Personal Development

I Chose a Bad Strategy

Often I think about the years I spent doing work I didn’t love.

I learned a lot of great things and met amazing people. They weren’t bad years. In fact, they were pretty good. A big reason why they were good was because I felt I was doing everything for a purpose: someday I’ll have enough money to go on my adventure.

In theory, all of my work and effort was aimed at that goal.

But year after year passed and there was never more money, no fluent Spanish, or any freedom to travel. In fact, my years of work didn’t put me one step closer to my dream of walking to South America.

This is because of a glitch.

In the human mind there is an error of logic. Our belief is: the best way to achieve something is to plan for it. Because we believe this we are very valuable workers, voters, consumers and soldiers. After all, to plan for something you need time, income and stability. And lots of luxuries to keep you sane during the wait.

If our belief was true, most people would find that after 5-10 years of college and career they are able to back away from full time work and do the things they love.

Does that sound like the real world?

The belief is mistaken. The best way to achieve something is not to plan. It’s to jump in immediately.

(Immediate is relative. It could be today or a one year process. But there is no delay.)

This approach isn’t perfect. There are many problems you’ll face with this approach. But you’ll handle them better reactively. You’ll make better decisions about problems as they actually happen, than you would in a plan.

And you’ll actually make progress.


13 thoughts on “I Chose a Bad Strategy

  1. nickiofcourse says:

    I love the picture! And I love this post. It’s my favorite way of being: I’m going to jump and a magic net one way or another is going to catch me. It hasn’t failed yet!
    Spinning the wheels does nothing but put off doing The Thing. Nike was dead on right with their JUST DO IT catchphrase.
    (I’m currently quitting daycare in September with nothing else lined up. 4 kids, a husband and house- we NEED my income. I am not concerned. I already know I’ll be doing something that I love, something soul nourishing to me, and the money will follow. Life is Magic.)
    Carry on! And Just keep doing it!

  2. This is so true.

    It’s taken me 3 years to pay off my debt. I’ve finally reached that milestone — it’s been long and arduous — but I’ve learned so much along the way.

    I’ve learned to be more frugal, and slowly move towards unbinding myself and my life from money. Easier said than done, but I believe it’s possible. I feel the more you can do that, the more free you can be to do The Thing you’ve been waiting for all your life, as Nicki said.

    The best thing you can do with this knowledge is to apply it now, and pass it along to others. Thanks for writing this Drew.

  3. shel says:

    I love this! It’s so easy to read this & nod & shout “But, of course!” and yet another to find the courage to just let go & DO. It’s difficult to let go of a life that is mapped out & guaranteed & venture into the unknown … but what excitement & adventures could lie ahead! Thank you for this inspiring message.

  4. Off topic, but I love the photograph. I believe the art in it is based on the work of Andy Goldsworthy:
    If you haven’t seen Mr. Goldsworthy’s work, you’re missing out! Students here at the university next door to me each semester do a tribute to his work and try to do outdoor projects like it. Awesome.

    Back on topic: You can always plan to not have a plan. After college, I had a five year plan that ended in disaster right away. I should have planned for disappointment, but the adventures and challenged I faced made me stronger. The best is yet to come. That’s the attitude I try to cultivate, especially when I’m feeling like I’m not getting anywhere.

    • Thanks Val! Not sure if that image is based on A. Goldsworthy or not, but been a big fan of his since seeing a book of his work at the Art Institute of Chicago when I was 10 or so. Thank you.

      • I’ve been following his work since I was a freshman in college. A documentary on his work “Rivers & Tides” is so soothing, I sometimes watch it before I go to bed after a rough day. His hands are callused and he’s full of scars after all the outdoor sculpture he does. Truly a genius! If you get the chance, netflix or rent “Rivers & Tides” for inspiration. Mr. Goldsworthy is a true visionary/adventurer!

  5. It is so refreshing to hear someone else talking about this. I have spent my whole life waiting and realized that the life I want isn’t not going to find me, I have to make it happen. Cheers to living the lives we want!

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