Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Does your life's work bring you a sense of purpose and joyfulness? Many in the modern world are trapped in careers that they honestly are not happy with. Here, we explore how you can find your passion and inject meaning in your work.

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Being in education was not my first career choice. When I was younger, I was deeply fascinated by human anatomy, coupled with an intense desire to work in a profession that served the greater good. So off I went to study physiotherapy at university.

What felt like the right choice at the time, actually became increasingly difficult to commit to as a profession. Coming to a fork in the road, I had to either be willing to push through a dwindling passion for decades to come, or make a drastic change and travel down the path of doing something I really loved.

Whilst I was studying physiotherapy, I had been working with children as a part time job. Often, I would come away not feeling like I had really worked. It was invigorating to interact with them, seeing life from their perspective and embracing what their imagination had to offer each day. It only seemed natural to venture down the route of teaching.

This narrative has been relayed many a time during prospective job interviews, meeting new people or when connecting deeper with existing acquaintances. It always ends up with me articulating, “I love my job and it does not even feel like work most of the time.” I am blessed to have found a passion and interest in this world that ignites the fire inside of me. It keeps me burning on my darkest days, guides me when I lose myself and continuously pushes me to grow into the best version of myself so that I can help those around me.

However, not everyone has found their passion yet. And some go through life never experiencing it either. Many of those I know long for sustainable happiness and career satisfaction, but are currently either have a job they are not content with, or have immense fears and excuses about pursuing what truly fulfils them. This ties us to dissatisfaction, which usually resides with emotional irrationality. Yet, once you break them down into smaller parts, there’s actually really nothing to be afraid of. What’s the worst that could happen if you wanted to move from a six-figure finance job to pursue a creative project, like writing a book? People tell me that they need to pay for their mortgages, car loans and lavish existences, so making the transition into a writer would not work. The issue here is that these people have built a lifestyle which requires copious amounts of money to maintain. They attach themselves to external wealth, rather than internal freedom, and here is where their unhappiness endures. So, what can we do to remedy this?

'While we wait for life, life passes.' - Seneca Photo by Florian Schneider

Stoic philosophy can provide us with some insight into understanding our roles as human beings. The Stoics strongly believed that philosophy was something to be lived out day to day, a practical guide to the art of living. This was done by living out the four cardinal virtues of temperance, justice, courage and wisdom, as well as reflecting on their actions daily to maintain inner tranquillity (Hadot, 1997). Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor who reigned from 161-180 AD, and was known as the last of the Five Good Emperors of his time. He was also ‘a solitary, introspective, reflective thinker; a private writer of philosophy’ (Sellars, 2019, p. 294). Aurelius would keep a journal of his reflections where he would write about the importance of living a virtuous life and how to handle life’s challenges by strengthening the mind. After his death, his work was collated and published as what we now know as Meditations.

In Meditations, Book 5 opens with a reflection from Marcus Aurelius. He articulates that ‘people who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat’ (Aurelius & Hays, 2002, p. 53). As a teacher, when I am fully absorbed into my work, all distractions are drowned out and my focus is purely on the students in the classroom. I appreciate every moment that I get to interact with such intelligent mind, actively listening to their learning needs and ensuring my pedagogy is based on best practice. When entrepreneurs love innovating and designing in their startup, they dedicate all their energy and brainpower into solving a problem, pitching ideas to investors and growing their visibility in the market. Chefs who love their craft spend months, even years, tirelessly crafting a dish which has the perfect balance of flavours and textures. What is central to all these people is that they love what they do and are invigorated, energised and as a result, driven to turn up every day ready give it their all.

You can do the same for yourself. Demand the best life by asking yourself the following questions.

  • When do I feel most alive and energised?
  • What activities or moments bring me inner joy and peace?
  • If money was not an issue, what would I like to spend my time doing?
  • What type of interactions leave me feeling invigorated?

By noticing when and what brings you that inward feeling of aliveness, you can identify what it is that you truly love. Capitalise on that. Make time for more if it. As Marcus Aurelius wrote in his reflections, ‘it's time you realised that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet’ (Aurelius & Hays, 2002, p. 165). You are in control of your own life. I wish you well on your journey to finding inner peace and purpose.


Aurelius, M., & Hays, G. (2002). Meditations: Marcus Aurelius. Modern Library.

Hadot, P., Davidson, A. I., & Chase, M. (1997). Philosophy as a way of life: Spiritual exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Philosophical Quarterly, 47(188).

Sellars, J. (2019). Socratic Themes in the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. In Brill's Companion to the Reception of Socrates (pp. 293-310). Brill.

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