Last Sunday it was fathers day over here in Sweden and as I sat with dad in his sofa having our evening ‘fika’ talking about life, the past few months and the year to come he asked what my greatest inspiration was for doing what I’m now trying to pursue. “It’s you” I said.
My dad is an author. He used to be a journalist and he’s got a degree in psychology, but at the age of 33 he decided to become a full time writer and since then he’s lived his life doing just that. Writing. The nature of his work means that he can do it from anywhere and he makes the most of it. He brings his manuscripts, note pads, cut out articles etc along on buses, trains and regularly visits cafes and libraries in different cities in Skåne. Perhaps that’s where I’ve got my love for working on a traveling foot from.
Dad’s got the freedom to improvise to be flexible and to let his heart guide him. But more importantly he loves what he does and that in itself is enough. Whilst his friends are now starting to retire he continues working and won’t stop until he can’t write. Why should he? It’s not work for him. It’s what he loves doing.
I envy him and admire him immensely, for following and sticking to his dream. Deciding to be an author rather than taking a “normal” full time and reliable job in an academic city like Lund is not without a few frowny noses. But he’s done it and lives an incredibly rich life and it’s something more of us should be doing. Following our dreams.
A number of very special people in my life have recently decided to follow their dreams and it’s really inspirational to see. None of their choices comes with guarantees. It comes with hard work, less or irregular incomes and for some at a time in their life when security could be considered the “should be” driving force. But the security they had wasn’t right. It didn’t make them happy and their previous jobs weren’t what they wanted. So they decided to pursue their dreams. And though I have no doubt it will work out, even if it didn’t at least they would have tried and wouldn’t have left this world wondering what would have happened if only they’d had the guts.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
- Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech 2005
Why you should do what you love
There is a lot of truth in this quote from Steve Jobs. Not only should we never settle with something that isn’t making us happy, but there are other reason as well why we should be doing what we love. A few weeks back I red this post from Bokardo on Five reasons you should find what you love and double-down on it and they are worth keeping in the back of our minds no matter what we’re doing:
- When you do what you love, you do much better work
- When you do what you love, people notice
- When you do what you love, work isn’t work
- When you do what you love, you’re in constant learning mode
- When you do what you love, you are happier
Life is too short and valuable to be spending it doing something we don’t love and as Bokardo’s five reasons state, by doing something we love we’ll be better at it and we’ll also be more inspirational to work with. I’ve found what I love but as I’ve previously written about, I don’t believe in freelancing. So whilst I slowly take my steps towards my own version of my dad’s set up, finding my ideal work arrangement, I’ll leave you with the following few lines from Bokardo’s post which could just as well have been my own words:
The people I admire most are the people doing what they love everyday because there is no separation between work and play. Their life is a constant playground. That’s what I’m striving for and I think the path is relatively straight-forward: find what you love and double-down on it.
More to come.
Image taken in NYC