Most people resign to the fact that work and life should be separate. Distinct boundaries allocated so one doesn’t seep into and contaminate the other.
The main reason for this compartmentalization is because most people don’t like their work very much.
Actually, that’s an understatement. Most people dread their work. It’s a chore. Something to be avoided. This is a common social consensus. In order to make sure “work” stays out of their “life” big, neon-orange biohazard tape is slapped on it.
Well, a while back, I started getting sick of always worrying about keeping my work and life separate. I started to question this taxonomy. What if work could be joyful? What if you could actually look forward to the work you do?
I asked those and many other questions. What I ultimately realized is that yes, you can do work that you’re passionate about. You can choose something different. You don’t have to live in the way you’ve been told.
But in order to break that old paradigm… you have to be obsessed.
The prospect of waking up excited every day (instead of in dread of going to a boring job) has been something that has consumed me for the past year and a half. And in June of 2009, after a year of sweat and a bit of fun, I made that dream a reality.
Each day now, I actually wake up excited to start work. No, I’m not kidding. I eat and breathe what I do. For me, there are no boundaries. And the only way I’ve done that is by being obsessed with what I do. I don’t think I could have done it any other way.
Obsession tends to be a good indicator of passion.
Let me be clear here: I don’t mean raging, maniacal, psychotic obsession. Not stalking the girl down the street, hanging from a tree to look into her window obsession.
The type of obsession I’m talking about is simply put: hunger. A burning, unexplainable desire to explore every single facet of your chosen pursuit. No stone unturned. No border unexamined. Every piece pulled apart, studied, and carefully put back together.
Why should you look for an obsession? Why is this such a good indicator?
Number one: If you’re obsessed, you have the potential for long-term interest. It’s not something that is just going to fizzle in a few months.
Number two: When you’re completely obsessed with something, you tend to spend a lot of time with it; you progress and excel very quickly. And when you’re extremely good at something, you become an expert. You can leverage that expertise to gain credibility and authority, and provide others with a lot of value.
It’s difficult enough to be successful working for yourself. The only way you’re going to make it happen is by being thoroughly and beautifully obsessed.
So if you’re having a hard time figuring out what you’re passionate about, try taking a look at what you’re obsessed with instead. Maybe you’re in a situation now where you’re so bogged down with responsibilities and commitments that you can’t find any. Maybe you think there’s no room for obsession. If that’s the case, try looking at what you’ve been obsessed with in the past. Or try dreaming about what you’d be obsessed with ”” totally consumed by ”” if you had the time. There’s a good chance that’s where your passion lies. And once you find that special spot, you can find a way to turn that into an income.
Your hunger will fuel you. Because that’s what it really takes to make getting paid to do what you love as work. If you’re not hungry, you might as well opt-out now, because I can assure you there is someone out there who is.
If you want to make a living doing what you love…get hungry. Find your obsession. Find the thing that you can’t not do. That’s where you have the potential to fuel your hunger, to create excitement in your life, and to provide other people with a lot of value at the same time.