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Figure Out How To Love Whatever It Is That You Do

Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

I recently watched an interview with Kevin Hale and there was one answer which really stuck out to me. Here he is quoting Ben Chestnut

I don’t like people who are obsessed with only doing what they love. That’s a recipe for being unhappy. “If I don’t love it, I’m not going to do it.” Number one, that’s not practical in life. And also you sound like a brat. It’s like you won’t do the hard stuff, you won’t do anything that’s difficult, etc. The skill that you most want is figuring out how to love whatever it is that you do.

I’ve been thinking about the phrase “figure out how to love whatever it is that you do” ever since. It’s a very mature way to think about my day-to-day work.

Only working on things you love is very limiting. How would I even know if I loved doing something unless I had battled through the grind of doing the hard work?

It reminds me of Ramit Sethi’s advice concerning passion.

You get passionate about something when you get good at it

Ramit Sethi

I’ve always thought a company’s product would be the important factor to determining whether I would be passionate about a job. If I loved solving the problem the product was solving, I would be passionate about making it better. I was only interested in working on products I was the target customer. Like Kevin said, that’s not always practical and I sound like a brat.

Based on this new perspective, I realize I don’t necessarily need to love the product or mission at the start. I can learn to love it if other factors are in place. Is it a collaborative team? Is my boss giving me opportunities and supporting my goals? Am I growing as an engineer both technically and with my soft skills?

The company will never be perfect. But can I figure out a way to learn to love it and do work that I’m proud of.