My friends! Welcome to a lovely article I have been wanting to write for quite a while.
I'm really happy with how it turned out, so I hope you enjoy. But before we dive in, between all the jumps of joy I was doing when writing this piece, I figured it'd be a great idea to try something new. Before the article today, we have a TL;DR (too long, didn't read). This serves two purposes: first, it allows me to provide value to those not wanting to take the time to read an entire article, and second, it helps more deeply solidify the ideas presented in the article by repeating them once more in a clear form.
I'm looking for someone to help me write these tl;dr's so e-mail me if you think you would be good at it!
AWESOME! Have some fun friends. There are some uncomfortable, contrarian ideas in here, so open up yourselves, and get ready to have your world shook.
0 // TL;DR
1. It's all about time.
- how we spend our time is how we spend our lives
- work takes tons of time
- we want fulfilling lives
- then, work needs to be fulfilling
2. And getting good.
- we are drawn to spend more time on work that is fulfilling
- when we spend more time on something, we get better at it
- when we get better, we become more useful to others (which causes fulfillment)
- this brings us back to step one, and the cycle repeats
- getting good brings awesome rewards:
- feeling like you're actually helping others (because you are)
- being good is always more fun
- money rewards
- praise and other gifts from society
- more learning
- we start spending a little time on one thing that we like and helps others
- we are public with our progress, sharing what we make with the world
- once we're good enough, and people start buying what we make, we spend more time on our thing to get even better
- eventually, this thing becomes our work
4. Also, hack money.
- to stop needing to make money at all, we just own a bunch of stuff that make us money (we call these investments)
- that stuff is stocks
- eventually once we own enough stuff, we won't need spend time on unfulfilling things
1 // Getting a Lay of the Land
The world is a big scary place. At least it is to me. I've tried as hard as I can to understand it, given what little exposure I've had so far, and I've found that understanding this scary place makes things a hell of a lot easier. So, let's start here, with the goal of trying to understand how this whole career/job thing works.
Also, before we get started, let's acknowledge that being young and entering this big bad world is double scary. Even triple scary. We have to figure out this whole money thing pretty quickly. And how well we figure out determines if we can eat and live. It's a big deal. And depending on how slowly our parents let us out of the house, this speed can amplify the fear/anxiety we may feel.
Because of the urgency of the transition into adulthood, I'm afraid that most of us get lost and confused at the beginning, making decisions that ultimately aren't in our best interests, long term. We might get drawn towards money, drawn away from living a balanced life, and worst of all, get into the habit of being okay with hating how we spend a lot of our time.
It's easiest to rush into the whole thing, quickly losing our way, and feeling like we're just fighting to stay afloat. No matter what stage you're at, understanding can help. If we're wanting to beat the game, let's figure out how it all works first.
(we may be young - but at least we're not babies)
Getting Good is the Goal
In life in general, helping other people is a super happy thing. Being able to provide a solution to someone's problem through sharing an idea, connecting them with a friend you know, or actually doing the work to help them out yourself (like helping them move) feels amazing. The more helpful you are to other people, the more fun you will have in life, because you'll feel like you'll be making a larger difference (because you actually are). So, it makes sense that we want to figure out how to become as helpful as we can to other human beings. It feels great.
In our careers, we work on skills that other people value. As we improve our skills, we become more valuable. The only difference is that instead of helping a friend move, or supporting a friend through a breakup, we're helping customers through the vehicle of a company.
What's a market?
This is the last piece, and then we can tie things together. I'm making markets its own little section because they're tough to understand, and lots of other things won't make sense if we don't understand them well first. Let's focus.
Imagine me, you, and Michael Phelps are in a room together. There's absolutely nothing in this room, except for the walls and our bodies. After 24 hours of sitting in there alone, a 20L jug of water appears. We value this jug a lot, since we haven't drank anything in a whole day. But in this magical world, to drink a cup of water, we each need to do 10 pushups. We don't care about the discomfort of doing the push-ups, because we're really thirsty. And to Michael, he loves the pushups, because he likes getting fit.
Later, five new 20L jugs appear. No pushups necessary to drink from these guys. So, we all start drinking the new jugs, and stop drinking from the first jug, since we don't want to have to bother with the push-ups. Michael keeps going from the first one though. He loves the incentive to exercise. It's valuable to him.
Finally, there is a swimming pool and an electric razor dropped in the middle of the room (it's a big room). The instructions are that if we want to swim in the pool, we have to shave our heads. Me and you say no way, because we love our precious hair, but before we even get a chance to finish our train of thought, we're both wiping water from our feet that splashed out of the tank as Michael takes his first plunge. Michael really values the swimming pool. He'd probably cut an ear off for it (#vangogh), let alone some hair. It'd probably make him more aerodynamic anyways.
Me, you, and Michael are all participants in this market. We have different preferences about what we value when making decisions about what to buy.
So a market is full of people that buy things. They all value things differently, and they won't actually buy something unless they value the thing more than what they have to give up for it.
Okay cool. Let's keep going.
In the world, me and you are things that companies can buy in the labour market. If a company really values a skill we have, they'll want to hire us. So, if we can acquire skills that companies value, then these companies will hire us. To become more valuable to companies, we acquire harder to acquire skills. Sometimes valuable skills can take a long time to acquire - think doctors or lawyers requiring a lot of school. Or even just working at a company for a long time, to acquire valuable company-specific skills/knowledge. Be careful though, because more time spent on something doesn't always mean you get better at it (deliberate practice). Value is what matters (think value = attention x time. Keep that the focus.
There are two cool things that happen when we become more valuable to companies. The first is that we can get paid more, and the second is that we can find our jobs more fulfilling. Remember when we just talked about feeling happier the more we can help a friend out? The same thing applies here. The more we can help companies out, the more fulfilled we will feel (because companies help people).
What You're Good at Matters
We've talked about the relationship from us to companies, and companies to us. The last relationship to talk about here is from the company to the world. There was something that I left out when we were talking about getting good at things so companies value us more.
Ultimately, we want to be helping other people, just like we learned at the very beginning. Helping other people feels good. But not all companies help people in the same way. Some companies might actually hurt other people without us realizing it (here is a great list of examples). So when we're looking to become valuable to other companies, we actually should be looking all the way through to the end, to the people that these companies help.
When picking what people we want to help, we want to keep two things in mind: the first is a match to the world, and the second is a match to ourselves.
Matching what we're good at the world means that even if we absolutely love to make paper airplanes all day long, this isn't that great a thing to get good at, since the world doesn't value it that much (turns out I'm wrong - video/article). As it turns out, if you look hard enough, other people will value you getting good at almost anything. But it matters what you pick. You may feel less fulfillment in your work getting good at making paper airplanes in comparison to getting good at becoming a youth counsellor. Not all jobs are valued by the world in the same way.
And not all jobs are valued by you in the same way. You might be the kind of person who absolutely loves playing with ideas, crafting messages, and solving intangible problems. Marketing and advertising is one field where this is really useful, but finance isn't. At the same time, if you're a numbers person, being around wishy-washy ideas all day might be really unfun to you. It's really difficult to figure out what you like. We'll come back to this later.
The main point is that if we aren't careful of picking skills that we enjoy improving and using these skills for a company that helps the world in a way we care about, we may find ourselves not enjoying the time we spend at work. And since we spend so much time (life) working, not enjoying it is a massive mistake. It's unnecessary.
Once we put in the work to become more useful to the world, improving the skills of ours that other people value, everything becomes more fun. When we get good at stuff, it's a lot easier to feel confident, we feel more important because we feel like we're helping others more (and we actually are), and we feel even more motivated to continue improving, because it feels so damn good.
But the path to getting good at anything takes time. A lot of time. When we're good, at the end of the path, we can't help but feel awesome. But the process getting there is often not as awesome. Basically, we can choose between enjoying our growth or hating it.
If we close our eyes, and pick any job that exists in the world right now, and work at it with tons of focus, an disciplined attitude, and apply our effort towards growing better at this job, nine times out of ten, we will be able to rise to the top. If we grin and bear it for long enough, if enough time passes, we can't help ourselves from getting better at whatever it is we're doing. It happens quite naturally. Things become familiar, we start to notice patterns. Learning over long periods of time is easy.
If this sounds silly to you, I have a feeling it might be how most people go about the job search. They find the first job they can get, and they stay in it as long as they can, because they're scared of being unemployed and not being able to find a job. And the whole way to getting good, they hate it, and even when they're good, they still may hate it, just likely a little less. I can't name any particular occupation where this is the case, but I think this process is quite common.
Basically, if we are lazy and don't put effort into picking a job we care about, we can still get good, and enjoy it later, but we'll hate the process of improving. We'll unnecessarily waste a lot of our time in a state of discontent
On the other hand, if we take an exhaustive look at all of our lovely options of where to put our energy and time into improving, we may find something that we really like (good for us) and that we think helps the world in an awesome way (good for the world). If we can take this time (which might involve some trial and error), we will find the process of improving at this thing quite rewarding. We will love it. Plus, we really like the effect our efforts have on the world, which double motivates us to improve.
Not only will we probably improve at a much faster rate than grinding at something we don't necessarily like, but we will enjoy the process. If we look at our careers as a whole, more of the time will be spent enjoying our time working than in the previous case.
Eventually, when we get good, enjoyment might get easier, but ideally we take the time to pick something we have a great hunch we'll be able to get good at, and like the process of improving.
More on How Business Works
There are two ways to make money: doing work, and owning things. If you own a house, you could hire a manager to rent it out for you. Then, at the end of each year, you collect the money that the manager collected from the people who rented it. Boom. You've made money without doing work. The same thing happens for retail. Think of an ice cream shop. By owning the ice cream shop, you can hire a manager to make sure the place runs smoothly, and then collect your money at the end of the year. This is awesome.
Making money from owning things is definitely the goal. We need money to live, so once we can figure out a way to earn it without having to put time into the process, we can devote 100% of our time and energy on whatever the thing that most fulfills us is, without having to worry about making money from it. So, how do we get enough money to own things?
Well, we have to work.
That's why we spent so much time talking about finding what we should work on. Once we're good at that thing, we will have enough money to own things, which will provide us with money to live, but we will still likely want to work, because we find it fun. At least, at this point, we will have the option of what we want to work on. But on the way up, we want to enjoy the ride as much as possible, which is why we want to pick something we really like and that helps the world in a way we support.
Most Companies are Kinda Pyramid Schemes
Basically, a few people at the top make most of the money, and have most of the control over what happens for the company. Let's come back to the ice cream shop. At the very bottom, we have the people scooping ice cream. Then we have the store manager. Then we have store owners. And finally, we have the owners of the ice cream shop brand.
At the very top, the owners of the brand make most of the money, since every individual ice cream store needs to pay them a portion of the money they make. This group makes most of the decisions about branding, store set-up, and everything else about how each store should be ran. They control how all the stores work, which is where a lot of value is created. That's why they get lots of the money. At the bottom, those who scoop ice cream make the least amount of money, and they have little to no say in how things work.
In some way or another, this is how most companies operate. There are a few people that acquire a bunch of money to start them, and then they keep getting more people to work for the company on lower levels to make the people higher up in the company more money. It's useful to understand this as a general case.
In an actual pyramid scheme there is someone who starts it, telling you that if you put money in, you'll get more than your original amount of money out, but you have to recruit at least two more people to join. And they also have to recruit two more people. As the owner of the scheme, I take the money from people further down the ladder to pay you, and then from people below those who I just took money from to pay the two people below you, and so on. Maybe a picture will help.
How to Move Up
Remember when we were talking about picking something that we really like getting better at? And that we really like how it helps other people? This will make us want to get better at this thing. This will make things much easier, it will provide us with tons of motivation to improve our skills, which will get us to the top.
Most companies aren't actual pyramid schemes. As you put more time into working at the company, you grow your skill set, understanding how the business works better, and figuring out more ways to contribute value to it. So instead of the pyramid scheme, where you just want to get in early, being in the positions near the top, moving up the ranks comes from being more valuable to the company.
Most of the time, the recipe for getting good seems to be a combination of the waiting game, hard work, and being smart. For example, at most companies, even if you're the best human who has ever lived, you can't really get a promotion every month. Even if you learned how everything works perfectly, in the first week, the system doesn't work this way. Plus, I think this is likely a good thing, because there are many intricacies of how companies work - especially big companies - and before getting to be in power at the top, making big decisions, it's in the best interest of everyone that you're super duper comfortable with how each level works before moving up.
If it was only the waiting game, everyone would eventually move to the top. Then there would be no top. Working hard, and being good at thinking makes the process of moving up a faster one too. So, don't forget about those.
How to Own Stuff
Back to the ice cream shop example. If you are the ice cream brand owner, and want to open up more shops, you need money to buy the new shop, and all the equipment. Some of this money comes from the bank, and some of it comes from company owners. Since the company owners put money into this process, they can expect to get money out.
Basically, there is this thing called the stock market, where you can put money into it and become kind of a "mini-owner" of lots of big companies. You could imagine the main owners putting in thousands of dollars to build the new ice cream shop, and you're just putting in like a couple of dollars.
But for everyone couple of dollars you put in, if the new ice cream shops make money, then you get more than what you put in originally back. They give some of this new money to the owners, which you now are.
Without getting too carried away, diversification is the most important thing for investing. So, the more types of companies you put money into, the more likely you are for at least some of them to make money.
The path we've been talking about is to get really good at something you love, and then eventually when it makes money, start owning things so you have freedom over how you spend your time. As it turns out, you can start owning stuff that make you money today. Even though you're not that good at anything yet, getting in the habit of putting away money to make money for you now will shorten the length of time between now and making enough money from what you own to live.
Today, you can go to your bank, and ask to buy these. Buying one of them is like owning a little bit of all of the big american companies. It is absolutely awesome diversification. Also, buying Vanguard funds is recommended by all the smartest investors for three reasons (stolen from their site - the bottom of this page).
Vanguard has the lowest expense ratio. Many companies sell the same thing - a slice of the stock market (called ETFs) - but Vanguard sells it cheapest. This means your money that you invest goes to actually growing, not paying the company selling you the ETFs.
"Vanguard is client-owned. As a client owner, you own the funds that own Vanguard." - directly from their site. Most other companies actually serve shareholders - people that aren't you - which means they may do things that aren't in your interest. This one is big.
"Vanguard provides services to the Vanguard funds and ETFs at cost." - also directly from site. They don't take extra money from you that you could put into investing - making more money.
I could go on, but we have many more things I want to touch on in this article, so if you're curious about reading more, check out my friend, Mr. Money Mustache.
What Should We Do Then?
Work really hard to find fulfilling work, and not stop until we do.
Get really good at this work. during this process, invest money into owning things (stocks) as early as possible.
once we have enough money to stop working, we take full control over our time, eliminating anything not absolutely fulfilling to us.
Details to come in the third section.
2 // It is Possible to Love Working
So once we own enough stuff such that we can live off the money this stuff makes for us, then we have full control over how we spend our time. Now, I don't know about you, but I am very impatient. And as rich as I like to pretend to be, I am very far from retirement. But this sounds like such an ideal existence - having full control over our time. Is there any way we can get that now?
Remember at the very beginning when we talked about helping other people? Ya it's like totally my favourite thing. I honestly love it. My hunch is that it's possible for us to live as though we're retired before we actually retire.
First, we figure out how we would want to spend our time if we were to retire right now. Can we not all agree that spending our time working to help the other people in the world is an awesome thing? I know some of us might want to spend all day relaxing at the beach, but surely you wouldn't want to do this forever? Eventually, you would feel useless and purposeless (probably because that's what you would have become), and you would need to figure out a more fulfilling way to spend time.
Next, once you find this thing to spend time on, start spending time on it, get paid for it, get good at it, and keep going on it until you can actually retire. Boom.
The Three Secrets
I recently came across a beautiful video by a beautiful man named Charles Eisenstein. In it, he shares his three best pieces of advice for a 20 year old. Here they are:
1) The world is much more beautiful than what has been offered to us (young people) as normal.
2) You have a magnificent gift, and the purpose of your life is to give it.
3) Something tremendous is going to happen to you.
Now, I want to focus on number two of these three beautiful ideas. For me, while being young, I didn't feel this message was true. Instead, I thought that eventually enough time would pass, and I would just get good at whatever I was doing. I never thought it was possible to enjoy the process.
It's a weird paradox, because when we look around at some of the world's greats, we are seriously aware that it's possible for a human to find a beautiful gift within themselves and share it with the world. But, when it comes to ourselves, we figure that we're different than these people, and that we have no such gift to share.
The core of what I want to communicate in this second section of this article is that it is very possible for you to find your incredible gift, and that you will absolutely love the process of sharing this gift with the world. The first step to getting there is believing it's a reachable destination.
If it is possible to find such an incredible gift, and that sharing it with the world will truly be effortless and pleasant, then why don't we start sharing this gift right at the beginning of our career? This way won't have to waste any time.
Motivation and Interest
The benefits of getting good at something that other people value are fantastic. We enjoy a fulfilled existence, don't need to worry about money, and can feel the awesome feeling that come from actually helping other people live happy lives. The keys to getting here are understanding motivation and interest. They're the most important thing.
Using what motivates and interest us as a guide can help us uncover potential jobs. The reason motivation and interest are so important is because they are what will fuel our wanting to improve at whatever our thing ends up being. The more we feel motivated to spend time on our thing, the more time we will actually spend on it, and the more likely we are to improve. The same thing goes with being interested in something. The more we're interested, the more we will want to discover more about our thing, the more we learn, and the more curious we will get. It's all a whole, fun cycle.
If we decide to pick jobs that we aren't motivated to do well in, or don't have any interest in, then it will require eons more energy on our part to improve at our thing. We'll have to force ourselves to keep working, and sure, we might eventually get good, but we won't be enjoying the process. It will be a waste of our time.
You aren't supposed to enjoy work
A lot will be against you if you believe you're supposed to enjoy what you do. Especially when first starting out. There is this huge idea that you have to "put in your time" and suck up the first few years serving the older employees. I think this is absolute garbage. If we truly like the thing we're doing, to the point of willingly spending all our time on it, we shouldn't have any problem smiling at work. Even if it's in the beginning years.
Enjoying work is a dangerous thing, because it allows for insanely rapid skill development. When our mindset is positive, we waste very little of our energy. Most of it naturally goes towards us improving at what we're doing. We can more easily see areas of our job that we can improve upon and learn more about. When we're negative, we progress very slowly, getting caught up in the details, and wasting time backtracking.
I encourage you to notice this. Notice that most of the world will be against you on your pursuit to find work that you love. They will want to reinforce their own way of living, doing work that they don't like, so they will try to stop you from finding work that you like. Just let them go, and continue on your pursuit.
3 // It's All About Time
Why don't we talk about death for a second. I hate to break it to you, but you're going to die! Quite soon actually.
Just like our days have starts and ends, so do our lives. But, since our lives seem so long, we usually don't view them as actually having an end. It's easiest to view them in a very infinite way. We never really see the end until we start getting old and close to it, so we don't really make decisions with the end in mind. I mean, we plan our days, weeks, months, and years, but why don't we plan our lives?
Dying is the best part of life. It forces us to actually do something with our lives. Imagine if we didn't die, and lived forever. We would probably procrastinate everything. I know I would. I would never have an incentive to get anything done, ever! I'd say to myself, "oh, I should probably take out the trash," and then say, "nah, I'll just do that next millennium."
If we actually acknowledge death, and accept that the number of Christmases we have left to experience is probably close to the squares on a chessboard, things start to get really interesting. We start moving towards trying to spend every single one of these years (squares) as wisely as we can.
How we choose to spend our time is how we spend our lives. Some people think it's how they spend their free time, so they "live" on their evenings and weekends, but what about all the other time (life) you spend working? It's all about time, because it's all about our lives. We want to be sure we're living the best lives we can.
What's Your Legacy?
When choosing how we spend our time, it's helpful to ask ourselves how we wanted to be remembered. As we look inside ourselves for our gift that we want to share with the world, we want to also look outside at the world, and see what part of it we want to change. Matching these two things will create our best legacy.
We all have the power to change a part of the world, it's just a matter of figuring out what part we feel needs changing the most. We'll all have different answers to this, but we won't all fulfill them, because we won't all ask the question. Once you ask the question, deeply feeling where what your good at and what the world values lines up, then what you should do for a job might seem more clear.
There is no right legacy. Not even proper characteristics of one. Not everyone is supposed to do grand things, nor small things, nor art, business, caring for animals, nothing. There is absolutely no perfect legacy to be found. We all decide ours for ourselves.
The biggest key is creating a match between what we want our legacy to be, and what our life actually ends up being.
Try Shit Out
We know we need to find our gift, but maybe we feel lost of where to start. Maybe we feel like we don't have a gift. Rest assured, if you're capable of reading this, you definitely have a gift. We all do. And it's super important that you believe you have one. Or else, it will be impossible for you to find it.
Once you acquire this belief, just go start trying things. Not wildly, but spontaneously, yes. When we're young, we haven't experienced much. There are so many un-turned stones just waiting to be flipped over. For those of us lucky enough to have found something that we're good at and the world values young, that's awesome, but this shouldn't be our expectation. All awesome things in life take time. We need to be patient.
If we want, we can have a little bit of method to our madness of trying things out. My first piece of advice is trying one thing at a time. Bouncing around from thing to thing with the dabbler's mindset will only result in less time to find your gift. To really understand if something might work for you, you've got to give it a chance. Sometimes, you might know right away that it's not something you want to do, but never dismiss things entirely. Talk to the people who are good at them, who have done them awhile, and make as educated a decision as you can.
Plus, there is always something you can learn from trying anything. The second part of our madness method is letting interest guide our path. Whether we like something or not gives us hints about where our true gift may lie. And heck, it may even change down the road. The key is to be listening. If we try working as a cashier at a retail store, we may hate the job entirely, thinking we've totally wasted our time. But, if we take some time to reflect, we may find that we absolutely hated stocking shelves, but loved talking with customers. So, in future, for our next job, we may try to find something that has more talking with customers and less stupid shelf stocking.
Remember, friend, it's all about time. We never want to be wasting ours. We can't be pressuring ourselves to find our thing right away, or it will never come. It's like holding onto sand in our hand by squeezing it. It will all fall out. We've got to be patient, keep our hand open, and let our gift be shown to us. While we can't expect ourselves to find it right away, we have to be paying attention to all of our experience, letting interest guide us towards what we like, what the world likes that we do, and what we're good at.
Worst Case Scenario
Your young, you go for something you really love, try it out, even for a few years, giving it your full effort, it all fails, and then you try again. Or, you settle for a regular job. Either way, you've created an incredible, tough, challenging experience for yourself, trying to find your gift and share it with the world - an experience you can draw lessons from for the rest of your life.
When we're young, we have very little to lose, which is why I deeply advocate taking huge risks early on to figure out a way to create a job that showcases your gift in a way that the world really values it. Trying towards this goal is actually the least risky thing to do. Getting a regular job, accepting a boring lifestyle, living on our evenings and weekends is much more likely to create an unhappy life for ourselves that at least giving sharing our gift with the world a shot. By not even giving ourselves a chance, we're guaranteeing a lack of fulfillment in our work. If we try for it, even if we fail, at least we have a chance a fulfilling career.
I save all this "how" stuff for the end, because accepting the deep, bigger ideas is something that takes time, and that most people are unable to do. Forgive me if it's been a little rambly, but I deeply care about communicating the message clearly that finding your gift and sharing it with the world can have an incredible role in helping create a fulfilling life.
Entrepreneurship allows for the most freedom to express yourself. Period. When you allow yourself the opportunity to design the money making part of how you share your gift with the world, your freedom of how you spend your time opens up. For the cost of the burden of your business failing (and potentially losing some time and money you invest in building it), you receive the benefit of having full autonomy over how you spend your time (life). This is hugely important.
It pretty much just starts with creating something that you really like in your spare time, and then slowly allocating more and more time to it as you become more clear on what you want to create, and you get better at it. There are things that you can create, and ways you can share them. We create stuff by just doing something that we really like a lot, and then creating our own style of it once we get good. We share it by just presenting this to the world in some way.
Things you can create
- Sports skills
- Gym (modelling)
- Team sports
- Music skills
- Electronic music
- Starting a music blog (like this one)
- Joining/starting a band
- Art skills
- Documenting Skills
- Hobby skills
- DIY Building Stuff
- Eating (competitively?)
- Other skills
- Loving cars
- Magic Tricks
- Partying (party-planning)
- Being funny
Ways to Share
- Writing blog
- Video blog (YouTube)
- Audio blog (podcast)
- Picture blog (Instagram)
- Online marketplace (Amazon, eBay, Etsy)
- In person
- Street performance
- Bar performance
- Just-for-friends performance
- Talent show
- With influential people
- Cold calling influential people to ask for meetings to show your stuff
- Submitting work to big, influential publications
- Direct messaging influential people over e-mail, Twitter, Instagram, or other Social Medias
The magic is already here my friends. It's right here in your hands. It's merely a matter of starting to focus spending some of (and slowly more and more) your free time on one thing you really enjoy. From the "things you can create list" I know friends choosing to spend their free time on one of each of the things I shared, which means that you can do these things too. Even if it's not on the list. If it's something you like, and doesn't hurt other people, keep doing it until you get better.
If you can be getting better in a way that's public, then you open yourself to the beautiful skill-improving machine known as feedback. Being public forces you to share at least some of your stuff, and since you probably want to be proud of what you share, you will be incentivizing yourself to improve at your thing. Plus, you'll be opening yourself up to the useful tips of improving from other people viewing your stuff. It's an absolutely beautiful feedback loop that will help you find your gift.
You Deserve It
There will be large forces against you inside of yourself pulling you away from even attempting to find your gift and share it with the world. Even thinking you have a shot at it, even beginning to hold the belief that it is possible for you to spend all of your time (life) in a way that you love and the world loves will be a difficult task. All of society is against you, and it has rubbed off on you and how you believe things. Recognize this, ignore society, and just believe you can do it.
You deserve to express yourself fully. You deserve to have the freedom to share your gifts with the world. You deserve the time to allow your inner awesome to come out through creation. You don't need permission from anyone.
I know it's a scary thing, beginning towards getting good at stuff. It actually gets scarier too when you start getting really good. The whole thing is super stressful, full of fear, and pain, and shit. But it's also full of freedom over your time, experiencing a fulfilling life, and actually having a significantly positive impact on changing the world for the better. The prospect of being able to be pulled up out of bed every day to share your gift with the world should be intensely motivating. If you have yet to experience what this is like, it may not draw you in much, but I can promise you that this single force has been what has made all the pain worthwhile for myself.
Let your full self out to the world my friend. Me, the world, your family, everyone is here to support you. You can do it!
Make Failure Impossible
Remember that worst case scenario we just talked about? I think it's quite unlikely. In fact, I believe there are two ways we can make failing in our quest to find a fulfilling way to spend our time impossible. The first way is to start towards finding this thing, and the second is to not stop.
Start, and don't stop. It's that simple. Even if you don't know what your gift is, you can start on your way to finding it. Remember bullet number 2.5 from the video:
2.5) If you don’t know what your gift is yet, then the most important thing you can do is to find it. This might mean doing nothing for awhile. Maybe you have to get out of the habit of doing things that aren’t your gift, in order to discover what the gift is, because it’s been suppressed.
Patience and persistence are the secret tools to winning at anything. Especially when you've defined your goal as something important, like figuring out how you're going to spend the majority of your waking time (life), wanting to win at figuring this thing out is a good idea. It's a massively important goal.
(Check out #8 here to learn about the power of the Single Decision.)
∞ // Final Thoughts
The barriers to finding rewarding, fulfilling work are extremely high, making this prize one that is highly coveted by society. It's a difficult thing to achieve. The odds are against you. But boy, oh boy, does winning ever make the path worth it. Just imagine waking up everyday, being pulled by the world towards getting started on something that you're good at and other people love you for doing it. Imagine, friend.
The key to it all is just putting in a ton of time and actually getting better at things. People like to consume high quality things, and if you put in a lot of time, your stuff will get better, eventually high-quality, and then consumed by people. It's a fun cycle.
There are some friends of mine who have a slightly different approach on finding a job. Instead of figuring out what you like, are good at and the world values, they just focus on what the world values. Their approach basically involves looking at the world as it is, finding the biggest problems in it, and putting you down a path to fixing the most important problem to you.
I find this approach limiting, as it does not really apply the concept of effectuation (here and here). But, it does do a great job at understanding how to fit ourselves into the world. If anything, it's a very complete education on the current state of affairs when it comes to normal jobs. Knowledge is power, so I recommend having a look through.
Another awesome human who makes stuff that's useful in the world of career advice is Cal Newport. He has two fantastic books on the subject: Deep Work and So Good They Can't Ignore You. Again, knowledge is power here, so if you're wanting to learn more, check these books out. He also has a useful blog. All of this is at the website below.
The Most Important Thing
Action, my friend.
The sooner you can get started on trying to find your gift, or actually practicing it, the sooner you will be enjoying a deeply fulfilling existence as a creator. Just try something out. Get into a routine, and get practicing. Get a friend to keep you accountable, or if don't have any friends, talk to me (see below).
Action is the most important thing.
Limited-Time Coaching Offer
As I am just starting out, I have tons of time to invest into helping you directly 1-on-1. The whole point of this blog is me helping you get better. I am directly talking to YOU! Yes, you. Now, as time goes on, and this blog grows, I may find myself having less and less time to donate to helping you 1-on-1. But, if you're seeing this now, you're lucky! You're getting in early when things are free.
Remember the two ways to avoid failure, guaranteed? Starting, and keeping working at it. Having a coach, or any form of accountability - be it followers for a social media account, a weekly accountability group, or being part of a team - makes the keeping working at it part much easier. It's entirely up to you to start, but keeping working at it can become much easier with a coach.
So, if you want some coaching to help you devise a plan to find your gift, and to keep on working at it, send me an e-mail here. In 100 words, tell me where you're at, what you're struggling with, and what you want help with. I'm super excited at the chance to help you out!
Much Love, Friend!
That's all for now. Thanks for tuning in for some useful ideas on how to solve some of the problems in your life! Your future self appreciates your commitment to working on self-development.
I love you so much, you beautiful soul!