It is usually one of the first questions asked when we meet new people. “What do you do for a living?” Our answer is then quickly calculated in the questioners mind and we are catagorised according to their own ideas about our answer. Just like that.
I’ve been pondering this question lately because recently I was having a conversation with someone, and “What do you do?” came up. He smiled proudly and told me that he worked in a job that required very little thinking from him, but paid well. He didn’t seem to like or dislike the work, but the feeling I got from him was that ‘You get a job and you work and you make money and that just what you do in life’. That is very old fashioned thinking, in my opinion, and definitely what people used to to – but we are now living in a time where that mentality is having a major shift and people are starting to question how they spend (on average) 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for the majority of my life.
What is the alternative?
Personally, if I am going to dedicate so much time to ‘working’ then I am going to spend that time doing something that I feel passionate about, something that gives me pleasure, that gives me enough money to satisfy me and my needs, that helps others, that makes me want to get up in the morning – something that feeds my soul.
“Do something you love to do and you will never work a day in your life” Confucius or Harvey MacKay (Google never lies)
For most of my life I have done only what I felt passionate about. I spent many years working in community services with people who were homeless, or battling addictions. I then started my own business making dreadlocks (because I love it, I can do it anywhere, satisfy my travel addiction, and the money is great) and then I began teaching people how to make natural dreadlocks and start a business (because I am passionate about helping others to create their own businesses doing something that is creative and that they love). And now, for the past couple of years, while still running my dreadlock teaching course, I have been studying and working behind the scenes to create another business, which I am extremely passionate about, and that is to become even more qualified to help others to realise their own passions and to create a wonderful soul-nourishing and balanced life. Studying often gives me the shits and I push against it daily, but I keep going because I am so determined to create what I want to create that my procrastination and tantrum throwing (yep) around studying does not outweigh my plans and dreams.
So, what do you do?
I do what I love. Every. Single. Day. In and around the procrastination and tanties and current lack of social life, I am doing what I love while creating something else that I love.
This is all well and good in fantasy-land, but I have bills to pay!
That is the thinking that will stop you from doing that stuff you really want to do. The fact is, if you want something you will do what it takes to get it. If you are not doing what it takes to get what you want, then it is not a priority for you (which is also totally OK, too). Many years ago when I was studying Gestalt Therapy, my teacher used to say to the class latecomers, “If being here on time was a priority for you then you would have organised you time differently this morning.” The same goes for anything in our lives. If working each day doing something you love is a priority in your life then you need to make time to do it, to create it, to find it and to begin working on it.
Even if you can give this project only 30 minutes per day, then that is enough to open the door to the journey.
I realise that sometimes people may need help to discover what their passions are, or how to go about starting or keeping the momentum up on their own journeys – and that is where people like me come in. I have a big passion about helping you discover your big passion! And sometimes people can do this stuff on their own, they just need to read an article that kicks them in the pants (like this one) and suddenly they are full of ideas, taking notes and making plans!
If people are working in jobs that don’t really satisfy them but they are content to be there, that is completely fine! This article is not about judgement, it is simply a reminder to the ones who do desire something more, the ones who when asked, “What do you do?” want to be able to say –
I do what I love!
By the way, a great question to ask someone upon first meeting them, rather than, “What do you do for a living?” is, “What are you passionate about?” or you could try, “What would you love to create?” or a myriad of other options. These questions will give you a much broader understanding of the person you’re talking to.
Enjoy your journey!