Are you doing what you love?
Do you love what you do?
Recently, I read this distinction between doing what you love and loving what you do.
Before, I get to that though, let me tell a short story.
Once, there was a poor boy who didn’t have the skills and knowledge to navigate through the world. So, he played it safe and followed the rules of the system. He only took calculated risks, made sure to not step on any toes, and saved his pennies. He looked to his friends, teachers, and mentors to guide and teach him the ways of the world. He didn’t trust his own instincts due to his underdeveloped childhood skills. But pretty soon, he was a successful in his education and his career. But, he was not truly happy.
One day, he realized his unhappiness and that he was indeed successful. He no longer needed to play it safe. He had the resources and support to take greater risks and enjoy his life more. He began trusting his intuition over social norms and advice of his peers. He began doing things he loved for their own sake rather than in order to gain fame, wealth, or validation.
However, old troubles and habits from his past would inevitably interrupt his almost, perfect life. Family and friends died. Health problems arose. Relationships were severed. Employees would unfairly curse him. He hatred these problems and planned on ridding himself of them through wealth, power, and fame.
But, this plan did not work. No matter how successful, how wealthy, how powerful, or how famous he became, there were always miserable inconveniences and problems that would arise. The stress and worry over trying to be free from these problems made him miserable and unhealthy.
Then one day, an old man, a stranger, asked him what his favorite experience was. The man replied, “I love watching the sunset on the beach. I feel so content and full watching the sunset. In fact, I can feel that peaceful relief now just imaging it.”
The old man said, “Bring that same contentment to your entire life including what you love and what you hate. Then you will find what you are looking for.”
I always believed that if I attained a certain degree of wealth that my problems would go away. I would still need to work, but I would have so much more support and resources to accomplish anything.
However, here I am, sitting in my family store. I drove three hours to get here. My parents went away this weekend for a long needed retreat, and I got the responsibility of being here. On my job, I would likely make double whatever this store makes today. But that would be missing the point.
On one hand, a person should always try to live according to his passion, his love, and his values as much as possible. Human life is a rare and precious gem. Warren Buffet recently said he feels grateful that he won the Ovarian Lottery. At his birth, there was a 1/30 chance of being born in the United States and that fact alone gave him enormous privileges and benefits. One has a responsibility in the old Good Will Hunting sense to fulfill one’s destiny.
On the other hand, there will always be new difficulties and problems. Or in a better view, challenges will always arise.
If you are not doing what you love then look within and figure out why not?
But, at the same time, appreciate the fact that you can still be peaceful, happy, and good at everything you do.
I’m not saying that you should be happy and complacent with poverty, a bad relationship, or abuse. You always have the freedom and responsibility to make the best out of what you have.
Always strive to be greater, to fulfill your destiny. But, accept your humanity and the humanity of others. Perfection will never be achieved. Thank god. Perfection means no change. No change means death.
Nietzsche once wrote, amori fati (love of fate). Only now, do I understand its true meaning.