It took me eight sandwiches and a couple of months to find the perfect combination of bread and toppings. My perfect sandwich comes with garlic focaccia, lemon-chili spread, smoked salmon, grilled zucchini and fresh tomatoes.
While I was biting into this delicious creation, I had a revelation:
It takes a couple of bad and unsatisfying choices to find the perfect fit - the perfect partner, the perfect job, the perfect style etc.
Fact is, if you don’t play around, you’ll never know what really works for you. That’s why it’s good to experiment - with lovers, with food, with jobs, with everything.
Tom Hodgkinson says,
“In a world where you are constantly asked to be committed, it is liberating to give yourself the license to be a dilettante. Commit to nothing. Try everything."
Here is a list of jobs I’ve done since I was 14 years old:
I experimented a lot and there were times when I felt that committing to myself was looked at as a crime.
Personally, I find it absurd to expect young adults to make a career decision for the rest of their lives. But weirdly, this is how our society works. You go to school and by the age of 18 you’re supposed to know what you want. If you’re lucky, you have parents who support you to study something you love. But even then, the things you love can change and what you were passionate about 10 years ago might bore you to tears now. If you’re unlucky, you were raised in an environment that is money and success driven and it doesn’t even occur to you that your job is supposed to be enjoyable.
There is pressure to know who you want to be at a very early age - without having a lot of life experience yet. On top of that, we live in a society that is ruled by fear; fear of not having enough money, fear of not being successful enough, fear of not being someone with a certain degree, fear of not being knowledgeable enough. This is another thing that prevents us from changing careers when we’re already established in a field. Fear says: "Hey, you better stick to that so-so job if there is a chance of getting a worse one."
People who made the switch told me that their parents and friends had a lot of worries like that they wouldn’t earn the same amount of money, not have the same opportunities or take a step back on the career ladder etc. They were worrying more about the outside factors than how the person is feeling inside and what makes this person happy.
It takes courage to not be influenced by the opinions of others and to also ignore your own thoughts that say:
Most of the thoughts you have are influenced by the environment you were brought up in. You don’t own these thoughts; they’re borrowed from your parents, teachers and friends that you grew up with. One way to check if your thoughts are original is to listen to them and see how they make you feel or if there is a clash between what you feel and what you think.
Most of the people I know haven’t changed their jobs in the last 15 years. Some of them climbed up the career ladder and some of them work for different companies but over all they’re operating in the same field. This really surprises me. Could it be that 90% of the people I know knew exactly what they wanted when they were 18 years old? Most likely not.
It’s comfort and fear that keeps people from trying different things.
If we would commit to our present selves more instead of committing to who we were 20 years ago, there would be more joy in our lives. Maybe less comfort, maybe less money, less success, less fame, but more joy.
If it takes eight sandwiches to find the perfect one, how can we expect to hit the perfect job with the first shot? It’s like deciding to eat the first sandwich that you’ve ever ordered for the rest of your life. OMG! I would have ended up with a microwaved cheese on toast and some ketchup on the side.
Dare to follow joy and ask yourself: Who am I now?
You might have changed.
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