You’re Not Supposed to Love What You Do

Photo by lasse bergqvist on Unsplash

You are supposed to be so good they can’t ignore you

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me how lucky I was to be doing what I love…

Look, do what you love, love what you do, follow your passion, all of it is terrible advice. It just is.

We often struggle to figure out if we truly love doing something or we just love the idea of it or the rewards we imagine.

And that’s why it gets tricky.


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You are not meant to do what you love, because you will always fall in and out of love with what you do.

Yes, I love writing. But at the same time, there are about a thousand different things that I must do that have nothing to do with writing. And sometimes I hate it. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing. Sometimes I just want to do anything but write.

And, yes, sometimes I want to give up. Just like the 99% of the writers who quit after 3 months of blogging or after 10 e-book sales on Amazon.

But I don’t quit, and I don’t give it more than a moment’s thought.

Why?

Because I am good at it.

I’m not being arrogant. I’m good enough at what I do that people don’t ignore me. I make a living out of it. It’s okay.

Do you know how many bloggers I find on the web who are incredibly passionate about writing but are terrible at it?

Do I read their content, even though they are passionate? Of course not.

Would you choose as your doctor someone who’s passionate about your health and well-being, but never actually went through Med school?

It’s Not About Love, It’s About Skill

What we call passion is just someone who worked on developing a skill until they became kind of good at it. At that point, it makes no sense to give up.

That’s why some writers give up, while others keep writing until someone plants them in the ground.

Almost everybodybelieves they have the talent to succeed at what the professionals make seem so effortless, yet few will ever pay the price that is required of them to reach such levels of mastery.

And it’s kind of ironic, because the masters themselves don’t think that what they are doing is this wonderful thing. It’s just work. It’s their work. And they know they’re good, like really good, because that’s why they’re doing it.

It’s all just work. Backbreaking, mind-numbing work.

When I worked as a waiter, I felt the same way towards the work I had to do. The same way I approach cleaning the house or doing the dishes. Like the type of work I hate.

What makes writing worth it, in my case, is the fact that I’m good at it, and I receive positive feedback. Oh, and the money as well. Sometimes I feel inspired, but sometimes I also feel inspired to do the dishes.

Everything is work. And you fall in and out of love with the work you do, no matter what it is, countless times throughout your life.

The contribution you have, however, that’s different.

You see, I write not because I derive pleasure from the act itself, but from the impact my words have. From the ideas that I express, and the way they are received my those I share those ideas with.

My words are my contribution, and I am more than willing to suffer in order to amplify that contribution.

The work is the same, but the other constant changes. I am happier after the fact than I am, for instance, after doing the dishes.

That’s the only difference between the type of work that exhausts the soul and one that you find meaningful, one that others call passion.


Passion literally means to suffer. So does patience. To be passionate and patient in the work that you do means to consciously choose to suffer for work that you believe could be great.

That is all.

Don’t try to find work that you love to do, but rather work on becoming so good at something that your work means something to those around you.

That’s what matters most. Doing something you’re good at and sharing those gifts with the world.


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64 thoughts on “You’re Not Supposed to Love What You Do

  1. This made me think of Charles Bukowski’s ‘Don’t try’ epitaph on his gravestone. He said, ‘Somebody asked me: “What do you do? How do you write, create?” You don’t, I told them. You don’t try. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks, you make a pet out of it.’

    Liked by 8 people

  2. So me helping people & getting burned at times fits this? I run from people because I’m driven to help but fear the ungratitude in the future, it hurts. I’m trying to get over those feelings & just do the work God has placed in my lil ole heart. It actually fulfills me. But once disappointed I’m in a slump with all people giving them the side-eye. I’m trying to shake it off. I’ll get there eventually.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Amazing article! Every single word is so meaningful!
    I especially loved the line,”You have to fall in love with the pain of hard work “.
    These days we all talk about how important it is to follow our passion and then we talk about the great stories of people who made it big in life by doing so but unfortunately we never reflect upon the struggles that they faced! Even if we do, we make it appear like a heroic moment, as if they felt like superheroes while going through so much! But no, it is and will always be painful to follow our passion. We need to realize this!

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Do what you love or love what you do, may be a lie or stressful. For me, once I decide to do, I do it WITH love. It’s different from like what you do. Pain may be a reality, suffering is an option, shall go with you, “love the pain of hardwork”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Life is built from the steps we make. If you did not do what you loved, today you did not realize that you must feel alive to count. All the states through which we pass are part of our lives and we build our character. Be glad that you know these states because you can talk about them from your personal experience. That means living your life, not just good parts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As it was written:

    “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”

    We have to plough through the debris in order to find the light that we’ll receive. That is, we have to do the grunt-work to gain that inspiration.

    But when we find it, it fills us. And we look back to say, “What was I complaining about, again?”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “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.”

    This hit home Cristian Mihai. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “You have to fall in love with the pain of hard work.” The reality of every success story.
    I agree with most of what you’ve written but…How do I find that work that keeps me alive? That pushes me to work that hard. Or maybe I’ll just have to push myself for it.
    Anyway, this post was so inspiring…And the quote from Mark Z. Danielewski really sums it up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, that’s the point I was trying to make: yoy push yourself for it. You do it and do it and do it and you will fall in love with it.

      Love at first sight is so rare it might not be real. You can’t count on it, not when your life depends on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • True, you can’t count on it. But then, in some interviews, successful people go on and on about how they found their passion and never gave up on it…Do you think they had to fall in love with their profession, too?
        I loved this post so much. And I’m always gonna remember the part about falling in love with the pain of hard work…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Most likely, yes. Read a lot about it. In “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. In “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”

          I didn’t love writing (or blogging) that much when I first started. Blogging, for instance, only came to appreciate fully when I started my blog on blogging.

          And love for what you do comes and goes. You fall in and out of love with your craft/art countless times during your life.

          To think otherwise is just not realistic.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well, you’re doing an excellent job with your blog! I used to think that it must come naturally to you but on reading some of your posts, I realised it didn’t.
            In the end what matters is just dedication, isn’t it?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Well, I know only certainly speak for myself. I started writing when I was 13 years old. Thought it was easy, thought I’d become the youngest writer ever to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature, and the second person to also receive an Academy Award.

              The first story someone else read? They told me I was a retard.

              I didn’t love writing, not at first. I wanted the reward, yes, but I knew nothing of the price that one has to pay.

              The same for going to the gym. It took years to develop this into a proper passion.

              It all comes down to how much you’re willing to suffer for what you want. It’s not the fairytale people expect, but if suffering is inevitable, the best thing you can do is to choose what you’re suffering for.

              Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting piece, Cristian. I have always done what I love, or loved what I have done. I have grown as a person because my work has always been a therapeutic relationship with others, and that involves accepting them as they are and my own mistakes. I know nurses who refuse a promotion because it involves less contact with people and more paperwork. Success is something that cannot be measured in wealth or status. Success is whatever enriches you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Hi Cristian. Just wanted to say this post was well done and insightful. I recall posting a very early attempt at short fiction on Facebook, and the sole comment I received was, “Are you on crack?” Not very encouraging! But I do love the challenge of writing, editing, and re-writing toward a goal of touching someone’s emotions with the final product, whether the heartstrings or the funny bone. Any worthwhile goal requires a willingness to suffer on the journey. All the best… ~Don

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Freedom = doing what you like. The key is to surround yourself with people and things that make you happy. Get rid of those people and things that do not make you happy. Remember, your freedoms, rights, and responsibilities end where another’s begins. 😎

    Liked by 5 people

  12. I agree with what your wrote. Concise and precise. If we think we love something (and the chances are sometime we may fall out of love with that work) and we know something else that may be slightly more attainable than the first option, but we don’t love it. Assuming hard-work is a part of both processes and we know we will do good in the second option too, then how should we make the decision? Do time and years matter more than passion? Does passion mean we will burn for something that is possibly not meant for us? What exactly is passion?

    Liked by 2 people

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