We spend more time worrying about what we lack, that we are average instead of focusing on what we have.
Our monkey brains were designed to survive: “fear this”, “avoid that”, don’t eat this”, “don’t do that, it’s dangerous”, “don’t talk with him or her”. Top this with today’s habit of needing instant results and gratification and there you have it, the formula to feeling lost and unhappy: “Am I missing out on something better? What if I missed out already on it? What if it’s too late?”
The positive thing is that our monkey brains can be taught just about anything. We put a man on the moon for god sake. But it takes this amazing, supernatural superpower to achieve it. It’s called discipline. And it’s hard because nobody else will push you from behind to be self-disciplined.
I’m a monkey brain just like the next one. What I do is I submit my own to uncomfortable situations, my goal is to fail more than I can succeed because I know this way I cut through the BS and maybe learn some valuable lessons. And in fact, if you think about it, you only need to succeed just a couple of times to make it. This way you also learn to be happy while detaching yourself from the outcome of being successful or a total failure.
We were raised to believe that we are all meant to do one thing and that we need to excel at it. So we grow up, and we wait… and all of a sudden you’re 20 something and that sign you were waiting for to show you what you actually love and go do never shows up. But then our monkey brains double cross us and send us signals to “hate this” and “avoid that” because in fact we are meant to do something else. And then you are stuck in what I call “choosing coma”.
In today’s world, there is this predefined rule that you must be passionate or really good at something otherwise you won’t realize much. This mentality is not healthy for many reasons. Mostly because it blocks you from actually starting anything.
Here are 3 main things I’ve learned while trying to be uncomfortable:
1.Trying to first find out what you love and then hoping to do it is actually harmful. You are under a constant stress in your subconscious, asking yourself “is what I am doing now going to add up to something in the future?” and thus, you don’t really know if you can immerse yourself into an activity fully.
There are three kinds of people here:
- The ones that never fully dedicate themselves to it, because of the doubts and remarks they mainly get from the people around them who try to give opinions and advice. So they never really succeed because they didn’t go all the way in.
- Then ones that don’t even try and are in constant state of waiting.
- And last but not least the ones that just go all in: go broke or go home. It takes guts to change the world’s opinions and yourself, but those who do are put on a pedestal usually because the rest of the 80% are in the other two categories. The solution to this one to change your mindset and believe more in yourself. Take action instead of being paralyzed most of the time. From action, you will bounce around maybe and finally find something instead of just contemplating “what ifs” all the time. Do stuff, and then every 6 months create a list of the top 5 things you tried to learn or experience. Then cut the last 3 out of the list and pursue further with the first two options and see where that takes you.
2. People always try to get predefined answers to things that don’t exist yet. We are worrisome creatures. There are a lot of things “the system” does not teach you: like how to love, how to be happy, how to be unattached by the outcome, how to be good friends, how to be focused, how to be mindful, how to eat healthy food. We are taught only skills. But “the skills” are always outdated, skills change, the world changes and we need to constantly adapt to it. That’s why this one path journey that we are taught mostly in the first 20 years of our lives does not work anymore. A certain skill does not guarantee anything. You need to be able to constantly adapt, change and be different. Read books and be around diverse people you can learn from.
What people think learning & development looks like.
What learning & development actually looks like.
From the second image, you can clearly see that doing what you love is not a destination, but a process.
3. Nobody is actually ultimately amazing at something. Objectively, career-wise, you will never be the best programmer, artist, president, lawyer, entrepreneur, doctor, banker, musician etc. It’s impossible and not measurable. And again it’s a wrong mentality that has been tried to be embedded on us. But what you can be is a combination of a lot of things you are good at.
Imagine you have a jar that is full of candy. Each color represents a skill or something to be excellent at. A jar with green candy representing your selling skills, a jar with blue candy representing programming skills, a jar with red candy representing artistic skills, a jar with yellow candy representing social/people skills etc.
Steve Jobs was not the best seller in the world, but he had an affinity for design, knew the right people and knew how to work with them. Now he is believed a genius (see why?).
Bill Gates was not the best programmer but again combined that with selling skills and some psychology he became a successful entrepreneur. David Guetta is not the best DJ in the world. But combine that with his showman attitude and atmosphere he creates, he became pretty famous. And examples may continue in the world. Just look around yourself and try to see deeper than what’s on the surface.
You may not be the best chef in the world. Combine that with great charisma and communication skills and you might just be the next Jamie Oliver.
Passion more often comes from the idea that “I am giving to the world something that is valuable, I am leaving a legacy”. This is what truly makes people happy, knowing that what they do matters. Some musicians do their work because they know their music makes people happy and helps their well-being. Engineers like to build and repair stuff because deep down they also know they are shaping the world with their technology. Entrepreneurs are driven by the idea that they are changing the world and revolutionizing it. Even famous painters who during their lifetime were very poor and lived miserably (ex: Van Gogh) knew deep down inside that what they do brings value to the world, even if the world does not see it at the moment.
This is where the love for your work comes. Do something for others by using yourself as a tool to leave an imprint on the world and you will see passion burn like a hot flame. Always improve, add to your skills and never settle. Have a growth mindset, work hard and be disciplined.
Be a multicolored jar.