Here’s Why “Do What You Love” is a Crappy Advice

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“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) and instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).” – Cal Newport

The biggest lie that the modern world tell you is this: ‘Do what you love, and the rest will take care of itself.’

This modern narrative assumed that if we follow our passion and do what we love, somehow ‘the universe’ will conspire to take care of our needs.

However, this assumption is problematic because the world is an unsympathetic place that moves by necessity and not some vague dreams.

The world doesn’t care about your passion, aspiration, or ambition. The world only cares about the weight of your contribution.

Not only that, to profit from doing something you love, simply contributing is not enough. Your contribution needs to be good (better than the average) and fulfill a real need (important enough for people to be willing to pay you).

However, most people who wanted to make a living from something they love usually forgot these two factors.

As a result, few months after quitting their day job in the name of some vague dreams and starting their passion business, they found themselves sleeping on their friends’ couch or parents’ basement.

So if you felt a big gap between what you aspire to do and what you are doing right now, the best course of action is…to not quit your day job just yet.

Instead, what you want to do is to first evaluate yourself objectively. Ask yourself, “Am I good enough to make a living doing X?” Then find proofs that confirms this. (Have you got paid for doing X?)

If the answer is yes, then go ahead, make the jump.

If the answer is no, I suggest you do the following: Plan your moves in 5 to 10 years period (You can use my Zoe Planner to do this). Accumulate some useful skills. Seek a real need to fulfill. Be generous. Do little experiments. Be patient.

In other words, the ‘do what you love’ advice should translated into: love what you do, until you are good enough (worthy enough) to do what you love.

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Magnus lives in Semarang, Indonesia. He is currently managing the family's business together with his dad and his elder brother. Magnus enjoys reading and recently he started writing his personal reflections.

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