Doing the right thing…
I just turned 33 a few days ago. And I still don’t really know what I want to do for the rest of my life. I still don’t know if the thing I’m doing right now is the right thing to do.
I enjoy writing. But I enjoy many different things. And I do many different things. And I’ve done many different things in the past. And maybe tomorrow I’ll do something else entirely. Who knows? Life is short…
So how do you know if something is the right thing for you?
If something you want to do is the right thing to do?
I don’t know.
I really don’t know.
But here’s what I do know…
You probably know exactly when the thing you’re doing feels like the wrong thing to do. When you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing. But you just keep doing it. For many years. Or maybe even decades. Or maybe even your entire life. So you get stuck. And unhappy.
Not everybody. Just somebody…
But the moment you realize that what you’re doing is not the right thing, you’ve gotta start doing something else. You’ve gotta keep searching. And doing. Or else you’ll get stuck. And unhappy.
I know. It sounds simple. But it’s not easy.
And that’s exactly what most people never do. Most people stop searching. They just give up and keep doing the things they don’t enjoy doing. They keep doing the wrong things. Even though they know that they’re doing the wrong things.
Mostly because we still live in a time where it seems like the only way to advance in life is to do the same things for many, many years. Or maybe even decades. To have some sort of linear career. Even when you don’t really enjoy it that much. Even when you feel like it’s not the right thing to do. Even when it doesn’t feel like your thing. Whatever your thing might be.
And I get it. We all have bills to pay. And mouths to feed. Or mortgages to pay. So whatever you do, you shouldn’t quit your job. At least not right away. And instead, keep searching. Keep doing things on the side that you think might be the right thing.
Here’s the thing…
The only way to figure out whether something is the right thing or the wrong thing is to do it. There really is no other way. So stop thinking about it. Stop the excuses. And instead start doing. That’s the only way to figure out if that thing is the right thing.
So maybe you think playing guitar is the right thing. Then start playing guitar on the side. Become good at it. Become one of the best at it. Put in the work. On the weekends. In your free time. Whenever you can. For at least a year. Or two. Or maybe even three.
Or maybe you want to become a writer. Or start a business. Or become a diving instructor. Or whatever. It’s always the same thing. Do stuff, put in the work, become good at it and see what happens. See if it’s the right thing. Or the wrong thing.
If you don’t do it, you’ll never know it.
Keep your day job and do things on the side. And once you’ve done it long enough and you realize it’s the right thing to do and you get really good at it, keep doing it. And maybe one day you might be able to quit your job. Maybe. Maybe not.
But that’s the price you’ve gotta be willing to pay. That’s the risk you’ve gotta be willing to take. But most people never do that. Most people are not willing to pay a price. To take a risk. So most people just keep doing the wrong things. And wonder why they get stuck.
Again, when I say you I’m basically talking about myself and what has worked for me…
I’ve now been writing online for more than four years. I’ve worked small jobs in customer service before. At telco companies. At my university. And many other places.
I’ve started a clothing business. Dozens of websites. I sold stuff on Ebay sort of professionally. I’ve created and sold online courses. I’ve written a bunch of books. I’ve done a roadtrip through 10 countries or so and gave talks. I’ve helped early stage companies. And a few more things.
Some of the things I still do. Some of them I don’t do anymore. Some of the things I enjoyed doing. Some of them I didn’t enjoy that much.
But the only thing that helped me to figure out whether one of these things was the right thing for me was to do it. There really is no other way…
P.S. This was a part of my new book The Underdogs Guide To Winning When You’ve Failed At Almost Everything. It’s available for pre-order for pay-as-much-as-you-want. You can grab your copy here: https://gum.co/XHyRD
Originally published at yanngirard.typepad.com.