Stop Doing What You Can, Start Doing What You Want

How many things have you done in life simply because you could?

Now how many things have you done in life that you really wanted to do?

I bet you did more things that you could than things that you wanted. Maybe it started as a “want”, but ended up as a “can”.

“Just because you can? Nah, it’s not a good enough reason to do something. Even when it means having more, be discerning, choose it, because you want it, do it because you want to.” — Matthew McConaughey

The Turning Point For Me

Up to a little over two years ago, I was following a more traditional way of life.

I had a “9–5” job that I was good at and liked. But even though it was “9–5”, I was tired after work. I didn’t want to do anything. I would play video games mostly. I called this research, because that’s what I do for a living.

Programming for me is something I do well. I can do it. I enjoy it too, but back then I didn’t do it for projects I was passionate about.

Now, what I really wanted to do was just leave everything behind and travel with my wife, without worrying about making money.

A few months after discussing it, we did it: we traveled around the world.

For a full year, it was all about doing what I wanted, not what I could. I wanted to:

  • Experience India;

  • Go to wedding celebrations in other cultures;

  • Meet inspiring locals all around the world;

  • Finish building a video game I had started on my own;

  • Do volunteer work globally;

  • and more.

Since then, I try everything I want to do. Climbing — done. Surfing — done. Taking photo professionally — done. Writing — done. Make my own games — done. Live as a nomad — done.

It doesn’t mean I don’t do things I can anymore. It just means I do a whole lot more things I want to do.

Why Is It Better?

I’m more passionate and motivated for it. I’m 10x more productive because I work on things I want to work on, wherever and whenever I want to.

I’m more “successful” because I achieve so much more than if I did something I didn’t want to do. Waking up at 5:45am is not even difficult anymore. I look at the time not because I’m bored, but because I dread that the day will end and I will not have done enough. But then again, I don’t have time to look at the time, because I’m busy doing things I like.

What If I Can’t Do What I Want?

Who says you can’t? Time? Responsibilities? Others?

You can always make time. Change priorities. Wake up earlier. Change your environment. Reduce your commute time.

Responsibilities are trickier, but you don’t have to do EVERYTHING you want. Gradually increase them with the little things. Be clever. Think outside the box and you’ll figure out how to do things you want while still taking care or your responsibilities.

As for others, unless you consider them mentors, don’t listen to them. Just do it. You’ll lose friends, but you’ll make new better ones. Sounds terrible I know, but it’s a price to pay to have a better quality of life.


Write down the list of things you do because you can.

Now write down the list of things you do because you want.

What’s the ratio?

How do you turn that around?

Be daring enough to do what you want.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading! :)

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