Suppose you are considering a new project to invest yourself into.
If you don’t care if anyone will ever want to look at, buy, or consider your project then just follow your passion and go for it.
But if your goal is to have someone else get excited about, take interest in, pay for, or be helped by your project then you need to consider not just what you want but what they want.
There’s things you love to do. There’s things that the world needs done.
If you want to do the things you love to do, great. Go do them.
But if the expectation is:
- I will do what I love to do.
- Someone will pay me for having done what I love to do.
then you might want to ask the question: “What do I love to do AND the world will pay me for doing?”
By “pay for”, I mean anything the world might give you: money, time, attention, and other forms of support. It could be good feelings, gratitude, or anything. But if you want the world to give you something in exchange for your work, you need to think about the world.
I see it as a Venn Diagram:
If you aren’t considering how your project will benefit other people, then other people probably won’t care about your project. You’ve not given them any reason to care. As far as the world is concerned, it’s a hobby.
On the other hand, if you aren’t considering how your project will benefit you, then it is just a job.
There’s nothing wrong with either of those. But if you don’t make sure you know which part of the diagram you are doing your work then you can wind up disappointed, frustrated or disillusioned with work you love to do.
One criticism of consciously considering the needs of the audience (the intersection) is that this is “selling out”. And that in order to not be a sell out, we must completely center our work on our true self.
Maybe that’s true. Good luck to you and your truly self-centered work. You’re going to need it.
If choosing the intersection is still choosing to do work you love, then if you choose inside the intersection you are going to be doing the work you love. Which is good right?
But what about that left section that you are not allowing yourself to choose from?
There’s nothing preventing you from working in the left section. You just shouldn’t expect much of the world to show up at your door begging for it.
We all need hobbies and at one time or another most of us have to take non dream-jobs. But if you have the privilege to choose a new project, consider what it is you are looking to get out of it and choose from the right part of the diagram.