Work on what you love… or not?
Jason Fried, the co-founder of 37signals, recently wrote a post titled Do you have to love what you do? He doesn’t buy Steve Jobs’s affirmation at Stanford in 2005 where jobs says that “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.”:
There’s nothing wrong with loving what you do, of course – I just don’t think it’s a prerequisite for starting a business or building a fulfilling career, let alone doing great work. In fact, I think it’s disingenuous for really successful people to put so much of the focus on love, just as it’s disingenuous for really rich people to say money doesn’t matter. People tend to romanticize their own motivations and histories. They value what matters to them now, and forget what really mattered to them when they started. It’s human nature, so it’s an easy thing to do.
I wrote about this dilemma almost ten years ago: being passionate about your work certainly helps in getting things done. The problem is, passion does not always respond to our summons. Even if working on your dream job, there will be times when the things you have to do in order to finish the task at hand are dull or even boring, but it has to be done.
Being passionate about something is not the same as being motivated. Being passionate is about the emotion that empowers your actions. Motivation is about the order of importance of the motives that drive your actions. Motivation should be rational, passion is not. In order to do great work, passion helps, motivation is indispensable.