“Do what you love” is not enough

By Eddy Montilla.


Do what you love.

This phrase was coined to tell people that this idea is an indispensable condition to achieve goals and things. It has become more popular, in my opinion, after Steve Jobs used it during his famous commencement speech to Stanford University in 2005. I have heard the same from Kobe Bryant, a famous basketball player and from some journalists who write sensationalist articles with sensationalist headlines: “How to make one million dollar”, “…rich people think different”, etc.

     What all these famous people and writers say about this topic is highly questionable. They usually paint “do what you love” as something absolutely necessary to succeed in life, but their perception is not very accurate. These words sound hollow or they are at the very most emotional phrases.

     As reader, you have every right to say: “Who do you think you are to contradict people who made history, like Steve Jobs, for example?” And my answer is that my words are not mine, but it is what reality says: For each very successful painter, singer or writer that you can see out there, there are thousands of bartenders, waitresses and salesclerks. And remember that no matter how remarkable a person might be, nobody is above reality. Steve Jobs, Bryant and others succeeded in what they were doing, not because they loved what they do as first condition, but because they had an extraordinary TALENT to do it. For instance, Steve Jobs was the brilliant mind behind Apple and Kobe Bryant was the best player of his generation in the NBA.

     I am not writing this article to make these people who have big dreams feel sad or disappointed, but to put this problem into perspective. You should not quit doing what you love: That would be a fatal mistake. If you do that, the ghost of regret will be haunting you for the rest of your life. However, you have to find balance between the way this society has been made and what you love, because you don’t live alone in this world and because not all people like what you like. That means not all people would love to pay for your book, your painting or concert. And how can we find balance? Let us see some examples: You want to be a writer and sell your books, etc. How about being a journalist first? You can write every day, so somehow you are doing what you like and, at the same time, you can make your living, know many people who can help you in the future when you publish your first novel, etc. You want to be a painter. Why don’t you try to be a painting teacher first? You can teach others and keep practicing. Later, you can hold your own exhibition at your school first and save some money to have your own small gallery, etc.. As you can see, what you love can be done in different ways because there are always different ways to keep doing what you love. Don’t quit, but be realistic. This is the key.

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