Reprinted from 'Success Built To Last.' Used with permission.
Much is said today about the importance of loving what you do, but most people simply don't buy it. Sure, it would be nice to do what you love, but as a practical matter, most people don't feel they can afford such a luxury. For many, doing something that really matters to them would be a sentimental fantasy based on wishful thinking.
Here's some really bad news: It's dangerous not to do what you love. The harsh truth is that if you don't love what you're doing, you'll lose to someone who does! For every person who is half-hearted about their work or relationships, there is someone else who loves what they're half-hearted about. This person will work harder and longer. They will outrun you. Although it might feel safer to hang onto an old role, you'll find your energy is depleted and, miraculously, you'll be the first in line for the layoffs when they come.
All You Have Is Your Personal Capital
You may have noticed that we now live in a global economy where job security is a contradiction in terms. All you have is your personal capital, and we're not talking about your money. It's your talents, skills, relationships, and enthusiasm. Making success last takes a level of tenacity and passion only love can sustain. Without it, you'll collapse under the weight of the hardship or long-lasting adversity that you are bound to encounter.
Making a life is as important as making a living. This is not an either-or decision. Builders do both. You will hear this from most everyone who has enjoyed lasting success: entrepreneurs, government and religious leaders, artists and educators, single parents, social workers, Academy Award winners, carpenters, store managers, and billionaires.
You will hear it from the most hard-boiled military generals and tough business guys like Larry Bossidy, author of a warm-and-fuzzy-sounding book called "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done." Bossidy has never been accused of being touchy-feely.
On a bitter cold, clear day in
"It's a competitive imperative," he insisted. "Only by loving what you do will you actually do more and do it better than the person sitting next to you. If you don't, well then, we'll find someone who does."
Yep, fear is a big motivator, too, but you'll find that love lasts longer. You can run a marathon at gunpoint, but you probably won't win the race.
"You can survive without loving it, but you will be second-rate," said Brigadier General Clara Adams-Ender, Ret. "To spend any part of your career not knowing why you're there will take your power away." It's dangerous not to be fully engaged. If you want to have success that outlasts any job you have, then only love will find the way.
It's Like Saving Up Sex for Old Age
Warren Buffett loved his work long before he had two pennies to rub together. Today, he is one of the richest men on earth.
"You know, they say that success is getting what you want and happiness is wanting what you get," he said. "Well, I don't know which one applies in this case. But I do know that I wouldn't be doing anything else. I always worry about people who say, 'You know, I'm going to do this for ten years. I really don't like it very well, but I'll do ten more years of this and...' I mean, that's a little like saving up sex for your old age. Not a very good idea," Buffett laughed.