You’ve heard it before: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. This quote, attributed to Confucius, is…. sooo BS! Yes, I dare to say it: Confucius was wrong!
Everybody, including me, tells you to start a project / business on the side of your 9 to 5.
And unfortunately, everybody makes it sounds like it’s easy: Choose something you are passionate about, turn it into a business and you’ll never have to work another day of your life. If it feels like work, it’s because you are not passionate enough about it…
You know what I’m talking about, right? You’ve read this advice again and again.
Arrrgggh but this is so far from true!!
So let me tell you why Confucius was wrong, how it leaves you feeling like a failure and of course what you can do about it!
Confucius was wrong!
The main reason this is so wrong is that most jobs are going to require you to do 3 things:
- Things that you truly like
- Things that you don’t like as much
- And probably things that you simply hate doing
When 2 and especially 3 takes up most of your time, that’s when things becomes a problem and you are not happy anymore.
And the true is that it’s going to be the same thing for your passion project.
Let’s take an example and say that you like painting and want to start selling your paintings.
The thing you truly like is painting obviously.
But if you want to start selling your paintings, you probably going to have to build a website to show your work, and use social media to promote your latest piece. Maybe you will enjoy that part, but most likely, it will end up being in the second category: things you don’t like as much but are still bearable.
When you make your fist sale, you’ll probably get excited and proud to issue your first invoice. Wrapping your painting gracefully will be just as satisfying. Even the trip to the post office will be exciting!
But will this still be true when you’ve sold 10 paintings? 20? 100? probably not. There will come a time when managing your invoices (and tax!) and the whole process of sending paintings to your clients will become such damn boring / time waster / annoying task that it will end up in the 3rd category i.e. things you truly hate doing!
Of course, there are ways to manage these issues
Like paying someone to do them for you! Unfortunately, when you are just starting out your passion project, it will most likely be a solo entrepreneurship and you will have to cope with the bits you don’t like doing.
That’s just it. The whole ‘work on your passion isn’t work’ is simply not true. Starting or running a business is just not as simple as that.
Feeling like a failure?
The second part of the common advice about working on your passion sounds like this:
“If it feels like work, it’s because you are not passionate about it enough”.
If you’ve already tried to start a personal project, you know it’s not that easy. But somehow, these quotes and recommendations take a toll on you and make you doubt.
Let’s take some examples and see how starting a personal project usually looks like
You probably have a 9 to 5 job to pay the bills and after working all day, you come home tired if not exhausted.
Maybe your job isn’t really exhausting but you come home and laundry is piled up, the garbage has to be taken out, diner isn’t ready, new bills have arrived which needs to be handled, you have to plan a week-end to go see your family… There are a million little things that needs to be done…
Or maybe you are a stay at home mom and you are taking care of your babies and your house all day.
It doesn’t matter which category you fit in, you have to find the energy to work a few more hours on your passion projet. It’s your passion, it should be easy enough, shouldn’t it? But it turns out to be hard, just plain hard. Why?
Your brain is wired on the million issues you’ve been dealing with all day
These things can be work related, they can be because of your work colleagues, or your mom, your kids, husband or wife… These can be financial issues, health issues, planning issues… It really doesn’t matter what these are. The thing is that your brain is wired to them and before you could possibly start on your personal projet efficiently, you need to switch your brain.
And it’s completely normal!
Yes it is completely normal, we are just human after all.
It is OK to need time to relax after a day of work. It is OK to not always be motivated. Yes, we all need to sleep…
You are not a failure just because you are not 100% passionate, 100% of the time!
However, feeling like a failure because of one of those quotes, is not ok.
What can you do about it?
Don’t read inspiration quotes! Na, I’m just kidding. I recognize the merits of such quotes or at least of some of those. But there are a few things you should do which includes:
Don’t let inspirational quotes dictate your life!
Instead of letting quotes dictate your life, recognize them for what they are: Short, punchy lines, often taken out of context, which are supposed to be inspirational but in many case, which shouldn’t be taken too literally.
Let those quotes inspire you, but don’t let them take you down!
Inspirational quotes are often vague and, ultimately, quite unhelpful to reach their own goal.
Inspirational quotes, even if written by famous authors, reflect their own believes, their own values and were probably inspired by specific events of their own lives.
In addition, inspirational quotes are, maybe way too often, very self-centered and cliché.
Those aren’t empty critic. I recognize that those quotes are meant to appeal to many. That, in their own creation, they are meant to generalize situation or use vague and sometimes pretty imagery to help people “shoot for the stars”.
The important thing is to recognize that inspiration quotes are just quotes after all.
No matter how many inspirational quotes you read, nothing will replace the actions you take.
That’s it. This is my inspirational quote to you! Take actions!
Take care of yourself, don’t be an ass and work toward your goals. It took me over a 1000 words to reach this conclusion. I feel sorry for you, as you had to read those 1000 words, before getting to this! Really sorry!
I guess it’s time for me to come clean: I like inspirational quotes!
I Pin them, I have one above my desk and I even like the one attributed to Confucius which is the object of this article.
Obviously, Confucius wasn’t completely wrong. Liking your job is important and extremely fulfilling. But disliking bits of it doesn’t mean it isn’t the right job for you. Most jobs include doing thing that we truly like and bits that we truly don’t like.
It is the same thing with a side business. There are things or there will be things you have to do that you don’t/won’t like as much, at least at the beginning. With time you may learn to like them, or you may end up delegating them. It doesn’t matter how you handle these in the future. You just shouldn’t let those stop you.
Keep being inspired and keep taking actions!
This article is part of my UPGRADE Series. Click below to learn more:
Eventually I will get to the point where I explain why Brainy and Papa Smurf are here… I’m working on it but you’ll have to be patient!!