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Do Whatever You Like

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

Rachel Nabors (via Austin Kleon) tells us why “Do what you love” is bad advice:

“We hear “do what you love” so often from those few people who it did work for, for whom the stars aligned, and from them it sounds like good advice. They’re successful, aren’t they? If we follow their advice, we’ll be successful, too! […] We rarely hear the advice of the person who did what they loved and stayed poor or was horribly injured for it. Professional gamblers, stuntmen, washed up cartoonists like myself: we don’t give speeches at corporate events.”
“Rather than telling you to do what you love, I’d like to say this: Don’t do something you hate for a living.”

Austin went a little further in his newsletter, stating,

“‘Do what you love’ is terrible advice.”

Seth Godin echoed the sentiment a day or so later:

“Instead of, 'do what you love,’ perhaps the more effective mantra for the entrepreneur, the linchpin and maker of change might be, 'love what you do.’”

I hear this a lot, but I think it’s wrong. I think there’s a less absolute attitude that may represent the experience of most artists: Do what you love. Just don’t expect to make a living at it.