Last time, I got into thinking about how often we wish we had learned some good things sooner. I went over a few of them for you.
Because I thought that went so well, I kept on thinking along the same lines, and now I’ve come up with a few more truths I believe everyone should know. They include the following:
It’s Not Easy to Do ‘What You Love’
Nearly everyone gives the advice that you are better off doing what you love. But they fail to add that doing what you love nearly always takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. The plain fact is this: if it were easy to do what you love, we’d all be doing it.
The ways things most often work, in actuality, is that it’s far easier to do what others want you to do, what’s already proven to work out well, what brings in the bucks, or what’s well established or even commonplace.
To do what you love generally requires:
- A strong, internal sense of direction
- A great deal of innovation and improvisation
- Fighting and winning against forces that oppose your vision
- A willingness to endure a long start-up period with few rewards
- Acceptance of uncertainty and even a likelihood of failure.
Yes, the rewards for doing what you love can be great, and long-lasting. But success at doing what you love is usually an uphill battle rather than a downhill joyride.
Fear Is a Major Driver
Few people admit to being fearful, but fear is one of the most powerful of human emotions, and therefore turns out to be a major driver of what people say, do, and feel. If you look beneath the surface, you can often find fear in:
- Hatred or dislike of others, both individuals and groups
- Reluctance to change or take chances
- Dissatisfaction with daily work and life
- Unwillingness to learn, grow, or accept new information
- Poor or self-destructive choices
- Difficulty letting go of past thoughts or feelings and moving forward
and much more.
Knowing that fear underlies a lot of what people say, do, and feel creates opportunities for you to be more tolerant of others’ imperfections. Looking for underlying fears also facilitates your own personal growth and development.
A Series of Small Choices Creates Big Results
Although your work and your life tend to appear as large, continuous patterns, in reality they are stitched together by dozens, hundred, even thousands of small choices. Like bricks placed together to form a home, or daubs of paint that together form an image, your basic choices determine what you strive for and how much you accomplish.
For this reason, it’s important you don’t slack off on your basic choices. Sure, it’s easier to watch TV than do one more task. It’s more fun to hang with your friends and family than tackle one more project. It’s less taxing to follow others than to establish and pursue one more important goal.
But when you take the more challenging road in these and other ways, you generally arrive at more satisfying destinations.
Sometimes, the Only Way Forward is Through
One of the most difficult life lessons to learn is that what’s difficult is often what’s best. I touched on this above, when discussing doing what you love. But the thought goes much deeper: It’s true that what’s important to you is often difficult for you to pursue. It’s even truer, however, that what’s difficult often contains and leads to much greater benefits and rewards than what’s easy.
There are at least two reasons for this:
- What’s difficult often requires more preparation, more effort, more skill and ability, and yields its special rewards only to those who can meet these extra requirements.
- There is a special kind of satisfaction that results from overcoming adversity, fighting through obstacles, and working to your maximum capabilities – all fairly common attributes of doing what’s difficult.
As I wrote before, these are truths you will almost certainly learn at some point during your life. The earlier you learn them, however, the longer they will be active in helping to guide your steps productively and successfully through your work and your life.
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