Category Archives: creativity

How do you choose what you love?

How do you choose what you love?

I recently read this essay titled “How To Do What You Love” by Paul Graham. In it, he outlines some of his processes for choosing to do what he loves. It’s a pretty realistic essay, as well. No bones about it: choosing to do what you love can be complicated and fraught.

So, how do you choose to do what you love? do what you love

  • First, you need to identify what that is. And don’t be mislead: it may not be one thing. It could look like a variety of pursuits, all of which combine to become the life you love.
  • Once you’ve found that thing or combination of things that bring you joy, start doing it! Whether you can only squeeze it in part-time or you decide to jump in with both feet, do it.
  • Finally, the doing of what you love can be both a pleasure and a pain. There will be ups and downs. You will wonder why you ever decided to do what you do. You may change what you do, modify or adapt it so that you love it even more. But like anything else, the pursuit of a life well-lived and well-loved is a practice. Practice daily if you can, weekly at least. Keep at it.

I’ve concluded for myself that there really isn’t anything else to do in my life than to do what I love. In other words, if I’m not doing what I love (or doing something I need to do so that I can do what I love), then what’s the point? My life is mine to be lived, not someone else’s. Whether doing what you love looks like raising a family or painting a canvas, or writing a novel or starting a cooking show, whatever you choose – I say: choose what you love. It’s rarely the “easier” road, but it is by far the more fulfilling.

Doing What it Takes

Doing What it Takes

I’ve been backsliding a little.

As the Holidays approach, I’ve found myself getting distracted; not by holiday shopping or baking cookies, but rather just by the desire to chill out and join my friends in “taking a vacation” from everything. In a different period of my life, I would have been going to office holiday parties, having eggnog at the office and just generally getting into the “time off” mood.

As a self-employed person, my life is different now. But I still find myself wanting to slow down, and get ready for a series of days off from work.

This morning, I reminded myself that I need to do a bit more before I can relax with my friends. There are a few more tasks I must accomplish and the attitude I need right now is: “do what it takes” to get them done.

I used to think “doing what it takes” meant I had to martyr myself to my business. I would say things like, “I’m doing everything I can think of” and “I’m working *so* hard!”

But the truth is, I wasn’t doing *everything* I could; there is so much more I can do than simply what *I* can think of to do. Telling myself these things gave me an excuse feel sorry for myself. And then it allowed the vicious cycle of beating myself up for not accomplishing to kick in, which ultimately leads to avoidance. With a touch of anger and frustration.

And while I do have strong work ethic, I’m learning that effort-ful striving is not necessarily the same thing as working to accomplish something.

What does lead to accomplishment – real, tangible, meat and potatoes accomplishment – is not striving; it is the process of blending your doing with your being. As a Creative, I can tell myself all day long that I just want to “be myself” and do what I love. I just want to share my gifts with the world. That’s great! But without the doing part, without taking action on those gifts, I end up sitting in my proverbial garret, waiting for a Prince Charming to come buy my services and creative work. And then crying out: “but I’m doing everything I can think of to do!”

There is so much more that I can do than simply what I can think of. (See my posts: “Get A Proselytizer” and “Seeking Creative Community”) Finding and connecting with people in your industry, or one like it, can go a long way towards helping you brainstorm new and different ways to approach your business and life’s work.

There was an article floating around on my Facebook feed recently from “6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person” and although I don’t agree wholeheartedly with everything the author said, there were definitely a couple of good nuggets in there. The main thrust of that article was Do What It Takes to become the *better* person – the person you truly want to be in the world.

“the sheer act of practicing will help you come out of your shell [...]People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result.”

“Don’t get me wrong; who you are inside is everything — the guy who built a house for his family from scratch did it because of who he was inside [...] — ‘who you are inside’ is the metaphorical dirt from which your fruit grows.”
Read more:

So, thinking about that: the process IS the result, and who you are (what mindset you’re coming from) IS the dirt from which your work grows, I find myself more determined to Do What It Takes. Not to flail about looking for some magical answer to how to grow my business, (and don’t even get me started on how to grow my business the *right* way…) but rather to take regular, even daily, steps to learn more, risk more, practice more. To Do What It Takes, not just what I *think* it will take.

(PS: WordPress is still giving me trouble; I can’t insert pictures or links into my posts. I’m working with my site admin on this, so thanks for your patience!)