why don’t we do the things we love?

time is precious — so why do we waste our time doing things we’re only OK with?

Photo by Jen Hayashi

We spend so much time doing the things we’re only okay with, or things that we force ourselves to do, just because we want those extra lines on our resume or we want society to view us as hard-working and successful. But then we end up not having the time to do what we love, because those are the things that get pushed back in favor of work.

If you look at the habits of the most successful people, they know how to prioritize what’s truly important to them and how to eliminate the rest. They do what they love and love what they do, as cliche as that sounds. And that’s why they’re so successful.

But it’s not as easy as it seems to merely “do what you love and be done with the rest,” as popular quotes like to say.

So what is the work you can’t not do?

“Doing a job just to build up your resume is like saving all your sex for old life.” — Scott Dinsmore, founder of “Live Your Legend”

That is the foundation of Scott Dinsmore’s philosophy — find something you can’t live without, and find a way to make that your living.

That’s much easier said than done, of course, but in my experience, getting what you want isn’t hard. It’s figuring out what you want that is the ultimate challenge.

To figure out what you want, go back to what you love. To figure out what you love, go back to your childhood.

What did you want to do when you were seven? Eight? Twelve? Thirteen? When money wasn’t even a consideration? When you were exploring the world? When nothing was impossible?

Everything comes full circle. Let me tell you a story.

I wanted to be an ice skater when I was eight. I wanted to be the next Michelle Kwan or Kristi Yamaguchi. But as I read countless biographies and autobiographies, I realized that more than ice skating, I loved reading. And as I read, I realized that more than reading, I loved writing.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.

From having poems published in the kid’s section of the Los Angeles Times to writing short stories (which I thought were “books”) and giving them to my English teachers to review, I thought I could be the next Tamora Pierce, or Louisa May Alcott, or Charlotte Bronte.

And then I grew up. And then eighth grade hit, and for a project, we were asked to find a “real job” we wanted to do, one whose salary we could find on the Internet. Needless to say, “being a writer” didn’t fall into the “real job” category.

So I hovered between “psychologist” and “nutritionist.” I was fascinated with how people worked, how they thought, what made them go and grow. I was also nutrition-obsessed, into healthy eating, and wanted to help people on both accounts.

Here is where money first became an issue — I chose the profession for my project based off of how much money I would make.

If you’ve ever looked up how much nutritionists make considering how much schooling they receive, you’ll feel bad. So, psychology it was. And even then, I realized that psychiatrists got more money since they were able to prescribe medicine, so naturally, I was inclined towards that field.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to take money into consideration. That’s reality. You need money to survive. But I’m saying that money clouds the situation — it removes you from what you really love.

Regardless, I feel in love with psychology. I’ve always been a nosy, introspective, inquisitive person, and I wanted to know what people were thinking and why.

But fast forward to college, and here I am, a business student at a large university, who has had regular freak outs because I feel like I don’t love what I’m doing and feel like I’ve lost who I am.

I considered switching to pre-med, realized I would literally be years behind my peers, and talked myself out of it. I added a psychology minor instead, and realized I should’ve said f*** it to everyone who told me psych majors wouldn’t make any money, because the only classes I truly enjoyed were my non-business ones.

And then I took Organizational Behavior, saw the intersection between human / social psychology and business, and considered pursuing a PhD in Org B or Industrial Psychology. I figured I’d graduate with tons of debt with limited job prospects, so I nixed that idea.

At one point, I even considered just becoming a registered dietician after completing my undergrad and talked myself out of that one too.

You don’t need to read all of my very long college anxieties / life struggles — the basis of it is that you always go back to what you love. You can’t avoid it. Without it, you lose yourself. You lose sight of what you want to become.

Through it all, the one thing that has remained constant is writing. From writing for Spoon University, to starting my own blog, to publishing on Medium, to private journals, poems, and random little snippets that no one will ever see, it’s always been something I can’t go without.

Do I know how to make this lucrative? Well, no. If I did, I wouldn’t be looking for a job right now. Instead, I’d be working on a book of poems, taking strolls down the Esplanade with my notebook in hand, sitting in coffeeshops sipping on black coffee and typing away on my laptop…

I hope that you find what you love. I hope that you look back at your childhood and your childhood dreams, and find your constant. I hope that you find it, hold it tight, and learn to make that your living.

Nancy Chen

Written by

wellness blogger | psych/human behavior nerd | email marketing @perfectketo | I get weirdly enthusiastic about productivity ideas www.nourishbynancy.com

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