On Finding the Appropriate Path

 

“This is not the time to get the job that mom wanted you to…This is not the time to maximize money…” -Gary Vee

So here’s a line of thought, a practical solution, some guidance, in response to what Gary says.

By all means, get that well-paying job. If anything, it’ll teach you to appreciate the real things in life when you start to consider doing something else. It’ll give you more direction.

 

You are where your time goes.

At one point during my time working in a corporate environment, it dawned on me that I was spending most of my waking hours cooped up in the office with my coworkers. Joe Rogan brings up an interesting discussion on this as well here… Interestingly enough, I came to this realization when I felt bad for my dog having to spend so much time in my apartment that I was living in at the time. If it’s bad for a dog to spend so much time inside, then why am I perfectly fine with spending my time inside all the time?

I started analyzing the potential effects of staying inside and although I couldn’t immediately get out of that situation, I figured I’d see what the pros and cons are. In the end, I found there to be many more cons than pros in this situation. Staying inside isn’t all that bad, as I can find different solutions to alleviate the problems from this but what bothered me most was the amount of time I was spending around certain type of people. We are a product of our environment and I didn’t enjoy being surrounded by people who had money so high on their priority list. Sure, money is important and all but there’s gotta be another way around it. I realized that giving up on a 9-5 job wasn’t the solution. The solution was to occupy my time surrounded by people who were going to have a good influence on me.

Throughout college, I dedicated my time to contributing to organizations where I felt that the people had a positive influence on me. It paid back in dividends that cannot be quantified in money but in experiences. I didn’t think about this too much when I started searching for a job after college but the repercussion of my decision dawned on me at one point.

 

How can I leverage my interests and skills to be surrounded by people who will have a positive influence on me?

I still had to make money, so I started by assessing whether my skills and interests have opportunity to make me money. I found that there was there was a general indirect correlation between how much I fulfillment I got and how much money people are willing to pay me for that particular activity. Here is a chart to help demonstrate:

$ and Fun.jpg

Of course, there are exceptions but let’s look at some examples. Here are some things I did for fun at the time:

  • Browsing the web
  • Playing sports recreationally
  • Playing board games
  • Watching Youtube videos
  • Spending time with friends
  • Traveling

Just by glancing at that list, we can easily determine that the potential to make money from these activities are pretty much nonexistent. The way I saw it, I had two choices:

  1. Specialize in these activities and “teach” them
  2. Find new activities

So, I started looking for new ways to fill my time. I started searching for activities I can fill my time with the following criteria:

  1. Value that it brings to my life
  2. Value that it can bring to others

And most importantly, what type of people indulge in these activities and how will my time around them influence me?

Notice that instead of money, I have value on that list. If I can bring enough value to others, I will be compensated in one way or another, maybe even with money.

Why was my function at my current position so valuable that they were willing to pay so much for it? Well, maybe because it wasn’t very fulfilling. Manipulating data all day didn’t really bring me much fulfillment. So, I started looking at things that are both fulfilling to me and potentially well-paying.

It’s important to consider though that there are clear exceptions to this chart. For example, specializing in a skill that is fulfilling to you also brings a relative increase in potential to bring more value. The first exception that comes to mind is a doctor. Doctors directly help people with their health problems, which can bring both a lot of fulfillment and money. But I wasn’t interested in being a doctor.

 

Are you, or were you in a similar position as I was? What did you do and what are you doing to bring both more fulfillment and value?

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