Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Finding What you Love is the First Step

“You've got to find what you love. [... T]hat is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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. [... T]he only way to do great work is to love what you do.” - Steve Jobs

So, now  the question naturally arises...

How do you find what you love to do?
It’s such a big question. It absolutely irks me that we hear this out whole lives, that we should be doing what we love to do, but there’s no any step-by-step advice out there on how to find what you love to do.

A perfect example is this. In order to find your passion, we are told to ask ourselves: “What would you do if you had a million dollars (tax free)?” The typical answer ensues: “Well gee, I would put it in an account that yields high interest and live off the interest each year. Then I would move to Hawaii, buy a house, sip margaritas all day, play video games, go to the beach, swim, travel around the world, taste all the cuisines, read the books, play the sports, and on and on and on.” Does this really help? Not really. Sure, you figured out what your lazy butt likes to do, but it doesn’t really answer the question that’s hidden, which is “How do I make money doing what I love to do?

What's the result? People working in jobs they hate, feeling trapped because they can’t quit because they rely on that sole source of income to finance a lifestyle tailored to escape their grim reality, drifting aimlessly in life, in short, leading lives of "quiet desperation", as so eloquently put by Henry David Thoreau. Why don’t they just quit their jobs and pursue what they love to do you ask? Two Reasons:

Reason #1: They don’t know what they love to do.

Reason #2: Fear. They’ve got a lifestyle to uphold, bills to pay for, families to take care of, fear of no steady source of income, fear of what other people might think or say about them, etc. Fear.
Conquer indecision in Reason #1 and ACT, and you will most definitely conquer all fear in Reason #2. The very fact that you are seeking to find what you love to do is a big step, believe it or not. Many people in their lifetime avoid or don't even seek to find the answer to that question. They hear the question in their head but have become extremely adept at silencing it.

You must decide what destination to steer your life in. Otherwise, you leave yourself wide open for others to direct your life, as well as at the mercy of the winds and storms of life. If you know where your destination is, the rest is easy. I cannot say that once you find what you want to do, that all uncertainty and burden will be lifted off your shoulders, or that you will suddenly have a clear vision as to what your journey, providing a truly joyful journey. There's always that monkey wrench that life decides to throw into your plans, but it will be easier, that much I can promise.


First things first, you’ve got to find what you love to do

Why are so many people having difficulty finding what they love to do? It's because they’ve never truly asked themselves. What amazes me is that there seems to be a stigma attached to spending time with oneself. You have to constantly be doing something, whether it’s going to the game, drinking beer with the buddies, going to that hot party or club downtown, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with doing all that, but I suspect the vast majority of people who engage in this “I have to be doing something every minute because I can’t be by myself” mentality are just putting up a front to show people how satisfying and fulfilling their life is, when in reality, it’s just the opposite. Believe me, I tend to live my life like this as well. I feel a constant need to be with people, surrounded by friends, etc. The irony here is that spending time with oneself is exactly what you should be doing to lead a satisfying and fulfilling life.
People think you have to travel around the world, experience new things, meet new people, etc. to find what you love to do. No, I mean, it can help, but it's not necessary. You just have to sit down and decide. The answer is already within you. You just have to dig it up and avoid procrastinating. Your brain has absorbed all sorts of information and experiences and it has the answer ready to be unraveled.

Just let it out.

Be honest. Have you actually sat down by yourself with no distractions, with your sole focus on asking yourself what you love to do without picking up your cell phone, surfing the net, watching TV, chatting Facebook, listening to your favorite song, playing solitaire or minesweeper, checking your email, returning a call, getting a drink of water, going to the bathroom, looking at the clock, reading a magazine article, I could go on and on but you get the point. I’m going to go out on a limb and say you haven’t. Why is that?

Fear of what the answer will be if you ask yourself what you love to do. The answer is: I don’t know. 


But that is exactly why you need to find out. You’re avoiding the question because you know the answer is you don’t know, but that’s OK. Admitting you don’t know is perfectly fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. You’re way ahead of a ton of other people who learn to quiet the voice within that asks the question of “What do I love to do?” And let’s say you’re one of the few people who actually specifically knows what they love to do. The next thought that pops in their head is “Oh, I can’t make any money off of that.” The seed was planted but it never had a chance to grow.

So why not take the first step and at least ask yourself? It can only go up from there!

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