Do What You Love and You’ll [Still] Work A [Lot of] Day[s] in Your Life.

by Alexander Heyne · 18 comments

Do What You Love and You’ll [Still] Work A [Lot of] day[s] in Your Life. 

Society is a funny thing.  It’s a conglomeration of people who are considered a “society” because we share similar thoughts, preferences, and prejudices.

And society has two stereotypes that are interesting to me:

#1. Working for money means you’re a miserable, greedy, capitalist pig.

#2 If you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life.

For now, I’m more interested in #2, because I find it a little strange.

I’m doing what I enjoy but I work a lot. In fact, I put in more hours than I did at the jobs I used to hate.  And there are a lot of things I am not enjoying about the process.

Oh god, am I doing something wrong? Does my work once again have no point to it?

I realized that by jumping on the “Working-on-shit-you-actually-enjoy” ship I had actually figured out something that some people haven’t realized yet – working for passion still entails work.

A lot of it.

Probably a lot more than your normal job.

“What? No! It cannot be!” You’re probably thinking.  “I thought it was blue skies and smooth sailing from here on out!” 

Well, maybe you’ll sleep better at night.

And sure you’ll love what you do.

And yes, maybe you’ll finally view your time as worthwhile and you’ll love the process of work.

But there is no such thing as something for nothing, and there is no such thing as a building with a third floor but without the first floor.

People who want to work for enjoyment seem to jump in all excited with visions (delusions) of grandeur – thinking that somehow it negates all the work, all the research, all the networking, all the successes and all the failures.

It doesn’t.

But that shouldn’t deter you.

Don’t let me discourage you, or doubt yourself, or keep you stuck in a job you really dislike.

It just means you need to confront the cold hard facts.

The Stockdale Paradox

In Good to Great, a book by Jim Collins, a guy named Admiral James Stockdale is mentioned.  He was a prisoner of war for 7 years in Vietnam who was tortured and brutalized for years (and survived).  When he shared his secret to surviving he said the following:

You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

People will tell you what working for passion entails.

Experience will tell a different story.

You and I may be telling ourselves a third story.

But at this point it’s time for a reality check for myself, and for others who are looking to cut the chord on having a boss and make the leap to self-employment.

Don’t make the jump if you aren’t willing to work long hours (longer than in your previous job).

Don’t make the jump if you aren’t willing to do things you don’t like but need to do.

Don’t make the jump if you aren’t willing to self-micro manage or have the willpower stay in and do work instead of going out.

What are you getting at?

Working on what you enjoy is not a panacea.

People see success or highly skilled people and assume that it was a cakewalk because they enjoyed what they were doing.

Rarely does anyone enjoy every facet of their work, even work they create themselves.

Even extremely high achievers describe their solo practice as the “most disliked part of their training,” even though the strongest link between high achievement and practice is hours spent alone in solo practice.

Passion only solves a small, but important, part of the equation: making the process insanely enjoyable and worthwhile. 

Do what you love, sow your seeds, create your legacy, and change the world.

But never forget the cold hard facts:

Do What You Love and You’ll [Still] Work A [Lot of] day[s] in Your Life. 

 

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

TJ January 1, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Dang it! This is a really good posts and why the hell are there no comments? This is what scares me, I too want to make a successful blog, is it even possible? Are we merely wasting our time? I figure I have 35 years ahead of me to work, how much time do I invest in working on a blog making 0$, until I realize it’s time to man up and go find a real job?

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afheyne January 1, 2012 at 3:07 pm

TJ – I won’t bullshit you, I spend a lot of time talking myself off the ledge with blogging.

That’s also the main reason why I run this blog as I do now ~ it started 4 months ago, and I was working more than 6 hours a day to get it up and started (writing that ebook, etc.), but now I do about 1-2 hours a day.

Here’s the reality: 99% of people won’t make a dime from their blog. 99% quit.

99% of people will never work for themselves.

99% of people will never make it big.

99% of people will never have a life they truly love.

You gotta decide how much it’s worth to you, and how willing you are to do what it takes. One of the other successful (paid) bloggers in the blogosphere is Sean Ogle — and he recently wrote a post about how 90% of the blogs he used to follow only TWO years ago are no longer existent.

The other 10%? They are all making a full-time living.

It’s one part persistence, one part smart work, and one part the stubbornness to get it done. For me it works like this — there is no other option for me. Blogging is not my only project BTW — but I suspect in the next 2-5 years it will be a real (livable) income source.

It’s like any business — be prepared to work at it for months/years before you see ANY money. But you damn well better know that it has the potential to exponentially increase your income in the future vs just working for someone else. And you have the entire exposure of the internet.

Oh, and the post has no comments because I’m still just a blog floating around a billion others in the blogosphere :) I have to get the word out, slowly but surely.

Alex

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Mohan April 14, 2012 at 7:21 am

I have been to hundreds of blog sites. Read many of them. I stumbled upon this site recently and I check it every day for the new posts. If there is not i read the old ones.
Though i am not a connoisseur but i feel that this site is attracting far less visitors (looking at the no. of comments) than it deserves.

This site has great original contents. Alex, i think may be you are missing the marketing, advertising, promoting, traffic generating part of your blogging business.

PS. I am sure you have read & digested hundreds of books on motivation/self improvement/psychology etc. You should write a blog about what all inspiration you got from reading those books.

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afheyne April 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Mohan,

Thank you for the kind words —

Haha the universe doesn’t have the word “deserves” in its dictionary. Only plenty of smart, hard work will give people what they “deserve.” I obviously have lots to learn about blogging, especially about how to get people to find you in the blogosphere — the internet is a vast place after all.

I have pretty good traffic since I’ve been guest posting, but it takes quite a lot for people to find a good reason to stick around. I agree, I have lots to learn on the marketing and promoting front — we will see ! If you have any suggestions definitely throw them my way.

And that’s a great idea for a blog post! I’ll have to think it over and see what I can come up with —

Alex

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Alex A July 31, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I’d say one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your blog is to submit articles to different online publications and see if you can get your work published. If you do then you can put a link or trackback’s at the bottom of the article directing readers back here. Obviously with the content being geared toward us “20 something’s” you probably want to try University newspapers and blogs lime the Young Entrepreneur Council. I think you’ll find a lot of interest and receptiveness their. Personally I find a lot of your content incredibly intriguing and beneficial. Keep it up!

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afheyne August 4, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Thanks Alex — Getting noticed is definitely the most important aspect of a blog and it takes more work and commitment. At the start I had the time to do it, but now my time is less, so for the time being I’m going to have to let people find me – but soon I’m going to ramp it up again and get some exposure! Stay tuned

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Fish Jones January 1, 2013 at 11:05 pm

In that case, lemme go borrow my neighbor’s gun. Time to shoot myself I the head because that means nothing is worth doing.

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Alexander Heyne January 5, 2013 at 11:08 am

Fish —

What makes you think that? In your opinion, are the only worthwhile things in life the easy ones? I’ll give you an example – I just started a new business in an industry I’m totally interested in. I would read research books on the industry for fun.

I just wrote a post that took me over 15 hours (!) to write — and I had a BLAST doing it.

So yes it took “work” but it didn’t really feel like agonizing effort. Does that make sense?

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Jennifer February 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm

In continuation of the commentary submitted above, I stumbled across your blog and find its topics personally relevant, even though I am 40 years of age. You may be unecessarily limiting your scope of readership by thinking the topics addressed in your blog…your ruminations, struggles, breakthroughs, etc… are only relevant to people in the 20-something age group. You think 20-something life is a struggle? Try being twice that age with half the time to do something about it. It can be quite depressing, and it takes a lot of effort to remain optimistic. IMHO your opinions transcend the 20-something decade of life. Just a thought. Much luck in your endeavors!

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Alexander Heyne February 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Hey Jennifer —

I totally agree – I think the message is a little timeless and resonates with many others too — I just noticed that there is a huge percentage of 20 somethings suffering from the same symptoms. Plus I’m a 20 something ;)

I’m glad it helps though! “Try being twice that age with half the time to do something about it…” strong message for sure. Anyway, shoot me an email if you have any questions and maybe I can help .

Alexander

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Santia May 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Hi Alex

I’ve been reading your website for a while today after googling ‘what to do with my life’. I’m enjoying your concepts and totally agree with them. I am 41, have already moved countries once and have a job that is comfortable, has a good pension plan and bores me rigid every day.

This question may sound stupid but how do you know/find out ‘what you love’? I’ve only ever done ‘what is sensible’ and I’m concerned that I have no passion or skills for anything else! I’m lost and constantly flit from idea to idea because none of them are what I really want to do. I don’t have a ‘dream job’ idea – maybe I’m truly just lost =/

Reply

Alexander Heyne May 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Hey Santia,

Very few people are truly lost.

Start with “what sounds cool.” From there, start setting up coffee meetings, interview people, pick their brain, take them out for drinks and find out what that job/career is really like. You often will realize you don’t like one particular job as much as you thought, and you can quickly narrow down the options.

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Santia May 23, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Thanks for your reply, I really have been over-thinking things way too much and it’s time to step back a bit and keep it simple. I’m not great at networking but now is a really good time to start.

Thanks for the advice, oh wise young man :)

dev October 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

Pretty useful article ! In fact, the best one of it’s kind~!

Reply

Alexander Heyne October 30, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Cheers Dev!

Reply

dustin March 9, 2015 at 12:08 am

hi alex

ive read what you posted and its made me think what do i do for my life. I’m a senior now and i have no clue what im going to do for my life, where im going for college, what im gonna major in, or nothing. I just really feel stuck at this point and dont know what I should do for the rest of my life from this point. I was just wandering if you had any advice as what i should do from this point in my life.

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Ed October 6, 2015 at 5:56 am

Well written, thank you.
My problem is I have too many interests but can’t find any I’m good enough at for a career.
I seem seen to be master of all trades but jack of none. Which isn’t really helpful or fulfilling.

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Dustin Nichols August 20, 2016 at 6:16 am

Hi, I personally agree with every thing you’ve said so far except one thing. your blog probably doesn’t get many comments because most people are so terribly reluctant to even think about “heavier” subjects like the meaning of one’s life. I also consider myself lost because my life has soo many possible paths to travel that I can’t decide. And when I sit down to think about it I can never convince myself of any “purpose” in my life, or at least a purpose thAt I personnaly can get behind.

Reply

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