Some gurus like Joseph Campbell will tell you to do what you love and the doors will open for you. Mark Cuban will tell you to do what you spend the most time on already and get better at that. Gary Vee will tell you to just focus on being happy. Dan Kennedy will tell you that you have to focus on bringing value, because no one is going to pay him to do what he loves (such as laying on a hammock and relaxing).
All of these ideas on handling your vocation have SOME merit. How would you feel if I gave you a recipe but forgot a single ingredient – yeast.
Being right doesn’t count if it’s not complete! – Truth Cake
Those gurus suggestions leave a nasty problem that no one talks about…
Let’s pretend you go the path of doing what you love, and that thing is perhaps “tennis.”
The problem is you don’t love tennis.
There’s 2 problems here:
- You don’t like anything on its surface (eg. tennis), you like the need that it satisfies (there’s only 6 needs). In this case, it may be Affiliation because you get to have all your buddies around when you play tennis.
- Incorrect associations and anchors. You may think you like you like tennis because you used to play tennis with your now-deceased parents, and it reminds you of them. You don’t love tennis, you love the connection with your family.
The 1st problem takes some time to really admit what you like about something – you may think you love helping build churches, but really you love Significance from seeing your name carved into a brick and scrawled onto a park bench for all your wonderful contributions.
The 2nd problem takes some deep searching to find out if the thing you like you actually like or if it just happened to coincide with other things you like. If every time it snowed you got to stay home from school and play with your friends, you may think you love snow, but you don’t love snow – you love not going to school and playing. So you move to a snowy climate, because when you “soul searched” and realized your happiest days were when it snows. But when you’re no longer school age, and it snows, you hate it because you still have to go to work. You realize then that you never loved the snow, you loved the situation surrounding it.
You have to find out if you love what you say you love, or if what you love coincides around its situation. Also you have to determine the deep psychological need is being satisfied when you do the thing you love. If you know what the need is, you may be able to find something else that satisfies that need more easily. Jeff Bezos originally was pursuing high level math in college, realized he wasn’t going to be the best in it but had the need to be the best at something (Significant) and realized being a business owner was an easier path for him to satisfy that need.
Ask yourself 3 questions:
1) What things have you been striving to do that you thought you loved only to realize it was something else that you actually loved that just coincided with the activity,
2) What deep need does “what you love” actually satisfy, and
3) Is there a more direct and easier way to achieve fulfilling that need besides doing “what you love” currently?