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Life Potential

How to Do What You Love and Love What You Do to Achieve More

Written by Leon Ho
Founder & CEO of Lifehack
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Are you waking up each day looking for that perfect thing, activity, or job that will make your life work? Or, maybe you are looking for that perfect relationship. Once you “get” this new thing that will allow you to do what you love, you are sure that you will be happy forever.

In reality, life doesn’t work like that, and we would probably get bored if it did. There is likely no one thing, experience, or activity that will keep you feeling passionate and engaged all the time. What’s important is staying connected to what you love and continuing to grow in the process.

Here, we’ll talk about how to get started doing what you love and achieving more in life through the motivation it brings. Doing this doesn’t have to take a long time; it just takes determination and energy.

Why Doing What You Love Is Important

Steve Jobs stood in front of the Stanford graduating class of 2005 and said an incredible phrase:

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

There is the truth behind this when we consider how happiness and positivity affect us during growth. When you work a job that you love, you’ll find that overall productivity is boosted and it enhances your performance.


You’ll feel a deeper sense of purpose, be more optimistic, motivated, learn faster, and less likely to be making mistakes.

When you don’t love being where you are, the exact opposite will happen: you’ll feel disconnected, pessimistic, and make more mistakes. You’ll feel indifferent and not care as much. You don’t feel good about it.

Those negative aspects will only hinder your growth long term.

Reasons To Do What You Love

Aside from mental health, doing what you love will affect your physical appearance also. You’ll “feel” life in a way that you never imagine. These are just a few key reasons to work a job that you love:

  • You’ll get a deeper feeling of fulfillment. A job shouldn’t just be a source of income or something that you try to balance with a work life balance. Your career should make you feel good and provide other support in other areas.
  • You’ll inspire others. Many people don’t follow their dreams because they face reality and give up. Even if the rationale is reasonable, these are your dreams and life goals. When you’re working on something you’re passionate about, you’re more likely to be optimistic and pursue those things even though there could be challenges. That rubs off on other people.
  • You’ll have better odds of succeeding. When you work a job that you love, you’ll feel good when you work a day. Even if a day in your life is filled with trials, challenges, and complications. These are signs that you are pushing yourself and you’ll succeed more.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” — Buddha

Start Doing What You’re Passionate About

So many people walk around in life “looking for” their passion. They look for it as if true passion is some mysterious thing that is difficult to find and runs away once you find it. However, the problem is rarely a lack of passion.

Most of us already know what we love to do. We know what excites us, even if we haven’t done it for years. Instead, we focus on what we think we “must” do.


For example, maybe you love building model cars or painting pet portraits. Yet, each day you work a completely unrelated job and make no time for the activity you already know you love. The truth is you probably don’t need to find your passion; you just need to start doing what you already know you’re passionate about[1].

Do You Always Have To Love What You Do?

Despite all of these positive points that were made, it sounds like doing what you love is the only way for you to be living your life and succeeding. And the reality is that’s wrong.

When it comes to our work, the best way to be looking at passion is to look at what Psychology Today contributor Allison E McWilliams Ph.D. wrote on passion. She described it in three key work orientations:[2]

  • Job orientation – work is a means to an end, allowing you to pursue other things in life.
  • Career orientation – care about work that allows the person to get promoted.
  • Calling orientation – the work you do creates your identity. Your meaning.

The advice of following your passion or doing what you love leans more towards the calling orientation. And while it’s a higher purpose, it might not be something you really want in life.

There are no wrong answers in the orientation that you have out of those three as the work that you do can lead to you doing what you want in life.


For example, even if you’re working in a place that you don’t love, the people you’ve met provide fulfillment. Or perhaps the income that you make from it allows you to support your family, take them on vacations, and lets you indulge in a hobby you love.

No Activity Is Exciting All the Time

Even people who are living their dream lifestyle or working their dream job don’t love it all the time. Every job or lifestyle has parts of it that we won’t like.

Let’s say your dream is to become an actress, and you succeed. You may not enjoy the process of auditioning and facing rejection. You may experience moments of boredom when you practice your lines over and over again. But the overall experience is totally worth it.

Most of life is like that. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by demanding that life be perfect all the time. If things were perfect and easy, you would ultimately stop learning and growing, and life would begin to lack even more meaning in that case.

Be grateful for both the good and bad moments as they are both entirely necessary if you genuinely want to do what you love and love what you do.

Along the same lines, not every passion or activity needs to evolve into something grander like a career. Another aspect of passions is that we have several of them. Some are worth it to pursue as a career but others are best left where they are. Those opinions are based on who you are and what is something you’d like to pursue.


Doing What You Love May Not Be Easy

Living a life you love is unlikely to be easy. If it was, you would not grow very much as a person. And, if you think about a great book or movie, the growth of the main character is what matters most.

What if the challenges you meet along your path to living a life you love were designed to make you grow as a person? You may actually start looking forward to challenges instead of dreading them. An easy life hardly ever makes a compelling story.

If you struggle to overcome challenges, try writing them down each time you encounter one. Then, write down three ways you could tackle it. Try one, and if it doesn’t work, try another. This way, you’ll learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

“Follow your heart. Do what you love. Because I was constantly struggling with that. If it’s in your heart, go for it. Don’t listen to other people.” — Maz Jobrani

Some other things to consider in overcoming challenges and finding your passion are:

Dive into Your Skillset

Identify what you are good at and what skills you have that you consider are good. Once identified, look to expand those areas. For example, say you are very good around the kitchen and you have a few key dishes you make. How about expanding that to other dishes or picking up new spices?

Apply Some Tests

Namely the passion test and experience test. Developed by Cal Newport in his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Search for Work You Love, these tests narrow things down and make things realistic. For the passion test, it’s about identifying a skill but then asking if someone would pay you to do it. For the experience test, you want to determine how much experience you have and how much you are willing to spend learning and growing in that area.

Be Practical, Not Only Passionate

The tests point reinforces that passion is not going to fill your belly or keep the lights on. It’s important to be optimistic and passionate, but also practical too. Sometimes it’s better to pursue something that pays you well than to do what you love and feel good about it in that way.

Is “Doing What You Love” A Myth?

Yes and no. There is a lot of mysticism behind the practice as people will encourage the idea and stress that it’s the only way to truly live and enjoy a life of purpose.

However, the reality is that’s not the case. It’s a myth that pursuing something that you love will guarantee your life will be filled with money, security, and a happy ending.


At the same time, taking that saying with a more practical approach – as outlined below – does have its merits.

How to Do What You Love

There are many small steps you can take to ensure you are making time to do the things you love. Start with these, and you’ll likely find that you’re already on the right track.

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.”
David Frost

1. Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Many people claim they want to do something, yet they don’t do it. The truth is they might not really want to do it in the first place[3].

We all end up following through on what matters most to us. We make decisions moment by moment about what we need to focus on. What we choose to do is what we deem most important in our lives.


If there is something you claim you want to do but you don’t do it, try asking yourself how much you really want it or where it’s currently placed on priority list. Are there other things you want more?

Be honest with yourself: what you currently do each day is a reflection of your priorities. Recognize that you can change your priorities at any time.

Make a list of your priorities. Really take the time to think this through. Then, ask yourself if what you are doing each day reflects them. For example, if you believe your top priority is spending more time with your family, but you consistently take on extra hours at work, you’re not really prioritizing things in the way you think you are.

If this is happening, it’s time to make a change.

2. Do One Small Thing Each Day

As stated above, doing what you love doesn’t have to mean finding that perfect job that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. If you want to do what you love, start with one small thing each day.

Maybe you love reading a good book. Take ten minutes before bed to read.

Maybe you love swimming. Get a membership at the local YMCA, and go there for thirty minutes after work each day.

Dedicating even a short amount of time to something that brings you joy each day will improve your life overall. You may find that, over time, a career path related to what you love to do pops up. After doing the thing you love each day, you’ll be more than prepared to take it on when the opportunity arises.


If you need help making time for your passions, check out this article to get started.

3. Prepare to Make Sacrifices

If you are an exceptionally busy person (aren’t we all?), you may have to make sacrifices in order to make space for the things you are passionate about. Maybe you take on less extra hours at the office or take thirty minutes away from another hobby in order to develop another that you enjoy.

Looking at your priority list will help you decide what can get put on the back burner and what can’t. Remember, do this thinking about what will help you feel good about how you’re spending your time.

For example, if you love writing but rarely make time for it, consider getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Or instead of browsing your phone for 30 minutes before bed, you can write instead. There is always a way to find time for what you love.

Final Thoughts

If you love what you do, each day becomes a joyful adventure. If you don’t love what you are doing, life feels like a chore. The best way to achieve success is to design a life you love and live it every day.

Remember, doing something you love doesn’t have to include big gestures or time-consuming projects. Start small and grow from there.

More on How to Do What You Love


Featured photo credit: William Recinos via unsplash.com


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