Doing what you like

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As I mentioned I plan to start documenting by reflection on things I listen to and read about so that it just does not end up getting lost in an endless maze inside my head. So here is the first of these. I don't even know how I came upon this. That is the thing about the internet. You jump from one thing to another and land up in most unexpected of places. I am still trying to decide whether this is good or bad. It is good in the sense that there is adventure in it: of discovering the most unexpected of things. It is bad in the sense that you lose control of your life and let yourself be lead by your nose like cattle. I mean you have only so many years in this world. And there is so much information available in the world. Would you want to plan out what matters to you most and spend the years picking that up or run amok all over the place picking up a bit here and a bit there and finally end up a bits and pieces man? I think there is no answer one way or the other. Like most things in life, it is a combination of both. That is where we talk about the arts and science stuff. Science tends to be precise. Art is like a balancing act - where you get it right by instinct rather than rational analysis. Well anyways getting back to this piece I am going to talk about, it is by someone called Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live your Legend, a career and connection platform to inspire people to find their passion. You can find the talk title 'How to find the work you love" here.

What he says : He starts by saying in order to do what you like, you first need to find what you love. For this he gives a framework around 3 points: strengths, values and experiences. Then he moves on to 3 pillars to start doing the work you love - constantly keep evaluating your experience, push your boundaries and surround yourself with inspiring people. As part of the talk, he gives real life examples of all three.

For constantly evaluating one's experiences, he gives example of people just climbing ladders with no idea where they are getting to. He mentions a statistic of 80% of people not being happy with what they do but just keep doing what they do because that is what they are supposed to do.

For pushing boundaries, he explains an experience of an adventure swimming experience where the speaker had been really scared but found a handicapped kid had managed to successfully  complete the fear. He exhorts people to take risks and try new things without fear of failure. Of trying out things one feels passionate about but people think has no chance of succeeding.

Then the last part of surrounding oneself with inspiring people. He talks about 4 years of unsuccessful attempts to monetize his Live your Legend venture till he started discovering similar passionate people, notably an European blogger who was able to support a family with just the income from a blog where he wrote twice a week. Apparently after surrounding himself with right people, his business picked up manifold and he has managed to do establish a successful venture. He then stresses how having right people around you makes you achieve more.

What I think : I think he makes absolute sense. I often hear this statistic of most people not being happy with what they do. But an interesting thing I have observed is that it does not bother them. Most people I know think all talk of passion is unrealistic and work is something you do for money. So even when people crib, I find them cribbing about salary and missing out on promotions. The only people who talk about passion and stuff are senior leaders during pep talk to inspire you to work more for them without pestering them with demands for more salary and promotions. So I have often begun to doubt whether my desire to find my true passion is unrealistic. But when I listen to speakers like this, I find my hope rekindled. But it comes mixed with health doses of skepticism. After all this man has made a business out of selling the dream of achieving his passions. So he has ulterior motives in telling me I can find the work I love. Can I trust him?

Coming to the specifics, I am following exactly what he has mentioned. I am seriously thinking about my strengths. I am evaluating my 19 years of experiences to see what I loved, what I didn't love, where I have succeeded, where I have not to find an underlying theme I must pursue. He says one can get there in 2 months. I am giving myself 2 years. 19 years have already flown under the bridge. What is 2 more years after all? 

Pushing boundaries is something I have not given much thought to. Maybe I should starting with small things and in things of physical nature in the short run. I agree small successes would give confidence.

Surrounding myself with the right people - yes. It is not something new. But I have known it all along. Maybe I should consciously start thinking who I spend maximum time with. And if they are elevating me or holding me back. And wherever I have choice I would probably start reducing the time spent with ones who bring me down and spend more time with ones who inspire me.

What else? Any criticism? Possibly there is nothing radically new in what he says. But since this is the first piece I am analyzing, the ideas are a good starting point. As a takeaway, I will focus on doing something about pushing my boundaries in small ways and consciously engineering my social circle and eventually get around to sharing my experiences here.


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