Do what you love vs. love what you do

. 2 min read

You've probably heard phrases like "do what you love and the money will follow", or "do what you love and you'll never have a problem with Mondays", or "do what you love and you won't work another day in your life". The internet is full of motivational posters declaring life advice like these. And I admit, it's a nice idea. Except for one thing.

It's complete bullshit.

Yes, bullshit. The society, the media, and data analysts look at successful people, ask them what they think of their jobs, and when they hear those people love doing what they do, the make the connection: doing what you love brings you success.

Which is, of course, totally backwards - they love what they do because they are successful at it. They learn to love their jobs because they notice they are or get good at it and can make a difference through it. They start to feel competent and important, respected even. And that feeling makes them love what they do.

Of course it is possible to become successful by doing what you love. Some people have done it. Some people, like Franz Kafka for a quick example, only got success after they died. And then some people never ever achieve success by doing what they love. It's impossible to know exact percentages but I've a gut feeling the group I mentioned last is hands down largest in size.

But what happens if you decide on a job based on other attributes than your love for it, and then learn to love it afterwards? You'll probably choose a path that has better prospects of fulfilling you with purpose, a path that may include a lot of work and a lot of learning new skills, but will also give you massive amounts of self-respect by making you see you can do it. And if you really get good at it, chances are you'll start loving it, more than if you'd chosen the "do what you love" option. Because the "do what you love" path is often filled with disappointment - one, because it probably won't turn out the success you dreamed of, and two, because doing it twelve hours a day will make you resent the work you thought you had undying love for.

By grinding twelve-hour days of work you didn't love in the first place, work you only chose based on personal skills and chances to evolve and progress, you'll never grow to resent the work because you never expected to like it. Your affection will only go up from there. Make sure it does, though - you don't want to hate your job forever.

You want to learn to love it.