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The People Who Started Staples Didn’t Do It Because They Love Office Supplies

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The people who started Staples didn’t do it because they love office supplies.

They did it because they love organizing and running profitable retail businesses. They love hiring and leasing and telling a story that converts prospects into customers. Post-its are sort of irrelevant.

You shouldn’t become a middle school math teacher because you love math. You should do it because you love teaching.

I hope Staples has a senior buyer who actually does love office supplies. I hope that textbooks get written by people who love, really love, the topic they’re writing about. It’s easy, though, to fool ourselves into believing that going up the ladder means we get to do more of the thing we started out doing.

It’s often the case that the people we surround ourselves with (and the tasks we do) have far more to do with job satisfaction and performance than the subject of our work.”

The missive above was from one of our favorite grey thinkers, Seth Godin. We thought it was very important to share because many LITGers get caught up in the idea that they must turn their hobby into their day job in order to live in the grey. This just isn’t so.

Living in the grey is about doing what you love and loving what you do. So when you think about what you love and what you are passionate about, think about skills. What processes do you love to do? Do you love to teach? Do you love to write? Do you love to strategize? Do you love to manage logistics?

Once you think about the skills you have and what you’re passionate about doing, the world opens up and you can then think about how to apply those skills to whatever subject—or industry—you’d like, whether it’s office supplies or middle school math.

This article was originally published in Live in the Grey.

Photo: Thinkstock

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