“You’ve got to find what you love…Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.”
-Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech
“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
One of the most important decisions we make in our careers is whether we should choose to pursue work that we love or work that we don’t love. There are many reasons why people choose the latter, but ultimately the former is often the better choice for maximizing both happiness and success. Here are just a few reasons why you should strive to find work that you love and consider quitting your job if you don’t love it.
You will be more successful
Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, talks about the common myth that people who choose work that they love will be poor and be forced to survive on beans and rice. Often the opposite is true because you are more likely to excel at work that you are passionate and enthusiastic about.
You will be happier
Ideally your work should be something that increases your happiness rather than subtracting from it. Since work often takes up a majority of our waking hours, doing work you enjoy will lead to a greater sense of well-being throughout the day. On the other hand, having frequent negative feelings during the day from your work is detrimental to your sense of well-being.
According to Dan Gilbert in Stumbling On Happiness, we tend to greatly overestimate how happy we will be if we achieve a goal like getting promoted or earning tenure. It is during the journey as we are making progress towards a worthwhile goal when we experience the most happiness (our brains provide a boost in dopamine immediately after we make progress towards a goal).
Your work days will seem to go faster
If you have ever been so engaged in a task that you lose track of time and suddenly notice that hours have flown by, you have experienced what Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls the state of “flow”. Engaging in work that you love will result in frequent periods of flow and your work days will seem to fly by, which can be a very good thing (much better than work days that seem like they last forever).
You will have more energy after work
One sign that you are doing really engaging work that you love is that at the end of the day you feel more energized than when you started. If you feel completely drained and exhausted then it might not be a great fit for you. Having energy to do things after work is important so that you can pursue life goals, exercise, and enjoy your free time.
You will inspire others
A lot of people are stuck at jobs that they hate because they think that finding work that you love is not possible. By doing work that you love you can show others that it can be done and provide inspiration for those who feel trapped in a job that they hate.
A great book to read about finding work that you love is 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. Dan Miller also produces an outstanding weekly podcast called the 48 Days Podcast.
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