Rob wrote a wonderful piece earlier this week on Passion, personal brand and doing what you love. We’ve both spent time reflecting, individually, on how our paths led us to Talis and the work we are now doing. We’ve also discussed this subject on a number of occasions and I think we’ve both reached the same conclusion – life is too short to waste it away doing something you dont love. It takes time to come to a realisation like this, and sadly, it often require some external event to force you to stop and reflect on your life, how you got to where you are and most importantly where is it your heading. I know some people describe this as a kind of awakening, and I guess if you honestly believe that life is a journey then it’s moments such as these that can feel like a fork in the road…
One path leads back to the world that you know, its the world that you’ve become used to, it’s the world in which you don’t have to love what you do to get by, it feels comfortable because there is no risk, you don’t have to deal with the unknown too often, you don’t have to rock the boat. In many ways you’ve already reached a destination … or is it more true to say that you’ve reached an empasse?
The other path leads to somewhere else, unfortunately you don’t know what’s down there. You don’t necessarily even know where you’re going. Here’s the thing though … maybe you don’t have to care about the destination, maybe it’s less about the where, and much more about the how?
I guess that’s how I see things these days. There’s a part of me that believes that if do what I love, then it won’t feel like my life is just slipping away, one monotonous day to the next. I lived my life like that once, it’s so easy to do, you become so used to it that you don’t even realise that something is wrong … I actually had to come to within a heartbeat of losing my life before I realised that life is far to precious a gift to waste like that. To spend so much of it doing something that I felt completely indifferent towards, even hated at times … Isn’t it fascinating how the the worst prisons are the ones we create for ourselves?
There’s two quotes I want to end with, the first is from Paul Graham’s essay entitled How to do what you love, I remember reading it a couple of years ago, and although I don’t agree with some of it, it’s still a wonderful piece. His essay ends with this obeservation:
Finding work you love is very difficult. Most people fail. Even if you succeed, it’s rare to be free to work on what you want till your thirties or forties. But if you have the destination in sight you’ll be more likely to arrive at it. If you know you can love work, you’re in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you’re practically there.
The second quote is much shorter, but far more profound, you see for me loving what I do is a part of a much greater truth, one that underpins everything I’ve said, and I think almost everything I now hold dear:
There is life in every breath