I have done a lot of things up to this point in my life and only now am I realizing the importance of this statement. “Success is more likely if you love what you do.” I studied economics, then marketing, worked in advertising and moved into print production before packing my bags and moving to China. I taught English for a year and signed on for a second, after which I took all my savings and traveled before returning to South Africa to see what opportunities arose.
I have tried several careers but never loved what I’ve done. It’s been employment and it’s paid the bills but it has left me unfulfilled. It’s not that I haven’t succeeded, but I keep feeling like I can do more. Things are uncertain now as I make the transition from being unemployed to being a freelancer but now I am doing what I love and so this time it’s going to be different. Or at least that’s what I hope.
Sure, you don’t have to love what you do in order to succeed. We probably all know people who don’t enjoy their jobs but drive nice cars and live in fancy houses. So then I guess it’s how you define success. I’d like to think success in life is about being happy. So fast cars and fancy houses might look good and feel comfortable but do they make people happy? I am aware that this could turn into a protracted philosophical argument so let’s consider this hypothetical situation.
If a zoo wants someone to photograph all their animals for a set fee and two people take up the challenge – one who is just after the money and one who loves photography. The one that is just after the money might take a compact digital camera and in the space of an afternoon take a photo of each and every animal in the zoo and hand over a disc to the zoo.
The one who loves photography would probably use a decent camera; take time watching each animal waiting for the best opportunity to take a photo; perhaps arranging to get inside the enclosures of the less dangerous animals and getting some unusual angles. They would probably shoot in the early morning and late afternoons for the best natural light. They may even go the extra mile because they love what they do and produce a printed book of all the photos to hand over to the zoo.
In this example, both people have done what the job required, they both completed the task but who do you think is more of a success? Who would the zoo be more likely to pay? I think it’s obvious that if you love what you do, you will spend more time doing it and the end result will be better than the same thing done by someone who doesn’t love what they do. Imagine what the world would be like if, in our jobs and careers, we all did what we loved.
While loving what you do is no guarantee of success, I believe that at the very least it increases your chances. And to me, the opportunity to following your passion is always a chance worth taking…
After 3.5 years in advertising, Rory Alexander decided to try something completely different and went to teach English in China for 2 years. Now he’s back in South Africa with an open mind looking for opportunities and following his passions which include aviation, photography and blogging. Please support Rory by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment below and visiting his personal blog: www.roryinsouthafrica.wordpress.com. You can also find him on twitter @Rory_Alexander.