• email
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn

While cleaning up my desk, this quote flew under my nose. I read it once, then again.

“YOU CAN CHOOSE WHAT YOU DO;

YOU CAN’T CHOOSE WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO.”

What?

Read it again.

What is it really saying?

Here’s my take. We all have the ability to choose what we can do. We can pick up our rooms; we can go to the market; we can go to work; we can befriend or not; we can choose to get healthy, and so on. But here is the stumbling block for me: “you can’t choose what you LIKE to do.”

What do you mean you can’t choose what you like to do? Of course you can!

Let me explain myself here. Take the first example of picking up my room. I can choose to act on this. There will be some parts of the job that I won’t like, but there are also elements I do like, and I can choose to do that—organize a sock drawer. As mundane as that may sound, I get a sense of balance and calm when the heavier socks are not melted into the running socks. I hate going to the market (I would much rather take a walk with my dog or dig in the garden)—too many varieties, over crowded, and being dubbed “chef tell” is certainly not I. If I were to choose what I would like to do, it would be making gingerbread—the smell permeates the house and a sense of well-being comes upon me. You can go to work. Now, before you became employed, you looked around to see in which environment you felt more comfortable (that’s a choice). While being interviewed, you scanned to make contact with other employees—were they happy, content, or did they look stressed out (that’s another choice). And so on.

What has just dawned on me is: Do we have an inner sense of knowing already in us? Are we built with strengths, likes, and interests just waiting to be in bloom? Does it take life experiences to choose if we like to do “x” or not? What do you think? Still trying to wrap my head around all of this. It becomes which came first, the egg or the chicken?

Growing up, I had an affinity for animals and being in smaller groups. I was compassionate, adventurous, and emotional. Did I seek out those strengths early on, or was I just born with them? Is it because of this innate programming that I, therefore, became a therapist, coach, mother, and wife? I chose the careers that suited my “LIKE.” For being a chef, computer programmer, banker, or travel agent would kill me. I would rather have a root canal.

Then, when reading this quote for the third and fourth time, another aha moment comes to mind. There will always be things you love to do, but there will always be aspects of the job you are doing that you will not LIKE but which need to be completed. This is a given.

Bottom line: So maybe we can’t choose what we like to do within the parameters of what must be completed within a job we love to do. There will always be some fly in the ointment, something that pushes our buttons, unaccountability and responsibility, which we will not like.

However, if we get to choose what we do and if we can’t choose what we like to do, we can overcome some of these unlikable choices by choosing areas in our lives that make us the happiest.

Got that? LOL

What do you choose to do? And if you can’t choose what you LIKE to do, what would you be doing?


As featured on ABC, NBC, CNN, and FOX News affiliates across the country, Sallie Felton is a life coach, international radio talk show host, author, facilitator and inspirational speaker. For more info on Sallie, please visit her WEBSITE or follow her on TWITTER.

*Photo by f1uffster (Jeanie).