Why you should do things you don’t like from time to time

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Kevin Mangelschots

Today we’re going to be talking about why you should do things you don’t like from time to time.

Doing things we don’t enjoy seems to defeat the purpose of doing stuff in the first place.

But, there’s real hidden utility in doing the less enjoyable things in life. Simply living hedonistically by only doing things we like is not a sustainable way of existing, either.

Why should you do things you don't like from time to time?

A boy giving two thumbs down in disapproval.

Life isn’t always going to be fun. And certain things that we don’t necessarily like can have an important purpose in life that improves our life in the long run.

Not only that, it teaches you valuable skills such as perseveration, what you don’t like and that not everything in life is fun or meant to be for our amusement.

In short, it teaches us new skills to apply in the future that we wouldn’t have learned if we didn’t try new things that we don’t like in the first place.

Does that mean I should do things I don't like all the time?

A person holding a question mark in front of their face.

Despite all the advantages, it does not mean that you should do things you don’t like all the time. Rather, a balance must be struck between doing fun, exciting things and things you don’t enjoy.

This balance will be different for everyone. Some individuals can do more things they don’t enjoy before burning out than others can. This means that it will be an ongoing process for each one of us in the road towards figuring out how much we can muster.

It’s also important to stop saying yes when you want to say no. Saying no can be a very powerful tool indeed, but we often feel compelled to say yes. Potentially out of the desire to please other people and due to being afraid of not being socially desirable.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Benefits of doing things you don’t like

Young woman giving a double thumbs up.

  • You do things you wouldn’t have tried otherwise

    This one is kinda obvious. But doing things you don’t want to do and wouldn’t have done otherwise opens up a whole plethora of new experiences and skills to explore.

    Sometimes, what we desire or actually need is right there in that dark area that we don’t want to explore. Be it in our mind, or in real life.

  • You learn new things

    You get to learn new stuff if you try new things that you’ve never done before.

    Furthermore, you might learn new things that surprise you in a good way like actually enjoying certain new experiences, or, you might learn something about yourself that you don’t particularly like or desire like for example being afraid of new experiences, especially those you do not feel comfortable doing.

    Regardless if the experience is overall positive or negative, new experiences will lead to growth. And this personal growth allows you to transform yourself into someone different. A new, better version of yourself.

  • You get to know more about yourself

    The quote, “learn how to know yourself” written on a background.

    You might figure out why you don’t like doing certain things. Not only that, but you might notice a certain pattern in the things you don’t enjoy doing.

    Furthermore, you’ll get to learn more about your personal strengths and weaknesses. This increased self awareness allows you to improve on your weaker areas while simultaneously making you more aware of your individual strengths.

  • You get to know what you don’t like

    This one seems really obvious, and it is! But, it is also a point with a lot of hidden value.

    Getting to understand what you don’t like more deeply, like actually understanding why you don’t like certain things, will teach you a lot about yourself. It will force you to face the things you don’t like doing, and consequently, the things that you might not like about yourself.

    But what if you hate your job?

    If you hate your job, I would advise you to make plans in the near future to switch jobs. Because if you hate your job now already, it won’t get better in the future either.

    Important in regard to hating your job is to stop saying yes when you want to say no. Seeing as, this can make you resentful and unhappy, even if your job is actually enjoyable and satisfying.

  • Teaches you that not everything in life is fun

    An unhappy face in the middle of happy ones.

    Let’s face it. Life is hard and can be ruthless at times. And no matter what ideal life a lot of people portray on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, life in reality is not that perfect.

    People these days have the perception that everything should be fun and enjoyable. But, that is not how life works. And sometimes, we’ve got to do the things we don’t like in order to reach the goals we do desire and enjoy.

  • Teaches you that you sometimes have to do things you don’t like for the greater good

    Sometimes we need to do some things we don’t enjoy in order to get to do the things we do in fact enjoy.

    And while seemingly contradictory, it is the truth. Perseverance is one of the key components to achieve success.

    For example, it is possible for someone to like blogging, but not doing the outreach and promotion part that goes with blogging. But in order to make enough money from one’s blog, one must most likely collaborate with other people in order to grow and promote their blog.

Disadvantages of doing things you don’t like

Image of a road sign reading “negative”.

  • You won’t like it

    Humans try to do things they enjoy while simultaneously avoiding the things they don’t enjoy. And if we think about it, that’s only logical. Because who actually actively want to do things we don’t enjoy?

    Doing things you don’t like is, well… not enjoyable. And things we don’t enjoy are often left undone. Luckily, people have the ability of awareness and, thus, can “see” in the future what will happen if we don’t do certain things we don’t enjoy doing.

  • Doing too many things you don’t like might burn you out

    Image of a stressed woman yelling in a phone, with multiple post-it notes sticking on her clothes and table.

    Despite all the advantages doing things you don’t want to do give you, it is possible that doing too many things you don’t enjoy might burn you out in the process.

    That’s why a balance must be struck between doing enjoyable stuff and non-enjoyable stuff.

    In my experience, doing things one does not like is tolerated well if there’s a purpose behind it. A viable reason for doing it. But if no good reason is to be found, it frequently leads to burn-outs and, possibly, depression.

  • Can seem pointless if not purposeful

    We people are typically searching for purpose in life. And in regard to doing things we don’t enjoy, this is no different.

    If there’s no reason, no “why” behind doing non-enjoyable stuff, it might lead to anxiety and depression in the long run.

  • Might make you unhappy

    Image of a young woman holding her head while crossing her legs.

    It might make you unhappy if doing things you don’t like is improperly balanced with enjoyable things.

    Different people can tolerate different amounts of things they don’t like. It is up to each person individually to search for his/her individual boundaries in order to realize what one can manage.

Conclusion

Finding the right balance between doing things you like and doing things you don’t enjoy is important for living a balanced, purposeful life.

Most of all, you should try to do things you don’t like for a reason. Because I believe that doing things you don’t like without any purpose is what makes people sick and overall negative.

In those particular cases, you should stop saying yes when you want to say no. Don’t be a people pleaser. Because doing things you don’t want to do without a purpose will make you sick over time, at least in my personal opinion.