If you do what you love doing, it becomes what you are good at

comment to You’re Not Meant To Do What You Love. You’re Meant To Do What You’re Good At. by Brianna Wiest, who arguments that the skills of people are "a blueprint of their destiny". For support she describes experience with people who try to do something they do not actually enjoy doing.

This whole argument sits on the assumption that skills develop somehow on their own.

Skills develop, because you use them. So if you do what you love doing (note the nuance!), then — except in rare cases — this becomes what you are good at.

And the real joy from daily work is in how it fulfils the values we value. What we value differs between people. For some it is money, for some it is respect and for some it is following the paths they chose themselves.

In addition we live in a society where less and less people are needed for the tasks which actually have to be done — Food. Shelter. Health. Education.  — because productivity rises by 2% every year. That means it is doubling every 35 years, so with every generation we need 50% less people in the tasks which have to be done. But new tasks are found which help society and if many people pursue their passions, it is more likely that some people already have the required training when a given skill turns out to be very helpful to society.

The article takes a mistake — people trying to do something they want to have done but what they don’t actually love to do — and then uses this as basis for an argument that people should only do what they are good at. Which is not related to the problem described. It uses flawed reasoning to argument for something very problematic.

A society in which all people have to do only what they are good at is one without personal choice. It is an inhumane dystopia.

Consider the endgame: Your skills are measured at the age of 5. Then you get to learn what you are good at. And later do that.

And yes, with all-encompassing, constant and retroactive external evaluation of every choice in life we are moving there. It’s why people are so obsessed with their CVs these days, while 30 years ago many more followed their passions, regardless of what society thought.

You cannot expect to earn money with something you are not good at. But as a society we need to give people the space to experiment with things they are not yet good at to make it more likely that there are people who have the skills needed for the niches which open tomorrow. Otherwise we will have to pay far more people for doing something they are not good at, because no one will ever have developed the necessary skills.

The only skill you can be good at without doing what you love is a skill which someone else chose for you.

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