Clients tell me all the time that they want the freedom to make their own choices, yet they are afraid to fail. Sometimes they end up stalling to prevent missteps that could affect their future. They don’t want to do things they enjoy because they think it is not “useful” on their resume or for their future career.
Your personal path
Sometimes doing the things you enjoy even though you don’t think they are “useful” at the time end up leading you to bigger and better things. It takes exploring your interests to grow as people. Just because it doesn’t feel “useful” at the time to take the class, or learn the hobby, it can be the first sign of creativity. It can feel like you are wasting your time but in the end lead to greatness. It is all part of our personal path. Life experiences, learning moments, all help us to become who we are meant to be. It may not be easy. Other people may laugh or ridicule us for the things we have done but they are all important to our success—however big or small.
Steve Jobs took a calligraphy class at Rice University. At the time he was about to be a college dropout and wanted to learn more because he was interested. When developing the first Macintosh computer years later, the attention to typefaces became one of the most important/sellable features of the computer. It was that leap that helped to get him to the success he eventually achieved. It was all part of his path. Every experience can be a learning experience. By avoiding failure or potential mistakes out of fear, you are depriving yourself of a learning moment that could later change your life. You never know until you try.
Failure can be scary. There is no doubt about that, but don’t let that fear stop you. Don’t let that feeling of making a mistake in your education stop you from doing the things you enjoy. You never know where your experiences will lead you.
What interest have you followed that later helped you in life?
In life, there are things that excite us. They make us feel alive and joyful. Then there are the other things, the things that make us say “Ummm…” and don’t provide joy. They are the things we may feel obligated to do or the things we do just to give them a shot but they feel more like work than something we want to be focused on. These things can be time eaters, energy eaters and they leave us less time and energy to focus on the things that truly make us happy.
As my time gets filled up more and more these days, I have made a “hell yes” list and “hell no” list. Ten percent of my list are absolute “hell yes” items and another 10% are absolute “hell no” items. Those items are non-negotiable, meaning I will either be definitely doing them or definitely not. The other 80% of things are in-between. Of the in-between items, I try to say “yes” to 25% of the things and “no” to the other 75%. Why? Because that way all that energy I was focusing on things that did not bring me joy can be focused on the things that I want to be doing.
This is a great way for me, as life gets busier and more overwhelming, to keep things in perspective. I want to live a joyful, fulfilling life but in order to do that I need to focus the majority of my energy on the things that make me feel good to be alive. They are the things I look forward to waking up to. The things that make me feel good, and make me a better person. Of course, we have those things we have to do that we don’t really want to but by limiting how much of our time we spend on those things we have more time for the things we really love. Life is short, don’t waste your time on the stuff that doesn’t drive your soul.
What is on your “hell yes” list?
Persistency is important in life. But, there are different ways to be persistent. There is the smart way and the not-so-smart way.
Learning from failure
Smart persistency is having a goal in mind and tweaking things in order to get closer to making that goal a reality. It is getting up when you fail and trying again while learning from your mistakes. It is not letting mishaps get you down but rather taking a different approach. Maybe you have applied for the same job over and over again and you just aren’t getting it. Smart persistency is looking at what isn’t working in your job application. Maybe it is re-working your resume or changing up your cover letter. Or, you could be trying to master skiing, or some other sport, and it is just not clicking. It is looking at what is making you fail and trying to improve on it.
Dumb persistency is continuing to try but not making any changes. It is getting down on yourself because you keep failing but not trying to improve in other ways. It is ignoring past mistakes instead of learning from them. It is important that you keep trying but you also need to take a deeper look at what is working and what isn’t. Maybe it is making a list to compare each try, or talking to a friend or colleague to get an outside opinion on the matter. If you continue to try in the exact way you have been, you will most likely continue to face failure.
Being persistent is important. Without persistence, a lot of things in this world would not have been created. If Thomas Edison had given up on the light bulb, it is possible there would be no light bulb. He was persistent in his efforts, and each time he applied something new he had learned from previous failures. Don’t give up, just be smart about it.
What is something you have been persistent about, and ultimately achieved?