Schools teach you to follow the rules, to conform. Most workplaces want you to do the same.
That’s okay for most people.
- “What’s the minimum I can do to make an A?”
- “How can I keep my job without ever being noticed or challenging the status quo?”
In my quest to read 52 books this year, I just finished The Philadelphia Lawyer’s, “Happy Hour is for Amateurs.”
There were plenty Tucker Max-esque stories, but neatly intertwined among all the crazy escapades and shenanigans were some great lessons for all of us:
There’s an accidental wisdom in following. Letting something else define you narrows the decisions you have to make. It gives you parameters, a track to follow and a holiday from all the angst that comes with carving your own path. If comfort’s the goal, there aren’t many better decisions.
Carving your own path isn’t easy.
You will have to think for yourself. You will invariably call attention to yourself. People will resent you if you’re successful. This is why most people yearn to be led. This is why most people spend their entire lives following.
Getting caught or letting something spin out of control always seemed an amateur’s play. The fun was finding the edge and playing around it, not falling off the thing.
Carving your own path isn’t standing out for the sake of it. You don’t have to have a mohawk, write about taboo topics on your blog, or wear Vibrams with your suit.
It IS challenging tired assumptions, it IS leading tough projects, it CAN BE over extending yourself to create meaningful change.
Once you buy into the notion that your time belongs to someone else, the game’s over. You’ll be on the merry-go-round for years before you even realize you’re there, running in circles.
Carving your own path doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and become an entrepreneur. I have news for you — I’m not quitting my job, it’s awesome. It does mean understanding that it’s just as risky (if not more) to have all your eggs in one basket.
So by all means, stay on the merry-go-round, but invest a little in the Ferris wheel and open a snow-cone shop, too. You’re in control. Carve your own path.