HOW TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE!
Are you ambitious?
If you consider yourself an ‘ambitious’ person, then you will gain some excellent value from one piece of advice in particular.
Paul Graham, inventor of Y-Combinator, wrote an article ‘How to Do What You Love’ about a decade ago and the following is an excerpt which featured in the Brain Pickings post. Here, Paul details what he see’s as potentially the biggest danger to those with ambition: Worrying about prestige.
“What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world.”
Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.
Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself.
Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.”
Are you trying to validate yourself? Are you trying to impress others? Are you even doing what you really want?
Not just in your career, but in every aspect of your life.
Regardless of your answer, I suggest trying the ‘seven layers of why?’.
Ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing? Then ask ‘why?’ to the answer of that.
Continue that process seven times. This will enable you to get deeper and deeper into your answer.
If you are honest with your answers and yourself, you may come across an uncomfortable truth as to the real reasons behind why you are spending your valuable time with certain people, at certain places and doing certain activities.
OVERCOME YOUR FEARS AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Do you want another job?
Want to break off a relationship?
Start your own business?
Travel the world?
All psychologically draining thoughts.
A logical step would be, write down some goals, some pro’s and con’s and formulate a plan how to get there.
However, what if there was a better way?
Tim Ferris, author, hugely successful entrepreneur and host of one of the number 1 business podcasts worldwide, recently have a TED talk on ‘Why You Should Define Your Fears Instead of Your Goals’.
His talk discusses how he went from almost committing suicide to traveling the world and becoming the hugely successful person he is today.
More importantly, he explains that it is actually your FEARS than are preventing you from reaching your goals.
The psychological battle we have with ourselves about making a tough decision to better our own life can be paralysing. This is fear. Fear of failing. Fear of letting people down. Fear of financial loss.
Tim explains in his talk a short, quick exercise you can do with a simple pen and paper that will help you define your fears (which he uses regularly) and subsequently get you closer to your goals.
Write down 10 things that could go wrong if you decide to do what you were planning to.
Write down 10 things that you could do to prevent those things from happening.
Write down 10 things that you could do to repair the damage if these things did happen.
Write down the ‘Cost of Inaction’ on your emotional, physical and financial health over a period of 6 month, 1 year and 3 years.
Are your fears warranted? Is it as bad as it seems in your head?
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality” – Seneca
THE TWO KEYS TO TRUE WEALTH
Imagine you owned a field with one thousand poppy’s in it, each one exactly the same height…except one, which sticks out above the rest.
What would you do?
The chances are you would chop it down to be the same size as the rest of them.
This is relates to the mentality known as Tall Poppy Syndrome.
Phil Keoghan, TV Host and one of life’s high performers, explains that most of us want everybody to be just like the common man. If we see someone sticking out or achieving more than us we think then ‘they are showing off’ and are quick to become resentful and want to ‘cut them down to size’ with the rest of us.
This is an ideology that Phil does not subscribe to and believes that it is hampering our own path to success.
Following a near death experience the Kiwi TV presenter decided to write down a ‘list for life’ (aka bucket list).
He has achieved extraordinary things not only for his own experience e.g. breaking a bungee jump world record but also for others as he raised over $1 million dollars for people with Multiple Sclerosis.
His activities caught the attention of Oprah back in 2001 and he has made several appearances since then. He currently promotes his push to enable others to do amazing things they otherwise wouldn’t via his website ‘No Opportunity Wasted’.
But, How Does This Help Me?
Of course, I am not suggesting everyone can head out and live a life like this. However, it is very do-able to have a similar mind-set as Phil Keoghan.
“Focus on what you do have and can do. Not what you don’t have and can’t do” – Phil Keoghan
After listening to him on the Tim Ferriss Show Podcast it was clear that the mind-set of effectively ‘not wasting time’ was no accident.
Helping others achieve more and promoting family time are just two of the clues he leaves throughout his path for success.
There are few who would argue that there is anything more important than family.
Phil points out in the podcast that he put a huge emphasis on ensuring he was spending as much time with his family as he could.
He explains that around 80% of time you’ll ever spend with your children comes before they are 18 years old. This is why he prioritised making time for his family by working late into the night when deadlines were due as opposed to missing family time by come home later from work when your family are already asleep.
As he rightly states, work time can be made up, those precious family moments can’t.
Furthermore, he hints that making a family rule that no-one can say ‘I can’t’ and teaching his children about optimism whilst their brain is like a ‘sponge’ has been really helpful in enabling them to bring positivity to their lives with little input from him and his wife.
Phil Keoghan proves that wealth can be found in the much simpler things in life. Helping others and spending time with family.
Clearly doing these two things can have a dramatic effect on your mindset.
It’s difficult to find a successful person who doesn’t discuss the positive benefits of helping others.
Do you find yourself resenting others who are achieving more than you? Why?
Continue to push people to do more, your time will come when they will do the same for you.
Positivity breeds positivity.
And of course, prioritise your family. Always!
WEEK 11 Practical Review:
- Go through the seven layers of why to re-evaluate if you are truly doing what you love.
- Watch Tim Ferriss on TED and take 10 minutes to define your fears to take your life to a new level of happiness!
- Prioritise your family. Support others regardless of how successful they are. Push them to do more, succeed and fulfil their potential. Your time will come.