omeone once said, if you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll be right. I think it was Steve Jobs, but I’m not sure.
More important than who said it, is what it means. Waiting for death is not the answer. You don’t want to be right only once in your life. Everyday should be fulfilling. You should love what you do.
If you look yourself in the mirror and aren’t happy with what today looks like and what tomorrow looks like and so forth, it may be time to change something.
I think people often dismiss such advice in their careers because it seems far too simplistic. This appears true on the surface, but when you unpack what it’s really saying, it starts to make a lot more sense. Let’s take a closer look at the typical arguments you hear.
No one loves their work.
This is true enough. Nothing is ever perfect, not even your dream job. The thing is, if you’re doing something you truly enjoy, you’ll put up with the shit that will inevitably come with it.
The key is to love enough of your work to where the shit is tolerable. Unfortunately, you won’t ever completely escape it. Mark Manson said it best.
Life can’t be epic every single day.
Who really wakes up and is excited every single day? I mean really.
As crazy as this sounds, it is a thing that happens, in fact in Japan it is known as Ikigai. It’s not supposed to be glamorous and impressive, but what it should be is fulfilling.
When you look at your work, it should fill you with pride and that’s more than enough to get up every single day.
It’s not as simple as it sounds.
Change takes time, especially when you’re drastically changing your career. This is ok. It will be a process, but in the end it’s worth it and the sooner you start, the sooner your dream will become your reality.
Everyone has responsibilities, people to take care of, bills to pay, but you can make it work if you want it. The key is accepting that it is a process and it won’t be easy.
Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be – an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, making good comics and supporting myself through my words – was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal.
And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.Neil Gaiman
It’s more complicated than mere words can explain, but there is truth in it. So how do you start making these changes in your career? Here are a few methods that help me.
1. Remember Death
Memento Mori or remembering death is a method that has its history back in Roman times. Used by generals and artists, the idea was to always be reminded that death was lurking around the corner.
The traditional symbols were often rotting fruit, skulls, or timepieces. It can be anything, as long as this idea is clear in your head whenever you see it – a constant reminder of how fleeting life can be (I keep an hour glass on my desk).
What better way to push you to make the changes you desire?
2. Keep Track
It’s far easier to take notice of what’s happening in your life if you start to track it. A great way to do that is journaling. Whether it’s in the morning or before bed, grabbing a notebook and reviewing your day can give you a lot of insight into your life and it’s general trajectory.
3. Ignore Everyone
This may be the most important key to chasing the things you really want to do: ignore everyone.
Whenever you want to make changes in your life, there will be those individuals that will laugh at the very idea. You know who they are. They can be friends or family or co-workers, but they simply can’t accept that such a thing is possible.
If you let them into your head, you’ll never make progress. You need to ignore them.
That’s not all though. You also need to ignore that voice in your head, telling you that you’re crazy. The voice that is known as the resistance. Ignore everyone.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.Richard Feynman
Doing what you love, loving what you do, is no easy feat, but it’s absolutely possible. It takes hard work and struggle and persistence, but it’s within your grasp.
If you hate what you do, maybe you need to start blazing a new path, one that you’ve always wanted.