Why You Can’t Do What You Love (Digest)

This is a digest version of a longer essay. If you like it, explore it in full detail.

“Do what you love to do.” I’m sure you’ve read it before.

But do you really feel like it?

If not, that doesn’t mean that you are lazy or coward. It simply means you are too depleted to take on such a challenge.

All activities in life, even the stuff you love to do, require investments of your life energy.

However, if your life energy is depleted because you have too much soul-sucking activities, then you can’t even do what you love to do.

In this situation, what you need to do is to first reduce the amount of soul-sucking that takes place in your life.

Imagine that you are a cup. Right now it’s filled with muck and sludge. You want to pour in clear, beautiful water or juice of fresh-squeezed fruit, but you simply don’t have space for them. Make room for the new and better things by pouring out first.

What you are when you are depleted and scarce, is not who you are when you are filled and full of energy. There’s no need to force yourself to make more investments when you hardly have enough to get through each life.

Seek instead to reduce the bleeding first, and reduce more after that. You’ll see that your natural, energetic and motivated self will return.

Then you can move on to doing what you love.


  1. Ari,

    Welcome back!

    You have such a beautiful way of expressing your thoughts. I really appreciate you taking the time to share them with me and the few seekers who have found my blog. My deepest desire in my life is to have more discussion about the good things and the true things that really matter. Discussions that might cause one to become aware that they can attain their own personal peace by simply choosing to receive it — the peace that dwells within — usually hidden under piles of hurt and pain. Just by remembering that before I speak has resulted in a more peaceful existence for me.

    You are correct that attempting to force someone to be peaceful is a waste of good energy… energy that could be used more wisely in simple self reflection. Honest self reflection, along with non-judgement towards what we discover in the process, is healthy for us. There is no condemnation and we need not feel any. And when that fact hits us and our self reflection leads us to our own peace, we can then move outward in love. You are also correct that at that point, world peace is.

    Peace is my daily mantra, along with thank you of course πŸ™‚ I have much to be thankful for and peace within myself is the most important gift I have ever received. I realize it more each day.

    Peace to you my new friend. You have blessed me and I Bless You, as well as the God in you. — jb

    Jeff Baker’s last blog post..2008 Summer Olympics

    1. Hi Jeff,

      Thanks for your kind words. I agree with you that peace gets buried beneath hurt and pain. I am seeing the process as I raise my own children. I’m watching very closely and carefully to observe how a person acquires that hurt and pain, trying to address it right away when it occurs. It’s hard to say when we’re in the midst, but so far our children seem to be developing well.

      Hopefully we can keep our children from having to do as much unlearning as we had to do. πŸ˜‰


  2. Great thoughts Ari. We fill our lives with so much clutter how can we enjoy anything? It only makes sense. We can only be stretched so far or as you pointed out no more can fit in a cup that is already full. Deciding what is really important and cutting out the rest is key for peace in a person’s life.

    We live in such a busy cluttered society – at least in America. My husband read an article the other day that said that people are beginning to simplify more and be more frugal. I think that’s wonderful and hope it is true.

    I love your thoughtful writing. It is right on target!

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Change Your Life – One Thought at a Time – Part 2

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      First, I want you to know that your affirmations mean much to me. Thank you.

      I think what you’re saying affects every area of life. Internet is a constant information overload. I’ve always believed that the reason Google succeeded in an area Yahoo used to be so successful is in the home page design. Yahoo crams everything in and tries to be everything to everyone. With Google, you breathe in the white space.

      It’s a cliche to say more is not better — but it’s really hard to cut stuff out. At least it’s been for me. I’m still learning this lesson!


  3. Hi Ari – I think that’s great.

    I usually take the approach of getting rid of things I don’t want, to create a space for the things I do want.

    This includes leaving jobs I don’t want to do, without having anything to go to – which I have done several times and is counter to a lot of the advice given out there.

    Cheers – Robin

    Robin’s last blog post..On Overcoming Obstacles

    1. Hi Robin,

      You are a much more courageous person than I am! Whenever you have time, share with me about those times when you left jobs without knowing what you’re going to do next. Did it always work out in the end?

      I had an experience like that. Long story short, I was trying to secure a new job before moving, but I ended up quitting and moving without landing a new one. It was scary, but I just knew the time had come for me to jump. It worked out great in the end — landed a new job within a month after moving. A great job.

      But yet, when I think about the next change like that, I keep thinking about how I need to secure the safety net again. You see, the stuff I write about, are stuff I’m trying to apply to myself.


    1. Peter,

      Yes — isn’t it amazing how you all the sudden “get it” at one point? You truly hear what you want to hear — even the most profound message just doesn’t come through, unless you’re ready to hear it.

      Glad to hear you’re pursuing what you love!


  4. Ari, I meant those words. My favorite writing is work that digs deep to find the real solution and work that makes a person think. You do both of those things.

    As a matter of fact I have still been pondering about this post even this morning – a day after I read it. Most people’s writing doesn’t do that to me – some but not many it seems. What you wrote about is something I have thought about a lot in the past few months, but when you wrote it it brought it out in a new light that made me think even more. Growth really is about shedding – getting rid of the things that hold us back or suck our life out and make us unfulfilled. I was thinking… if we see an area in which we need to grow do we need to look to see what the opposite is and work to remove that from our lives? – just thinking… I wrote a post along these same lines fairly recently, but maybe this is the inspiration for another one with a little different angle. Thanks for making me think some more.

    You may just be right about Google and Yahoo. Makes sense – a welcoming nothingness before you conduct your search and get lost in the results.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Change Your Life – One Thought at a Time – Part 2

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      I appreciate your thoughtful response. It’s interesting that you resonated with the shedding analogy — as I don’t hear that word used often to describe growth. As I said, I have this mental image of me being leaner and leaner — the more I grow, the less excess I have, and I’m left with nothing but the very essence. And I sense that that will be a very harmonious, coherent way to exist.

      Funny enough, that’s sort of my aspiration with writing and music, too — to leave out all extra words and notes and just present only what’s absolutely needed. I’m not sure if I can really pull that off, but I definitely think it’s a sign of immaturity that I write so many words, for example. My editing process has more cutting out than adding stuff.

      Hopefully I can articulate that growth experience a bit more in depth when I’m farther down the road.

      Anyway, thanks for a great discussion!


  5. Ari, you don’t look very big to begin with. You might just blow away as you keep loosing. πŸ™‚ We may both do that. πŸ™‚ Seriously, I do like that imagery a lot. I may just use that.

    Well, if wordiness is a sign of immaturity, I must be very immature as well. It’s something I try to continually work on. That’s very interesting that that is your goal with music too – to leave out all the unnecessary notes. I picture you stringing one note out for a long time and then the song ends. πŸ™‚ I’d love to hear your music.

    Back to the wordiness – I think a lot of it is personality. I had a very mature friend in college who talked a lot and wrote with a lot of words…..

    If you get a chance I’d love to hear your thoughts on my recent post. Your comments are always among my favorites.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Change Your Life – One Thought at a Time – Part 3

    1. Jennifer,

      I did just comment on your new post. We must be in synch tonight. πŸ˜‰

      Now, don’t overgeneralize (ha!) that I was talking about wordiness=immaturity applying to everybody. Some people can use every word effectively to write rich, flowing, long prose. I just know that I’m on a journey to learn “less is more” — when I read some of my early posts, I grimace at how belabored they are. I’m spewing words out because I’m too excited to have something to say, yet too insecure to just tell it like it is and leave it at that.

      I’d like to think that I’m getting better. I do feel better about what I’ve been writing the last few weeks, compared to the exploratory posts in the beginning.

      And by the way, you can listen to my music — at least what I have available. It may not be what you expect. πŸ˜‰ It’s at http://aries9.com. There’s a lot more, and a lot of different kinds of music where it came from — I intend to make and release those as well, hopefully in the near future. Thanks for your interest!


  6. Ari, I guess I haven’t really read your earliest work – just know I like what I read now. I’m sure you will have it trimmed down to your liking in time. I know that my writing will mature as well, with more experience.

    Thanks so much for the link! I’m listening to your music now as I’m writing this. I like it! You do have a lot of talent with music. I’m so happy for you that you are doing what you love. Now, if you can only trim down your words then you can have more time to play music. ha! πŸ™‚

    We must have been in sync on reading each others’ blogs. Hey, great minds think alike! Is that an overgeneralization? πŸ™‚ Thanks for your comment!

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Change Your Life – One Thought at a Time – Part 3

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      That reminds me, I need to take down links to my post about self-actualization. It’s a long and bloated article that I plan to rewrite. With blog, navigation is always a challenge, isn’t it? There are some posts that can stay buried, but there are some I keep referring people to, like the one about life’s ultimate goal. Anyway, my blog is still a work in progress. So far I changed my tag line 3 times. I think I’m getting closer to nailing it.

      Thanks for checking out my music! The CD is for sale. πŸ˜‰ I’m really glad you like it. Yes, I really love making music. Music moves me like nothing else in the world. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done at the same time. It beats me up and shred me to pieces. It’s so, so hard. But I love it, and I believe in it.

      In fact, blogging is definitely a side venture compared to my music. Unfortunately, blogging is easier to do than music — I need to be in a proper recording environment to make it, for example, whereas all I need with blogging is an internet and a laptop, anywhere. But I’m putting together a business plan that combine my music and online ventures in a fresh way. Within the next couple of weeks, I’m hoping to announce my intentions to the world. I don’t know how that’s going to help me, but I just feel that I need to let everyone know what I’m doing.

      Thanks so much for an engaging conversation. It’s been fantastic to get to know you.


  7. It’s been fantastic getting to know you too. I can’t wait to hear about all your plans – and see it in action!

    That’s interesting that music gives you so much life, yet is so hard. Maybe the challenge drives you!

    I’m an artist so I can identify somewhat with you. However, it’s not what gives me life. Well, sometimes it does, but that’s not my main thing I guess you would say. I actually haven’t done any in a while. Sometimes the urge takes over though and it feels so good getting lost in it. What drives me more than anything is making a real lasting impact in people’s lives. Art doesn’t do that for me. Blogging is great for that part of me.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Change Your Life – One Thought at a Time – Part 3

    1. Jennifer,

      Indeed, the challenge and the depth of music is what compels me. Music is a life-long pursuit — I can devote my life time and yet never run out of room to explore. It’s like a big ocean. Most other things are finite, at least to me — you can dig, but sooner or later you hit the bottom. It’s great that I have found a passion that will never run out of fresh, new discoveries no matter how long I pursue.

      This is a speculation, but I wonder if there is a fundamental difference between your art and my music, what roles they serve to us. A calling is a place where our own needs and the world’s needs meet. I make music because not only does it satisfy my creative needs, but I also know that music has tremendous power to touch and move people. I know, because it does to me. It speaks to me more powerfully than anything else — speeches, movies, books. Some people breathe music (even if they don’t make it themselves) because it means that much to them, and it is my great joy to be able to supply what I consider to be very good music.

      Perhaps you find blogging more rewarding because it is a place where more of your needs and the world’s needs meet than your art, which may be more of a self-expression but may be missing the outward orientation that goes out and fulfills other people’s needs?

      I’m sure you agree that ultimately, we are to serve a greater whole than just our measly selves — hence the activity that goes beyond yourself also has greater potential to come back and reward you richly.


  8. Hi Ari.

    Thanks for taking the time to help put things in perspective. For a while now, I seem to know what it is I love to do but have not had the energy to do it. This really did make me think I was on the wrong track. The sound of my soul being sucked out masked my inner voice, telling me that I was doing the right thing.

    Kinda feel like a little satori happening here.

    Thanks again


    Oh, and thanks for the kind comments at tumblemoose – made my day.

    Tumblemoose’s last blog post..Well, I guess it’s all been said…

    1. Hi George,

      Welcome to OBV! Glad to hear my observation shed some light for you.

      >I seem to know what it is I love to do but have not had the energy to do it. This really did make me think I was on the wrong track.

      You totally hit the nail on the head there. It’s quite confusing, isn’t it? We have to clear our minds before we can make heads or tails or about our situations. It’s frustrating, but unfortunately it’s true.

      Oh, and thanks for the word “satori.” I’m from Japan, in case you didn’t know. πŸ˜‰ I ought to use that word here and there. πŸ˜‰

      Keep in touch!


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