I don’t think I can ever stress enough the value of doing things you love. I consider myself a very lucky person given that I have a job that I love, which in turns allows me to do things outside of work that I also love. And while I do consider myself lucky, luck was not the only factor that has contributed to this. Anyone who thinks that much of this hasn’t been by design is kidding themselves.
Often times that design has meant doing things I didn’t want to do or didn’t enjoy, just because I knew they would get me where I wanted to be. It’s a positive version of “the ends justify the means.” I spent four and a half years in military school because it was one of a select few places that offered the degree I wanted, and I knew the school would give me a leg up when I was done. There were plenty of times I was absolutely miserable and was on the verge of giving up. I had to look deep down and determine if what I wanted in the end was worth what I was going though. I determined that it was, but if it wasn’t, I’d have walked away in a heartbeat.
I’ve never understood those people who spend their entire lives doing something they hate simply because it’s a good job or because it is what is expected of them. When my dad graduated from college, everyone expected him to go into business. Instead he chose to do what he loved, which was teaching, and he has been a much happier man because of it. Sure he could have made more money doing something else, but that isn’t what life is all about.
Now I realize that there are times and circumstances that necessitate working a job that is, shall we say, less than desirable (sounds better than “sucks balls”). Bills need to be paid, or school must be attended, or experience is required. These are all legit reasons to do something undesirable. But if that is the only reason, and there is no endgame, nothing bigger, than is it really worth it? Maybe the decision is to work the job in order to support that things that are loved. In all honesty, I absolutely love this blog and the podcast and I put tons of time into them, but I suspect I’ll never earn a living from them. I’m not going to stop doing them just because they aren’t paying the bills, but I’m also going to do something that does pay.
There are some real benefits to doing what you love too. Stress is the first one that comes to mind. If things are stressful, I’d much rather be spending my time doing something that doesn’t make me miserable. That only makes the situation worse. In general, those things that I love give me a real sense of accomplishment too. Even when they are being exceedingly difficult, when I finally do get through, I even more overjoyed than I would be under average circumstances. I find that even those trying times are more tolerable under positive conditions. I am able to dig a little deeper to pull through because I care more.
I know that there has to be a balance between reality and our dreams. Some dreams just don’t pan out the way we wanted them to, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still exist in some form. Keep pushing forward and not giving up, and while life may not be perfect, it’ll probably be a lot more enjoyable.