“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” ~ David Frost
I have previously written on this topic a couple of times. It’s been a few years now that I think about it. One was entitled Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow? The other was Why Everything in Your Life Should Be There Because of Love. In my opinion, these are pretty good articles. So good that I completely ignored the point I was trying to make in them.
I have been pushing my primitive ways since 2011 now, and I have to admit, I have never loved it. Not in the least. I continued with it, though because I wanted to establish myself as an expert and then charge a lot of money for coaching and consultations. What a fucking waste of time.
I wouldn’t say I failed, but I didn’t really succeed either. Very few people paid me for my time and knowledge as Primitive Dave. I believe this is so not because I didn’t know my shit because I do, but rather because my heart wasn’t in it. Would you buy anything from someone who didn’t love what they were selling?
So for about six years, I lived, breathed, and shit — literally, squatty potty anyone? — as primitively as possible and broadcasted it as much as I could via social media. I didn’t have much of a following but still had a bit of a spotlight on me. One day after I had gained a lot of weight a few years ago, I got so frustrated about my online persona that I took an entire box of “Go Paleo!” t-shirts and dropped it in a dumpster. This is not a sign of someone who is doing what they love.
Sometime in 2016, I started writing articles that didn’t have anything to do with “getting primitive,” and they started getting a lot more attention than any article I had ever written on minimalist shoes or avocados. This is where I began to realize my message was meandering outside the whole primitive lifestyle I encouraged.
Also in 2016, I started writing fiction. I had an end of a story that came to me about 20 years ago. I told myself I’d write the rest of the story someday. Well, that someday came, and I started writing my first fictional piece of work. Upon writing this story, I began to experience something I hadn’t in a long time, fun. It’s weird, I’ve asked a lot of people over the years, “What do you do for fun?” but when people asked me, I never had an answer.
One day, while reading a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, I had a hard time concentrating. I couldn’t help thinking of a woman who made chocolates that brought pleasurable experiences to the people who ate them. I resisted this idea for a while, but eventually, I couldn’t hold it back anymore, and I began writing. The words just poured out!
WTF is a Flow State?
Over the years, I kept hearing of what people called a “flow state.” Apparently, a flow state is when you are in a creative zone. You are not cognizant of time, and you excel a whatever it is you are doing. I think I’ve witnessed this before when I was an avid guitar player and would hang out or play with other guitarists. They would start playing and seem to transcend to another place. I don’t think I ever got to that point with my own guitar playing, but I’m pretty sure I pretend to because it was cool.
I do know that I got into a flow state when I started writing about Esperanza Diamanté, my character who was responsible for making the chocolates filled with passion. I would lay down in my van and start dumping out words into my phone. Hours would just fly by. At one point I couldn’t stop but had to take my dog, Rusty, for a walk, so I dictated my story into my phone as we walked. You know how when you’re reading a novel and you can’t put it down until you get to the end of a scene or chapter? When you are so enthralled with what is going on that you have to find out what happens next? Well, that was me except I wasn’t reading a book, I was writing one. Total, it took me about twenty-five days to write 25,000 words from beginning to end.
What I realize now is that every time I laid down in my van to write, I immediately fell into a flow state. The reason I was able to achieve, what some people strive for without success, so easily is that I was doing something I loved, writing a romantic fantasy story.
The one thing more important than doing what you love.
Telling people to “Do what you love” is easy, but what you if you don’t know what it is that you love to do? Some people are lucky, they love to sew, or cook, or teach, and they know it at a young age. They study their trade of choice right out of high school and subsequently pursue a career in it. The lucky bastards. For others, they discover after failing at what they thought they loved or even worse, getting into a field even though they knew they didn’t love it.
I remember Oprah did a show on this very subject. She had a woman who said she realized one day that she loved to pop zits. (Gross!) She ended up becoming an esthetician and opened her own shop. Apparently, she was so successful that Oprah Winfrey had to have her on her show.
For me, and many others, it’s not as obvious. At 42 I’m grateful to have discovered what I loved to do at this age. I don’t feel the least bit resentful that it took so long. I could have ended up like what I assume is millions of people, and go to my grave not knowing what I loved to do.
Doing what you love is crucial for what I believe is a major contributor to our happiness as humans, but what’s more important is knowing what you love. If you don’t know what it is you love, then finding out what it is should be your first priority.
How to figure out what it is in life you love to do.
Trial by error is a good suggestion. Someone recently asked me, “How do I know I don’t love it unless I try it and see?” Good point, but be careful on the commitment you make in this trial period. I wouldn’t want to go $200,000 in debt to become a doctor just to see if I loved it or not. I know of many physicians who are in this very predicament. (I cover this extensively in the article Why I won’t start a business unless…)
One thing I would suggest is to look back at your childhood. Back when you did whatever you wanted and could care less what anyone thought. Before you were robbed of your creativity and programmed to be like everyone else. Now that I look back, I see that loved creative writing. One of the few compliments that I ever received in my elementary school career was when my sixth-grade teacher told my mother about a wonderful story I wrote for Saint Patrick’s day. “He even gave the Leprechaun an Irish accent.” I also, told my mother that someday I wanted to make up stories they could use on Lavern and Shirley. “That’s a writer,” she said. It continued into high school as well. I was shocked when my creative writing teacher selected a few poems he thought worthy of being anonymously shared on the overhead projector. “Does the author of this one want to disclose who they are?” I humbly kept my hand down but did show a large breasted classmate the original copy thinking it would score some points with her. It didn’t.
Another method could be to brainstorm. I actually created a find your calling worksheet that a whole twenty people downloaded. In it, I have two columns. One for writing down things you are good at and one for writing down things you love. The third section is for combining items from each column together. This being “your calling.” I don’t know if this works or not, to tell you the truth. I have yet to receive a success story from anyone. I didn’t even produce one myself when I did it.
What are the benefits of doing what you love?
A better life is what comes to mind. Though I think happiness is a choice, I can’t help but believe that doing what you love makes this decision easier. Doing what you love will make you better at everything you do. A better spouse, a better parent, and weird as it may sound a better employee.
This is where you think, “What? I thought this whole article is about doing what you love. I don’t love my job.” Not everyone can do what they love as a career. You should be relieved at hearing this. People assume that doing what you love means it has to be what puts food on the table. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t. You’re welcome.
Eventually someday, maybe doing what you love can make you money but it doesn’t have to. That’s the thing. You can do it on the weekends or after the kids go to bed. I have heard of writers that wake up an hour before everyone else just to write. Some mothers even lock themselves in a closet with their laptops. It doesn’t matter how or what, just do it.
For me, I found time during the lull in my days. After running my contracting business or trying to be Primitive Dave all morning, and then hitting the gym or something I’d have nothing to do until it was time to make supper. That’s when Esperanza came to life.
I am in the best part of my life right now, and it has nothing to do with how much money I make or that there is someone special in my life. It has everything to do with the fact that I have finally found what it is I love to do and am doing it every day.
If you are curious about the beautiful Esperanza and her chocolates, I encourage you to download Los Chocolates De Esperanza Diamanté. If you are reading this before February 1st, 2017 you can preorder it for $0.99. If you do preorder it before the first, just send me confirmation of your purchase, and I’ll send you a link so you can download it to ANY device and start reading it right away.
Previously published at theprimitiveyou.com
Photo: Getty Images