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What You Should NOT Do With Your Life

I have a very simple process for finding work that I love.

1. Do a bunch of different jobs.
2. Quit the jobs that are boring and suck life from my bones.
3. Keep doing the work that is left over.

Notice that this method of “finding your calling” is all about elimination. You do a bunch of different things, and you just STOP doing things that you don’t like. What is left over? Things that you DO like. A basic mathematical equation of this phenomenon looks something like this:

(All possible work) – (the work that is boring) = (Work that is NOT boring)

I am a great quitter. I am one of the best quitters in the entire world. If there is ever a Quitters Hall of Fame, I will be a first ballot candidate. I have 23,821 different projects that I have begun that I never intend to finish. You know why I quit doing these things? Because they sucked out life and failed to light me on fire. And being a quitter has made me very happy because I quit everything that is boring and that sucks life out of me, which means that everything that is left over is something that lights me with a roaring blaze of intensity. When is the last time you have done work that makes your fingers tingle? For me, it was approximately 0.13 seconds ago, when I wrote that last sentence.

I remember when I was in college, I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Well, that was a complete waste of time. It is much easier to figure out what you should NOT be doing in life. Read more »

DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM, AND THE CALL OF THE WILD

Have you ever had the chance to visit a National Park? Have you seen the sun set over the rim of the Grand Canyon? Have you walked through alpine tundra in the Rocky Mountains? Have you hugged a giant sequoia that shoots 300 feet into the sky?

If you haven’t, you should.

If you have, then you owe a large debt to those who gave these great gifts to you. You see, I am a great lover of democracy. To me, democracy is about the freedom to create a world that is better than you found it. It is freedom to give yourself to a good cause. And here in America, there is a never-ending fountain of democracy-loving people who laid the foundations and passed on gifts of splendor to future generations, and our national parks are one such heritage. Read more »

I NEVER HAVE A PLAN

People continue to ask me, “So what do you want to do with your life? What’s your plan?” I just put on a flabbergasted look and say, “Plan?”

I don’t know how to put this any more bluntly: I have no plan. I have no pre-set future. I have a whole lot of possibilities, but I certainly do not have a plan. I’m like the weatherman: I’ll give you a whole lot of estimates, but not a single certainty. Read more »

LIVING THE DREAM

I always thought that accomplishing a dream is a simple process, but this was before I accomplished any dreams. Now I know better. Every dream I have fulfilled has followed a set of stages, and these stages all have their own unique timing and characteristics that make up the lifecycle of a dream. If you want to live a dream, and not just to think about your dreams, be prepared for the stages below. (Note: if you want to prevent fatal collapse of your dreams, be sure to read stage #8). Read more »

THE ART OF LEARNING

I never thought of myself as an artist. To this day, I draw stick men that would not get awarded an honorable mention at a kindergarten art contest. I eventually resigned to the fact that I must be a scientist because I am good at math and because I think Shakespeare’s writing is boring. I always thought that these two qualities (good at math and bored by Shakespeare) thrust me into an inevitable life of crunching numbers and talking about graphing calculators for eternity. Read more »

IF STUDENTS ARE FRUSTRATED, IT MAY BE BECAUSE THEY ARE LEARNING

The act of creation takes work. It is demanding. It calls forth. It is not “easy”. It is not necessarily “happy”. It demands something. Energy must be invested in order to create, and the same is for discovery. To discover something, you must invest energy. It takes work to discover something.

If you want to create a work of art, prepare for stress and anxiety. If you want to discover new lands, prepare to get bruised, mentally and physically. Read more »

REPEAT AFTER ME: NO!

I often think that if I never learned to say “no”, it would have been the death of me. Read more »

RESUMES ARE SOOOO LAST CENTURY

I have a secret: I’ve been employed for 9+ years in various jobs, and I have never turned in a resume to get a job. Ever.

How did I do it? It was very simple: I realized that nobody hires a piece of paper. They hire people. Read more »

THE REASON I WAS LATE FOR YOUR MEETING

Dear Person in Charge:

I’m so sorry I was late for your meeting. I was so busy doing important work that I didn’t have time for “necessary” work. I know this meeting is important to you. I know we are going to change the world with the objectives we talk about (but do not act upon) in this meeting. I know we are now left to desperation and despair because I missed the fist 10 minutes of the meeting. I know these 10 minutes were jam-packed with the casual opening salvo of introductions and the obligatory opening joke.

Please permit me to, just this once, explain why I was late. Read more »

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "RISKING IT ALL"

This past year, I had to make a difficult decision: take some time away from teaching to go explore a foreign country and do some things that I always wanted to do, or to keep teaching at a school that I really liked. The reasons for continuing to teach were obvious: I enjoyed doing it, I had worked at it for 5 years and was just starting to hit my stride, and my school was awesome. However, there was this nagging feeling inside of me that I needed to go on an adventure. I wanted to go study Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country, and I wanted to do some things that I had never done before, such as go Scuba Diving and ride a horse at full speed. I had a tough decision to make, but in the end, it was the easiest decision I ever made. It started with a simple realization that there is no such thing as “risking it all”. Read more »

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