Monday, January 21, 2013
Pay less attention to finding something that you like to do and pay more attention to finding something that you would like to be. If you only allow yourself to motivated by things which make you feel pleasant doing them, then you're not going to have to work very hard, are you? There aren't many things in life that are awesome and worth having that at some point are not going to feel like a chore. Everything can become a chore, even playing video games, or watching movies, or hanging out with friends. But we don't notice this because when we don't want to watch movies, or play video games, or hang out with friends, we simply switch it off because there's no reason to keep doing it if it's not fun. But anything in your life that is going to be fulfilling is going to be hard to do. It's going to suck sometimes, but that's often exactly what will make it all worthwhile. The trick is not to find something which you always feel pleasant doing, it's to look ahead a few steps and to find your bliss - find out the kind of person you would like to be, or the kind of lifestyle that you would like to live, because pursuing a goal like this will make all of the intermediary chores worthwhile. And you may find that the "chores" become enjoyable in their own respect as well. If you have absolutely no direction and no means, if there's nothing you enjoy doing and you haven't had any luck finding a goal for yourself in the future, the trick is to start failing. Your bliss is not going to just come to you, wrapped in a package, neatly labeled with instructions, you might have to actually go and find out for yourself what it looks like. Make your best guess at what it is, and go out and do it. Never give up because it's too hard, or because you don't like what it takes to get there, or because your not absolutely certain that this is the right path for yourself - as long as the fundamental hypothesis that led you down this path hasn't changed, keep slogging. If you work hard enough, and fail big enough, you might eventually discover what your bliss is. Then you can actually go out and start chasing it. You may have to try and fail at many different types of things before you find it, and almost certainly the first thing you go after won't be the right thing for you, but it's not going to come to you just sitting around and waiting until you know for sure that you're going to like something. You have to go out and fail in order to discover yourself. In the end, there is no "risk" that needs mitigating. If you spend the next four years building a fiberglass sailboat in your garage, and it turns out that you hate sailing, and hate working with fiberglass and doing carpentry, it's true, those skills won't be very useful to you. But you will be four years closer to finding your bliss than you were when you set out. Now you have a good idea of a few things that you really don't like doing, and that narrows your search down a little bit. You've also got really good at slogging through something you don't like, so that it will be easier to slog through more things in search of that bliss. It's like your first job: it's meant to suck. Never would I advise someone to take their dream career as their very first job, even if it was offered to them right away. You're supposed to have a shitty time of your first job. Then, when you get a decent job, you are able to appreciate it for what it is. It won't be nearly as hard, nearly as menial. You will be able to distinguish the things that suck about all jobs (having to keep to a schedule, reporting to bosses, stress) from the things that are incredible about your own job. If, however, you went straight to your dream career first, you would have no appreciation for it and you wouldn't enjoy it at all. You would feel stress, you would feel exhausted at times, and you would wonder: might there be another job out there in the world which didn't have these things? The answer, of course, would be no, but because you never took the time to do the groundwork and slog through the shit, you would have no appreciation for what you have.