“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
The title of this essay – “Never Work a Day in Your Life Again” – might make you think about being retired. About winning the lottery or finding out you had a rich uncle who left you a fortune. But you don’t have play games of chance or wait for a relative to die to stop “working.”
For one thing, the prospect of winning the lottery or having a massive inheritance is unlikely for most of us. Besides, if you suddenly had a huge fortune, you’d still need to do something with your life – something that would give you pleasure.
Simply having money doesn’t automatically make you happy. All you need to do is read the latest news story about a filthy rich movie star who’s gotten arrested for drunk driving or gone back to rehab for the umpteenth time to know that’s true.
Having said that, I’m not going to tell you that having money won’t help you feel happy. I know I’m a lot happier now that I drive a new car and can afford to take trips to foreign countries like Peru (which is where I am right now). Nevertheless, many people who make great incomes are miserable… because they hate their work.
Then there are people like me. Even though I generally work about 14 hours a day, six or seven days a week, it feels to me like I don’t work at all. That’s because I love what I do. For example, when my wife and I were on the plane to Peru and I announced that I was going to pull out my computer and write for a while, she moaned that I should learn to enjoy myself.
“That’s what I’m trying to do,” I explained. “I’m really excited about this new sitcom I’m writing, and this will be fun for me.”
Although she dropped the subject, I’m not sure if she really believed me. But what I said was absolutely true.
It’s my contention – and it’s backed up by many people who are successful in fields they love – that you will not only be happier by doing work you love, but you’ll have a better chance of economic success. You’ll have more passion for your work and you’ll have the endurance you need to pursue difficult goals.
Take it from a guy who used to repossess people’s TVs and refrigerators for a paycheck. Life is so much sweeter when you’re earning a living by doing something you love. The question is: How do you go about finding that something?
Here’s how to get started:
1. Ask yourself what you would do if you didn’t need to make money to live.
Be creative here. Reach for the stars. Think about what would be your ultimate dream job. I love movies and television, so I made a decision to pursue a career in that field.
2. Create a plan that will give you the chance to make money in your dream job.
Now, there may be some limitations to your dream. If you would like to be a rock star, but you can’t sing and have no musical talent, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be able to turn yourself into a Grammy winner. But you could still do something in the music industry. You could start a record company, be a talent manager, or promote concerts.
Don’t be afraid to think big, but do be practical.
3. Formulate a strategy with practical steps that will make your plan happen.
In my case, I decided that since writing is one of my strengths, my best chance of breaking into the entertainment business would be to pursue screenwriting. My strategy included learning the craft of screenwriting, actually writing screenplays, and then making real efforts to sell my work.
4. Actually execute the steps.
No plan – no matter how good it is – will work if you don’t take action to make it happen. Let’s say your goal is to get into the music industry, you plan to do that by becoming a manager for rock bands, and your strategy to implement your plan is to find local talent by going to clubs that feature local bands. Well, you couldn’t be successful if all you did was watch the bands play. You’d need to actually go over and talk to them. Tell them that you’re looking for clients and give them your card. And then follow up with them.
As I said, happiness in life is not only based on economic success. You’ll spend a large percentage of your life working – so, it only makes sense that you’ll be much happier with an occupation you love. Do what you love… and the money will be there too.[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is a produced screenwriter, direct-mail copywriter, and business author. He is also the creator of the Quick and Easy Microbusiness System, ETR’s program for starting a business for under $100. For Paul’s specific strategies to help you find your dream job, click here.]