Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Fall in Love with the Work, Not the Dream

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You dream about changing your life in some way for the better.

But have you ever asked yourself if you have fallen in love with the right dream?

  • We dream about having written a New York Times bestseller.
  • We imagine winning an Academy Award and making an acceptance speech and going to parties.
  • We picture ourselves accepting the MVP trophy during a locker room victory celebration after the Super Bowl.
  • We would love to not only accept the Nobel Prize, but also to receive the award check that goes along with it.
  • We desire to be able to say we have run a marathon.

But these dreams do not change us.

The reason is because we have fallen in love with the wrong thing. We have fallen in love with the moment of accomplishment.

And so we wait to get started. We wait to take a leap of faith, all the while dreaming about what it would be like to do something great.

Imagining “what if.”

To truly love your dream does not mean falling in love with recognition. It means falling in love with the work.

photo by inaki (Creative Commons)

  • Instead of loving the idea of having a New York Times bestseller, we have to fall in love with getting up early and having book proposals rejected and writing even when nobody is reading.
  • Instead of dreaming about the Academy Awards, we have to fall in love with the work starting out small directing films that receive little notoriety, but eventually working our way up to the big one.
  • Instead of dreaming about winning the Super Bowl, we have to fall in love with summer conditioning and training camp  and endless hours watching film.
  • Instead of being in love with the idea of being a Nobel Prize recipient, we have to love writing research grants, and sticking to a project even when it seems like a dead end, and silencing the voice of naysayers who claim that our we are crazy.
  • Instead of loving the thought of telling others that you ran a marathon, fall in love with getting on the treadmill early in the morning and with sacrificing normal leisure activities because we have a long run we have to fit in and with eating food that energizes our body instead of food that just tastes good.

When we love our work, success may or may not follow, but accomplishment will.

There are plenty of dreamers in this world.

Dreamers will always be.

Become a doer.

Fall in love with the work, not the dream.

Comment here.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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15 Replies

  1. Nice post, Jeremy!  I’ve encountered a lot of folks who believe who they are drives what they do.  But the reality is what we do drives who we become.  After all, we are the result of our choices and behaviors, right?

  2. Glenn Taylor

    Thank you Jeremy…my thoughts exactly!  Too many people are focussed on the end goal and the recognition.  So much of the work has no glory in it for immediate gratification.  

  3. You nailed it! You have to love the work or else you’re only going to last a week in training, in getting up early, in starting small. Dreams demand commitment and sacrifice and unfortunately, not enough of us are willing to show up. Great reminder. 

  4. Phil

    Sobering in a way but probably what I needed to hear

  5. We like the end because it sounds fun, but the end is a by product of work. The work can become fun. But the only way to see the recognition is to love the work.

  6. I am afraid to answer the question. I think I am supposed to say that both drive each other. : )

  7. I think loving the recognition is a form of the Resistance. We have to know that it is there so that we know how to deal with it. Be sobered, but get busy. Thanks, Phil.

  8. Sacrifice. It’s a tough word, but necessary.

  9. So true…I needed those words of wisdom today:-) Fall in love with the work not the dream…here’s to getting busy! 

  10. I can’t wait to hear about it.

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