Then you should do it.

Sit down. Okay, let me hear it.

You know—the thing you’re really passionate about. It’s distracting you completely right now. It keeps you up, wakes you up, and catches you daydreaming in between the rude interruptions of real life.

You look down, take a breath, and then it all comes out, bursting forth like you’ve just backed over a sprinkler, a blubbering apology to your dreams for not living them.

“I really want to—”

Great. Then you should do it.

“But—”

What you say after “but” is really important to pay attention to because it’s probably all absolutely a giant pile of bullshit.

We are all unique snowflakes with our own strengths and weaknesses, but every one of us excels at manufacturing our own sabotage—lines and lies, barriers and batmobiles that block us and excuse us from being accountable to our dreams.

If you’re reading this on the Internet right now, you just pretty much don’t have any excuses. We’re all first-worlders—we have no excuse not to make new things and try hard and fail and maybe get somewhere that closely resembles our dreams.

If you don’t know how to do it or where to start, learn. Ask. Or just start! Ignorance is your best weapon because you’ll be armed with fewer excuses.

If you don’t know if you have what it takes, just ignore that feeling—and recognize that whether you’re underconfident or overconfident, the good odds are you aren’t the best person to assess your capability anyway.

If you don’t have the focus, just decide to do it. Commit. Give yourself no other option.

Great. All of that stuff is well and good. But here’s a very important question.

Why do you want to do what you want to do?

Is your focus on the results of doing it? (“Then I’ll feel successful and respected!”)

People with those motivations are caught in an unhealthy trap: believing the focus on the goal will make everything up to and beyond that point worth it. In reality, this is a great way to end up miserable.

The unfortunate truth is that when it comes to many of the things people say they “want to do”, most people don’t want to do the work it takes to make them happen, they want to have done them.

The desire to accomplish things and reap the rewards of having done so is a powerful motivator, but it’s a ridiculously empty one.

There is something you truly want to do—and guaranteed if you fish around your heart long enough, that calling is there.

I love that Walt Disney quote: “We don’t make movies to make money. We make money to make more movies.”

And, as Steve Jobs put it in his epic and oft-quoted Stanford commencement address, “You’ve got to find what you love.” And the key piece is you’ve got to find what you love doing.

Shirzad Chamine breaks the whole thing down pretty well in one line that’s one of my key ruminations at the present: “You are more likely to achieve your outcome if you don’t feel that your ultimate happiness and success depend on it.” (Positive Intelligence)

You’ve got to find something you love doing.

I was 18 years old and sitting in the old Golden Gate Chinese Restaurant sipping tea as we waited for lunch.

I told my dad I wanted to transfer to USC to go to film school.

He listened for a while and then interrupted me and said:

“Then you should do it.”

Well, I didn’t.

I just kind of puttered around and mostly let other people’s expectations make my decisions and goals for me, but you can bet for sure I remembered the lesson, even if I didn’t get it then.

You already are who you are and the very want for doing it is the only call you need to make it happen. You don’t need permission and you don’t need to “become” something first.

You just need to start doing something about it.

Is there something you want to do?

Then you should do it.

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Adam Brault

Adam is an Internet hermit. His official title at &yet is Lucky Bastard. He has strong feelings and opinions which sometimes he is too vocal about. He has a blog.

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  • I was nodding my head the whole way through this… great post! But my favorite line is still back toward the beginning: “We are all unique snowflakes with our own strengths and weaknesses, but every one of us excels at manufacturing our own sabotage…” And we ARE! If we would just get out of our own heads and out of our own ways.

    I know there are far more current writers and thinkers, but Thomas Edison really said it well, just like this post:
    “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves….”

  • adambrault

    Apparently I forgot how to use WordPress and left the url slug as “/adam/”.

    I am an Internet Professional.

  • thepotluck

    Not sure what happened; usually the slug changes automatically to match the title. I noticed it about 5 minutes after the first Twitter/Facebook notifications and email newsletter went out, so I was afraid of changing it and breaking links. I’ll try to keep on top of future posts better ahead of time.

  • adambrault

    Don’t feel bad! I’m sure I did something weird. 🙂

  • natevw

    LOL, was frantically skimming up and down the page looking for the “real” permalink.

  • breun

    You could just change the slug and add a redirect for the old URL.

  • I fixed it. WordPress automatically creates a 301 when you update the permalink, so both links will continue to work.

  • Amen, brother!

  • So good Adam. Thanks for bringing this dish to the Potluck. What seems trickiest in all of this to me is effectively sorting between the things worthy of our courage and attention, and the seemingly endless list of other ideas or projects that seem interesting as well. How do you differentiate between them? How do you decide which ones are worthy of investing time in? What if there’s a long list that meet the “worthy” qualification? Then what? Start with one? Dabble in many? What have you seen work well? What have you seen consistently produce uninspiring results? Thanks again for this Adam.

  • adambrault

    Yes! That’s most certainly the exact question that follows this once you’ve made a habit of actually taking action. And it’s one that I’m constantly wrestling with.

    I’m very capable of starting more things than I could finish, so I don’t quite trust myself well enough to set my priorities these days all on my own.

    Instead, I describe the things I want to or think I should do to people who are close to me and have a stake in the matter and get their help sorting out which has the greatest impact for the most essential need.

  • That’s great. You certainly have a great group of people around you to provide that feedback. Very wise.