Do what you love. Then do it more.
People often say to me, “Cameron, I hate my job.” My first instinct is to try to point out that they probably like 95% of it, but focus on the other 5%. Or that the mind can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n and all that good stuff. But when I get them close to accepting their job, or even loving it, they’ll inevitably say “If I accept my job, then I won’t hate it enough to leave.” Ahhhh, there’s the rub.
People all over the world stay in jobs they hate, waiting for the day when they hate it enough to force them to leave. Hey, I’ve been there. A lot of ad peeps only stay at one agency for a few years (months).
Back when I was anxious, I was a big proponent of “tough love.” My biggest changes always seemed to come after extreme pain, or hurt, or someone yelling at me. I’d think, well shit, I’d better change, so I don’t die or lose this person. I had to hit rock bottom to truly change. And when I did, I did. So the system works. Be anxious. Focus on your anxiety. Spiral into obsession getting worse each day. Hit rock bottom. Come out the other side. Done.
But I’d like to propose another option. (Oh, thank god. I thought he was gonna end the post with that.) And it’s “love love.” You know, as opposed to tough love. You get it.
Yep, fear, pain, suffering are all great motivators. But so is pleasure. Love is as strong as hate. Joy and pain. Sunshine and rain. Rob Base. And so forth.
Move towards the things you love. Instead of away from the things you hate. They both get you moving, sometimes in the same direction, but I can guarantee you’ll enjoy the ride a lot more.
Hate/pain is also very limited in its movement. If you hate your current place, chances are you’ll be motivated enough to move to another place doing the same thing for different people that you’ll eventually hate.
But with love, you open up the possibilities. If you’re an art director and you love drawing, you might go to another agency where they let you draw more. Or you might become a storyboard artist. Or a cartoonist. Or an art teacher. Or a guerilla graffiti artist who travels the world tagging the inside of bank vaults. Who knows?
“I love this and I want to do more of this” is a more pleasurable journey in life than “I hate this and I want to do less of this.” Try it. You’ll love it.