For Love of the Game



“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” — Steve Jobs

The professional gets paid to work but loves the game.

Do you love what you do?

In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield shares his perspective on how professionals get paid to do what they do but in the end, they do it for love.

The Professional Accepts Money

Simply put, the professional gets paid, but loves their craft.

Pressfield writes:

“To clarity a point about professionalism:

The professional, though he accepts money, does his work out of love. 

He has to love it.  

Otherwise he wouldn’t devote his life to it of his own free will.”

Too Much Love Can Be a Bad Thing

The professional loves the game, but balances it with professionalism.

Pressfield writes:

“The professional has learned, however, that too much love can be a bad thing.. 

Too much love can make him choke. 

The seeming detachment of his professionalism, the cold-blooded character to his demeanor, is  a compensating device to keep him from loving the game so much that he freezes in action

Playing for money, or adopting the attitude of one who plays for money, lowers the fever.”

The More You Love Your Art, the More Fear You Will Face

The more that something matters, the more you love your calling, the more Resistance you will face.

Pressfield writes:

“Remember what we said about fear, love, and Resistance. 

The more you love your art / calling / enterprise, the more important its accomplishment is to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it. “

The Payoff is the Proper Professional Altitude

Playing for money instills the habits you need to win your inner creative battles.

Pressfield writes:

“The payoff of playing-the-game-for-money is not the money (which you may never see anyway, even after you turn pro). 

The payoff is that playing the game for money produces the proper professional attitude

It inculcates the lunch-pail mentality, the hard-core, hard-headed, hard-hat state of mind that shows up for work despite rain or snow or dark of night and slugs it out day after day.”

The Professional Does It for Love

It looks like pay on the outside.  But it’s love from the inside.

Pressfield writes:

“Technically, the professional takes money.  Technically, the pro plays for pay.  But in the end, he does it for love.”

Money changes the game.  It raises your commitment.

But it’s that level of professionalism that helps you take your calling to the next level and operate at a higher level.

It’s more than making a living.   It’s doing what makes you come alive.

Find a job you love, or love the job you’re with.

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  1. I do programming for the love of it. I may not be the best of the best but I have delivered great software above and beyond expectation.

    I was given an amazing opportunity in 2012 to work for a company in an amazing location (Hobart) doing what I do best (WPF). Again, I delivered above an beyond expectation. The director of the business was fantastic.

    What I got in return from the other 95% of the business was people swearing at me, not responding to my morning greetings and simply being treated like a piece of garbage. I left in 2013.

    What I’m trying to say is that regardless of how much you love what you do and no matter how professional you are, if where you work doesn’t want you then it can only end in disappointment for the professional who loves what they do.

    • One of the most important lessons in life is to identify who do you serve and what do they value. That helps a lot of noise quickly melt away.

      There is a lot to be said about working in a great environment, and creating great working environment. After all, some arenas are better than others.

      The trick to learn over time is whether to adapt, adjust or avoid a situation. In some cases, we have to adapt ourselves. In other cases, we can adjust the situation. In some cases, we need to avoid them entirely (if you don’t like roller-coasters, don’t get on.)

      We can use our values as a very fast lens for finding our best fits (and quickly identifying our misfits.)

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