Do what you love, or love what you do?

I have about 70 posts on draft status, but it’s been a restless year so far, keeping me from fleshing out the details of my ideas. In the meantime I just came across this wonderful insight from Paul Buchheit (GMail’s creator), which truly everyone should read:

It’s often said that you should “Do what you love”, but that’s mostly bad advice. It encourages people to grind away their lives in pursuit of some mostly unattainable goal, such as being a movie star or a billionaire startup founder. And even if they do make it, often the reality is nothing like they imagined it would be, so they’re still unhappy.

Do what you love is in the future. Love what you do is right now. As with the other patterns, it’s meant to guide the small decisions that we make every moment of every day. It’s less about changing what you do, and more about changing how you do it.

One of the problems with having a goal-oriented, extrinsic mindset is that it treats the time between now and task completion as an annoying obstacle to be endured. If you’re doing something that is difficult, uncertain, and takes a long time, such as building a new product or company, and you have that mindset, then you’re likely gambling away a big chunk of your life. Subconsciously, you may also compensate by choosing smaller, more realistic goals, and that’s unfortunate.

Perfect. This kind of advice is sorely needed for Solving Gen Y’s Passion Problem. If you’re a techie, you might as well read Paul’s full essay of startup advice: The Technology.

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