Back to Work is one of my favorite podcasts at the moment. It’s a talk show hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin that focuses on productivity, communication, work and life in a way. It’s a great show. It’s very funny and I highly recommend that everyone check it out. In the latest episode, episode 124, Merlin talk’s about his latest trials and tribulations with his jury duty. For the sake of brevity, he talks about how important it can be to set your mindset up in such a way as to prepare yourself for the low points that everyone invariably find themselves at throughout life. The point he makes is that there’s essentially a difference between getting punched off guard and knowing your going to get punched. On some level, his point boils down to the value of maintain an optimistic outlook on life, but it’s really more than that. It’s about focusing on opportunities rather than losses or negatives. Rather than focusing on the negatives associated with carrying out one’s civic duty, why not focus on the positives allowed, such as having the time to catch up on one’s reading (during the course of one’s commute), the ability to improve one’s diet, and lastly and generally, (but not last) the opportunity to approach daily life in a new way.
The Boldness to Create Opportunities and My Occupation as a Thinker
I truly believe this is a powerful and meaningful notion, but I think that it can be taken a bit further with the idea of initiative. Sometimes it really only takes the ability to see an opportunity coupled with the initiative to see it, in order to embark on a course that can yield great success. I’ve talked fairly often about what inspired me to begin writing, blogging, and essentially becoming a content creator. One of the major inspirations was the sort of negative cycle I found myself in during my active job search a few months back. My life circled around the job application process which is something that isn’t meant to give a life meaning. It is invariably a means to an end even though you can learn a great deal about yourself, people, work environments, and human psychology in general. I found myself with a gaping hole in my life because people get fulfillment from being creative and doing great work. I found myself with an opportunity to do what I love to do which is to think. If someone were to ask me what my one title is to summarize the others, I would say I’m a “Thinker.” It took that opportunity, put it together with who I am and what I love to do, added in a platform (WordPress), and as soon as I built the initiative that set me on the course to getting where I am now. In my mind, I essentially created my dream job and it’s one of those things in which the pay isn’t great. The benefits aren’t there and you can roll down that list of things that you usually expect from a job, a career. The bottom line is that I didn’t keep standing around and focused on the negatives of the situation I was in; I looked at the positives and took initiative. It set me on the course of being independent and always being able to do the best work that I can do, doing what I love to do, which is to think. It just goes to show that having the ability to identify opportunities can sometimes be the deciding factor between whether you stay focused on the negatives or embrace your personal initiative, which is key. When all else fails, sometimes you have to have the boldness to be able to create your job or to just simply do what you love to do, whatever that may be.