The inspiration for the below status, and this post, was in part Barrett’s organization and in part the realization that I was excited to head into “work” on Monday. Not everyone is excited to go to work.
Here’s what I think it means. Here’s how I live it:
Living for Monday means caring about what you do. It means living intentionally. It means living with purpose. It doesn’t mean your “job” is everything, it doesn’t mean you are defined by your occupation. But it means you approach life as an art form.
This term/idea varies by person and in practice…to be honest, I don’t “Live for Monday” as in specifically for Mondays, because my workflow and lifestyle is a bit non-traditional.
Let’s call it Living with a capital L.
I’m Living. I’m aggressively pursuing my passions, doing the things I love every single day. Not during the “work week” — this doesn’t just apply to my work, either, perhaps because my “work” is so intertwined in who I am and who I spend my time with. But I think it’s something more than that.
The obvious criticism, what you might be thinking right now:
Grant, of course it’s easy for you to “live intentionally” and spout about following your passions and all that crap. You get to do what you love, you’re living your dream, man. What about those of us living with much more difficult circumstances?
Yes. You’re right.
I am so, so, so, SO crazy lucky to do what I do. I get to create, I get to help friends and clients make an impact. I have the unbelievable privilege of writing, designing, crafting with amazing collaborators and I have a beautiful studio and I absolutely love it. Frankly, I’m a really happy person.
But there are a couple things here that should be understood:
1. I won’t deny how lucky I’ve been—the support of friends, family. Being born at the time I was in the place I was. Favoritism, maybe. Nepotism, sure. I hit the lottery in many regards. I accept that.
2. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t hustled. It doesn’t mean there aren’t sacrifices. It doesn’t mean I haven’t taken the opportunities that presented themselves, knocked them over the head, thrown them in the trunk of my car and sped away. Er, something like that. In short: I have created opportunities for myself. I stood up and picked myself. Just like you can. Seriously, it is that easy.
3. I was “Living” a long time before I had the studio and the excellent clients. That’s part of how I’ve been so fortunate—that’s one of those silly “secrets to success” we all seem to be groveling for. When you start Living, your circumstances start to matter a whole lots less than what we perceive. I was Living and I was happy long before I had any of what might be perceived as “success” and the things that go along with it.
I was Living, alone, writing late at night in my freshman dorm.
I was Living, reading, learning, wondering.
I was Living when I was working in customer service. When I was serving drinks on the golf course, when I was washing cars. The “stuff” doesn’t matter. The “prestige” is bullshit. Living means creating happiness and purpose regardless of context (for the most part).
You have to be Living when you’re on the grind. When you’re not where you aim to someday be. When you’re failing (in my case, repeatedly).
In the same way that success is misunderstood—it’s too often viewed as a destination, not a journey—we misunderstand Living. When you start enjoying the journey you realize something pretty incredible. You realize you’re already successful.
Because Living is success. Once you’ve conquered this and reframed your perspective you’re already successful.
That means the “stuff,” the “prestige,” and all the other things are just add-ons. They no longer become what you’re seeking, because you’ve already found it.
It’s no longer about a Lamborghini. That doesn’t mean you can’t want and enjoy a Lamborghini. But it means the Lamborghini isn’t your source of happiness and purpose, it means you’ve tapped into something even more powerful—you my friend have become a fuzzy ball of beautiful self-sustaining joy.
Living for Monday is the basic equivalent of switching over to solar power from Fossil Fuels. It’s a renewable resource, easy on the environment, and you get a really excellent tan.
Why aren’t people excited about work?
Why are people dissatisfied with their situations?
Because it’s hard to care about what you do. It’s easy to complain and blame other people. Once you start owning your career you become responsible for it. It’s no longer the boss’ fault. It’s not the corporation’s fault you aren’t happy. Start Living and that means you need to put a stake in the ground—you have to take a hard look in the mirror and accept control of your life. This isn’t about taking control. We don’t need to take anything. We simply have to come to terms with our ability to control our lives.
Yes, there are things outside of our control—death, accidents, other people. But more importantly, there are things inside of our control—attitude, work ethic, sense of humor, etc.
The latter is what can keep you moving forward when the former rocks your world. Control your perspective. Control your approach, and, like I said, your circumstances begin to matter much, much less.
And if you are capable of Living in difficult times, you will (hopefully) retain this skill, this posture, when you are in better circumstances. And the reality is this—people who are Living generally find better circumstances. They naturally gravitate toward them. They gain a certain buoyancy that helps them float upwards.
Now, I’ve suggested that anyone can be Living and can find happiness and can control the world they choose to live in, to a degree. I would argue that the way to further that even more is to follow your passion. To seek and do the things you want to do.
For me it’s creative work. It’s collaborating with talented and kind people. It’s making an impact. It’s seeing the world.
It started out as the dream of would-be author. I wanted to write a book. I wanted to get published.
I still write, but the dream has expanded. And there is a really, really important lesson here:
The way forward, is forward. We do not need to take a straight line to find success, but we do to move forward. As you build momentum it becomes easier to adapt and pivot.
But without that forward propulsion, we find ourselves Stuck. There are a lot of people Stuck (as I’ll discuss in a separate post), in their jobs, in their relationships, in their paths. Many folks coming out of school with degrees that don’t relate to their passions are Stuck. Many people who don’t know what the next step is…they’re treading water. They’re trapped in this paralysis of choice. This dilemma of progress.
Move forward. It really doesn’t matter what you do, just find progress, even if it’s microscopic. And if you have no idea what to do I would suggest you consider going through some self-discovery.
Figure out who you are first. Once we know the core of ourselves, we’re able to reference that core every time we make a decision. Once we identify what we want, it’s much easier to obtain it.
A few ideas/goals:
- Read 25 minutes every day. Every. Single. Day.
- Have coffee with 1 new person every week. Reach out to people in your industry. Reach out to family, friends, co-workers for suggestions and connections.
- Listen to a full album, start to finish. Figure out why you like or dislike it.
- Study, even if it’s brief, political and religious overviews. Attempt to understand the world we live in and the things that drive it.
- Join an industry organization.
- Go to a writing workshop. Or any sort of class to learn new skills or further develop existing skills.
- Start a project that matters. Take a stand for something. Come up with a Big Idea that’s way, way too ambitious. And go for it.
- Try something new. Go to a Poetry Slam. An art gallery. A weird concert that you’d never normally go to.
- Write a letter to your past self. Write a letter to your future self. Save them.
- Make a list of your priorities. Be honest with yourself.
- Watch this video from Ze Frank. It’s about creative careers, but it applies much more broadly.
- If you watched that video you realized it’s a playlist. Watch the next 3 videos about the universe (two narrated by Carl Sagan) and contemplate the scale of things. Take a big gulp (no, not the drink you fool) and consider your place in space and time. Consider humankind. Consider how long we’ve been around and where we’re headed. Consider SETI. Consider difficult questions about significance, or insignificance. Consider what you could do if you stopped being afraid of what’s out there in space, what’s out there in your future, and simply went for it.
If you want more suggestions for things to do, or don’t know where to get started, please just get in touch with me. Let’s make it happen.
I challenge you to really consider where you’re at in life. Are you doing what you want? Do you see a path to get there? What’s holding you back?
Why are so many people unhappy? Are you dissatisfied with your life, with your job? Again, do you know what you want?
Start asking and answering tough questions. Not everyone wants to do that, because it’s hard. Find people that want to improve themselves and hold on tight.
It seems like Living is harder than living. But once you push forward, once you build momentum, it’s much easier and much more enjoyable.You are capable of living with purpose. You are capable of finding your passions, of improving your circumstances or finding more enjoyment within them
You are capable of Living.