There are three types of things you have to do in this life:
- Things you enjoy doing for entirely internally motivated reasons—those things that you simply find pleasurable or gratifying in and of themselves, without further social context.
- Things you enjoy doing because someone will give you money to do it.
- Things you enjoy doing because they please or help other humans whose opinion you give a shit about.
Note what is lacking here:
things you don’t enjoy doing
Everything that you do, you should be able to mentally reorient into one of the Three Things listed above. If there’s a thing you can’t do that with, then maybe you need to excise it from your life.
In short: Do Good Things.
1. There is a “mental health exception” to this Rule: Sometimes you literally cannot bring yourself to enjoy doing anything. When you find yourself in that place for more than one (1) week, you must stop and make no new decisions until you’ve seen a doctor. It sounds like you have depression, and you need help. Trust me.
2. I’ve been mulling this over for a couple weeks prior to posting, because I realize there’s a risk of this coming of his judging folks who are stuck in shitty life/work situations. Just to clarify: I’m in no way judging you; I, too, have been stuck in truly shitty situations. That said, a lot of us (maybe even most of us?) drag ourselves along through shitty situations much longer than we need to, because we vastly overestimate how hard it will be to stop, or how dire the outcome will be if we do so. So, I just want to say it plainly:
It is totally OK for you to stop doing shit that makes you miserable, and it’s totally OK to let yourself enjoy shit that’s “beneath” you or “demeaning” or “menial” or whatever.
Do you stay home with your kids, even though you have a fancy degree and “showed so much potential”? That’s totally fine. Do you have a “good job” that makes you hate being alive? Fine to ditch it. Are you “just” a plumber or mechanic or seamstress or housekeeper or sex worker or waitress or teacher or whatever? Fuck that: If you’re doing good, if you’re making ends meet for your people, if you’re helping instead of hurting, then you are doing great, and no one should grind you down over it. Fuck them. I’m with you.
3. The baristas over at Roos Roast say this a lot, which is what puts it in my head this AM; maybe they’re being ironic, maybe not, but I still agree with them: Do good things. Don’t do bad things. All the rest is commentary.