This question gets thrown around a lot, especially when people are talking about their future. Generally, I’ve found that this question is asked under two separate subtexts, although sometimes it can be a mix of both. Let’s discuss them both.
Subtext #1: “I want something different, but I’m lying to myself to make me feel better.“
In this context, the person consciously knows that they don’t want what they have, and they don’t like where they’re going. But, they’re not entirely willing to admit it.
They also subconsciously (or semi-consciously) know what they would instead prefer to have, but they don’t want to say that out loud as well. They have usually invested in quite a bit of time and resources to get where they are, and the thought that “it was all a waste” makes them feel bad.
So to avoid that pain of writing off what is essentially a sunk cost, they muddy the water and lie to themselves. They tell themselves that they “do not know what they want” because when you don’t know what you want, it only makes logical sense to keep doing what you’re already doing.
You know what you want; you don’t want to admit it. There’s an excellent mountain climbing analogy to this. You climb a mountain, and you get halfway, and you realize that your way is a dead end. You see that if you want to get to the top, you’ll have to get down, find another way, and climb back up from the beginning.
You don’t want to do that, so you say “fuck it” and decide to camp and stay there forever, halfway to the top. Then you convince yourself that it’s okay to stay here because you don’t know what the “true way” is, so until you “brainstorm” this “true way,” what’s the point of going down anyway!
If you’re this mountain climber, first, you need to do some soul searching and accept that if you genuinely want change, you’re going to have to go back down and start again. If you’re not happy where you are, that journey down is worth it.
(Besides, the next climb will be easier because you’ve gained experience on your first one.)
You will not gain anything by running away and hiding from yourself; you will only waste time. You are your own man, and if you want to change, you have to make it happen, no matter how uncomfortable it feels.
Subtext #2: “I want something different, but I don’t know what my options are.“
These are people who know they don’t like what they have and what they’re doing and are willing to admit it, but they don’t know what their viable options are. If you ask them, “what do you enjoy,” they don’t have an answer because they haven’t tried enough things to know what they enjoy.
Here the answer is simple: trial and error.
Just do anything you find interesting and see if you like it. This is the only real way to “find your talents.”
After all, you can’t know you’ve got the genes to be a great tennis player if you never pick a racket and play, do you? Try out different things. Make it a mindset to explore newness.
Look at a child – they try out everything, so they know which toys and games they like and which they don’t. Be like a kid when it comes to a zeal for life.
I discovered I like writing because I tried it.
I discovered I love coding because I tried it, and I found it to be very stimulating to my logical brain. Now I’m teaching myself computer science online.
I would have never known I enjoyed programming and writing had I never given them a try.
I also figured out quite a few things I don’t like.
I don’t like making podcasts (too monotonous). I don’t like day trading (boring). I don’t like having a boss (fuck that).
Maybe you like trading or making podcasts, but can never know that until you give it a fair shot, can you?
You need to get out and try new things.
If all you do is sit in front of your computer all day and surf the internet, why are you surprised that you don’t know yourself as much as you’d like? After all, you haven’t done much with yourself!
Here’s another analogy for you:
You’re in the middle of the ocean. What’s the best thing you can do in this situation?
Just swim! In any direction!
If you reach somewhere you don’t like, swim again in a different direction!
You wouldn’t just stay there floating in the ocean just because you don’t know which direction you like best, would you?
So… get off your computer, and do new stuff. Life awaits.
Make it a challenge: Do something new consistently for a month for one year.
- Try writing for a month.
- Try creating niche websites.
- Try running a social media account.
- Try coding for a month.
- Try – you get the point!
Take yourself out on a monthly adventure. Worst-case scenario, at the end of the year, you’ll know 12 things you don’t like. That’s better than knowing nothing!
Everyone aspires for greatness – but few get there.
Many get started on their journey, but they quit when it gets hard and go back to the ordinary – the easy, the risk-free, and the familiar. They recede to the path of least resistance.
Frustrated with themselves, they rationalize their choice:
“Greatness is not for me. I am a normal person. I don’t have X, Y, and Z resources that some people have access to. I am bound to be ordinary.”
It was not a joke when Benjamin Franklin said that “Most people die at 25 and aren’t buried until they’re 75.”
Often people give up their desire for freedom and settle for some of the other forms of slavery – and many of them are subconsciously aware of what they did – of the trade-off they made (they know that they had a decent shot had they given it their all) – that’s why they find it hard to respect themselves.
(You respect yourself for the same things you appreciate others for – grit, determination, and ambition.)
If you are one of those who are still alive, well, here is how to become a champion.
1) Fix Your Mindset:
Everything begins with your mind. Drill this in your head:
Whatever it is that you want to do, you can do it.
The absolute worst mistake you can make is not believing in yourself and your ability.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you are capable of everything right now, but with enough effort and action in the right direction, you can get there.
You are capable of everything under the sun.
If you don’t believe in yourself – no one else will either, and more importantly, if you can’t believe in yourself, you won’t last when things get harder.
Anybody can make progress when progress comes easy, but no journey worth making is comfortable, so on trips that matter, there are very few people who last long enough to see the fruit of their effort.
We all start at peak confidence, then we hit the valley of despair quickly, and that’s when most of us who don’t have faith in our abilities call it quits.
“It’s too hard, and I’m not good enough.” – we’ve all said this to ourselves at some point, right before we threw in the towel.
If you want to scale that slope of enlightenment – you need to have the right mindset – one of faith and self-belief, for, without that, the battle is lost as soon as it begins.
The easy way to develop self-belief is to develop self-discipline – it’s easy to believe in yourself when you know you can act on your convictions.
2) Start Now – Don’t wait for “Someday”:
If you want to do it, start working on it as soon as possible – today.
Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not someday.
Most people keep finding excuse after excuse never to get started, and they keep pushing the work further and further into the future, literally to the point that they never start, and sooner than later, time pulls the rug right from under their feet, and they wonder what went wrong.
“Someday” is where dreams go to die.
Some-day never becomes to-day.
Some-day is something people tell themselves today, so they don’t have to come to terms with what they are doing – selling their ideal future for some more time in the comfort zone.
Just dreaming is not enough – you have to put in the work. And the sooner you start, the sooner it’s done, and the higher the law of compounding can help you.
3) Don’t look for permission, approval, or supporters
When you turn to do something new, you don’t feel fully confident in yourself – so you naturally turn to your friends and family.
You know them and trust them – so you tell them your plans, and you ask them what they think.
Often, they lack your vision, and they convince you that your idea won’t work out.
Here’s the thing – all of your friends and family either want you to fail (for you succeeding will make them look like failures), or they love you, and want you to be safe, so they don’t want you to venture out and take any risks.
The result is usually the same – they subtly demotivate you from taking the shot.
If you want to get anywhere – stop looking for supporters, approval, or permission.
You don’t need any of those. You only feel that you do – the problem is your lack of self-confidence.
The ironic part is, you’ll get tons of approval and supporters once you make your vision a reality.
Everyone will “see it” once it’s visible.
Until then, don’t look for support – you won’t find any, for there’s nothing for people to see except a bunch of hopes and wishes.
Note that this does not mean that you shouldn’t listen to anyone. If someone has a deep background in your chosen field, you should hear them out. But always ignore random people telling you how you’re wasting your time.
4) Practice. Put in the work:
Here’s the annoying part – unless you happened to be a prodigy, you’d need to put in untold amounts of effort and practice before you’re good enough at anything.
There’s no saying how much practice goes into making the best music, the best software, the best anything.
Hell, if you like the writing of this article, I’ll have you know that I’ve been writing consistently for years, and I wasn’t always right.
And I’m not even world-class (yet).
People who are at the top are continually getting better – they’re putting in tons of work and research into perfecting their craft.
I won’t bore you with a dead horse here, but I will say this: If you are unwilling to practice, you are reluctant to improve. And if you are reluctant to grow, you do not deserve greatness.
Whip up some deadlines for yourself (deadlines get work done), and start practicing. If you don’t know where to start – start with the basics and research what proper technique looks like.
Be consistent, and it’s impossible not to improve.
Food for thought: Here is where the importance of passion comes in. It’s much easier to practice when you enjoy what you’re doing.
5) Work Hard in Silence
When you’re putting in the work – don’t be loud about it.
Don’t tell people what you’re up to, and they’ll assume that you’re up to nothing … right about until the results are too big not to be visible.
Then act like it was nothing – like it all came naturally to you.
That’s the secret to “genius” by the way – geniuses put in untold amounts of time and effort into their craft, and the world only looks at what they finally create and assumes that the results were divine.
The Italians call it sprezzatura – the art of nonchalance.
Keeping your cards close when you’re building yourself also serves some other entertaining purposes as well – it reduces exposure when you’re working, and when you’re done, people will not know how you did it.
All The Best 🙂
Source: businessdrivendream and lifemathmoney