Today I listened to two podcasts that had very profound things to say about life’s focus and leaving a long-lasting impression on the world.
Stef’s bit on finding a path after school, and particularly the phrase “don’t be a cog in a machine”, spoke very strongly to me. Currently I have stable job which I appreciate and enjoy quite a bit, but at the same time it’s beginning to feel a bit repetitive. Every day is effectively a clone of the previous day: wake up early and get ready, drive 30+ minutes to work (which I actually enjoy), work 8hrs pushing for a rather arbitrary quota requirement by day’s end, then head back home where I unwind listening to podcasts while playing games or watch predictable TV shows.
I try and remind myself of the value I’m providing to our customers, and in meeting with several at our recent user conference I do know that the appreciation for my work is there. But at the same time, being 1 out of ~200 other tech support reps feels a bit minimizing; how much do I really stand above my co-workers, and what can I do to stand out more?
Stef and many other anarcho-capitalists and libertarians I’ve heard from place a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship; taking risk and throwing yourself out there to provide a unique product or service with value that is otherwise non-existent. There is strong criticism of salaried positions, and I don’t blame them as it’s very easy to get stuck in a stable job without opportunity to improve yourself; it almost acts against your interest to grow and improve. However, in my particular case, I’m so heavily dependent on my benefits that the thought of being an entrepreneur is entirely terrifying. Not to mention that I get the sense that my ideas that could be become productive avenues for me seem better suited for small side projects rather than a primary source of income, but with a stable full time job it’s hard to become motivated to even bother.
We only have this one life to live and we better make the best of what we have.
I then listened to Seth’s podcast of Getting Older which focused heavily on how us atheists deal with an end of life that is absent of an afterlife; that we only have this one life to live and we better make the best of what we have. It too dissuaded a strong focus on the typical 9-5 job and repetitive patterns that many of us fall into. I would say that the segment that stood out to me the most in this podcast was the listener who was searching for that thing that he could be passionate about and enjoy all the while he was ignoring the fact that he has a wife and kids that didn’t seem to fill this need. This would be such a sad realization to wake up to and this reminded me of one of those demotivational posters that reads, “It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.” This particular quote has come to my mind quite often as I observe the world around me, the mistakes, and misguided priorities of others.
I don’t quite know where to go from here, and at this time I don’t have a conclusion for this particular post, and that’s sort of the point of the post. I don’t think life should be about goals or where we’re headed. Sure those are important to have and to think about, but the more important aspect of life is our method of how we live.