Doing the things you hate as a creative
It’s common knowledge to anyone who’s been an athlete, that they have to warm up first before they can practice technique or other fun parts of their sport. They have to do difficult, irritating warmups with a coach who might be anything but sympathetic to their pleas of help usually communicated through their sweat and bulging veins on their foreheads. These guys have do what they hate first in order to be conditioned to excel at what they love.
“Doing what we love” is touted as the Zen of career development but the advise fails to answer critical questions such as:
1. Do we really know what we love?
2. Do we even love what we claim to love 100% or is it just a convenience thing?
3. Are we familiar with who we are to the point we can claim to hate something without bias and not because it doesn’t conform to an imaginary dream of what passion looks like?
Pursuing what we deeply have a bias for is what we all desire but remember this:
Roses have thorns as their leaves.
This implies that we will inevitably face something we hate in doing what we love. In my profession as an app developer, I detest negotiating features with clients, especially when they have no user feedback or analytics data to back them up. Especially when a project is being designed by a committee and requests keep showing up from every corner. Am I doing what I love? Oh yes!! Did I sign up for dealing with favourable clients only? Noooooo!!!!!
As creatives, we need to understand that our passion comes with a number of dislikes as part of the package. These dislikes are there for the following reasons:
1. To grow our professional character
Doing what we hate causes us to become astute at being consistent and developing a rock solid work ethic. It teaches us to work every time and not only when euphoria or “inspiration” crops up. Things outside our preferences teach us to be consistent in the things that are in our preference zone — they develop our mental resilience muscles.
2. To humble us
One of the main reasons I don’t like what I hate, is because it shows me how incomplete I am. The things I hate are a mirror to my inner deficiencies as a professional. My feelings towards them signify a hidden discomfort with the truth that I need to up my game in those areas of my professional and personal life. Tastes from the pie of humility cause you to understand that to do the things you hate, you’ll might need someone that does them better than you, to teach you the ropes.
3. To take us into new dimensions of what we love doing
Doing what you hate may turn out to be a passion point you never thought was worth exploring in the first place. When irritating tasks end up becoming a major income earner for you, you start to see what you love in a different light. Your perspective is expanded and a new adventure onto a path you would have never thought exploring is unlocked. An adventure you would have never undertaken if you stuck to doing what you prefer.
I challenge you to make a TODO list everyday and ensure that what you hate most gets first priority. It will be difficult at first, but thank me later, when everything works out for the best.