Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Letter to an 18-year-old on the Career Path Less Traveled

By Leo Babauta

ecently an 18-year-old who is finishing school wrote to me, asking for advice on choosing a career without enough life and work experience to make an intelligent decision.

He said, "Should I take the road less traveled, which may be risky and fearful, or choose a college course that interests me to some degree and see where that leads to. I suppose I don't want to end up as the typical everyday-joe at the office from 9-5. I want to be different from the masses, to make an impact on this world, to be fulfilled. How do I get the best start into adulthood?"

It's such a great question. And what I love is that he's asking the question in the first place — most 18-year-olds just take the safe route.

Here's what I'd say: take the career path less traveled.

If you don't want to be the typical Everyday Joe, in a 9-to-5 office job, don't go the route that everybody else takes.

If you want to be different than the masses, you have to take a different path.

I took the safe path when I was 18, and got a job and went to college, and it didn't screw me up … but it also took me nearly 20 years before I finally found what I loved to do. It was a struggle, being on the road that's well traveled, because I was consigned to a career I didn't really like.

Yes, the career path less traveled is scarier. There are no guarantees. You are sticking your neck out, taking risks, being different, probably to the scorn of others. This is lonely.

But the loneliness is temporary. Soon you'll find others who are doing things different, and you'll connect with them in a way you'd never have connected with the people taking the safe path. You'll be inspired by them, and inspire them in turn.

And the scariness is a lesson worth learning — if you can overcome a bit of fear, you can do anything. You're not limited to the world of comfort and safety.

So what do you do on this scary, lonely, exciting path?

That's totally up to you — you are empowered to figure things out on your own.

But here are some ideas:

  • Learn about who you are. Meditate, and blog. Those are the best two tools for learning about yourself.
  • Teach yourself stuff. The Internet has anything you want to learn, from writing to 3D animation to programming to carpentry to guitar. Never stop learning.
  • Find out how to motivate yourself. There will be times when you don't feel like doing anything. This is a good problem to have, because you'll have to figure out how to solve it or else go get a boring job where someone motivates you. Solve it. You'll be much better prepared for the road.
  • Figure out what you're passionate about. This isn't easy, because it takes a lot of trial and error. Try a lot of things. When you get good at something, by the way, you'll like it much more. You'll suck at everything at first.
  • Help others. When someone doesn't know how to do something, teach them. When they need a hand, lend it. When they're stuck, offer yourself up. Seek ways to help. It will teach you a lot, including who you are and what you're passionate about. It's also good motivation.
  • Connect with others. Find people who love what you love, who are doing weird things, who travel, who make their own path. They are awesome and fun to hang out with.
  • Learn to need little. If you need very little, you don't need to make much. This frees you up to learn and explore more.
  • Explore the world. You can travel very cheaply if you need little. Meet new people. Learn languages. Work odd jobs.
  • Get really good at something. Practice, read more, watch others who are good, steal ideas and make them your own, work on projects that excite you and learn as you work on them, practice more.
  • Teach something valuable. If you learn to program, teach a beginner. If you learn poker or guitar or martial arts, teach that. People will thank you.
  • Get paid as a freelancer. When you've learned a skill, hire yourself out online. You don't have to be awesome yet, just don't charge a lot. Try to really deliver. On time. Be trustworthy and your reputation will grow.
  • Sell something. Make a small product, whether digital or real world, and sell it. You learn a lot by selling.
  • Learn to be a good person. Show up on time. Try your best to meet deadlines. Be honest. Learn compassion. Keep your word. Especially to yourself.

If you do half these things, you'll love the path. If you do almost all of them, your impact on the world will be palpable.

And when you've been traveling this path for 6 months or more, write me back and tell me how it's going.

with love,
Leo


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Art of Living- Leo Babauta

http://zenhabits.net/aol/

For many years I simply lived, and got by.

But in the last few years, after learning a bit about habits and mindfulness and simplicity and love, I have changed my approach to living.

Now I see living as an art form, to be studied and played with and practiced and mastered. Of course, few ever master the art of living, and I don't know if I ever will. Probably not.

But I can pursue this art. I can appreciate it when others do it well. I can learn about it, through experiments and observation and introspection.

My pursuit of the art of living is only just beginning, but I thought I'd share a bit about this pursuit with you, my good friends.

Beginning the Pursuit

The journey begins with a single step, a wise man said, and for me that first step is simple:

Admit I don't know.

Learning begins by emptying your cup, so that you can fill it with what you find. Emptying your cup means getting rid of pre-set opinions.

I don't know what the art of living is, but I am curious.

And so the path is one of open hands, of curiosity and finding out.

And it's one of bare feet, of being open and naked, willing to be exposed to life and chaos.

It's about clear seeing, mindfulness turned to seeing reality as it is, without trying to make things rosy or conform to the story you tell yourself.

Clear seeing, naked, open hands, curious without knowing. That's the path that I've found, so far.

The Art Emerges

With clear seeing, I start to see why I (and others) suffer, why we stress and get mad at each other and want more and more.

And now I can start to apply the art of living to my days.

Here's what I practice with, imperfectly:

  • Compassion. Instead of being angry or frustrated, I find the pain in others, and open my heart to them. This includes compassion for myself.
  • Gratitude. Life is filled with wonder, and the people around me as well. I try to open myself to that wonder, and be grateful it's there, instead of complaining.
  • Joyfear. Joy is an awesome thing to have, but joyfear is present in the powerful moments in life where joy and fear mix, where we're taking chances and doing something outside of our comfort zone that both excites us and makes us face the possibility of failure. I now embrace these moments rather than avoiding them.
  • Not avoiding discomfort or uncertainty. When we avoid discomfort, we are limited by our comfort zone, and new learning and new ventures become impossible. When we avoid uncertainty, we only stick to what we know. But we can purposely become good at discomfort and uncertainty, by practicing in small bite-sized chunks, over and over.
  • Staying with the moment, even when it's hard. This is the hardest of all. "Living in the moment" sounds wonderful, but actually staying with the present moment isn't ever easy. Try it: with your eyes open, sit still and stay with the sights and sounds around you for 1 minute, without your mind wandering away from them. If you don't notice your mind wandering, either you're an experienced mindfulness practitioner, or you didn't notice when your mind wandered.
  • Relationships are everything. Getting what we want, having things our way, having control, being right … these things matter nothing compared to relationships. Imagine being in your death bed at the age of 80 … will your sense of being right and in control comfort you when you have no good relationships, no one who has loved you? Put relationships first.
  • Not holding on to expectations & judgments. Expectations and judgments prevent me from enjoying what I have, from enjoying the simple presence of someone else in my life. I practice with noticing these expectations and judgments, and practice with holding them loosely, letting them go.
  • Letting go. This is the art of living in two words: letting go. It's letting go of judgments, expectations, wanting to be right, wanting to control, fear of discomfort, fear of uncertainty, fear of failure, fear of boredom, comparing myself to others, wanting distraction, being irritated, complaining. It's noticing when I'm holding these, and letting go. Loosening my heart's grip on any of these, and letting go. And then letting go again. And again.

And so the art of living is a practice, one that doesn't end, that doesn't have a mastery level. It's a constant letting go, a constant picking up again, and then letting go again. And falling, and getting up without beating myself up.

The art of living is the art of getting back up.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Judicial Services Commission- Questions

I live in the quite dramatic country called Kenya. Inhabited by 35 million, only a few political players call the shots and everyone else seems to be invisible in Kenya.

Mrs. Gladys Boss Shollei, a former university lecturer, then Editor, Kenya Law, Deputy CEO at IEBC and formerly, Chief Registrar, the Judiciary has been what it seems unceremoniously sacked at the Judiciary.

The truth is i have not insider information from the judiciary apart from the newspaper "He said, She said". 

My questions for Kenyans is;
1. Don't we have anything better in this country that works or why are we fixated with a few people.

2. As we are fixated with these few people, a lot of them are making money with serious investments, huge ranches, good government deals etc. I wish i could have time to do my own " Who owns Kenya?"

3. Is this fixation, a smokescreen. That Kenyans may never move beyond fixating on these few political players and focus on improving their lives?.

4. Don't we ever learn?

Filed under Stupidity