Why do you do what you do?

I came across this Paul Graham quote recently that made me think about why I do what I do. He says,

“It’s essential to work on something you’re deeply interested in. Interest will drive you to work harder than mere diligence ever could. The three most powerful motives are curiosity, delight, and the desire to do something impressive. Sometimes they converge, and that combination is the most powerful of all.”

Reading the quote gave me a nice warm and fuzzy feeling. But then I remembered Cal Newport’s book I read a long ago called, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”.

Cal argues that “follow your passion” is faulty advice. In his book, he references self determination theory that suggests that “motivation in the workplace or elsewhere requires that you fulfill three basic psychological needs:

  • Autonomy: the feeling that you have control over your day.
  • Competence: the feeling that you are good at what you do.
  • Relatedness: the feeling of connection to other people.”

I can relate to both theories/opinions. Some factors are more important to me than others. When it comes to intrinsic motivation, I relate most to autonomy and the desire to do something impressive.

What about you?

Leaving money aside, why do you do what you do? Let me know in the comments.

Ready to add $100k-$500k revenue to your consulting business in 12 months or less without burning out? Schedule a call and let me show you how.

Image credit: Oleksandr Bedenyuk | 123RF