Do What You Love, or Do What Pays?

The half truths about working for love and for money.

It’s supposed to be the Holy Grail of career searches.

Find the thing you love to do! Don’t “they” say that once you find that your troubles are over? “Do the thing you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life!” Supposedly, it will be a life of nothing but happiness and joy. You’ll have a big smile on your face from the time you get up in the morning until you turn in late at night. All because you LOVE what you do. 

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs

It’s actually only half the truth.

First, no matter how much you love what you do in life, there are going to be things involved that you aren’t going to want to do. No one gets to do only what they want to do. You forfeit that right in childhood, somewhere after your toddler years.

Second, of all the people who love to do some kinds of work, only some have the drive and focus to make money doing it. Only some artists or musicians or athletes or actors avoid a day job. So, as Mark Cuban so accurately points out, look for something you actually can do to make money. Once you do that, you’ll have all the money and time you want to spend on your “love.”

I remember once a vice president in Asheville, N.C. told me he loved playing golf, but he decided to give it up for a couple of years and focus on his career. He said “I realized, if I did well, I’d be able to play all the golf I wanted for the rest of my life.”

Cuban makes another great point. He says if you want to enjoy your work, THEN GET GOOD AT IT! The funny thing about people is that they enjoy doing things they’re good at. When you’re good, you help people, you stand out, you make progress, you feel good.

Look to the place where you can have the most success with your personality and skills. Look to the things that inspire your curiosity. That’s where you’ll find what you love, what you’ll grow to love, and success.

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