Do what you love. Love what you do.
Odds are you tried something in your life. A passion. A hobby. Something that got you excited, made you feel alive. It felt amazing doing it. And you did it, and did it, and kept at it, but in time it became more and more difficult to stay with it long enough to achieve true success.
Let’s face it: if you’re not in love anymore with what you’re doing, it feels like an uphill struggle. That’s OK if you’re a hobbyist or a dabbler, but if you want a career, if you want to live your life at the highest level possible, then all this might make you want to stop and try something else…
You want to quit because you weren’t expecting that doing what you loved would be so damn frustrating at times. So infuriating. So full of monotony, and moments of despair.
So damn boring…
Wasn’t this supposed to be about love? About passion?
Ever thought that maybe your understanding of what it takes to succeed in any given field is not accurate?
Your work — if it is to bring a tear to someone’s eye — if it is to be talked about for a long time — was never supposed to have been easy.
After fourteen years of writing and blogging, after four years of working out, it’s clear to me now that the work has to be challenging.
It has to be painful.
You see, you’re both the marble and the sculptor.
You’re not just doing what you love, but you are becoming someone else. And in order to reach a higher level in your work, you must become a different person. The kind of person who can accomplish those feats.
And this hurts. It always does.
I can see that it is not about only doing what I love, because half the time if I’m honest, I do not love it.
“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.” ― Mark Z. Danielewski
Writing as a career can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be tough and rough and frustrating to the point that I want to cry. I even did cry more often than I’d like to admit.
But I do know that it is work that makes me feel alive, keeps me sane in a very psychological sense. It is hard work that keeps my heart pumping.
As a side note: Comfort breeds monsters. The desire for comfort breeds insecurities and anxieties. That’s why aspiring to become the best, to make your life a masterpiece, to constantly evolve, all that is never going to be effortless.
By staying with my craft for so long, I reassess my own humanity. Not because it’s easy. But because it is such a painfully slow process.
Do “what you love” long enough, and you’ll realize that the long and impossible journey towards home is, in fact, your home.
In other words, the struggle never ends.
Frustration is an indication of growth — of new mental pathways being formed. When I wake up tomorrow, I’m a little better at handling the things that I would have struggled with yesterday.
Years ago, I would have told you to follow your passion; to do what you loved. Now I’m telling you to do what makes you feel alive, because in life and living there is pain.
There is no greatness to be had in a world without struggle.
I don’t know if those of us who stay with our crafts are a little masochistic. I think we might have to be. But I know for certain that we’re unreasonable.
You have to fall in love with the pain of hard work.
Only in this sense are we doing what we truly love.
You must use the boredom, and the frustration, and the fear. The rejection of others. Their criticism.
If you’re into tennis, you might be familiar with a Romanian Tennis Player, Simona Halep. Well, she’s from my city, and a friend of mine went to school with her as kids. He had this to say about her:
Everybody knew her. But that was not something positive, as if she was popular or something. We were judging all the time. She was a girl but she had very short hair, looked like a boy, almost never wore the school’s uniform and she played tennis every single break, sometimes before the first lesson started… most of the times by herself, with the help of the school’s back wall. She did not want to play other silly, 8-year old specific games. She kind of refused us all the time, until we stopped asking. She was never smiling, anyway.
Now, I ask you. How does an eight year old feel when rejected by other kids?
How would you feel?
Doing what you love is not that much about love. I know, it’s a paradox. The work worth doing is about pain, patience, and perseverance.