Indulge Your Obsessions When Choosing Your Life's Work
My brother, Brad, has an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in biology. Right now you’re probably picturing him working as a scientist and wearing a white lab coat at work every day. If so, you’re wrong. Dead wrong.
He’s a television writer.
For as long as I can remember, Brad has been obsessed with television. Not the get home from work and slump in front of the tube for hours of mindless consumption kind of obsession (that’s just numbing out). Brad has always been an engaged television enthusiast, particularly for television comedy.
He could (and does) watch, analyze, discuss, critique and create television for several hours every day. He gets caught up in it and loses all track of time when he’s fully immersed in it. I can’t think of anything he loves to do more.
Brad probably could have got a steady gig with great pay working in the sciences after completing his master’s degree. He’s a smart guy with a talent for math and science. Some of his research has been published in scientific journals. But that’s not what he wanted for his career.
He didn’t exactly hate biology, but he didn’t love it either. In his spare time during his degree, he wrote spec scripts as a hobby. He wrote, filmed, acted in, and edited a web series, and a cable access sketch comedy series. None of these entrepreneurial projects made him any money. He just loved the work so much that he felt compelled to do it. Impractical and far fetched as it seemed, Brad decided to change course completely to try to make this television writer dream of his a reality.
He graduated with his master’s in biology on a Friday and began his studies in film and television writing the next Monday. He poured what little money he had into it. He lived in a crappy apartment and worked part-time as a math tutor to make it happen. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) glamorous or lucrative, but now he’s getting paid for doing what he loves.
Is there something in your life that you’re obsessed with? Some kind of persistent fascination or curiosity? What makes you lose track of time? When have you been so completely engaged in an activity that you felt fully energized, like you could go on forever?
Do more of that, aspiring entrepreneur. Lean in to your obsessions, fascinations, and curiosities. Indulge your passions. Who knows where they might lead you.