How often have you thought about how great it would be to make a living with something you enjoy doing? ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ is a great maxim to live by, and I agree with it – but only to an extent. It’s certainly so much easier to get up in the morning, knowing that you won’t have to spend the day hating your job for 8 hours, then go home to get rest just to do the same thing the following day. But I’ve been thinking about how people have started to feel pressured into ‘making it’ with the things they enjoy. I certainly have.
To be independent, to be your own boss, to materialise your own ideas and make them work in a way that allows you to live comfortably, I bet these are dreams many of you have had in the past, as have I. The problem with that is that I’ve now arrived at a point where I have to restrain myself from trying to make a business out of everything I enjoy. Of course, for me, it would be awesome if someone paid me to write. It’d be great to see someone willing to pay me for something I like doing. There seems to be no downside to being paid for enjoying a hobby. Except, there is.
The problem with being paid is that people expect something in return for their money (who would have thought?) And what does that do to people? It stresses them out. Because now suddenly they have all this responsibility and pressure to perform. Expectations to be met, deadlines to respect and other people’s goals to reach. It’s just not your own anymore. You’ve probably felt that way in school/university/work before, when you had to read a book or even just watch a movie. Despite the fact that you would have enjoyed reading or watching the movie, (or at least not hated it) if you didn’t have to do it for school, university or work, now suddenly the task has become a burden. Why? Because you’re no longer the one who chooses to do, or not do it. You’re forced to and that makes it infinitely less appealing and, at the same time, lowers the probability for you to do a decent job at it. It prevents real enjoyment because apparently the connection between pleasure and the feeling of control is much more profound than we think. As a result, you lose interest in it, and, simultaneously you lose your hobby.
Your hobby is deprived of the very essence that had drawn you to it in the first place. Because what is a hobby at its core? It’s something you enjoy doing, something you enjoy spending time on without expecting anything in return expect for fun, satisfaction and, plain and simple, happiness.
But people aren’t happy when they are stressed. And people don’t like to do something when they feel they are forced too. I don’t exactly know why that is, probably something to do with self-determination and feeling in control, (please go ahead and hit me up if you know better). Stress takes the fun away and now suddenly your hobby is your job and you’re forced to do it rather than freely choosing to, which is why I don’t know if I can agree with the aforementioned quote.
Because what does it imply? It implies that you should find something you enjoy and then start making money with it. I’m not sure I want to pay the price for that.
Of course, many many people have to wake up everyday to earn money with a job they hate, so financing yourself with your hobby is a luxury that one should not foolishly discard, it’s also not something I suggest. What I want to say is to ensure that you still have space for yourself, a zone of control that enables you do the things you enjoy without having to stress about pleasing a client. Consciously take the time to treat your hobby as just that, a hobby. A way of spending time according to your preferences. An escape from daily stress and expectations. An avenue towards happiness.
(I repeat, I WILL write for money if offered, don’t get me wrong. Don’t hesitate to slide into my DMs 🙂 I just want to make sure I still have time to write for fun, too)