Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Do What You Love Cult

Pretty much every good idea I've had lately has come from Austin Kleon on Twitter. Let's be real about that. 

This time it's: 

Do What You Love cult sucks for 2 reasons:

1) makes folks w/ bill-paying day jobs feel like shit

2) guilts the self-employed into overwork

I'd also add a third reason: It makes people who don't know what they love feel like shit for not pursuing it (Hint: That's me). 

I actually do believe people should do things they love and pursue their passions, but that's different than the common interpretation that people should do for a living that one thing they love.

Doing things you love might mean taking walks, playing with your kids, painting, or watching your favorite TV show. There are lots of things that can bring people joy. It doesn't mean you're going to do it every second of the day or that you're going to make money doing it. 

So, yes, do what you love--as often as possible for as long as it brings you joy. If you can do it for a living, great. If not, that's also great because it can be your outlet when you come home from work for the day. 

But don't confuse love with integrity and purpose.  

For example, I feel like I'm supposed to say that I love teaching. Some days I love teaching; some days I don't like it very much. But whether I love it or not doesn't matter. I know I'm doing good work, so I go back to it day after day.

I believe any activity, paid or otherwise, should be done with integrity and purpose. People shouldn't sell their values, and there should be a reason behind their actions. When you can look at what you've done and know that you contributed something meaningful--even if the process wasn't very glamorous or emotionally fulfilling--then you've done good work.

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