A Third Approach

They say, “if you don’t love what you do, do what you love.” Exactly how many people are able to do what they love on this planet? Now, I’m talking in a sense that this refers to being able to land a job in a field that you’re most happy with or even starting your own business, and while there are plenty of success stories out there and on the web, how many times have these people failed before they were truly able to say that they’re doing what they love, while being able to just survive?

The reality is, not everyone has an opportunity to do what they love, but they do have a chance to love what they do – those are two completely different things. One may be quick to judge and claim that an individual is probably “not trying hard enough” or “not sacrificing enough,” but let’s use a very common example – artists. Paint artists, musicians, singers, dancers, actors and actresses: there are plenty of people out there who share the same passion but are not presented nor are they able to find that one thing that every individual on this planet needs, an opportunity. There is very much a possibility that there is an extremely talented person somewhere out there that has yet to be discovered simply because they can’t afford to give up their current job because they have mouths to feed and a roof to keep over their head. Doing what you love to survive isn’t an option for everyone, and that’s okay.

Here’s where we want to explore the other option, loving what you do. Not everyone has a great paying job with wonderful benefits that allow them to do what they’d like to do and doesn’t affect their desired lifestyle. That’s just how it is. An executive sitting on the 56th floor of some high-rise may appear to have the whole world beneath their feet, they may have all of their trips and travel accommodations covered, they may have a 40ft swimming pool in their 5,000 square feet home, but at what cost did they get all of that for? They came out of business school with a $200,000 student loan on their back. They spent the next 10 years to pay that off with an entry level job that they settled for because, bills. They spent another 15 years to climb their way to the top because they’ve already spent 10 years there, what’s another 15? They poured every second of their life into this job because they loved this job, it paid off every penny that they owed and kept them well fed throughout the years. Now that they are earning an incredibly comfortable income, they don’t have the spare time to enjoy it and do what they actually love. They’d have to wait until retirement to be able to enjoy their hard-earned money.

The vast majority let their job dictate their lifestyle because it’s a means to an end. You love what you do because it keeps you out of poverty and allows you to live the way you want to live. You’d do what you love but you’d be eating days-old stale bread throughout the day and have three holes in your sock. The select few that are truly able to do what they love without a worry are ones who were blessed with a very fortunate background, they are the ones who have a better half who are able to support their hobbies without needing them to ever financially contribute to the relationship, or even fewer – they are the ones who worked a job because they had to but were fortunate enough to have been able to save the money to do what they love now. But let’s say we flip the script on these individuals. Let’s say their parents unfortunately lost all of their assets to the market, let’s say their better half just lost their job and they don’t have a rainy day account, let’s say that these individuals that got to do what they love, now have to actually make money from their hobby. At this point, aren’t these individuals also allowing their now “jobs” dictate their lifestyle?

So what’s the difference between “loving what you do” and “doing what you love?” You have to learn to love what you do but you are given the opportunity to do what you love. No matter how you argue that you put in the time and effort to be able to do what you love, you were still given the opportunity. Not everyone gets to work their dream job, but one can try to make the best of their current situation. You can also do what you love, just don’t expect to be able to pay bills. Once money is able to dictate what you love, are you still doing what you love? Or are you now doing it to survive? And if you’re the one telling someone else that they should “go do what you love,” are you even able to do the same? It doesn’t have to be one way or the other. You can work the shittiest job on your list but learn to love what you do because it puts a warm meal on the table and allows you to do what you love in your free time, and enjoy it.

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