In my last post, I talked about doing what you love no matter how good you are at it. But it’s also important to do what you hate—as long as you know when to stop.
That might sound counterintuitive, but the fact is, using life to figure out what you don’t want is far easier than just picking the things you think you will want. By process of elimination, it’s the best path to finding what you should do with your life.
Piano Lessons And Little League
You’ve probably already done quite a bit of this. Maybe your parents forced you to take piano lessons or play little league as a kid. Maybe you hated it… Then again, maybe you got lucky and one of these “standard childhood extracurriculars” ended up being what you loved to do. But even if that was the case, it’s still important to do some stuff that you wind up really, really hating. Otherwise, how can you really be sure that the path you’re on is the right one?
How many of us actually knew what we wanted to do with our lives when we were 17 and applying for colleges? It’s ludicrous to ask that of a kid. As a junior in high school, I was convinced that I wanted to study film. I had a sudden change of heart and switched to music shortly before the college application process because I realized that my genuine enjoyment for making home videos didn’t necessarily translate into a desire to be a motion picture auteur. Even in music school I changed my mind several times as to what specific career path to follow. Tons of people dropped out, because if you figured out that you didn’t actually want to devote your life to music, you had no choice but to go to another college.
Employment And Error
Even though I was lucky enough to have a good idea of what I wanted to do towards the end of high school, it hasn’t stopped me from going in and out of odd jobs in other industries along the way, realizing only what I did and didn’t enjoy by running face first into shit that sucked. Not just jobs, either… I taught myself how to design and build websites and for a while I thought it was a fun hobby—until I realized I hated doing it. But that was a valuable revelation; these discoveries continue to happen to me whether they’re related to careers, pastimes or relationships.
We all need to find the things we love, the things that make us excited to get out of bed in the morning, the things that fill us with energy and passion when we think and talk about them. But sometimes the easiest way to find what we love is by first finding out what we hate. But just make sure you have the courage to know when to cut your losses, stop and move on to find something more fulfilling. The world will be a much better place once we have all discovered our passions.