For a couple of months now I have been singing the praises of a book by MJ DeMarco because of its lack of bullshit and big amount of reality. Today that reality smacked me in the face. All along I have been reading that we must make hard choices and sacrifices to live a life unencumbered by financial limits (within reason) and full of success.
This morning I was reading his book some more and he made a few points that were difficult for me to accept.
1. Trying to make a living by doing what you love will inevitably make your love turn to work, and not in a good way. “Do what you love usually leads to the violation of the Commandment of Need.” (In a previous chapter he states that to have a good business idea, you must address a need that is currently not being met adequately or at all. Even better you could create a need and then fill it, but that’s a whole chapter.) In short, doing what we love is selfish and usually has lots of competition to succeed, since we are likely not the only ones who love that something in particular. And if there isn’t competition? Then probably you aren’t going to make much money from your idea because not many other people are interested in what you produce.
He goes on to explain that by doing something you love in your spare time instead of pursuing a viable business idea (the criteria of which are outlined in his book), you are diverting your attention and at least delaying reaching your goals. Also these hobbies rarely make big money. His example was someone who loves to knit selling her products online. Ouch.
2. Writing a blog is for chumps. That is not a direct quote but that’s what I inferred from his comments on blogs. More accurately, he says anyone can have a blog these days (true) and many people start them to make money (also true). Honestly I haven’t thought about attempting to monetize my blog because it’s a creative outlet for me. But does this satisfaction I derive from writing a blog detract from me reaching my over-arching life goals? Mind. Blown.
I agree with what he says about becoming distracted from our real goals resulting in wasting years of our lives working a job we hate while pursuing hobbies we love in our spare time. I feel great when I’m thinking about marketing and business ideas. Sometimes I even start to feel useful!
But don’t worry, this blog shall continue. It keeps me out of the opium dens and crack houses.