Category Archives: What To Do?

Guest post on Multi-Passionate Productivity

No post today.

Instead, go check out my post on Multiple Passions, Multiple Incomes on Kirsten Simmons’ Multi-Passionate Productivity.

Multi-Passionate Productivity is for those people — like me — who have never managed to settle on just one thing that they love. They used to call us “Renaissance Men”; now they call use “Unfocused” or “Afraid of Commitment”. Well we’re fighting back! Kirsten discusses how to embrace all your passions and still get something done.

Check out and enjoy her blog.

Try to be an amateur

Do you know what amateur means?

It means, of course, someone who doesn’t do this for money, in contrast to professional. But the root of the word is focused on why they do do this. From Latin amare “love”, and -eur “do-er”, an amateur is someone who does this because they love doing it.

So while amateur is probably an accurate description of someone who doesn’t get paid (why would you do it if you don’t get paid and you don’t like it?), it’s not necessarily contradicted by being a professional. In the best of all possible worlds, you would be both an amateur and a professional… someone who loves what they get paid to do.

What do you love enough to be an amateur? What do you do well enough to get paid for it? Where’s the overlap between them?

Homework: What do you care about?

This is a follow-up to a guest post I wrote for The Finance Geek: You don’t care about money. I argued that you only care about money because it helps you get what you actually care about.

So what is that?

    What would you do if you were going to die tomorrow?

    What would you do if you were going to live forever?

    What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?

    What would you like to do before you die?

    If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

    If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

    If you rubbed a lamp and a genie offered you three wishes, what would you wish for?

    What one thing — object, event, or change — would be worth having, even if you couldn’t get anything else for the rest of your life? What would be worth living on oatmeal in a one-room shack if you could only have that?

Journal about this. Discuss these questions with your BFF. Answer them on your blog. Post your answers in the comments. Don’t stop until you know what you care about.

Resources for Further Reading
You don’t care about money
Homework: Figuring out what to do
What would you do if you could live forever?
What do you want from life?

Flickr used to be an MMORPG

Sometimes (what you want to do) and (what you think you want to do) are two separate categories.

For example, the people who started Flickr thought they were making a Massively-Multiplayer-Online-Role-Playing-Game, a la World of Warcraft or Everquest. They started building it, and added (as a nifty side-feature) the ability to upload and share pictures while you were playing.

Before long, they realized that (a) the MMORPG market was saturated (b) the photo-sharing market was underserved, and (c) their product was a lot cooler in the photo-sharing market than in the MMORPG market.

So they changed. In start-up terms, it’s called a “pivot” — you stop right where you are, and go in an whole new direction. And it’s totally OK.

Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going

Actually, a lot of the times you don’t know where you’re going. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start.

Sometimes you realize that you’re going the wrong way

This isn’t quite as common. But it’s no shame. Feel free to change what you’re doing if you find something better.

It’s still better to be going

When you were little, your parents told you that you should stay put if you got lost. That way someone could find you.

But you don’t do that now. If you get lost, you might pull over and look at your directions. You might drive around the block a few times, trying to spot your landmarks. But what you most definitely would not do is to stop in the middle of the road and hope that someone would point you in the right direction.

Business is no different. If you don’t know what you want to do, then make a guess and try it out. At least you’ll learn something.

Homework: figuring out what to do

The common way to live, where you graduate high school, go to college, graduate college, get a job… in that model, picking your career is fairly easy. At least for most people, it goes like this:

You pick some stuff that looks interesting in college, possibly relating to what you did in high school or what your friends are doing. Maybe you change majors a few times.
Eventually you get sick of being in college, so you stick with your most recent choice, and graduate with a bachelor’s in that field.
Then you run searches on Monster.com, Craigslist, and whatever network you have, searching for jobs that relate to your degree. Someone offers you a job (maybe in that field, maybe not) and you stick with that career forever because you don’t know how to get out of it.

Sure, maybe it’s not fun. But you didn’t ever have to think really hard, and that’s the main thing.

Monetizing yourself is harder. Like Seth Godin, I believe that you’ll be safer, happier, and wealthier in the upcoming decades if you do something remarkable, that no one else can do. Which means you need to find that sweet spot of happiness in business: the intersection of what you like, what you’re good at, and what you can get paid for.

How do you do that? It’s kind of an iterative process: you try something and see if it works. If not, you see what needs to change and try again. It won’t come to you in a revelation, but if you keep thinking about it and pursuing it, a clear picture will start to emerge.

Your Assignment

(also called action steps, if you feel like being fancy)

Journal daily (at least 1 page) on any or all of the following topics

  • What I really enjoy doing

  • What I wish I could never do again
  • What feels “right” or “meaningful” to me
  • What I wish I could do better
  • What I think I do well
  • What I did today that I enjoyed
  • Why I enjoyed those things
  • Which of the things I did were of value to others
  • How I could monetize that value