I once listened to an NPR interview with the versatile British actor Daniel Day Lewis, known for roles in films such as My Left Foot and Last of the Mohicans Lewis had just starred in 9, based on the life and work of Italian film director Federico Fellini (who made a famous flick called 8 1/2).
After a series of questions about how Lewis’s role involved him singing and dancing and hearkened back to his theater days, the interviewer probed about the actor’s method of spending months preparing for a part by immersing himself in the lifestyle and mannerisms of the character. Lewis disputed the notion that any one “method” was more bizarre than another, comparing it to the even more eccentric nature of acting itself and spending one’s entire career pretending to be someone else.
But then Lewis added this juicy insight about why he gets so into the character months before principal photography even begins: “I do it because it is my pleasure.”
The actor is teaching us something here. When we do what we love and truly have a vocation (as opposed to a series of “jobs”), pragmatism flows out of authentic passion. Because we love what we do, we do it intentionally, thoroughly, and with excellence. The result is positioning ourselves for near-flawless performance every single time, to our spiritual pleasure and the pleasure of those around us.
Keep Lewis’s response in mind whenever anyone observes that you are in “flow” or “in the zone” in your own quirky way, and asks “why” you “do it that way.” Because it is your pleasure.
That’s keeping a vocational calling real. That sets you up for a successful “first half” of life and a meaningful “second half,” always preparing to catch new waves across the sometimes calm, sometimes rough, and often unpredictable waters of your own journey.