I face a dilemma daily. Well, really, it’s weekly. Bi-Weekly.
I face a dilemma monthly. At least once a month.
I face a dilemma no-fewer-than-once-a-month…ly.
What do I love? What is really important? What makes me come alive?
Right now, I’m super into coffee. Like. SUPER into coffee. I roast my own, I brew it a few different ways, I use a gram scale to measure out the beans, I hand grind everything. I worry about water temperature. Like, seriously worry.
I’m obsessed with coffee.
But still, I can feel the passion waning. I’m kind of interested in my health right now. I need to get my health under control. I need a girlfriend, or a companion – and before I do that, I need to get my health under control. I care about my health, because I want a companion. I need to meet girls right now. That will help me a ton. And I should get my wardrobe together – I should have a great wardrobe. I’m minimalist, I don’t want too many clothes, so I should optimize my wardrobe. High quality clothes cost quite a bit, but they’re totally worth it – I should focus on my business, and growing that. My business involves coffee, so I should learn more about coffee.
Balancing 7 different interests
How do you balance your interests when they’re constantly changing? How do you balance your interests when you don’t know what’s truly important to you?
By the time you start working on what’s really important to you, the next “super important thing” is there. How do you focus on what is right for you? How do you choose what to ignore? It’s times like these that I envy folks like Elon Musk. Or my sister. They have one driving passion (or sometimes a couple) that always tell them what to do. My sister never has to convince herself that she wants to coach Basketball. She loves it, and she does it.
So how do you handle the scenario most of us find ourselves in? When your passion gets distracted. When something else suddenly starts to seem earth shakingly important. I think this is the reason being an employee can be so amazing – you don’t have to decide. Someone else decides for you – and you just have to execute.
Well, the conventional wisdom is to say “You have to focus your time! Focus your effort! If it’s important, you have to do it.”
Unfortunately, that advice is about as helpful as telling a kid “Do better at math.” Without actually helping him.
How do you decide what’s important? How do you keep it from changing?
Try this advice on for size: don’t. Let yourself change. Try lots of different things. I haven’t written a blog post in almost exactly a year. I tried a lot of other things – My Blog was once super important to me. Now it’s less important. And I’m perfectly okay with that.
Our job is not to follow our passion, and do what we love, and never falter. Our job is to be imperfect, to falter, to waiver, and to try other things.
Our job is to give ourselves permission to falter and waiver. Tell yourself right now (say it out loud, even if it’s just a whisper): “It is totally okay if I stray from my passion, and try other things.”
Straying = Learning
Straying is how we learn. What if you love painting – and you decide to try painting once. And you love it so much, and that becomes your passion. And the more you stray, the more you learn about yourself. The more honest you can be with yourself. The more amazing your life will become.
What if you try on lipstick for the first time because 3,000 other strangers are doing it, and you find out you love it?
What if you try learning computer coding, and it speaks to you in a way that nothing else ever did?
Ask yourself, “What is something I want to try? How can I try that right now?”
Trying different things is how you find what’s really important to you. My sister got lucky. At the age of 12, she discovered that she wanted to be a basketball coach.
So try different things, experiment. Find that thing you love doing, and do it. And some day, you’ll stray from that, and start looking for another passion. And that’s okay too. It’s okay to spread your passion among many different projects.
You won’t become a world famous painter – and that’s okay.
You won’t create a multi-billion dollar company – and that’s okay.
But you’ll truly live your life. You’ll love your life. And you’ll light yourself up – and that’s amazing.