I realize that I am so close to Project:IDWIL that it is easy to be blind to potentially obvious arguments. In an article on Forbes.com last month, author Rob Asghar, wrote the article Five Reasons to Ignore the Advice to Do What You Love. Now I think it is safe to assume that Rob doesn't know my project exists, but nonetheless, I wanted to take a hard look at his points - either to defend IDWIL or maybe see if I am living in a fantasy land.
Since he cites the specific IDWIL-esque evangelists Joseph Campbell and Steve Jobs as those he provides a counter to, I feel that I have a chance to weigh in as opposed to completely defending anything. I will leave it to you to read his full article, but for this post' sake, his 5 points were:
- Most gifted people don’t have one overriding passion.
- The money just might not follow
- The search for one’s passion can be a distraction from living in the present
- Your bliss can become hell once it becomes a job
- Steve Jobs didn’t follow his own advice
1. Most gifted people don’t have one overriding passion.
I agree with this statement, but I don't know that I take away the same perspective. I think that maybe he is being a bit literal - I don't know that either Campbell or Jobs said "one" thing - the closest being Jobs saying (about "loving what you do") "if you haven't found IT yet..." This site is about embracing the variety of work that is out there and how applying each's unique talents, passions, values, etc. can make a harmonious fit with one's work.
2. The money just might not follow
True. So what? Plus, this #2 Topic ends up being misleading compared to the content that was written to support it. The statement is made to scare a reader. I get it. But the supporting points were pretty loose - one just tried to be clever/funny and the other used a Seth Godin story, which I feel is ironic having read The Icarus Deception not too long ago. (I will need to review some more stuff before I argue his choice of reference.) In the end, I think we know that if you are so fulfilled by what you do, then the money is not a factor, either because the money does come or because we understand that money doesn't equal happiness. Insert a picture of some undiscovered singer/songwriter, fine artist, stand up comic, Major League Lacrosse player, minor league baseball player, school librarian, small town newspaper, etc. in your head here - people or communities that work for the good of the bigger "thing."
3. The search for one’s passion can be a distraction from living in the present
I can see this one being true. However, does that mean that we accept this statement or say "well, if there is still value in searching for one's passion(s), then let's figure out a better way to do it so it isn't a distraction"? Like maybe start helping individuals best understand their motivations and values earlier in life instead of just letting the educational system herd them through a process and then try to figure everything out later. Plus, why are the two points in this statement diametrically opposed? Maybe searching for one' passion is part of living in the present.
4. Your bliss can become hell once it becomes a job
Immediately refuting the proverb of 'do what you love = not working a day in your life,' the author, again, doesn't give too much support to back up the refutation. The point here is that yes, the grass is often greener on the other side - but if it is indeed hell once it becomes a job, then I would say either 1) it wasn't truly your bliss or 2) if it were truly your bliss, absolutely nothing could ever make it become a job. This reminds me of the cool statements made by Orson Welles that I wrote about earlier this month.
5. Steve Jobs didn't follow his own advice
This may be true - the guy (Jobs) is relatively famous for the reality distortion field that he used, but I don't know that this point is a reason why NOT to pursue doing what you love. (I guess the title is 5 reason to ignore the advice, so okay - you can take this one however you want.) We all know the golden rule is a good thing to follow, right? Many of us do not follow that rule - not because it is a rule to be ignored, but because it takes a certain strength in character to really live by that standard.