Monday, September 7, 2015

Why "doing what you love" isn't just self-indulgence

There recently had been backlash towards the "Do What You Love" philosophy, the way of thinking that promotes pursuing your passion instead of financial pursuits or prestige. This way of thinking had been deemed classist and inconsiderate of people who simply cannot live day to day without juggling three jobs to make ends meet, or people who are locked down in their jobs because of loan debt or other crises, among others.

For the most part, I agree. The backlash, as I understand it, targets people who offhandedly attempt to suggest that doing what you love is possible for anyone, and people who don't do what they love are somehow wrong or at fault for having the lives that they do. This is not true at all - it is short-sighted and simply obnoxious to try and prescribe this to everyone and anyone who is unhappy without looking at their particular situation. 

However, for people who do have the ability to choose, I do think that there are colossal merits to trying to pursue this ideal. I feel that too many people feel as if pursuing their passions is somehow self-indulgent, just because not everyone else is given the same opportunity as they are.

I think this way of thinking helps those people just as much as eating all of the food on your plate when you were a child helps all the starving children in the world...

Hint: it does not...

It just makes you guilty, and possibly nauseous.

“I really believe that the world needs more people working on things they love.” 
-Arriane Serafico

When we do something that we love, we simply have more spirit fuel to try and do this thing in the best way we can, and for longer. And we are more likely to be spiritually awake when we do things we love rather than when we do things we feel obliged to do that we dislike. When I say spiritually awake, I mean that state of genuine engagement with your work where you are more likely to think creatively, to think of the moral implications of the work you put out, to feel involved in this work, and to feel like it is something you will be proud of putting forth into the world, when you're at the end of your life. Instead of feeling like a passive cog or gear in a machine that you have no real control over.

Disclaimer: When I say love, I don't mean simple enjoyment, which can fade after your calling becomes your job or when the going gets tough. I mean love as in fierce love - when you believe in your heart of hearts in the value of something, and you treasure it no matter what; much like the love we have for people in our lives.

Of course, it is possible as the intelligent and dynamic beings that we are, to simply choose to have this mindset, to be spiritually awake, in whatever it is that we are already doing. So if you're in a particular occupation or field right now that you don't really particularly despise, but you wouldn't say that it has really been "what you always wanted to do" either, if you're somewhere in between, then give passion a real shot in whatever it is! Get obsessed with it. Learn more about it. Try to see if you can be more passionate in whatever it is that you do everyday, and heighten the experience! And if you are already in there but have lost your passion, try to get it back. Remember, it goes both ways: Do what you love, love what you do.

But if you are, like me, at a place in your life where you're just about to choose what it is that you'll be doing, give yourself a favor and truly consider work that will make this passion occur spontaneously. Skip a step. Get to that place where you can be passionate and therefore make better work that much quicker. It will not only be a favor to you in this way, but clearly, through playing to your passions, (which would then through sheer force of love and will, be your strengths) a favor to whoever it is you would be serving through your work. 

Here is a video from The School of Life (a recent gem I discovered!) that attempts to guide one in one's pursuit of finding fulfilling work. I'm in the process of applying this advice myself, and found it very refreshing and comforting, so I want to share it with you, because I'm grateful that you're here reading my blog, which is currently where my passion is. Haha!

Hope to see you again here soon.

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