What’s love got to do with it? Loving what you do and doing what you love

I love writing. I don’t just enjoy it, i really love doing it: i try to carve out any chunk of time i can to sit in front of the keyboard. Or at least, i love certain types of writing! I don’t enjoy forms and processes. So i know what i love and i try to do as much of it as possible.

It’s Valentine’s day today, but i don’t want to talk about who you love, but rather what you love, and whether you spend enough time in love with it.

Life, as they say, is a journey, but the reward doesn’t come at the end. It’s outside the window right now, so you’d better be looking out at it rather than keeping your nose buried in the laptop or the pages of a paper telling you about gossip from the other side of the world. As the boys say in ‘rework‘, you’re creating your life’s work right now, your opus magnum, your legacy and your reputation. So are you doing the right things? Can you even remember what you were doing this time last week?

When you do the same things over and over again, they get easier, we get used to it, but we also tune out. It becomes so easy that it’s almost mindless. We get used to solving problems, we get used to change, the state of frustration or overwork becomes normal, we adapt. But do you love it? And if not, why are you doing it or, more accurately, why not change something?

I know: bills to pay, convenient, easy, whatever! The fact is that if you don’t change what you’re doing, nothing will ever change. That’s fine if you love what you’re doing, but if you don’t, why not think about changing it? You don’t have to change a lot, maybe just look at how to change 1%. What’s that one thing you do everyday that adds no value at all? Why not just stop doing it? What would you rather be doing and why don’t you learn to do that instead?

We are not static creatures: we are infinitely adaptable, but the will precedes the action. You have to be sufficiently determined to make change for change to happen. So what do you love and when did you last do it? Are you a secret painter? A poet? A marathon runner? Would you rather be mentoring a young entrepreneur with the Princes Trust, or would you rather be completing a piece of paperwork that adds no value? It’s your time to spend. Choose where you spend it.

Do you enjoy learning? Because learning is a funny thing: it doesn’t have to be about anything. Unfocused, unrelated, just for the sheer joy of it learning is fine too. There’s nothing wrong with learning to knit if you love knitting. And, of course, there are always unexpected side effects of learning. Sometimes it changes you, in ways you may not expect.

Being with the person you love is special, but being the person who loves what they do is every bit as good. Are you happy how you are, or would you be happier if you changed something? Do you love what you do? If not, today’s the day to make a change.

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About julianstodd

A learning and development professional specialising in e-learning and learning technology.
This entry was posted in Adaptability, Agile, Blog, Change, Choices, Learning, Love, Reward, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What’s love got to do with it? Loving what you do and doing what you love

  1. Spot on. And at the moment I dolove what I am doing – turning this into a way of life is another matter. All my life my parents unhelpfully said ‘do what makes you happy’. The problem for all of us is discovering what this is and sometimes getting lost along the way as we try to understand who we are, where we fit in and what makes us tick. I have had many ‘highs’ in work and in education but it can be tough to stay there either because everyone else wants your slot or because it takes so much else to keep you in this place – not least, in the context of the day, stability in a relationship … and stability in other ways too, not least financial. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the phrase ‘in the flow’ where you find that balance between a challenge and skill at doing a thing. I crave being in this flow at whatever I do, but running with the metaphor in can be like kayaking in white water. I’ve been over a few waterfalls! And when this ‘love’ becomes an obsession? I just can’t get enough reading, notetaking and sharing into the day at the moment.

    • Laura Bryant says:

      Very well stated Mr. Vernon. I can totally relate and the sincerity with which you make your point makes it that much more impactful.

    • julianstodd says:

      Your enthusiasm shines through Jonathan when you’re doing what you love – that’s why i enjoy our conversations! You’re always really good at suggesting or sharing valuable links or ideas – for me, that’s part of what your reputation is based upon. Thanks for sharing these thoughts 🙂

  2. Laura Bryant says:

    Excellent article that will make you think about, “Do you love what you do?” It’s an important question we often think we can’t afford to ask ourselves because we do what we have to do. However, I think that when you take the time and make the sacrifice to do what you love, you are much better off and happier in the end. After all, life is about choices and choosing to do what you love is exactly that. By the way, I am speaking from experience not just throwing out a cliché. At 32, I decided to re-invent myself and pursue what I love. So, I refocused every aspect of my life so as to make it happen. I made a lot of sacrifices but I have no regrets… Well, maybe one – wish I had done it 10 years earlier.

  3. sally says:

    I love what I do. There is no doubt about that. I love the feeling of love, too.The feeling of loving and being loved.

  4. James says:

    Julian, great article and links back to the BlessingWhite X model which indicates Individuals need maximum satisfaction in what they do at work, this is usually achieved by your own personal values and goals. This coupled with maximum contribution in their job leads to maximum engagement, the feeling people have when they comment on loving what they do.

    • julianstodd says:

      I agree that what we do has to chine with our personal values and goals, or certainly that a failure to do so can cause stress. That in itself though may not lead to engagement. I guess really it was a call to arms, for myself as much as anyone: you are curating your life’s work: are you happy with what you’ve laid down today, this week, this year?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts James – been great having the chance to share ideas with you recently

  5. Based on this conversation I add ‘reading’ to the categories in my three year old e-learning blog. Reading is like getting dressed in the morning. I am so familiar with the practice I’d stopped noticing its importance. Writing I’m more conscious of, though I do this all the time – getting many thoughts down in some form or other during the day. For all the technology and all that I am coming to understand about learning, books, education and so on it really does come down to conversations, reading and writing in so many contexts – conversations and doing in others – applied, active, workplace, on the job, every day ‘life lessons’ you get from the moment you are born.

    • julianstodd says:

      I so easily drop reading from my list Jonathan, in a busy day, taking time to read can feel challenging (or at least doing it for more than 20 minutes). Of course, when i do take time to read, i feel my ideas shifting, growing. The reward is obvious… i particularly like your final points

  6. Pingback: Authenticity | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

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