When I was young, I thought that everything is possible. That I can run forever. That I can climb any tree. That I will someday be a millionaire and live above the clouds on a floating castle. Soon though, after a few bruises and few broken bones, the reality train (a lot of times in the eyes of my parents) arrived and threw away all of my dreams in the dumpster: “Choo choo, fucker. Good luck with that flying castle. Better finish your homework or you’ll be washing someone else’s underwear for the rest of your life like your parents.”
What would you do if you could do anything?
This question is so broad that it doesn’t mean anything in particular. Without any context, this simple query pushes us toward wishful thinking and prompts us to desire things we’ll never achieve, like: becoming an astronaut, archeologist, fly like Superman, turn into sexy tomb explorer like Lara Croft, almighty ruler of the internet space, obtain the ability to see through clothes, date Emily Ratajkowski and Scarlett Johansson – both at the same time.1
Even though some of the above-mentioned desires might be somehow achievable to a small portion of the citizen in the world. For us, the average people who pay taxes and still spend more time watching television than doing anything else, the flying like Superman wish will surely end up catastrophic. So, don’t try it!
But put into perspective the question, “If you could do anything…?” can give you the answer you’re looking for. An answer to the query that is keeping you awake and not giving you peace regardless of the number of times you change jobs. That is: “What the hell should I do with my time and my life?”
But before I answer the question for the whole world, lets first see why the population is so depressed:
Why You’re Not Happy With What You’re Doing?
Around the age of 18, we get to decide how our lives should unfold. Both our teachers and parents interrogate us about our future plans and force us to pick something for a future profession amongst the flood of options: should I become a dentist, professor, teacher, businessman, or a lawyer and wear a tuxedo even when I’m taking a poop? A tough choice. Even though these people want to help, most of us don’t know what we should do with our lives. Especially in our teenage years, where the only thing circling in our minds is how to get more girls and attend more parties.
Nevertheless, we make some sort of a choice. Or we start an average job, thinking that this will be a temporary solution but we end up making fries and serving beer at the local pub for the rest of our lives, but that’s another story.
Regarding our education, we might choose to study medicine with the idea that we’ll eventually become a doctor. We make this decision because we overheard somewhere on the street that doctors make a shitload of money. Ahh, and on the side, they save lives, but who cares about that.
“Medicine doesn’t seem so hard. Girls dig people who care about other people. So, it’s settled: I’ll become a surgeon” – based on this internal discussion we apply to study medicine. That’s how long it takes us to decide. And when we tell our parents about our choice they are hipper thrilled. They immediately start imagining how we’ll cure diseases, invent an innovative weight loss pill, make a nose job for mom. Then, they start calling all of our relatives telling them about our possible future.
But once we start participating in school, when we see how hard it is to remember all the phrases, the perceptions, the fact that we should deal with blood and injuries on a daily basis, the whole idea of becoming the savior of humanity slowly fades away. But it’s already too late. You’re already a third year into this, the education is already paid, and besides, your mom told all of your cousins that you’ll someday save their lives + she updated her Instagram profile with possible ways of how her nose will look like after the operation. There is no turning back. You should somehow deal with the tension and the horror-worthy scenes waking you up in the middle of the night.
Later, once you get married, have kids and take a loan to get a place to live, the trap clicks. And that’s how my friends, you end up living a life you don’t quite enjoy.
You can’t quit because you’re already used to the big salary. You need the money to pay the bills and buy new clothes for the youngsters. You don’t want to study something else because you’re tired. And who can blame you, you probably had to study for more than 6 years to start practicing. “No, I’ll continue to attend my job, take care of brokes faces, mop blood from the floor. Hopefully, my children will have better lives.”
If You Could Do Anything For A Living…
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never asked myself this question when I was young: “What is my talent and what I should do if I can do anything?” I never thought that I’m particularly good at something, I still don’t. That’s why I was constantly changing jobs and seeking for “something better to do” – not really knowing what that “better” should be like.2
In contrast, I see young people who know exactly what they want from life – even at an early age. Something quite admirable. Their actions are aligned with their future desire and everything they read, watch, do is intentional. Mark Zuckerberg, for instance, created Facebook when he was 20.3 Not like me, I was testing my limits in my 20ies. I want to see if I can drink and party for 7 days straight – I turned out that I can.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. Not all of us know what they want to achieve. Actually, one of the most frequently asked questions online is “what should I do with my life?” The struggle is real. People get up and go to work and in their mind, they can’t really understand what’s the whole point of living: “I don’t have time to truly live! I go to work, I pay my bills and this cycle repeats, day in, day out. Is that all?”
Kind of, yes. This can change, though. But the only way to start enjoying life a bit more, start doing something you really love, is by first understanding that there are a couple of things you shouldn’t do:
What You Shouldn’t Do?
“Do anything” for a living sounds nice, obviously. And online you’ll find a lot of evidence that pretty much everything is possible nowadays. People earning a living by playing video games, others by sharing their half-naked bodies. It sounds crazy – especially to everyone born before 1990 – but you can have a pretty decent life by sitting at home and streaming your favorite video game. That’s the dream of every sane teenager – to eat chips while killing undead zombies, and get paid for doing these things.
Despite the fact that there are a bunch of teenage millionaires who are playing video games and have a larger fan base than Michael Jackson, it’s still extremely difficult to become one of the few chosen ones. The blessed who can earn 100k a day by only sharing a single photo online.
Why is that?
On the surface, it seems pretty easy: You play video games, you share your progress online and you should also become a chips-swallowing rich kid, right?
Yep, but it doesn’t quite work like that. In reality, it seems that we can really do anything, be anyone who we wish, but there’s a bit more to that:
Don’t Start Something With The Sole Intention To Get Money Out Of It
If we digest the example mentioned above, about becoming a doctor, you’ll easily spot the problem. When you’re money driven, only, you’ll be careless of everything else. If I become a doctor and my main goal is to get rich, I won’t be motivated to help if you’re sick and dying but you don’t have health insurance. I’ll show you the door and welcome the other person, the one who has cash.
This type of focus will probably add few zeros in my bank account but will it make me feel good in my day to day life, or in long-term?
Surely I will feel good when I’m on vacation in the Bahamas. But I’ll be quite miserable when I’m constantly saying “No” to people in need and dealing with blood, broken bones, fractures, et cetera. For some, it might be worth it, but for others, 10 days vacation can’t compensate for the other 355 days where we’ll cut bodies, remove organs, add stitches. At some point, this job will become a burden and we’ll probably reconsider “helping” people altogether and start thinking about running a hot dog stand business. But the house payment, the rich lifestyle we’ve created for ourselves, and even our spouse will strongly disagree with this intention, hand us the scalpel and send us back to work/hell.
On the outside, it will feel like we made it, but in the inside, our lives will be full of agony if our only joy comes from the money we get.
Don’t Think That Things Will Happen Fast
Even Instagram models work for years till they reach their current social status – even though to some taking pictures in a bikini doesn’t seem like a tiring job.
In the era of instant notifications and 1-day deliveries, it’s hard to increase your capacity to accept or tolerate delay. We want things now, and by now I mean “the new phone I just paid for should already be in my hands.”
People can hardly wait 24 hours to receive their package, what can we say about working for 3 years till you build a profitable online business or pleasing your boss for several years till he finally decides you deserve a promotion.
If you really want to do what you wish for the rest of your life. If you really adore making hot dogs for people on the street and you really want to make this your primary income stream. Later build a chain of hot dog stands so you can have enough money to send your kids to college, you will definitely need to wait a while.
Don’t Mistake Fantasies With Reality
We all wish for a life similar to the one Elon Musk or Drake have. Or such that involves screaming fans and lucrative commercial deals.
As we already discussed, some people are lucky enough to live a life full of pure pleasure – at least that’s how it seems for an outside observer – but this doesn’t mean that you can achieve the same amount of greatness and fame. Some of
Don’t get discouraged though, you can still have a fulfilling life. You might not be mentioned in the local newspaper or featured in INC.com but you can still create a better life for yourself and for your family than what you currently have.
What creates a functional, healthy life is the ability of the person to maintain a tight relationship to reality. Dreaming big can steer you in the right direction and help you do what you desire, but it can also demotivate you if you get too obsessed with the fantasy state.
The reality is this: You might not become as famous as the people we see on TV. But a lot of times this is better. You can still create a life centered around doing what you love, even if there aren’t a million people screaming your name.
A Good Life Is A Life With Good Problems
When you’re sitting on your coach and you’re going through the countless posts of the famous rappers, singers, models, you see the only the good stuff. The yachts, cars, golden watches, podium walks, but you don’t see all the work going on in the background.
Success is often compared with an iceberg for a good reason. You start from the bottom and after some time – in some cases few years – you emerge from the cold water and people finally see your work and start to scream your name when they see you on the streets. Till then though, you’re no one. You’re just an average person drinking his 5 bucks Starbucks coffee and wishing he/she will be someday mentioned by the president on some random event. A regular person who hopes that someday his star will shine.
But there is more.
The so-called stars, the famous people, they are a bit different from the regular guy you’ll meet at your local coffee shop. The people you see on the red carpet, the ones who get paid thousands of dollars to wear Adidas or some other brand, are a bit more ambitions. These guys and girls were working for years till they have what you see now on their Instagram profile: waking up early in the morning, working when they don’t feel like working, eating shitty food till they can finally afford a healthy one. But most importantly, doing something they believe in.
It all comes down to this: Yes, you can achieve greatness and possibly live a life where your work will feel meaningful. But No, it won’t be easy. The key point here is to create a life where you’ll be handling problems you kind of enjoy.
The same applies to every other work. Actors, singers, dancers… The person watching the latest TV series will decide that the actor who got a couple of mills to play the main role was born lucky. In reality, it probably took more than a decade for this person to be recognized by a film director. He certainly appeared in crappy, low-budget movies for years until finally, someone decided to give him a chance. And when the latter happened, he was ready.
The same sequence of events is present in the autobiography of all famous people who made some kind of difference in the world:
Strong desire to be better or help others in need > Continue to work and believe in
Miley Cyrus says that “If you believe in yourself anything is possible.” To be honest, I agree with her even though I don’t quite comply with her choice of clothes – or the lack of them for that matter.
If you still don’t know what the hell you’re doing, where you’re going, and what you’d like to accomplish in life. Keep in mind that anything is virtually possible if you’re willing to do the work.
Before you dive into a certain profession, make sure that the problems coming along with that positions are problems you’ll want in your life. Carefully think about it because after a couple of years it might be too late to quit.
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- If you don’t know who these beauties are you can see them here: Emily; Scarlett.
- Probably I had to dig deeper into the talent vs skill debate.
- And since he created the first major social media platform by his 20ies birthday this will mean that he spent his past few years building it.