Talent is really nothing
You have a creative career. Let's find it.
Talent is really nothing
(I’m giving away 5 copies of Declan Wilson’s new book – The Millennial Way. To get get in the drawing, tweet this.)Step Up, Step Out, Step Forward - Q&A with @MillennialType Click To Tweet
What I loved most about my short talk with Declan were these two things:
Oh, and you can get that book I talked about right here while the kindle price is still only $2.99.
Or, if you like – read a free preview right here.
A Creative cannot live in fear.
Oh, and that book I mention in the video?
You can check out a free preview of that right here, or go ahead and pre-order the Kindle version while it is still $2.99.
I am not a life coach, and I’m tired of posing as one.
Why would I try and tell you how to be successful if I’m sitting here right now with like $800 dollars in the bank? Why would I try and give you career advice when I’m still an underling? I’m not going to try and fool you just to get more attention. I don’t have the magic tricks. I’m not even sure there are magic tricks.
All I can tell you is what I’ve learned so far.
And here is what I’ve learned so far:
I realize “go get married” is not practical advice for everyone, but before I got serious about Kate, I ate too much pizza, watched embarrassing amounts of The Simpsons, and was pretty much a layabout. When someone believes in you unconditionally, your world flips upside down.
This might be the most freeing thing I’ve ever realized. Comfortable in the knowledge that 99.9999% of people (even the ones who follow me) are unaware of what I’m doing has given me the freedom to amass a large following on Medium, grow my blog to a couple thousand page views a month, and chase lots of people down to try and sell them a custom Snapchat filter.
Most people don’t care. So why shouldn’t I worry about what they think?
Until I got an office job. Now they’re funny, but not in a “haha” way. More in like an “oh, God why?” kind of way. (Think the grimacing emoji, not the one which is crying laughing).
The idea of a “career” as one thing I do over and over and better and better for the rest of my life is paralyzing. It could be careers aren’t really a string of jobs, but a series of skills applied ferociously at whatever task is at hand.
See my mad scientist post for more clarity.
I actually surprised myself with this one until I realized it enables me to pay the bills, buy nice things for my wife, do a lot of free work (which generally pays in even better ways), and chase a passion.
In this entrepreneur-happy world, I‘m fine with selling my soul for a while.
Choir made me better at code. Code made me better at golf. Golf made me better at school. School made me better at work. Work made me better at taking vacations. Taking vacations made me better at writing.
The more you learn, the more you can learn.
Fame is the combination of talent, work, luck, and time. The amount of people who are born with the natural talent for something, are willing to put in the work, and to do it for a so long that they finally get “lucky” are very few indeed.
Not only that, I’m starting to think it’s a little overrated.
But you don’t have to drink a green smoothie, run a mile, take a 12 minute cold shower, write 1,000 words, mediate, and do some strength training for them to be useful.
Instead of constructing a 2 hour routine which would require me to be up at 4:30, my keystone habit is my Microjournaling practice in which:
(If you want more details, here’s the post)
I’m looking at you EVERY PROJECT ON PINTEREST EVER.
At least, not the way we think they do. I think a life calling can be a set of skills, but I find it hard to believe it will be just one job. You are a human with varied interests which change over time. Things I was interested in at age 6 hold little appeal to me now. I expect what I am interested in now will seem pointless 10 years from now.
“I’ll just knock this thing right out.” I said to myself last August. “I’m sure I’ll be able to self publish by December. It’s March, and I’m still in production. Plus I’ve written 10 times more than you’ll ever read when you buy the book.
Not I won’t, like I can’t.
Whenever the stakes aren’t high enough for me I simply just won’t show up. In college I had an pro-bono internship so “my resume would look better.” I lost interest in about 3 days and stopped showing up. I didn’t tell anyone. I just quit. It was a pretty crummy thing to do.
But I learned “looking good on paper” will never be a priority for me.
Instead of looking for shortcuts, I’m implementing solutions.
Instead of trying to find “78 Ways to ____”, I’m taking the first one off the list to see if it works.
Instead of reading another article on how to change my life, I’m changing my life.
Instead of looking for another magical habit, I’m getting to work.
How have we not moved past this as a human race?
“Oh, this article looks interst- OH WAIT HERE’S A POP UP.”
What’s bad on a desktop is even worse on mobile. Nothing like trying to nail an X which is 3 pixels wide and .5 pixels high with a fat, fleshy thumb.
Not because the machine is flawless. I am a good student. I learn from a book well, and I’m obsessed with taking notes. It’s just how I roll.
I predict we’ll see a resurgence of apprenticeship in the coming years. Why go to school to learn about a series of things you will never use when you can start at 18 with a real job, get the experience in the field, and take community college to “round out” your knowledge on the side?
This is a completely first world problem, but after a certain point, money has a rate of diminishing returns. I say this not as a young, single tech guy, but as someone who makes an average income, and who realized after a certain point, buying things didn’t really make me happy any more.
Also, there is never a magical “enough” money.
I am aware this probably makes me a bad citizen, but I hate watching/reading/listening to news. If something is important, I’ll hear about it.
This is likely why current events are always a surprise to me. It took a couple of weeks for me to realize Donald Trump’s running for president wasn’t a late-night joke that went too far. (…Okay, bad example)
The other day I saw a 30+ year old woman wearing a wild graphic tee and sweatpants with letters across the butt (“Delicious”). She was drinking a Corona-rita and laughing with her friends, no doubt about some obnoxious list of gifs.
“Wow,” I thought. “Some people just never grow up.”
I then proceeded to play three hours of Super Smash Brothers with my cousins and brother.
I used to fight them. I used to argue with them. I used to stress about them. Now I just ignore them. Go away shiny people.
When you walk out that door (even if it’s just to go to university), you are 100% in charge of your own life. My college choir teacher used to say:
“The sign on the bathroom does not say ‘boys.’ It says ‘men.’ Which one are you?”
Happiness in a global sense. Not happiness in an immediate sense . Your work/life balance. Your health. Your impact on the world. Your legacy. It’s all you. Nobody else cares about it. (remember #7?)
Last weekend when I sat down to Easter dinner with my family I almost came to tears. We talked about the same nonsense — superhero movies, school, the Jonas Brothers — but those 2 hours made me happier than I could put into words. Nostalgia is very effective in small doses.
— I used to say yes all the time. “Yes, I’ll have it done by Friday.” “Yes, I’ll come over to hang out.” “Yes, I can help you with your work.” Now I’m saying no more. Splitting yourself 800 different ways is an excellent strategy for never doing anything with your whole heart.
That’s one less decision to make.
Because pancakes are bae.
His vice wasn’t a drink
Not a powder nor pill
His drug was the web
That’s where he got his fill
He copied the “greats”
Who said “always stay busy!”
He kept writing and working
So much so you’d get dizzy.
Headline hacks made him cringe
SEO tricks were boring
But he wrote to a formula
So his “hard work” kept scoring.
And he chased with great gusto
Every retweet and like
Every share, every follow,
“Just one more traffic spike”
But attention grew old
And despite each new roar
The applause didn’t sound
Quite as loud as before
All his happiness robbed
Now his job was himself
And he hated his job.
He forgot why he started
Back when he had a heart
Chasing fame, chasing love
He forgot to make art
Whenever you start to step into a creative career, you’re going to get a lot of funny looks…