“Do what you love.”
It’s a phrase I hear over and over again, and while I absolutely understand the sentiment behind it, I think it’s a little fluffy. No matter how hard we try, even if we love our job, our hobbies, and our day-to-day routines, we’re not going to find joy in every little task we do. The same goes for doing what makes you happy. What does that mean exactly? Wine, Beyonce, and game nights with friends makes me happy…but I can’t do that all the time.
“Do you what you fear.” I’ve heard this one too, and while I absolutely believe in the power of fear to grow and to do amazing things, I don’t think people should actively seek to do things that scare them. (I am petrified of bees, and will never, ever ever try to become a beekeeper. Horrifying.)
Which is why I think people should do what gives them meaning. Meaning allows you to do something that excites you, fires you up, and gives you a sense of purpose. It’s also inherently self-serving and at the same time philanthropic. If you can find meaning in what you’re doing, you can usually apply that to not only areas of your own life, but to other peoples lives as well.
And what’s crazy cool about meaning is you can usually find it anywhere. I used to waitress five-billion hours a week, and it literally made me miserable. But on good days, I was able to give my job meaning. I’d tell myself I’d do my absolute best to give someone an amazing dining experience, because if I was in their shoes, I would appreciate that. And me positively impacting someone else’s day was better than cursing my way through a six hour brunch shift.
I’d be lying if I said I loved ever second of what I do. I don’t. But that’s okay, because I’d rather work on giving my life meaning. Greatist gives me meaning because it allows me to grow, be challenged, and be creative. But it also gives me meaning because we’re building something incredibly special and we’re transforming the way people think about health. I’m not only training for a marathon because I’d love to break 3:30 — training also teaches me the importance of being disciplined and helps me realize the power mentality has on physical strength. I keep this blog because it makes me a better thinker and a better writer, and I strive to write things that are fun and even helpful. I travel to learn more about myself and hit that “refresh” button. I drink coffee in the morning so I don’t come to work a cranky mess and my work pals don’t want to hit me with a bat.
I often forget that a majority of people in this world don’t have the opportunity to go after their dreams. We’re so incredibly lucky to live in a society that encourages people to chase after what they want to do, no matter how realistic or unrealistic those dreams may be. So if you want to accomplish something and have the freedom to do so… do it. And if you’re having trouble seeking what you absolutely love or what will make you incredibly happy, then maybe it’s because there is more to it than that. Look for meaning, because meaning endures — it touches us and those around us, and it gives us purpose. And it’s usually right in front of our face, we just have to grab hold.