Doing Something You Hate, To Reach Something You Love: Does It Work?
The Paradox of Sacrifice
Can doing something we hate, for a prolonged period of time, to reach something that we love ever hope to work? My life experience has indicated so far that the answer to that question is no. Many people would have you believe that there is something incredible in enduring pain to reach a goal. "No pain, no gain." We're taught to believe in this altruistic notion of sacrifice. As someone who tried to play that game for a decade literally wasting my life away, I'm here to tell this notion of sacrifice is an old school concept that fails to deliver in the current era.
Yes, I Realize You Hate School Son, But. . .
The title echoing the words of my father . . .
I struggled just to pass High School. I remember many countless nights staying up trying to painfully memorize and cram the monotonous material into my head. I would call these study sessions "drill and kill." No matter what the "adults" said, nothing could convince me this was proper education. This was an awkward time period in my life. I was a sixteen-year-old provincial chess master, a writer and a web page designer/entrepreneur. I did many things kids my age couldn't even contemplate doing at the time. Yet I couldn't pass a High School test if my life depended on it. Literally, my life did depend on it. I'm amazed that I even managed to pass High School at all.
Both my parents grew up around higher education. My mother was a teacher with a Master's degree and my father was an engineer, also with a Master's degree. It doesn't take a genius to realize this isn't exactly the household for someone to find success when school isn't for them.
Regardless, I was pushed onto the college train, despite warning my parents several times this was a horrible idea. If I struggled with High School, how on Earth could I go to college? I was spoon fed that college was somehow different from High School, but it wasn't. I was told it would be different if I picked a subject that I loved, it wasn't. I went to college in pursuit of something I already knew. This was a mistake, because I didn't want to hone my already inept exam taking skills, I wanted to design web pages. That is exactly what I did, and in so doing, neglected going through the hoops necessary to get the college grades. You see, back in my father's era, you actually needed a degree to do what you loved. It was a necessary pain. Today, there are methods to bypass that process fairly easily, the only dilemma is getting people to recognize these alternative methods and be willing to pay you for it. This is the problem I currently face. I'm intelligent enough to know perception often beats conception, but I just can't help myself. Why would I do what I hate most in life (school) for four years with the goal of attaining what I love when it's realistically just a click away? Maybe I might do something I hate for a long time to reach something I loved if I got paid for it, but to go into debt for it? No way. And how can a classroom ever be a substitute for doing the real thing?
School has a way of killing the soul. Shortly after dropping out of college, I stopped designing web pages. Oddly enough, people were more open to a sixteen-year-old web developer than a college aged web developer who didn't have college. It all had to do with perception. When I was sixteen designing sites, people judged me by my skills and abilities, because I was simply too young to go to college. When I hit age 22 that soon changed, there was something wrong with me by not having a college degree.
Today I'm facing a similar dilemma with my writing. I've been told I write extremely well, but in order to get that editor's position, I’ve been tossed aside due to not having a bachelor's degree. Once again, I'm being force fed into doing what I hate most for the chance of doing what I love. I don't need a bachelor's degree to write my fictional novel. I don't need a bachelor's degree to write on hubpages. I don't need a bachelor's degree to edit the work of other novelists (which I occasionally do online).
So ultimately why doing what you hate to reach something you love no longer works is because what you love isn't out of reach at all. To sacrifice unnecessarily is the action of the foolish. Unfortunately, it's complicated. Society has been taught and perceived to view all sacrifices as a noble endeavour. Doing something you hate, to reach something you love is admirable to many people. The difference is that unlike my father's era where he was left with no access except through college, I must somehow resist the temptation to do what I love already in order to get a piece of paper in something that I hate, to be perceived as capable of doing something I love that I'm already capable of doing. Talk about being convoluted!
Now I'm telling myself to not even bother anymore. Do what you love anyway. People have already handed me the cold shoulder for defying the establishment, but doing what you love and slowly getting better at it each day through your own paces, makes a lot more sense than the schizophrenic spaghetti works suggested by the status-quo.
But In Some Cases You Have To Sacrifice. . .
Sure, there are some cases where you may have to sacrifice, but perhaps it's not as many cases as you think. You should ask yourself if you're sacrificing because you have to, or are you sacrificing to impress. If you're sacrificing for the later, rather than the former, you may need to revise your decision.
-Donovan D. Westhaver