4 min read

To Succeed In Life, Do More Of What You Hate – The Myth Of Following Your Passion

I am sure that some of you don’t like the way I phrased this topic and that’s OK because it’s the exact opposite of what we’ve been taught all our lives: “just do what you love and you will be happy” and we generally don’t like when our fundamental beliefs are challenged.

But I have never heard a dumber and more misleading advice and in a world where 52% of Americans are unhappy at work [1], only 33% said that they were very happy overall [2], 16 million adults (almost 7%) in the US have suffered from depression[3], the divorce rate is between 53% (US) and 70% (Belgium) [4] and 35% of people are obese [5], we should start questioning the status quo.

“Doing what you love” sounds like a good advice at first, but it does not help us lead a happy or successful life. In fact, it will often do the opposite.

To feel happy, there is much more to it than just doing the things you enjoy. We enjoy eating junkfood or food that isn’t exactly the best, instead of watching our diet; we prefer to watch a movie or play videogames instead of tackling the tough math problem for our exam; and watching YouTube videos, spending time on social media or having a few (too many) drinks with our friends is generally more pleasurable than a hard gym workout or a 10k run in the cold.

Having said that, there is surely a place for leisure time and we don’t only have to go through our lives like robots, running from achievement to achievement. But if you have big dreams and goals and you find yourself complaining often, this article is for you.


Entrepreneurship isn’t “cool”

People nowadays want to call themselves entrepreneurs and ‘be their own bosses’ while having ‘freedom to do whatever they want’.

However, being an entrepreneur is everything BUT those things. Selling your own hip clothes and creating a brand, coding a new software or app, or starting a blog to make a living sounds great and exciting but…

…those ‘entrepreneurs’ soon have to realize that just making a nicer shirt, coding a better software or being a good writer doesn’t pay the bills.

Accounting, sales, marketing, customer support, website and social media management are activities which are less sexy, but contribute much more to overall business success than being able to draw on Photoshop or code a new software.

80% of new businesses fail within the first 12 months! [6] And it’s not because people are not enthusiastic, have bad products or don’t work hard enough. It’s often because those entrepreneurs focus on the wrong things and they only focus on what they love and what comes easy to them. The best product won’t help you if no one knows about it or if your books are wrong. Stop romanticizing things and start doing the actual work, whether you feel like it or not.


The starving artist

Many people want to do something ‘artistic’ and follow their passion because they are ‘not good with numbers’ and don’t like to work in an office.

Sooner rather than later, such people have to realize that being an amazing artist does not mean anything. You need to be good at marketing to make people aware of your work, you have to become a salesperson so that you don’t sell under value and you have to become an accountant in order to keep your books and not get in trouble with the local authorities.

Those are all the things that are non-artistic, but they will contribute more to your success as an artist than painting nice pictures.


Lebron James and Michael Jordan

Do you think that Lebron or Jordan only picked up the ball when they felt good? Of course not! Jordan was always the first one to start practicing and the last one to leave. They had to make a lot of sacrifices, skip birthdays, miss important events of their kids and focus on themselves only.

Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work. – Chuck Close

I can highly recommend the autobiography of Schwarzenegger as his obsession and work ethic are truly inspiring. He made lots of sacrifices, had to overcome obstacles and did whatever it took to get to the top.

If you really think that the athletes at the top only did what made them happy, then you are lost. You have to work when everyone else is sleeping or resting, you have to go for that 5 am workout, skip the party with your friends, miss that Christmas dinner and instead follow your regiment if you want to outwork your competition.


The trader

People have a wrong belief that trading is a dream job because you can just sit at home, look at a screen and click your mouse to make absurd amounts of money…

If there is one thing that trading is not, then it’s ‘exciting’ and an easy way to make a lot of money.

The reality of trading is very different. Being a trader means doing a lot of research, preparing charts, analyzing setups, spending hours journaling trades, working lonely and isolated, exercising patience, being OK with not having a trade for a few days or a week, staying mentally strong during drawdown periods and not giving in when the market is fooling you time and again.

Most of your time as a trader you’ll do boring and annoying tasks. And if this is not the case right now, then I am very sure that your results aren’t where you want them to be.

Stop reading through random trading forums, stop hanging around on Twitter, don’t try new EAs (algos), a different indicator or a new price action signal. Do the hard work and do more of what you don’t enjoy if you want to grow.


Growth through pain!

A tree only grows thicker or stronger when the wind almost uproots him. Otherwise, there is no need to grow and waste energy that is needed for growth.

A muscle only grows when we overload it and work it harder than what it is used to. Big muscles are not efficient if we don’t need them.

In life, business or in sports, we can only grow through adversity and working harder than what we are used to. If you keep doing what you have always been doing, you’ll keep getting the same results. To get different results, you have to dig deep and do the things nobody likes to do.




[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2014/06/20/most-americans-are-unhappy-at-work/#8f4a6bb341a1

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/01/happiness-index-only-1-in_n_3354524.html

[3] http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/facts-statistics-infographic

[4] http://www.businessinsider.com/map-divorce-rates-around-the-world-2014-5

[5] https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/obesity/conditioninfo/pages/risk.aspx

[6] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/small-business-central/2017/05/21/what-percentage-of-businesses-fail-in-their-first-year/101260716/

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