How To Do Work That Makes You Come Alive

And Helps You Quit Your Job Too

Photo Credit: Nathan Rupert, Flickr

I had 10 tabs open in my browser as I sat reading Forbes and Huffington Post. The minutes ticked by and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube. What had started out as research ended up with videos of crashing motorcycles. Meanwhile, my half written blog post lay abandoned in a separate window. Looking exactly like it had a couple of hours ago.

The funny thing is, all this time I was aware that I was procrastinating. There was no excuse for it. But I couldn't stop myself from abandoning my draft in the name of research. Then I figured I had been working for a long time, even though I had hardly worked. So, I jumped to YouTube to take a break.

Using distractions as a pseudo-reward

It’s very similar to what happens when you are stuck in a job you don’t like. You begin a new thing on the side, with the intention of day job income. A few weeks go by and you have been working really hard on this thing but, there’s no money coming in. You figure that you don’t immediately need the money, so, you don’t need to push so hard. Before you know it, you are watching reruns of Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones. That new thing you started is gathering dust because it will take a lot of hard work before it starts paying off.

What I've realized is procrastination is just a symptom. The real enemy is comfort. Who in their right mind would choose to struggle when they could just kick back with a beer and watch TV? It is hard to resist the temptation and I have been guilty of it more times than I can count.

Fighting distractions and doing the work

Almost every entrepreneur, freelancer, or artist does this. But those who succeed, do it a little differently. They strap themselves in for the ride and do the hard work through all the distractions. They realize their dreams because they simply refuse to give up. They may get sidetracked and make mistakes but, they are always pushing on towards their goals.

I believe this mindset of hustling is one of the best predictors of success. Dig deep into any success story and you will find a story of hustle. From Eminem to Ogilvy. From Warren Buffett to Merlin Mann. They have all built their success stories by putting one foot in front of the other. Day after day after day.

The key then is doing what they did. Putting one foot in front of the other. Easier said than done. If you have ever tried to follow a fitness plan you’ll know how hard it is to keep doing the same thing everyday, with no end in sight. When it feels like you are working your ass off but, have nothing to show for it.

Doing meaningful work before quitting your job

Getting stuck in a job you don’t like feels kind of the same too. You drag yourself out of bed every day only to attend all those pointless meetings, and get paid for ass in the chair time. You see your future stretch out before you, without any hope of escape from this hell. Unless you do something about it.

It’s not that you don’t know what to do. It’s not that you don’t know that putting one foot in front of the other is the only way to escape from this hell. But if you have ever abandoned any project that felt really exciting to start, it’s probably because you started it with the wrong expectation. The expectation with which all such projects start. To enable you to quit your job.

You don’t become Warren Buffett by wanting to make money. You don’t get to be Eminem because you want to be a famous rapper. You get there because you just want to do this epic thing. It doesn't matter if it makes no sense to other people. You see meaning in it and that’s the only reason you’ll ever need. That’s what lights a fire in you, and brings out the hustler in you.

If you want to quit your job and do something meaningful, you have to find this reason. You have to value freedom and meaning more than you want comfort. More than you want a steady income.

Finding the path to doing work that makes me come alive

I feel that I have begun to get in touch with my inner hustler. Because eventually I did close my browser and completed that unwritten post. I published it later than scheduled but, I did do it.

It wasn't any productivity hack or motivational tactic that helped me do it. It was just something that I had to do. It started some time back, with my dream of wanting to write a fiction novel. But after a few failed attempts, I figured that before writing a hundred thousand word magnum opus I should first develop a habit of writing a thousand words a day. Which led to starting my own blog.

Part of the reason for wanting to write a book was the fame and money that comes with becoming a New York Times bestselling author. A la JK Rowling. It would help me quit my job and live the dream. But as I kept writing post after post, I discovered that I loved writing for its own sake. A few months after starting my blog, I wasn't writing to be famous or rich. I was writing because I loved it, and had come to see myself as a writer.

I don’t know if writing will help me make money and enable me to quit my job. But it doesn't matter. I will continue writing. And I will quit my job. I would love for those 2 things to overlap. Until they do, I will continue putting one foot in front of the other.

Start your own journey towards freedom

If you want to live the life you dream of, go do something you have always dreamed of doing. Do it because you just have to do it. Trust yourself and keep moving forward until you find the path which connects where you are to where you want to go.

The way I see it, there are no successes or failures. It’s only a matter of finding the path that is right for you. It may take time for you to find that path but, not until you start walking on the path you are on right on. So, hustle on!

If you liked this article, please click the Recommend button below.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Debashish Das’s story.