came at the right time to me. I’m really tired of what I’m doing and I’ve only been experiencing more reasons to leave this and find something that makes me happier. Thanks a lot for sharing :)

  120. leahmartinez says:

    Reblogged this on Out of the Shadow.

  121. Reblogged this on MASBURY.

  122. Reblogged this on livelonglovelife and commented:
    Very informative.

  123. Thank you for visiting my blog! I am doing what I love – volunteering in a First Grade class and working on my blog – and, I don’t get paid. My goal is to grow my blog and get paid for my writing. :-)

  124. Thanks so much for sharing. For someone earnestly searching for what in the heck they want to do with their life (without much success, I might add) this was a great read.

  125. Your post helps me in making my decision about my future. I am proceeding to medicine. That will make me happy. Delayed gratification.

  126. Reblogged this on Space for lasam and commented:
    Do what you love! Love what you do!

    Do what you love?
    March 11, 2012 By David Kanigan 225 Comments
    We’ve all either given or received the career advice: “Follow your dreams.” “Do what you love.” “Love what you do.”

    Recently, there have been an increasing number of counterarguments making the case that if we were all going to “do what we love,” we’d starve doing it.

    I came across a 2006 post by Paul Graham: “How To Do What You Love” that offers what may be the best thought-leadership on the subject that I have read.

    Graham is an essayist, programmer, and investor. In 1995, he co-developed the first web-based application, Viaweb, which was acquired by Yahoo in 1998. He has an AB from Cornell and a PhD in Computer Science from Harvard, and studied painting at RISD and the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. Graham’s blog is one of the most followed in the blogosphere.

    It is an essay (longish for those of us with ADD) but I would encourage you to read it in its entirety as my excerpts below don’t give his work its due:

    “To do something well you have to like it. That idea is not exactly novel. We’ve got it down to four words: “Do what you love.” But it’s not enough just to tell people that. Doing what you love is complicated.”

    …How much are you supposed to like what you do? Unless you know that, you don’t know when to stop searching. And if, like most people, you underestimate it, you’ll tend to stop searching too early. You’ll end up doing something chosen for you by your parents, or the desire to make money, or prestige—or sheer inertia.

    …Here’s an upper bound: Do what you love doesn’t mean, do what you would like to do most this second. Even Einstein probably had moments when he wanted to have a cup of coffee, but told himself he ought to finish what he was working on first…Unproductive pleasures pall eventually. After a while you get tired of lying on the beach. If you want to stay happy, you have to do something…

    …As a lower bound, you have to like your work more than any unproductive pleasure. You have to like what you do enough that the concept of “spare time” seems mistaken…I put the lower bound there for practical reasons. If your work is not your favorite thing to do, you’ll have terrible problems with procrastination. You’ll have to force yourself to work, and when you resort to that the results are distinctly inferior.

    …To be happy I think you have to be doing something you not only enjoy, but admire. You have to be able to say, at the end, wow, that’s pretty cool.

    …What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. When you can ask the opinions of people whose judgment you respect, what does it add to consider the opinions of people you don’t even know? …This is easy advice to give. It’s hard to follow, especially when you’re young. Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like….Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself…Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige….Similarly, if you admire two kinds of work equally, but one is more prestigious, you should probably choose the other. Your opinions about what’s admirable are always going to be slightly influenced by prestige, so if the two seem equal to you, you probably have more genuine admiration for the less prestigious one.

    …The test of whether people love what they do is whether they’d do it even if they weren’t paid for it—even if they had to work at another job to make a living. How many corporate lawyers would do their current work if they had to do it for free, in their spare time, and take day jobs as waiters to support themselves?

    …With such powerful forces leading us astray, it’s not surprising we find it so hard to discover what we like to work on. Most people are doomed in childhood by accepting the axiom that work = pain. Those who escape this are nearly all lured onto the rocks by prestige or money. How many even discover something they love to work on? A few hundred thousand, perhaps, out of billions.

    …It’s hard to find work you love; it must be, if so few do. So don’t underestimate this task. And don’t feel bad if you haven’t succeeded yet. In fact, if you admit to yourself that you’re discontented, you’re a step ahead of most people, who are still in denial. If you’re surrounded by colleagues who claim to enjoy work that you find contemptible, odds are they’re lying to themselves. Not necessarily, but probably.

    …”Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love. If you subject yourself to that constraint, it will automatically push you away from things you think you’re supposed to work on, toward things you actually like. “Always produce” will discover your life’s work the way water, with the aid of gravity, finds the hole in your roof.

    …But it’s harder than it looks. Constraints give your life shape. Remove them and most people have no idea what to do: look at what happens to those who win lotteries or inherit money. Much as everyone thinks they want financial security, the happiest people are not those who have it, but those who like what they do. So a plan that promises freedom at the expense of knowing what to do with it may not be as good as it seems.

    …Whichever route you take, expect a struggle. Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you’ll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you’re in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you’re practically there.

  127. Reblogged this on tragicboat and commented:
    truly inspiring: but for a young person to revolve in this arena, it’s sure a tough knock out, speaking from experience.. bt u noe ntg is easy in this world..

  128. Great advice! I’ve been struggling with this myself for some time so it was lovely to hear someone else’s opinion on ‘doing what you love’. :)

  129. Thank you Dave for sharing this thought. You are so right. I have too quit my high paying job so follow my dream which is the thing I love to do. It will not be easy but it will be possible when I believe fully in it.

  130. Great blog! Thank you for the like on my post about my favorite Hawai’i moments!

  131. The two biggest things that happened in my life that led me towards truly finding happiness were: 1. Being made redundant in my mid 30′s. I was doing a job that stressed me out working for a cynical and greedy large corporation. 2. My children grew up! Then finally it was the right moment to set up my own business and choose my own path. Sometimes the shackles in your life get broken open by someone else, and sometimes they open themselves. It’s the shackles to which only we have the key that hold us back.

    Great post, Dave, I’m about to reblog it.

  132. What an incredible post! I read every last word. Very inspiring for those trying to figue out what it is they love to do. The line “But if you have the destination in sight, you’ll be more likely to arrive at it” summed it up perfectly for me. Thanks again David!

  133. Reblogged this on Sell, Lead, Succeed! and commented:
    I stumbled across David Kanigan’s blog Lead. Learn. Live. this morning and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read more posts over the next few days. One caught my attention in particular – “Do What You Love”. It is a real eye opener for those trying to find their way with respect to their career. I strongly recommend that you take a few minutes this weekend to immerse yourself in the message. Thanks David!

  134. This is a really great piece! I think most younger people look at the money they will make in determining if that career is “a good fit”. I’ve always told my children that the first thing you must think about when looking for a job is not the money, but whether or not it’s a job you like, love or hate. If you like it, then it will “do” until you can find the job you LOVE, or set into place, actions to prepare to get the job you LOVE. If you hate it, then you at least know what you DON’T want to do when you grow up; and cross it off your list.
    I have only recently came across the job/career that I love. It has taken my 40 years to pursue my passions (probably because of money constraints), and I’m have the time of my life. I think it’s always “better late than never”. Obtaining my dream job/career later in life, only makes me more appreciative!
    Thanx for touching on this subject. Come on over to my blog sometime, as well…I’m glad I’ve subscribed to yours.
    Jill Sorg
    http://jillcards.wordpress.com/

  135. This is so true.

  136. Wow, looks like you hit a jackpot over here :)

    Great piece you have shared here, I concur wholeheartedly, and yes, it rarely manifests early even if it is already within you.

    I am happy to have persevered until I made it work for me that I could be doing the work I love, I have multiple jobs and slowly eliminate those that don’t fit the equation as the others gain strength. It can require a certain amount of risk taking and confronting fears of course, but well worth the reward.

    • Yes, Claire, as they say…even a blind squirrel trips into an acorn. :) Sounds like you’ve found the magic sauce and didn’t need the guidance of this share. Good for you!

  137. Thank for passing by and the like :)

  138. Re-blogged – Outstanding post!

  139. Even though I have read this post many times – I keep coming back to it!!! Do what you love – such a brilliant and simple reminder! Thanks again Dave. I am hoping to follow my dream and do what I love – travel, write and share….career break coupled with travel blogging! Scary thing to give up the full time job and pay check – but excited to embark on a new adventure! Doing what I love….

    • Hi Anita. I, too, come back to this post and his sage advice. I find that he inspires me to reflect and re-direct my actions and activities for higher purpose and use. Good luck on your new adventure. I love following your posts.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Do What You LOVE. Posted on March 16, 2012 Re blogged from Lead. Learn. Live. [...]

  2. [...] 9) https://davidkanigan.com/2012/03/11/do-what-you-love/ [...]

  3. [...] came across a post written by David Kanigan: “Do What You Love?” Within this blog he referenced some excerpts from another post: “How To Do What You Love” [...]

  4. [...] came across a post written by David Kanigan: “Do What You Love?” Within this blog he referenced some excerpts from another post: “How To Do What You [...]

  5. [...] Do what you love? Posted on March 27, 2012 by II 4S Aopmrdd Do what you love? Reblogged from Lead.Learn.Live.: [...]

  6. [...] post is actually an excerpt on David Kanigan’s Do What You Love? In this day and age when people are stuck in the rat race, a few are slowly realizing what was [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: