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by Bob Bly
In his book “Confessions of an Advertising Man,” David Ogilvy quotes an old Scottish proverb about happiness:
“Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.”
The idea is that you should do everything in your power to be happy now, because tomorrow you might not be here.
Given that I am now beyond the sunny side of 50, the truth of this reality becomes clearer with each passing year.
I don’t know the ultimate secret of lifetime happiness, as so many self-help writers and motivational speakers seem to.
But I’m pretty sure I know what makes millions of Americans unhappy.
It’s their work.
“Walden” author Henry David Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
I am convinced that Thoreau is right.
And the reason so many lead lives of quiet desperation is they work 40 to 50 hours a week at a job that they tolerate at best.
And at worst, they hate.
A 2007 survey from CareerBuilder.com confirmed that 84% of U.S. workers do not have their dream jobs, which most people define as “work that is fun.”
For that reason, I have made it a priority – and I suggest you do the same – to make sure you have a job you not only like … but absolutely love: a job that is fun.
It’s not enough to like work.
You should ideally love it.
By that, I mean literally hop out of bed each morning, so eager to work that you can’t wait to get into the office and turn on your PC (or do whatever it is you do).
I have been earning my living by writing for 30 years – and I still wake up early, happy that I get to come to this office, sit here alone listening to my music, and type 12 hours a day!
Of course, I don’t love every aspect of my job: I don’t like paperwork. And dealing with technical PC or Internet issues is pure misery for me (which is why I pay an assistant to handle these nuisances).
But as for the work itself … writing … I absolutely love it.
Noel Coward said: “Work is more fun than fun.”
That is certainly the case for me.
I am in complete agreement on this subject with both Mr. Coward and my writing hero, Isaac Asimov, who said:
“I am so ill-rounded that the ten things I love to do are: write, write, write, write, write, write, write, write, write, and write. Oh, I do other things. I even like to do other things. But when asked for the ten things I love, that’s it.”
On a radio advice show the other day, the guest told listeners: “Find something you really love to do, and find a way to make money doing it.”
If that’s not the ultimate key to happiness, for me it is darn close to it – and just could be for you, too.
Should you somehow find a way to arrange to do what you love for your work … and earn a good living from it … then consider yourself blessed with good fortune.
“It’s a privilege to be able to do what you love to do and be good at it,” said guitar legend Les Paul.
“My hobby is my work, and my work is my hobby. That’s the secret. There’s no distinction.”
P.S. For more guidance on how to achieve lifetime success and happiness as a writer or information marketer, take a look at this: