The Ultimate Cheat Sheet For Doing What You Love

doing what you love

I was doing what I hated. Working a job. Listening to a boss yell at me when he had a bad day with his wife.

Working with people that I wouldn’t be friends with unless I had to sit next to them in a cubicle.

Doing things that were the opposite of everything I dreamed about as a boy.

But I didn’t think anything else was possible.

I didn’t know any better…I wish something like this had existed at the time.

School shed that crazy notion for me. My parents doubled down on that. My bosses forced it home. Having a family scared me.

I assumed that being doomed was a normal part of life and only some people were lucky enough to get away with doing what they loved.

I was ready to live a life of misery only for the sake of my kids. I guess so they could then grow up and live a life of misery.

I was wrong.

When I was seven years old I wanted to be an astronaut.

When I was eight, I was really into comic books.

When I was nine, I wrote a play (actually I plagiarized it but my teachers loved it and I kept writing).

When I was ten I wanted to be President of the United States. I read every book about politics.

My 4th grade teacher thought it was strange I was obsessed with reading the transcripts of Nixon’s secret tapes.

When I was 11 I wanted to be a writer just like Judy Blume. I knew every scene in her books by page. All the sex scenes in “Forever” and “Wifey”.

When I was 12 I wanted to be a reporter so I called up everyone I could think of who was famous and tried to interview them.

I ended up getting my political interviews published in a local paper. I even visited the White House and interviewed the Chief Usher.

When I was 13 I was obsessed with computers. I learned to program and every weekend my friends and I would steal computer games from the local game store.

When I was 14 I spent almost all my free time meditating.

For some reason I thought I could learn to astral project and secretly watch girls undressing. But I ended up learning how to meditate and reading about all the different spiritual sources of meditation.

When I was 16, I played chess constantly. I would skip school, sneak to the bus, take it to Princeton and meet up with John Nash (not the mathematician but his son, who was a strong chess master) and we’d play all day. I skipped school constantly to play games.

And when I was 18 I started my first business, a debit card for college students. And local businesses would offer our users discounts.

I programmed all the card machines. I sold all the local restaurants on using our card.

Which led to when I was 19 becoming obsessed to computer programming.

And when I went to graduate school at 21 I realized I hated programming so started writing every day. 3000 words a day. I haven’t yet stopped.

Ever since then I’ve taken the interests above and combined them.

I made websites for entertainment companies. I helped build a chess server on the Internet. I’ve written 18 books.

I’ve studied stocks the way I used to study a game And right now I’m trying to get press credentials to cover the inauguration.

I tried to make a TV show. I do podcasts where I call up my heroes (including astronauts, writers, artists, game players, and even Judy Blume(!) etc) and interview them.

And I keep writing every day about all the people around me. Like a spy.

DO THIS: (I still do it)

– LIST EVERYTHING you were passionate about from ages 7–20. These aren’t your “true passions”.

That’s a made up phrase. These were simply the things you loved doing as a kid.

– COMBINE THEM. If you loved computers and movies, maybe you will write stories for virtual reality experiences.

If you loved art and being a reporter, call up all of your favorite artists and do a podcast.

– AGE THEM. If you loved games, what do adults who are into games do for money (they make them, they blog about them, they review them, they invest in stocks, they advise investors on startups for games, they use games to improve brain health, and yes, they have fun still playing games).

– FUTURE THEM. If you loved electrical engineering and fast cars, I just saw a help-wanted ad for a “self driving car engineer”.

How can you see the future? You can’t. But that’s what writing down ten ideas a day helps.

If I write down ten ideas a day about how my interest in comics and business might look in the future, then I will fertilize future success.

Which means a lot of bad c***p along the way but that’s how ideas get started and turn into things you try, which turn into things you do, which turn into things you love and are successful at.

There is no one true passion. There are just these basic guidelines:

  • Look to your past to discover your future.
  • You will do MANY things in your life. There is no “one” thing.
  • Combine combine combine.

Do I do what I love now? Yeah, I’m writing an article on a futuristic computer network.

As for tomorrow…I don’t know. I’m going to write my list right now. Every day I write that list or I get stuck and lose myself. I want to live.


Related Reading: How To Quit Your Job the Right Way

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  • Tiffany Renae

    all the sex scenes in “forever” and “wifey”?… we are probably soulmates or twin flames!

  • Brooke S. Musterman

    Hi! Love this! A year ago, I actually did start an art podcast. Let’s Talk Art With Brooke now has over 50 episodes. It’s a blast!…b

    • Great!! How are you monetizing it :)?

      • Brooke S. Musterman

        That is the next step. I’m just having a lot of fun doing it right now ;)…b

  • Ray Mkrtchyan

    James, I love the idea of “Do What You Love” and “Follow Your Passion” to get away from the mundane work life and away from working for the man. The dilemma I have, and I am sure many others do too, is how do you find out what it is you love to do when you are always completely consumed with your daily job? I believe that it takes a lot of concentration and searching within one’s self in order to discover what your true passions are and what you can actually convert into a business of career that you love. I for example am 32 years old and work in the car business as a sales manager. I have been in the car business since I was 21 and have been working 12+ hour shifts 6 days a week regularly. I have a beautiful family now and my priorities have changed. I can no longer spend the crazy hours away from my new family and choose not to. What can I do?

    • userbronco

      easy, just cut back the hours,
      if the place you are currently working doesnt allow that, then go someone where else.
      dont work 70 hours a week if you have kids, you will regret the time you didnt spend with them, they will be grown and gone in no time at all.
      with kids, the days are long, but the years are short.

  • Mary Liz Thomson

    I’ve read your book and you suggest staying away from politics, but what if that is your passion? Do you see it as an area where blog $ can be made?

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    • userbronco

      duh lots of politicians are super rich,
      getting elected maena lots of people start shoveling money your way.
      wy do you think someone spends $175K to get elected to a city council position that pays $30K a year?

      or spends $50 MILLION to get elected to a congressional seat that pays $180K a year?
      lots of bribes, uhh, I mean campaign contributions will be heading your way once you get elected