In case you missed the title, what are you good at?  Are you good at writing?  Maybe you are good at teaching?  Are you an all pro linebacker?  Do you build amazing kitchens?  Can you rebuild an engine in your living room while watching the Simpsons?  I don’t know what I’m good at.  Do you?

In my experience, most people don’t really know what they are good at.  What are we told to do in that case?  Well, often we are told to go to college.  Those first 18 years were basically a mulligan.  You are told you don’t really know what you want to do, so go to college.  That will get you ready for the real world.  OK. What am I going to study?  Well, get a business degree.  Everything in life is business.  It will be easier with a piece of paper.

So now we spent four years, and conservatively $25000 getting a degree.  Which by the way is $2.9 million by retirement if you had invested it instead of spending it on college.  Thats not related, but I figured you should know.

So now what?  Well, I really like cooking, but I have this business degree, so I should go get a job in management.  I really like tinkering with lights, but I can’t pursue that, because I have to use this degree.  I like to forge knives, but I can’t, because I have to use this degree.

Even worse is when you don’t know what you are good at, even with the piece of paper.  So we plunge headfirst into a world we don’t want, and a world that doesn’t want us.  We are the lost, the overlooked, the ignored.  At best we get worn down to fit into the square hole.  We settle into the placid suburban life, and lie to ourselves that it makes us happy.  At worst, we spend our entire lives running from ourselves.  Unable to rest, because no matter how far you run, you are right there with you.

I got started thinking of this yesterday, because I saw an article, based on a book.

 

I have always struggled with the break between my passions of food, cooking and agriculture, and my ability to provide a living for myself and my family.  Who doesn’t struggle with this?  My dad would chuck is IBM life in an instant to live in his truck with a beret, and banjo and an easel.  I want to run screaming from a retail career (and who doesn’t) and live on a mountain and raise goats and cows to sell.  A friend of mine goes to school, to learn how to run his business, which takes time away from his running his business.

Although the book excerpt and the article make the contention that if you are unsure, you should farm, I don’t whole heartedly agree with that.  Yet I could completely understand the passion of the writer in talking about how much happier he was following his dream.  Wouldn’t we all be in a better place, if only we stopped to become the best in the world at whatever we cared about.  In the future, someone who can make the knives in the world will be a hell of a lot more valuable than an average middle manager.  Maybe we should all stop trying to fit in that damn square hole.

We all know someone who struggles with this disconnect.  My goal was simply to get you to think about it.  I know from experience how lonely that place of struggle is.  Reach out to someone today, and tell them their dream isn’t stupid.  Tell them, they should work towards that future.  Share this post with them, or send them a personal message.  Wouldn’t we all be better of if we did that instead of sanding down each others edges?

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