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Don't Do What You Love.
Do What You Are Good At.


By Chelsea Dowdell

Society has been playing us for fools. They’ve been drip feeding you this constant story that you should do what you love, you shouldn’t settle for second best and you should wait for the opportunity of your dreams. The result? There’s a whole generation of people sitting at home, with no experience, no life satisfaction and no real future.

Trying to do what you love is a chump’s game. It’s like putting on blinkers to all of life’s other opportunities. In the process, you’re going to be missing opportunities, ideas and possibilities that you otherwise would have willingly embraced. Opportunities that you might well have grown to love if you had given them the chance.

In fact, it’s bigger than that.

By trying to do what you love, you’re selling yourself short, as it means that you won’t have the experience and the wisdom that you would need when that opportunity to do something truly meaningful comes along.

After all who would you rather have on your team? Somebody who is truly passionate about what you’re doing but has zero experience, or somebody who has a proven track record, knows the ins and outs of the field and can avoid the common pitfalls? Experience, hands down. Sure, the passion will be nice, but it won’t be that much help when you want to get things done. In fact, it might well be frustrating when you get into the horse trading that is a part of nearly profession.

No, I know that you don’t like it, Susy, but that’s the way actually get done around here.

And what if you’re disappointed?

In fact, that’s an important point. If you do something that you believe you’ll love, how can you be sure that you’ll actually love it? In his book Stumbling Onto Happiness the social psychologist Daniel Gilbert explains that we’re terrible at predicting what will make us happy. We create these ideas That’s why so many of us pursue things – like money and fame – that in fact don’t.

That’s why so many of us pursue these dreams that we think will fulfill us, only to find out when we’re there that it’s nothing like how we imagined it – that it is, in fact, a sordid world that is thoroughly disappointing.

You want to know what does make you happy? Being good at something does. It gives you a feeling of fulfillment and inner peace to do something that comes naturally do you. It doesn’t end there, for when you do something that you’re good at you’ll not only get better at it, but you’ll get recognized for your ability. That means you’ll climb up the ladder, get new opportunities and even can move your career horizontally towards an area that will give you more inner fulfillment.

What’s more, if you do decide that you want to switch careers down the line and try new things, well that’s going to be a lot easier if you’ve already demonstrated your capabilities in another area. Besides, those skills and good work habits that you pick up doing what you’re good at will stand you in good stead whatever life you decide to live.

And then there’s the self-confidence

If you do what you’re good at, you’re going to have a great deal more of that. Just the act of doing something that you know is respected will do that for you. It will flatten out the lows, reduce your overall anxiety and in other ways make your life easier to live.

The great thing about self-confidence is that once you’ve got it, doors will start opening all around you. And here I’m not talking about fragile self-esteem, is in the self-esteem that isn’t deserved but has been pumped into you by over-enthusiastic parents constantly telling you that you’re special.

I’m talking about secure self-esteem. That’s the type of self-confidence that comes with you doing something that you excel at and then getting the respect of the people around you. That’s the kind of self-esteem that can actually take a knock, as you have inner worth and inner strength based on the knowledge that you’re doing something that you’re good at, whether it be running a business or writing essays for

People recognize ability, offer you opportunities, and you will get a more secure sense of self. With that in tow, you’ll be in a much better position to weather the storms that come with changing to something that better fits what your inner values.

The power of patience

Our modern world is all about instant gratification. Everybody is trying to do what they love and what is meaningful to them right now. The result? They end up not doing very much at all. After all, you can’t always be doing something that’s meaningful. Sometimes you have to fight your way through the trenches to climb the ranks.

So stop doing that. Instead, have a long-term goal. Do what you’re good at. Build yourself up. Learn some important skills and life lessons. Then, later on there are always opportunities to do something else. After all, life isn’t just one rollercoaster ride. It’s more like a book with dozens of different chapters.

Sometimes this chapter is more about character building, so that the next chapter can be about the adventures, the dreams and the completion of the character arcs that are your life. Sometimes we need to sacrifice today at the shrine of tomorrow.

Not always, but sometimes.

The people who can do that, who have the patience to hold off, will always have a leg up on everybody else. They will be able to wait when it’s necessary and when the opportunity comes to move in, they’ll have the pedigree and the experience to actually make that move. They won’t crash in a ball of flames because they don’t know what they’re doing. And that has to be what life is ultimately about, don’t you think?

Fulfillment doesn’t come from satisfying your base urges. It comes from a life well lived. And life is a whole lot better lived when you do what you’re good at.

Chelsea Ann Dowdell is an educational lecturer, she has her own website, educational blog and she never stops the process of self-growth. Blogging is her hobby.
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