Do What You Hate to Do What You Love
My sister remodeled her bathroom and put in one of those soaking tubs you see in magazines like Architectural Digest.
You picture yourself putting the kids down for bed and then slinking into the perfect bubble bath while you sip a glass of red wine.
But what really happens is you’re too busy to relax and the only person who uses it is your brother when he visits for the holidays. He loves taking baths.
And this becomes gossip between his nieces and nephews because afterwards his sister sends him this photo.
“What’s that supposed to be?”
“You in the tub.”
So now I’m known as the uncle who takes baths.
I take baths because that’s where you get ideas. Tim Ferriss had Adam Robinson on his podcast and they were talking about this. There’s this concept called the three B’s of creativity: bath, bed, and bus.
Meaning, if you’re in a rut you can do any of those things to get unstuck.
Take “bed” for example. We’ve all had a brilliant idea right when we’re falling asleep. And then you tell yourself not to forget about it but when you wake up you remember you were going to remember something but you can’t remember what it was.
And “bus” is simply a metaphor for travel. I had the idea for this article while on a walk because I remembered my high school guidance counselor saying, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I bet you got that advice at some point in your life. Maybe you’ve even given it. But doing what you love is one of the worst pieces of career advice because doing what you love doesn’t pay the bills.
A job pays the bills.
So please don’t quit your job to be a yoga teacher. Here’s a story about a lawyer who quit her job to teach yoga and ended up filing bankruptcy. And another one who ended up on food stamps.
People hate their job and love going to yoga so logically it makes sense that if they were a full-time yoga teacher then they could pay their bills while doing what they love.
And I love yoga just like everyone else. There’s a studio two blocks from here that I’ve gone to for six years. One of the teachers asked me when I was going to sign up for their teacher training. She told me I’d be good at it.
I got home and looked up how much it cost. $3,600. Most things people love doing have a low barrier to entry.
I’m sitting there thinking, “Why would I spend $3,600 to teach one class a week at some godawful time to make $25?” If you do the math you figure out it takes three years to break even.
So here’s the career advice my guidance counsellor should have been saying: Do what you hate to do what you love. This reader gets it:
“I’ve only recently started taking the savings and FI game seriously but as much as I dislike my job, nothing else will pay me anything close so I will stick it out for a few more years.”
He’s doing what he hates to do what he loves. Once he reaches financial independence he can do whatever he wants to because financial independence isn’t about having money it’s about having options.
Plus, we all have 16 hours in a day. That means you can spend eight hours at some job you hate to pay your bills, and eight hours doing whatever it is you love.
Read about Sara Blakely. She spent seven years selling fax machines door-to-door while developing Spanx at night. Think about that. It was only two weeks before Spanx was going on Oprah that she quit her job.
Sometimes you have to do what you hate to do what you love.
The most dangerous thing I see people do is quit their job to do what they love. I think that’s bonkers when you can just do both. It’s what I tell people all the time.
If you start earning enough money doing what you love to cover your bills then quit. But then you have to ask yourself, “Do I want to turn what I love doing into a job?”
Because it was always something you were doing because you enjoyed doing it, but now you’re doing it because you have to, and when you’re doing it because you have to it’s a job.
This is when you can start the whole cycle over again. Now you’re spending eight hours at a job you hate to pay your bills, and you have eight hours to work on whatever new thing it is that you love.
And that’s a great way to structure a life.