“Figure out a way to make money doing what you love!” – Random guru advice.
This piece of advice can be good, but it can also turn someone’s life into a nightmare of distractions.
Seth Godin actually accidentally told us a very good way to approach money and passion. Seth was a passionate writer and made no money at first with it. He wasn’t trying to monetize his writing at first, he simply wanted to write, and a job (or credit cards) was just a means for him to make enough money to keep doing what he wanted.
If you focus on doing what you want to do, it makes things a lot easier. – Truth Cake
For example, Mother Teresa wanted to help lepers. If she thought, “Ok, I need a business plan on how I can monetize this skillset.” She probably never would have done what she wanted. Instead, she focused on doing what she wanted, and the money to be able to facilitate her continued travels and such came through other means.
While it’s nice to get paid to do what you love, sometimes trying to monetize an activity isn’t the best path. Instead consider ways to make enough money to continue to do whatever you want to do, with trying to attach some monetary goal such as saying, “I need to be make $100k doing it.” But why 100k? So you have enough money to do save up and quit and do what you love? Just do what you love now. Maybe it’s time to stop forcing monetization into something that isn’t monetized easily.
Granted, certain passions are easier to monetize than others (eg. programming vs basket weaving). So you can’t take blanket advice such as “get rich doing things you hate so you can afford the things you love,” or “monetize your passion,” or whatever.
If you’re passionate about working at the homeless shelter, maybe you should not try to force monetization into that as much as just doing it for free, enjoying it, and making money in some other fashion.
Is it easier to make money in another unrelated way to facilitate doing what you love? Or does it really seem like the best path is to monetize your passion?
“The definitions of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome!” – Bad Gurus
(FYI – Einstein didn’t say this ridiculous statement, as he was false quoted as saying this.)
The problem with a garbage statement like that is that it ignores 2 elements of every decision made:
- Probability of outcome.
- Potential for ramifications.
If you’re 100% certain of an outcome, then good decisions become bad decisions and vice versa depending on if your 100% confidence is valid or not. If you knew for certain of the winning horse in a race, then you should bet everything you own – that’s the smart decision IF you were TOTALLY convinced. But if you knew it was a 60% change, the smart choice would be a much smaller size bet that you could handle the 40% chance of loss.
Just like if you shut down an entire economy would be a great idea if you were 100% certain that millions upon millions would die. But if you weren’t 100% certain of that many people dying, you might want to not be quite so extreme in your actions such as halting the world economy.
Misplaced certainty is the root of many of the world’s worst decisions. It ranges from Hitler’s certainty that the Jews were a plague and his decisions to fix that, decisions for the US to invade Iraq, racism, and so on.
Certainty is the most powerful, and dangerous, element in your decision making process.
Tony Robbins correctly points out that it’s a massive motivator as well. If you were 100% certain of a certain outcome, you’re more likely to perform the behaviors to get to that outcome vs if you only thought you had a 50/50 shot of ‘making it.’
Sometimes going all-in on a poker hand is the right thing to do, but sometimes you lose the hand. Losing the hand doesn’t make your decision bad – it was STILL a good decision, because if you repeat that decision over and over, eventually the probability will be in your favor and you will win.
Same thing for making a sales call where they don’t buy something, you should still make another call and do the same thing again, because the outcome may be different.
“The definition of insanity is not considering that very few things have an outcome that is 100% correlated with a particular action.” – TruthCake
When you start hearing people rant about as if they’re 100% certain of something, the chance of something stupid coming out next is almost inevitable.
If you knew 100% that
staying at home would save lives in the next few months, that would definitely
be a great decision to be made. But if you knew that the ramifications of that
would be suicides and billions of deaths from world wide starvation, then
suddenly the decision to stay at home is no longer “good.”
It’s very counter-intuitive to realize that making decisions with good initial outcomes are bad if their secondary outcomes are worse.
If you want to be happy, the easiest way to get that feeling isn’t meditation, or being selfless, or finding joy in your own being. It’s cocaine. But that is a bad decision because of the ramifications of that decision.
Sometimes a good decision seems bad because of the initial event that occurs, but is bad because of the long term. (eg. Doing drugs, but becoming an addict).
Sometimes a good decision makes you lose, because of the probabilities are still favorable.
It’s weird to say something like, “Saving a human being’s life is a bad idea.” But what if it was Hitler we’re talking about? Or what if the way we thought we could save that person was to shoot all the tigers coming straight for him, and he still died a moment later even after we shot all the tigers?
A couple examples –
Good decision – Bad
Going all-in on a great hand in poker only to lose by some unlikely chance.
Good decision – Bad outcome:
Investing in stocks for the long term but it goes down the day after you bought doesn’t feel good – but it’s the right decision to invest.
Bad decision – Good outcome:
Putting your life savings into the lottery, but you actually win the jackpot.
Trying drugs and having the time of your life.
Repeating a bad decision leads to a good outcome:
Making a sales call where the first lead says no, and you make another call and they buy.
Bad decision, immediately good outcome, but horrific negative ramifications:
Dropping the murder rate by 99% by incarcerating the entire country.
When you stack up probabilities as well as the event’s ramifications, you can begin to make much better decisions, and also understand why other people are so terrible at decisions when they ignore both of these elements.
Think for a moment about the following…
What good decisions have you made that seemed bad at first?
What things have you done repeatedly and gotten a different, and better, result?
What seemed like a good decision and had great (or bad) initial consequences, but the long term consequences were poor (or good)?
Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, as as well as gurus from The Secret, would tell us to simply visualize and think our way to wealth. Alex Becker tells us in the 10 Pillars of Wealth book that everything is our fault – both good and bad.
There’s massive pieces
of truth in this but are slightly incomplete.
Visualization and mindset conditioning is a popular idea because it can actually be extremely effective. However, critics point out that without the “hard work” it is incomplete.
If you’re not in the environment where hard work can pay off though, then you still lose, no matter your mindset.
You’ll never be in the right environment with a bad mindset though, because you’ll always find a reason to not do something, think it’s “too hard,” or too risky or whatever. You have to be in a situation where it’s possible to do the work that your mindset would allow to happen.
If you’re a prisoner, or someone on house arrest like most of the world in a Coronavirus world, having a better mindset is not going to help you one bit. However, being in a better environment would be helpful, such as not being a prisoner, or moving to a country that doesn’t revoke all rights in the event of a scary sickness.
Take a step back and see whether the actual situation you’re living in is the problem or is it purely a mindset issue. A prisoner doesn’t need better affirmations to start a business, instead, a prisoner needs to break out of prison first.
Maybe you’ve been blaming your poor mindset this whole time, but it’s actually something external that’s preventing your growth.
The events that happen to you may not your fault in a cause and effect sense of the word. But how you react to those events IS your fault. Alex Becker says you’re responsible if your loved one got in a car crash, and that mentality works very well because it keeps you feeling in control. But you’re not really in control on whether a freak accident occurred, but you ARE responsible on how you react to everything.
If you want to start a business but are a prisoner, maybe you break out, maybe you ride out your time. If you sit back and say, “Well, I’ll ride out my time and the silver lining is that I can get a lot of reading done in prison with no distractions from the outside world!”
But the silver lining to things is blinding.
You could say the silver lining to genocide in Rwanda is that it keeps the population down and quality of life for everyone else improves. “Ahh, what a wonderful world to see the beauty in all things!” But do you really want that silver lining?
While the silver lining exists in everything, you should consider trying to create better situations in the world where it’s not quite such a stretch to find a silver lining.
Meaning that you can see the silver lining with your great mindset, AND alter the external to better fix that by preventing warlords of ever getting into power to start something like genocide.
What thing did you not progress in because you thought it was a mindset issue, but you needed to be in a totally different environment to let that mindset prosper?
What silver lining did you see in a terrible event that was so positive that it made you feel like you didn’t need to truly fix or prevent the problem from happening?
Find out what’s holding you back in life and move past it! – Typical wrong guru.
What’s actually holding you back isn’t the same as what you think is holding you back – Truth Cake.
A lot of people think that if they didn’t have to deal with their job, their kids, their nagging spouse, or whatever that they could start working on their goals.
“If only I had more time, then I could get things done!” is the thought process many have.
Well, say hello to corona virus, being stuck at home, and having a bunch of extra time.
Are you getting into all those things you hoped to get started on when you “had more time?” If the answer is no, then you may see that when people have an excuse on why something isn’t getting done, it’s rarely because of the reason they give.
The silver lining is, you’re the one holding yourself back and everything’s a lame excuse (not enough time, job, kids, etc).
The bad news is that eliminating the problem (eg ‘not having to spend 10 hours at a typical job’) is not actually effective or that easy.
The good news is that the problem is really just ourselves and that can definitely be fixed.
It’s hard to eliminate the problem when you don’t know what the problem is.
What problems are you blaming other things for when in reality it might just yourself that is to blame?
See what successful people are doing and model them! – Random Guru
This is helpful SOMETIMES. The correct thing to do is,
See what successful people DID and model them! – TruthCake
The problem is that if you model someone that’s already made it, certain rules may no longer apply to them because they’ve already done other things in the past to get them where they are.
If a successful person can negotiate with hardball tactics because they are widely known, that may not work for you at all if you’re totally unknown. If a successful business launches products by sending a notification to their 100,000 email subscribers and you have 300 subs, it’s not going to work.
It’s important to try to not model the errors made in the early stages of the person you’re modeling though.
Knowing what’s an error and what’s not is extremely difficult even WITH hindsight!
Dan Kennedy points out that most ultra successful entrepreneurs have filed bankruptcy. Walt Disney, Donald Trump (yes, he’s successful in certain degrees whether you like him or not), PT Barnum, and countless others have filed bankruptcy. Kennedy states that filing bankruptcy may have actually HELPED them since it makes you see the worst thing that can happen and realize it’s really not as bad as people expected and makes them apt to take calculated risk in the future.
3 Goals to Modeling Efficiently and Properly:
- Find someone that’s in the situation you’d like to be,
- Examine and model how they got there,
- Bonus: If you’re extra skilled, identify and eliminate some of the missteps during that path they took.
1 way to botch up half the things you model is to just look at what successful people are doing and just “do that.” Sorta helpful, sorta garbage.
Model the path, not the person. – TruthCake
What people have you tried to imitate / model and it didn’t work because the person you modeled was in a vastly different scenario than you are?
Some gurus like Joseph Campbell will tell you to do what you love and the doors will open for you. Mark Cuban will tell you to do what you spend the most time on already and get better at that. Gary Vee will tell you to just focus on being happy. Dan Kennedy will tell you that you have to focus on bringing value, because no one is going to pay him to do what he loves (such as laying on a hammock and relaxing).
All of these ideas on handling your vocation have SOME merit. How would you feel if I gave you a recipe but forgot a single ingredient – yeast.
Being right doesn’t count if it’s not complete! – Truth Cake
Those gurus suggestions leave a nasty problem that no one talks about…
Let’s pretend you go the path of doing what you love, and that thing is perhaps “tennis.”
The problem is you don’t love tennis.
There’s 2 problems here:
- You don’t like anything on its surface (eg. tennis), you like the need that it satisfies (there’s only 6 needs). In this case, it may be Affiliation because you get to have all your buddies around when you play tennis.
- Incorrect associations and anchors. You may think you like you like tennis because you used to play tennis with your now-deceased parents, and it reminds you of them. You don’t love tennis, you love the connection with your family.
The 1st problem takes some time to really admit what you like about something – you may think you love helping build churches, but really you love Significance from seeing your name carved into a brick and scrawled onto a park bench for all your wonderful contributions.
The 2nd problem takes some deep searching to find out if the thing you like you actually like or if it just happened to coincide with other things you like. If every time it snowed you got to stay home from school and play with your friends, you may think you love snow, but you don’t love snow – you love not going to school and playing. So you move to a snowy climate, because when you “soul searched” and realized your happiest days were when it snows. But when you’re no longer school age, and it snows, you hate it because you still have to go to work. You realize then that you never loved the snow, you loved the situation surrounding it.
You have to find out if you love what you say you love, or if what you love coincides around its situation. Also you have to determine the deep psychological need is being satisfied when you do the thing you love. If you know what the need is, you may be able to find something else that satisfies that need more easily. Jeff Bezos originally was pursuing high level math in college, realized he wasn’t going to be the best in it but had the need to be the best at something (Significant) and realized being a business owner was an easier path for him to satisfy that need.
Ask yourself 3 questions:
1) What things have you been striving to do that you thought you loved only to realize it was something else that you actually loved that just coincided with the activity,
2) What deep need does “what you love” actually satisfy, and
3) Is there a more direct and easier way to achieve fulfilling that need besides doing “what you love” currently?
“You need to be efficient with everything you do!” – Random guru.
The reality is that if you think about things from start to finish, optimize to increase efficiency, many times you could have already completed the task by just doing it already without having to analyze the full process.
Longer tasks and/or repeated tasks should be done efficiently.
However, shorter tasks, especially non-repeatable ones, should just be done without any regard for efficiency.
Otherwise, efficiency will cripple you. The desire to do things right the first time, obsessing over perfectionism, and analysis paralysis are just the more commonly known negative slants on elements of efficiency.
Usually efficiency is a factor of time primarily more so than making the right vs wrong choice. It’s a way to deal with the process of going through with a decision. The decision to go from point A to B on a trip has been made, but how you go about it is where efficiency pops up mostly.
“I know how to lift a weight, but I’ll go to the gym after I learn a bit more about the best way to lift weights,” is the devil of efficiency cropping up.
Just get started, tweak as you go, and you’ll move faster.
What other things parade in your life as something good, like efficiency, but is actually secretly crippling you?
What is this site?
Self improvement for smart people.
I follow business leaders, gurus, and philosophers and note things others missed that I’ve found valuable.
This site is my precious treasure chest of ideas on business, philosophy and life. And hopefully during your pillaging here, you get your mind blown.
My life’s goals are to help summarize the human knowledge base, dispel self improvement myths, and achieve a resultant and unrelenting state of 24/7 euphoria. I’m kidding, but we’ll still try!
Follow along on my journey!