Why are you doing it?

If you ask a random person why they do what they do professionally, chances are you’ll get a lot of responses saying “I have to do something” or “I have to make a living”. Responses you’re unlikely to get are “To be able to spend quality time with friends, or family”. If you look at the statistics, it’s easy to see why. Only 20 percent of workers are passionate about their job. 33% believe they reached a dead end in their career.

I talk a lot about the why, what, and how of entrepreneurship and freelancing, and it’s something I’m passionate about. But I have no illusions about why I’m doing it. I’m doing all of it, to be able to do fun stuff, spend time with friends and family, and buy the stuff I like. Out of those 3 goals, only “buying stuff” is financial. Spending time with people is free, and doing fun stuff doesn’t have to cost anything.

I used to have this illusion that all my problems were caused by being constantly broke as a student, and then as a young professional. I blamed myself for not having fun, or not having any money. As my income grew, so did my spending, and I was still unhappy and blaming money. I didn’t have a long-term goal, and I was chasing a bigger paycheck. Spoiler alert, there is always a bigger paycheck. It’s no wonder lottery winners have a higher chance of going bankrupt. Without a deeper goal, money means nothing.

Honestly, I’m still fully enveloped in the process of answering the question “Why am I doing it?”, but I know that the answer isn’t “more money”. When I think about what I would do if I did win the lottery, it involves experiences shared with friends and family, traveling, festivals, eating, etcetera. These are things that I can do, with less extravagance, today. I don’t need money to get together with friends, so why wait out until I win the lottery?

What I did figure out so far is I’m not in it for the money. I’m always looking for places that have interesting people, jobs that put me in touch with people I wouldn’t know otherwise, and looking for work that’s just fun to do. Work is what I spend 8 hours a day, 5 (and more often than not 6 or 7) days doing. Best case scenario, you and I will spend 35% of our waking hours working. Might as well make it time well spent.

So ask yourself, “Why am I doing it?”.

Huibert is an innovation engineer, prototyper, maker, 3D printing nerd. He thinks anyone can be an inventor with the right mix of attitude and time investment.