Steve Job’s commencement speech
“You’ve got to find what you love, and this is as true for your work as it is for your lovers (…) The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address, 2005
I really admire Steve Jobs, or at least the image a made of him through the speeches and interviews I saw from him. This commencement speech is great, inspiring, truly motivating.
It was also disturbing for me. I never had really such a strong feeling as love when it came to my work. I liked/like it, I was/I am interested in what I am doing, I feel I am useful but … I cannot say I love, or I am passionate about it, as so many people say these days.
I sometimes feel guilty of pessimism if I don’t say I am passionate about what I do, even if I am probably much more “passionate” than many people pretend they are with what they do!
Also : there is not only one thing I really love doing in my work, rather plenty of things I like (and others I don’t). True, I discovered this through the years, with good and bad experiences. So you might say I was looking for it. But not really… it came to me, probably the “connecting the dots” part of Steve Jobs’ first part of the speech.
Even if this speech is appealing, it doesn’t look like the reality I know. And this is disturbing to me. Trying obsessively to find what we love to do for a living, and consider one doesn’t do a great job if one doesn’t love it is even – for me – the best recipe to be eternally unsatisfied with our job, and potentially depressed by the situation.
I can think of many jobs as interesting, useful, perhaps with great meaning, sometimes with cool working environment, funny colleagues and an inspiring boss. But I don’t think that so many people truly love their job. I mean, really LOVE. I even think the people doing their passion as job can sometimes hate it when they switch from a “free-time-pleasure-passion” to a “for-the-money-passion”. And I also think people with dream jobs (as defined by our society) are not always truly satisfied.
What if it was OK not to LOVE my job?
So, if I like many things in my job, and I have nothing about which I am passionate in what I do every day, should I quit? And if I quit and search for as long as it takes, will I find the one thing I truly love?
I started feeling much better in my life and work when I stopped telling myself I had a problem because I didn’t really love my job. A accepted that, in fact, liking or even loving some parts of it was better than living perhaps my entire life frustrated because I didn’t find THE thing I was made for, and truly loved 100%.
I sometimes had to remind myself that, yes, I was also working for the money because “all you need is love” is not really all what is needed in this world, and money is kind of a useful tool if you want to live, build a family and take care of those you really LOVE, and allow you some social activities once in a while.
While this is the reality for me, I am not sad about it. I am even very happy in my life and I think I did and I still do sometimes great work, sometimes not. But I am fine with it. I am curious about many things, I am constantly exploring life, this great gift. I am not limited to this one thing I should love and be the best in the world at.
I can experience the famous “flow state” – concept from the late Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – when I feel I am well organised, or when I am absorbed by calculations in an Excell file, preparing my business plan or a negotiation. But I am not in love with these calculations, nor with my well organised life.
What do you think about that? What are your feelings when you think about your job? What puts you in a state of flow, where you don’t see the time passing, you don’t need any break, food or anything?
Leave your thoughts hereunder, I am really interested in it!
Laurent from ReBoost-Coaching.com