Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life (because that field isn’t hiring)

do what you love
Lindi Koprivnikar - Art DirectorWritten by: Lindi KoprivnikarArt Director

1. Follow your passion, the money will follow.

So why aren’t we all filthy rich then? First of all, we need to realize these phrases shouldn’t be taken literally. Love and passion are great things to fuel our fire, but frankly, it’s just not enough. You need to find a passion or a way to turn your passion into something that you can actually sell to someone, whether as a service, product, or both. Remember, this is a job we’re talking about, not a hobby. The moment your passion becomes a way of earning a living, it’s a job (see #2 for further details). Instead, think about whether your passion is something you can earn a living from doing. Create a business plan, make sure it’s well branded (insert link to our services). And even after you have all that in place, understand that the influx of money may take a lot longer then you expected. So “don’t quit your day job” just yet.

2. “Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life”

This is my favorite of all clichés. Actually, the moment you start getting paid to do “what you love”, it becomes work. So for me, this cliché simply means that if you enjoy the work you are doing, you’ll be happier. And that doesn’t mean there won’t be moments when you wish you were doing something else. Perhaps a client doesn’t appreciate what you have done for them and they want it redone “their way”. But their way absolutely destroys your vision and you end up with something you’re not proud of. It happens, and when it does, it doesn’t feel very fun. Doing what you enjoy or even love for a living means sometimes setting aside your personal attachment to your artistic vision and just simply getting the job done, because that’s what you’re paid to do at the end of the day.

For some people, the whole idea of doing that “something they love” is that it takes their mind off of “work.” So doing what you love for a living might not be right for you. Instead, think about what your work means to you. What’s the payoff? For every “bad” project, do you have 5 more that went really well and made you happy? Do you gain something from it mentally, physically, and socially? If the answer is yes, then congratulations! You’re doing what you love for a living and working your buns off for it. This is the difference between a hobby and a job. One is done in your spare time, one is done full time and is a mixture of happiness, stress, anger, passion, and a whole bunch of other emotions.

3. Any of those clickbait “10 Things Rich People do Differently than Poor People” articles.

Success is relative. It’s relative to what YOU define as successful. To some people, being successful means becoming a multi-millionaire before they’re 30, or 50, or 80. For others it might mean having a family with four kids and a white picket fence. Perhaps feeling “rich” to you is being able to write music for a living and teach others the joy of yoga. There is no one “mentality” to be had when it comes to being rich or poor. Only YOU get to define what makes you successful.

I’ve always wanted to be an artist of some sort, ever since I was a child. And even though I didn’t live out of my 8 year-old dream of getting to draw caricatures for a living at Disneyland, I still define myself as successful. I get to design and paint every day. Mind you, it’s hard, emotional work and I have very little downtime because I’ve chosen to consume most of my life doing the things I love. But I make a comfortable living and look forward to the work I do. So I feel rich in my accomplishments.

Remember, sustaining yourself is an accomplishment in itself. Give yourself some recognition for that.  

4. “You need a college degree”

This one is tricky, because it really depends on your career. If you’re a surgeon about to operate on me, I hope you’ve gone to college. Otherwise, I’m going to need more of that anesthetic and some vodka. But if you’re pursuing something in the creative field, you’re likely going to pay way too much for a degree in a field that almost solely hires based on talent. Sure, a degree matters often enough, but ultimately, there are so many opportunities to take one-off courses and online tutorials. And if you have a bachelor’s degree vs. that other candidate who just worked really hard to become a self-taught pro, who can say you’ll get the job? I’m not saying don’t go to college, I got my degree, but the antiquated idea that you MUST have a degree to be successful just isn’t true for everyone. It all boils down to what you want to do and if you have the drive and passion to make it a reality, with or without a degree. Just not in the medical field, ok?  

5. “Never give up”

I feel like all my creative homies are laughing at this one. How many of us abandon ideas on a regular basis? You think of something bigger, better, cooler, more potential, and you drop that old idea like a hot potato. Or sometimes, the other thing you were pursuing ends up not being so great after all. There are things that just run their course and turn out to be a total dud. It happens. This isn’t failure necessarily, and even if it is, embrace it. How would you learn from your mistakes if you didn’t make any? Like W.C. Fields said: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it.”

Our time and resources are precious things, so what’s the point in spending them on dead-end, stagnant ideas? When something loses momentum or becomes inefficient, perhaps it’s time to give up, move on, and try something fresh.

Ultimately, life is fluid. Your dreams change, you change, the people around you change, the world as we know it constantly evolving. Growing pains are a part of living, and any time you grow, you’re gonna lose and gain something at the same time. Just remember: If what someone is saying doesn’t work for you, then it’s probably not the right advice for you to follow.