Do What You Hate

Do what you love.

I think if I hear that one more time I’m going to throw up.

It’s not necessarily bad advice, but it’s so overused there are legioins of people running around waiting for something they love to show up in their laps and change their life and are disappointed when that doesn’t happen.

I’m going to offer alternative advice.

Do what you hate.

Pick something you hate. Learn to love it anyways.

Here’s why:

Do what you love makes it sounds like all you have to do is find something you love and do it and magic happens. The sky opens up, happiness pours out while unicorns and rainbows prance around in the sky.

That doesn’t happen.

Even the stuff you think you “love” will suck sometimes. Sometimes it will just be plain tough, if not freaking hard and you won’t always want to do it. Sometimes you’ll start to “hate” what you thought you loved and you’ll think something’s wrong. This was supposed to be easy, right?

The truth: sometimes, you have to do somethings you don’t want to do. 

  • Sometimes running is boring.
  • Sometimes you don’t feel like writing.
  • Sometimes you wish other people would worry about your business.
  • Sometimes you want to eat ice cream and watch TV.
  • Sometimes you don’t feel like going to the gym

But you need to do it anyways if you want to be a good runner, writer, businessman, or generally fit person.

Here’s a not-so-secret, secret: I don’t particularly like running. There I said it.

But something happens when I run.

I learn something about myself. I find something out about myself that I didn’t know before.

I have to fight through it. I have to dig deep and find something in myself to keep going. I see my limits and I go past them…and I learn something.

Do something you hate. Learn to love it anyways.

Cold Shower Therapy is a great way to tell yourself to toughen the hell up. It’s back open if you’re up for the challenge.

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  1. says

    I agree with you people hold way too much out for their wishes without dilligent action to back it up. Then wonder why it doesn’t happen. Learning to love what you hate is a great way to expand your horizons, thank you for the idea.

  2. says

    I love this! I can definitely back up the idea that doing what you love will sometimes suck, too. I am one
    of the fortunate ones who got to follow a career path doing something that I had dreamed of all my life. Even though most days I love it, there are days I wonder what I am doing and why I ever thought I would be good at it. I think something people miss in today’s society is that there are times we just have to do what is placed in front of us and learn to struggle through it. THAT is great accomplishment!

  3. Chris says

    I think doing what you hate, for a purpose, is an excellent discipline. (And what you were driving at).

    Many people do what they hate because they don’t feel there is an option that they will love (or learn to love). They simply feel trapped (and somehow secure) in what they hate, convinced that anything else has to be at least as bad, or worse.

    In the end, it’s all about purpose, and discipline!

    Great contrarian perspective!

  4. says

    LOL, so true, so true. We seem to live in world where easy is the gold standard – that’s what many people want, and if they have to actually make some effort, or face some hard choices, or challenge themselves, they give up :) Show a little warriorship people, please!

  5. Rhonda Balmer says

    I’m under the impression that NO ONE likes to run, but do it anyway. I took a running class once and after doing some drills the coach said, “Ok, lets go run”…we all groaned. He said, “y’all sound like the track team”. WHAT?? You mean the University track team doesn’t even like to run?? I felt better about myself after hearing that.

  6. says

    Love it. Well written. I have always followed this train of thought. If I don’t like doing something, it generally means that I’m not very good at it. When we’re not good at doing something, it means it doesn’t come easy or naturally and so it is much easier to push it aside and focus on what does.
    The only way to get good at something, or be able to perform better at something, is to practice that something.

    I immersed myself into swimming about five years ago. Sure, I could swim to save my life, but not with any proficiency or accuracy. I didn’t really like back stroke, and when I heard my internal dialogue say so, I knew I’d have to work on it. It doesn’t mean that I have to spend a lot of time doing it, but rather, when I do practice it, I practice with my whole being. I dissect it to understand what it is that I don’t like about it. Now I like it, because I can do it. And like you said, being able to do something doesn’t make it easy to do. Just because I like it now doesn’t mean that each time I practice makes it any easier. Each time I visit the stroke I focus on the precision of each micro-movement and continue to break it down.

  7. Andrew Tucker says

    Totally agree…this is commonlyknown as “Embrace the Suck!” in endurance training circles and is a very useful mantra.

  8. says

    I love how you synthesize the often overlooked obvious. On reflection I can think of a zillion things that I’ve done, didn’t really feel like doing, but the act of which and the development of the self-discipline muscle made my life more.

    Can’t run any longer due to an accident–but when runners job past on the trail….at least I know what it felt like to everyday go out for a 6-mile run. And still keep in shape with weights.

    Yeah to self-discipine!

  9. says


    Great post! Do-what-you-love people look at life like a movie where the hero always wins and rides off in the sunset after overcoming the bad guys. But in real life when we’re in the middle of something we don’t know how it’s going to turn out.

    That’s when doubt, fear, or pain show up. Then we feel like we hate it. If we knew for sure we would win the Olympic gold then we wouldn’t hate much of anything.

    And like you say, “you learn something about yourself.” That’s a huge part of life. Not just riding off into the sunset but pushing yourself and learning something.


  10. says

    I find that I dislike doing things that I am not good at – usually with a lot more practice and learning, I get good and then I like it. And in the past I’ve noticed I avoided things that I disliked. Now, I’m embracing them and the accomplishment makes me feel good about myself.

  11. says

    Hi Joel, I like so much your vision and opnion about a lot of things, especially about Do what we hate. It’s great, because when I do something that I hate I can love this with the result that I got from this thing.
    Doing something that we love is so easy, but It’s not enough to complete our own objects. Thanks for sharing this one.

  12. says

    Feeling you Joel. I definitely preach doing more of what you love and less of what you don’t but its important to realize that testing yourself and trying new things is so vitally important to personal growth. Great read here brotha!

  13. says

    Another great post. I’m right in the middle of starting several things I hate. Quitting smoking, working out, and getting healthy. This post and several of your other ones are pushing me along and I thank you.

    I’m on day 5 of doing what I hate. Feel free to help my people cheer me on / make fun of me and thank you again for the inspiration.

  14. Jim says

    Great advice here and something I’ve been working on lately. Overcoming procrastination by challenging myself to do the things I “hate” or “strongly dislike”. Embrace the suck as someone stated earlier.

    There’s a certain motivation in pushing forward and overcoming disliked tasks. I’ve been focusing on the dislike portion more and it seems to drive me to accomplish more things. The more disliked – the better.

    A simple exercise I’ve used before is going into a restaurant and ordering a meal that I think I will NOT enjoy. This challenges me to expand my comfort zone and to try new things. It turns out to be a fun. You have to eat the meal, can’t ignore it or you’ve defeated the purpose.

    Same principle applies to work tasks or home chores. Pick something you don’t especially enjoy and go for it. Focus on the “suck” and press on. It’s more rewarding once these tasks are complete. The tasks I love doing seem to take care of themselves.


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