Or another apt headline for this would be: How to tell if you’re meant to be doing what you’re doing.
The first headline may sound paradoxical and inaccurate, but it’s something worth talking about it because it’s filled with nuances and emotions.
You may be thinking, “If someone has passion, then they definitely love it! They’ve so much success in life because of it! And, they’re helping others!”
Words like ‘passion’, ‘success’ and ‘helping others’ are honestly buzzwords today. They’re easy and fun to talk about at cocktail parties, write in a blog post or use in a seminar speech, but if you bother to dig deeper, you’d see that they’re extremely complicated, not to mention subjective ideas.
The idea of passion today is muddled as people conveniently conclude that they love doing it because it makes them successful.
The idea of success today is touched on mostly on a surface level, wherein things like money and fame speak the loudest.
The idea of helping others today is corrupted as people use it to humblebrag and lure others into thinking they’re servants of humanity when really, they’re just salespeople.
That’s why it’s important to know if you really love doing what you do today: To avoid falling into the traps above and end up being unhappy with yourself.
My story of how I finally found out I love what I am doing today
I’ve written before about how my blog came to be and all the lessons I’ve learnt. Those lessons were hard ones.
After a long time of hustling, soul-searching and fucking up, I can pinpoint the problem back to one thing, which is that I didn’t truly love what I was doing.
How did I not know this earlier? How did I stay lost for so long? How is it that as a writer, despite writing, I still didn’t really love what I was doing?
Because I kept giving myself this excuse as a safety net: “I am not sure about this, but hey, if it makes me rich, why not? I am sure that I’ll enjoy doing it when the money comes in!”
I tried so many trendy tactics I learnt online:
- Writing list articles because others said they are a popular format.
- Using Instagram as a place to write stories or make quotes because Instagram seemed to be up and coming.
- Scouring forums to contribute in a contrived way.
- Creating sales pages that was straight up filled with half-truths and lies.
- Answering questions on Quora like a machine, even those I was not qualified to answer.
And much more.
The thing is, all of the above can work. But I didn’t enjoy the process most of the time. I forced myself to as I told myself constantly, “Why not? It could make me rich!”
That’s the key: If you’re just using this excuse all the time, then no, you absolutely do not love what you’re doing.
Today, I am writing my novella. It’s pure fiction.
It’s a far cry from whatever I’ve learnt in the world of blogging and marketing.
And I love it. I know it’s truly what I love because I am finally answering that nagging feeling I had for years.
Hence, if you want to know if you truly love what you’re doing, you’ll never have to try to make yourself feel better with the hopeful incentive that is money or some tangible result.
You’ll instead, be willing to do it simply because you love it.
Because the process of creating something in itself makes you feel inspired.
Because you know it’s your duty to do so as it can help others and you don’t expect anything in return.
Because you feel good about it every step of the way and you don’t have any notions of hopeful incentives.
It probably begs to be asked now then:
“Hey Alden! I know of many people who are decently happy doing the work they do today. It may not be their passion, but they’re happy, like that guy who makes enough to support his family and he loves his kids! Can you blame him? Is this wrong?”
No, I do not blame him. It’s not wrong either.
What people like him are doing is simply working hard as a means to some passion they have or want.
But he doesn’t feel it every step of the way. If that gets him by, more power to him.
I’d challenge you though, when you asks questions like that, to dig deeper and find out if a person like him is truly happy, for now you’re simply scratching the surface of the idea that is success.
Is he cheating on his family?
Is he a different person at home?
Is he buying expensive, needless shit just to validate his status?
But… ultimately, none of this is your damn business.
Hence, the final tell in knowing whether you really love doing what you are doing: You stop caring about what others are doing.
You go back to the basics:
You do it because you love it.
Because the process makes you inspired.
Because it’s your duty.
Because you feel it every step of the way.
And believe it or not, this is what gives you the success you crave deep down.