"Do what you love". They say.
But I found there is a better yet rather provocative way to go about it.
"Do what you hate".
Do you hate how the education system works today?
Do you hate how women are treated unequally in the office?
Do you hate how sunglasses are over-priced when they cost so little to manufacture?
Do you hate how your city has no space for artists to exhibit their art?
Do you hate how your government is not helping poor families in need?
Do you hate how uneducated adults are in regards to health and nutrition?
Listen to those emotions carefully because that might be your gateway to something more than success: a meaningful life.
Why "do what you hate" is brilliant advice according to reason
Emotion is a sign of caring about something. It is hence a sign that it is meaningful for us.
A strong emotion such as hate is a sign of strong meaning. It is, in other words, something we care about a lot.
Hate is a negative emotion too. So it points us to a problem, not a solution. This is important because often times people are passionate with ideas and solutions when in fact it is popular advice that what we need to fall in love with is a problem.
Being passionate about a problem ensures resilience because when your solution does not work, you are forced to trash it. And if you are attached to it, that will hurt a lot. But if it is solving the problem that you passionately care about, then trashing the solution is just another casualty in the pursuit of solving your 'beloved' problem.
For example hating how there are no kids material educating young ones about taboo issues implies that you are passionate about solving the problem of educating kids about taboo issues. This could be through books, workshops, a YouTube channel, a dedicated school program and so on. On the opposite spectrum, being in love with the idea of children's' books on taboo issues would mean that if the idea fails because all kids these days are on iPads not on books, your heard will be broken, but if you were in love with the problem of educating kids no matter the means, then you would experiment with other solutions.
So doing what you hate is pointing you towards a meaningful -for you- problem. A problem you would be willing to suffer for in order to solve. The willingness to suffer makes you more resilient against roadblocks, obstacles and failure leading to your chance of success increasing.
Why "do what you hate" is brilliant advice according to psychology
Utilising negative emotions as motivators -aka dark motivation- is very effective.
Dark motivation is one of humanities most underrated human 'energy sources'. This kind of motivation is the one resulting from insecurities, trauma, the desire to belong and so on.
Fun fact: it is probably what drives 90% of entrepreneurs out there.
Fuelled by hate, discontent and anger people take much more extreme measures than the happy content person.
Doing what you hate hence points you to an avenue to channel this dark energy of hate towards solving the problem.
Why "do what you hate" is such brilliant advice according to philosophy
Nothing has inherent meaning. We choose to give things meaning. Things that have meaning are things we care about.
As part of those meaningful activities there will be struggle, discomfort, pain. But because those are part of a journey that we deemed meaningful, the struggle is joyous, the discomfort is easy to tolerate and the pain is turned way down. Not only there is no pain but instead of the activity, as hard as it is, to take away energy from you it ends up giving you energy.
This state is what the greeks called eudaimonia. A state of blissful suffering. The Greeks considered this state one of the highest states a human can achieve.
In order to be in this state of eudaimonia, one has to find pursuits worth suffering for and answering what it is that you hate is pointing you towards meaning which then points you towards eudaimonia, the essence of a good life.
Hate for a problem causes dark motivation that fuels the hunger for solving the problem. It is a wonderfully effective flywheel. If the hate is enough, the hunger is enough to bulldoze through anything that comes their way.
Hate is a sign of a meaningful pursuit that could evolve in eudaimonia. In which no matter the obstacle, enemy, struggle and difficulty the suffering turns from a negative experience to a neutral and even positive experience. Eudaimonia makes the path feel effortless.
Dark motivation enables people to bulldoze through everything, meaning makes each hit not hurt one bit and the fact that the passion is attached to the problem and not the solution means that there is nothing that can bulldoze your own passion because while your solutions might fall like dominos the problem is still standing.
"Do what you hate" is the most ingenius way I found to identify the kind of pursuits that are worth declaring as your life missions and devoting your life towards.
I absolutely hate how the education system works today. Head to toe; I hate it. But I hate most how unprepared it leaves us to tackles life. That is the problem I want to solve. I want to help young adults to get all the skills that lead to a good life. Today I think this will be via a post-graduate school. But that is just a hypothesis. I am in love with the problem not the solution remember? ;)
What is your mission? What do you hate?
PS: Here are some ideas: