On doing what you love
Social Media, Google and the Web has changed our lives forever, and for the better
I realise there are also real downsides which we are only just beginning to see, but lets face it, it isn’t going anywhere, so we need to learn to adapt and make it work for us, rather than trying to avoid it.
I think it is valuable to reflect on the changes that really impact our lives and opportunity to do what we love and live how we want to.
You’ve probably heard the career advice to do what you love and thought it sounded like an oversimplification. It is. To make a career of doing what you love you need to combine it with two other essential attributes: You need to be good at it, and you need people to pay you to do it.
The greatest changes with the new social web:
1. You never have to not know the answer to something ever again.
OK, this might not be quite true, but for 99% of the things you might wonder about, a quick Google search can quickly solve it. Are the lyrics to that song bugging you? What is the name of that song, anyway? (Shazam) Why can’t someone just summarise all the important stuff about a topic so I don’t have to sort through heaps of info to get an answer (Wikipedia).
This trend is useful for more than just solving dinner party arguments – it applies to questions of all levels of complexity. Want to know how to install a solar system in your house? Wish you could learn how to become a better leader? Need to know what food additives might aggravate a medical condition? Increasingly this information is freely available. You do need to develop your skills of search and discernment to make sense of it all, but that is very different to 20 years ago, where finding this information was often impractically difficult or expensive.
2. Find people who love the things you love, and love what you do:
Before the web, if you developed a passion for something that wasn’t loved by heaps of people locally, you were on your own, or had to travel a long way and often disconnect from people around you to share your passion.
For many people, this meant if you didn’t love the local code of football, or liked music that wasn’t in the top 40, you were a bit of an outsider.
Today, it is so much easier to connect with others who love what you do. I like to think that the capacity to do that makes us all a bit more open minded about other people’s interests.
3. You can do what you love for a living:
Taking this a step further, our ability to explore what we really love, and are really great at, and turn it into a paying career or business is also increased. I think this is largely due to the previous 2 points – it is just so much easier to discover and explore our passion, and to make it real by sharing it with other, getting recognition and feedback, and
4. You can have an influence over things you care about:
If you stack up these first 2 or 3 items in a consistent way: you explore your passion, you find like-minded people, and you are doing your life’s work, it usually isn’t long before you start taking more of a leadership role in your community, industry or profession.
Everyone has something special to offer – for some people this is the future of health care or education, for others it is the direction of their sport and for others it is the well-being of people, animals or the planet.
This doesn’t mean that all these things are going to be handed to you on a plate, or that we are living in some sort of utopian land of wish fulfillment.
Anything worthwhile is going to take time, effort and energy – and importantly cooperation with other people.
And it doesn’t mean you will get rich doing no work through the miracle of a push button money making website or viral mobile app. Such things remain in the “too good to be true” basket, are flukes, or just can’t be consistently repeated.
What it means is there isn’t an excuse for not doing what you love (or at least working toward it). There isn’t an excuse for complaining about something and not taking action (even if that action is complaining more loudly with a group of people who share your concerns, in a way that a group of people who can do something about it notice).
What have you always loved doing, always wished you could do?
How can you do more of that today?
Hat tip to Seth Godin for planting the seeds for this post. I think I’m really starting to get what he’s saying. If you liked this, check out his blog and his books, especially Lynchpin, or comment below.
Seth talks further on the pitfalls of trying to monetise what you love. As I said, it isn’t always easy to make this work, but that isn’t an excuse not to start. The solution is to begin doing more of what you love today, and feel your way from there.