“Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.” – George Bernard Shaw
Most of us were taught to pursue our passion, and we should. But that doesn’t mean you sit still waiting to find it.
As Cal Newport says, following your passion is bad advice.
Don’t get me wrong, passion is important. I’ve got a great life, and I’m really passionate about what I do, but getting there was a journey that included doing the things I had to do. I couldn’t just sit around waiting for passion to strike. I was working when it hit.
Before I became a business owner, dad, and the Spartan founder, I cleaned pools for a living. It wasn’t glamorous, and it definitely wasn’t the job I had dreamed about as a kid, but I was good at it, and I took pride in my work. Hell, I was the best damn pool maintenance guy in town.
As I was cleaning (sometimes literal) shit out of other peoples’ pools, I finally realized my purpose. As I looked at the pool and thought about its pump filter and the volume of water, my purpose became clear as day. The human body is a swimming pool with a pump, filter, and 60% water, and we fill it with fast food, coffee, and alcohol. Then, we sit at a desk all day. We treat our bodies like garbage and then wonder why they stop working.
Just like a swimming pool, we have to keep our bodies filtered and clean. I’m just the guy for this job, and I’m not afraid to take no prisoners when I see someone eating the wrong thing. My purpose is to help others clean up their lives, and it’s also my passion.
If I had wasted my days sitting on the couch waiting, I might never have realized my passion. It’s more likely to hit you when you’re working.
When you’re passionate about what you do, it shows. I’d rather hire a taxi driver that loves driving over one that doesn’t. I’d take a mediocre meal made by a passionate home cook over something thrown together by a professional chef just after a paycheck any day. They may not be performing open heart surgery, but they are enthusiastic, they hustle, and they give energy rather than take it.
Of course, there are the times when you don’t feel like hustling. You’re consistently showing up at the gym, but those last few pounds aren’t coming off. You work every spare hour on your side hustle but still don’t see any growth.
It’s hard to stay passionate when shit’s not going your way.
That’s when you need two things: discipline and persistence.
Passion can blind us. It can lead to bad decisions, and it’s usually fleeting. Discipline and persistence are what keep us from jumping from one shiny object to the next or one fad diet to another without ever achieving our goals.
Sometimes you have to do things you hate.
I wasn’t born with a passion for burpees (let’s be honest – no one is born with a passion for burpees), but I do them because they make me physically and mentally stronger. When I met Damion Hahn a while back, we talked about how the hardest route is usually the path that gets you where you want to go. Most people don’t wrestle because it’s fun; they do it to get their hand raised.
The only way to get better is to challenge yourself. Your passion shouldn’t always be fun. It should be exciting, challenging, frustrating, overwhelming, and rewarding all in one. That’s why you need to be persistent.
I’ll take someone who is passionate and persistent over an “expert” any day of the week. If you want to change the world, get pumped about what you’re doing day in and day out. Then go do it.