Welcome back everyone! If you were with us last week, then you’ll remember that we talked about the real meaning of faith—how it’s not our reason for believing, but the strength of our belief under difficult circumstances. Today, I want to once again look at an area where a lot of pithy, well-meaning advice gets around and try to find a little pearl of applicable wisdom. But rather than faith, my target today is something that I know will be engaging for everyone: work.
Work is one of those things that we use to define ourselves, more than almost anything else. The first question we typically ask someone after their name is, “What do you do?” But for most people, the idea of loving what you do and making a living from it is a tall mountain to climb.
Now, you may have grown up being told to follow your dreams and never give up, or you might have been taught that the main thing is to be practical and put bread on the table. But whatever your personal opinions might be, the fact is that it’s not simple or easy for anyone. In the United States, where I live, lots of people are barely scraping by even while working hard at multiple jobs, while others are stuck in positions that feel joyless and unproductive, with little alternative. At a time like this, it would be terribly thoughtless to parrot something as vaguely cheery as “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I think there are a lot of people right now with vastly different backgrounds and work philosophies, who all feel as though those philosophies have failed them. Obviously, we’re not going to fix the economy with a 500-word blog post. But what I think I can do is give a couple of practical steps for bringing energy, passion, and maybe even a little joy back into your work-life. These steps are based on two facts:
1. Passion is self-propelling.
It’s commonly said that the hardest part of any project is getting started. Once you have an emotional investment in the process, especially if it’s mixed with a genuine love for the work or the people you do it with, everything gets easier. A lot of people would take this moment to tell you to try and find at least one little aspect of your work that you feel passionately about—and sure, bonus points for that.
But I think there’s a better place to start than trying to force yourself to be passionate about something you’re not. Instead, start with a passion you already have… for anything!” Even if it has absolutely nothing to do with your work. Passion creates energy, and that energy will make everything at least a little easier and a little more enjoyable. Bottom line, if you can’t find a reason to get excited about coming in to work, at least make sure you have a reason to get excited about getting up in the morning.
2. Passion is infectious.
Of course, it’s easy to say that getting started is the hardest part of a task, but that doesn’t actually make the start any easier. The self-help world makes billions every year telling people to just apply their willpower to get what they want. I say, start as small as you have to. Choose a book, show, or movie that excites you, challenges you, or moves you, instead of one that is merely comfortable. Start conversations on topics that you find meaningful. Be more open to people who disagree with you.
Start small and let it grow. Passion may come from within, but it does not exist in a vacuum. Cultivating it sometimes means working hard, but at others it may simply mean taking a few minutes out of your day to water the garden.
Have a blessed, wonderful day!
Dr. Alex Loyd