We like things easy. It’s OK to admit it, even though doing so goes against everything you’ve been thought.
Why do some people insist that meaningful work must be hard? Frustration and struggle are not a core requirement for life or a business. It’s just a sweet little lie we tell ourselves to keep plowing ahead and resist the temptation to jump out a window.
That revelation finally came to me one day, after hammering away at yet another “passive income” project that was slowly draining my soul away. Is this what freedom was supposed to look like?
The answer wasn’t “no”, but “Hell no!”
Whether you’re slaving away on a computer at a windowless cubicle, or in a beach-side hammock in Thailand, guess what? If you’re doing mindless, unsatisfying work, you’re still a slave. The new scenery doesn’t change that fact.
Excitement, passion, joy, and enthusiasm for what your work are all just different words to describe the same thing: that you freakin’ LOVE what you do, love your job, love your life’s work.
When your work does not fill you with love, another emotion will fill the void: hate. And hate for what you do always brings along undesirable side effects – anger and frustration. At least these negative emotions are sometimes charged with enough energy that they may spur you to seek change. You’re threading dangerous water when instead of hate, an even worst emotion takes its place: indifference.
Not caring about what we do is a symptom that we lack meaning and purpose.
So what do you do if you feel negative emotions towards your life’s work? Or more dangerously, indifference? Here are three things you can get started on, right now.
Commit to Love Your Job
And by job I mean what pays the bills.
Right now, this very moment, decide that you’ll do everything in your power to love what you do. It is a decision that is yours to make and that no one can take from you.
What do you enjoy doing most? What would get you up from bed every morning? Commit yourself to add more of those things to your life. Every single day. Preferably replacing those things that you dread getting out of bed for.
Learn When to Stop
I love to photograph. There are days I devote exclusively to that, as part of projects I love to work on. When I don’t feel like taking pictures anymore, I stop.
Anything you love doing, when done in excess, becomes a chore. And it will turn from love into something you hate. This is how burnout happens.
Change Direction to Spark Creativity
I love to write… when I’m in the mood for it. So, whenever that urge strikes, I don’t put it off for another time. I do it right then and there. When I don’t feel like writing anymore, when I’m not in love with it, I take a break. I walk outside, get some fresh air.
Am I really tired of writing, or is the topic that’s not sparking any creativity? If I’m worn out, I move on to something else, since I don’t want to build any negative energy towards it. If it’s something else I want to write about, then I get on that to get my juices flowing again.
Is there another way to approach an activity you love to keep you going?
A Final Word
Hard work is not the problem. Hard work is just a measurement of how much effort you’re putting into what you’re doing.
Here’s the secret I’ve learned: When you love your work, things become easier to do. You devote more effort and stick longer with it. It’s that simple.
Is your hard work, what you’re spending most of your time on, directed towards that which you love, or that which you hate? I know which emotion I would rather infuse my hard work with.
What project are you in love with right now that you’d like the world to know about? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.