Disciplining Yourself to Do What You Love – Tips to make it easier
I recently saw this post and loved the message so I wanted to share it with all of you. Just a clarification – doing what you love refers to your spare time, after you’ve done what has to be done (like your job). This excerpt is reprinted with permission from Scott H. Young. You can read the entire article and learn more about Scott here.
Loving the things you do is what makes for greater happiness; more than money, fame or status. But it takes courage and discipline to do what you love.
Courage, because the shoulds and socially-acceptable activities you merely like, often are the default. The general tone of society isn’t love (or happiness), but mild irritation, so being someone who does what you love automatically makes you a little weird.
Discipline, because our society is full of addictive behavioral loops that hijack our impulses, without providing deep satisfaction. I love learning new things, painting, programming and spending time with friends. But I’m often watching only mildly interesting YouTube videos because the app on my phone becomes the perfect variable reinforcement schedule to give me just the right dose of intrigue for the lowest possible effort to keep me engaged.
If you want to do more of what you love, here’s how:
- Write on a list all the things you love to do. That means you enjoy doing them, but also they give you a deeper satisfaction and meaning.
- Write also a list of things you might love to do if you gave them a chance. They might be things that intrigue you, but that you haven’t mastered to a point that would make you feel good consistently while you do them.
- Write out a list of the things you do regularly, that you merely like (or even dislike!).
- Step-by-step, seek to eliminate those in #3 and replace them with those in lists #1 or #2. You can do this by changing your habits, putting restrictions on your phone, television or computer to limit usage, or simply by signing up more of your time for what you love so the things you merely like get pushed out.
While this may sound like a strategy for those with the luxury of lots of time, it’s actually the opposite. If your life is filled mostly with things you have to do (like your job), then it’s even more important that what little time remains is spent doing things you really love, and not wasted on the things that you merely like or feel you should do.
Scott H. Young is a writer, programmer, traveler and avid reader of interesting things. For the last ten years, he’s been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better. Learn more about Scott and his business here.