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Remember that every journey begins with a single step

Just a quick moment to say thank you to the artist Oliver Malin for this insightful and thought-provoking post about life, success, doubt, and finding what you really want to do with your time.

Oliver was also kind enough to complete our rigourous Esc Hero interview (which you can read here). Check out his fantastic website, Life is Luck: An Introduction to LA and his Facebook page.

Remember that every journey begins with a single step

I know I am not the only one out there who fills brief spouts of insomnia on wikipedia trying to gauge how someone got to be in a position worthy of Wikipedering (Is that a verb yet?)

Don’t worry, this pastime alludes to an underlying ambition, even if it only involves discovering how Rankin made the transition from trained accountant to being one of the biggest photographers on earth.

However, the problem with having this sort of Wikipedia obsession is the gulf between your present reality and the object of your attention seems even greater than before. Doubt, the most dangerous thing in the western world after terrorism suddenly crops into your mind and a million reasons are automatically generated as to why you can’t do something;

I am too old, I am too young, I am too under-qualified, I am too under-experienced, how will I eat?, where will I sleep?

These are just some of the favourites Doubt employs on a freelance basis to stop you and your dreams driving into the sunset.

So how do we go about bypassing Doubt and taking the steps towards making what you do on a daily basis fulfilling, enriching, and conducive to filling your with the kind of passion, advertisements make you believe exist?

Well the first step is to escape the ‘city mentality’. It might then be firstly helpful to define what the ‘city mentality’ is, which will allude to why it needs escaping.

The city mentality can be summarised as work being a purely mechanised and routine process, with an end goal of accumulating as much wealth as possible to be spent in those few hours work gives you that can occasionally be called your own.

As this already has a strong socialist undercurrent, I may as well pull out my favourite Noam Chomsky quote about how capitalism makes us work until we drop to fill our houses with things we don’t need. This idea is obviously overly radicalised to make a point, however the ‘city mentality’, one in which an individual’s feelings and interest are pushed aside for the sake of purely material gains needs to be challenged at every level because it is detrimental to your development. The more systemised we become, the less likely we are to grab our dreams by the horns.

However all this idealism would be fruitless without some practical advice to taking those steps to your career salvation.

A great place to start would be to identify where you are now and where you want to get to. So, for example, if you are solicitor and want to start your own organic fruit-by-bicycle business, do some grass roots research into the industry. Find out what people want and why that need isn’t being fulfilled at the moment etc.

Then start discussing the idea with friends and reach out to find other budding entrepreneurs who can offer great advice in all the areas you need to consider etc cash flow, promotion, supply chain etc.

A great website for reading realistic case studies that aren’t shrouded in pure business waffle is www.smarta.com or this site.

One important piece of advice is not to be scared to ask people a lot of questions. Successful people continue to ask questions daily, even if they started Google. No one got to any position in this world through pure silence. This kind of learning from collective experience can often be more educational in your chosen field then anything a text book and qualification can give you. So if in doubt, ask.

So we know where we want to go and have spoken to a few people about it, but how are we going survive income wise?

This question can’t be easily answered or defined. However, I would say that pursuing our dreams isn’t an overnight process. We need to build ourselves up gradually so when we do take that plunge, we don’t fall totally flat on our faces. So if you are in administration and want to be a florist, spend sunday afternoons working in your local flower shop and learn that business inside out.

Apply a mentality of gaining experience and insight into that area where you think your dreams lie. If you then come to the conclusion that you are happy in your current position, the journey of discovery has only helped you develop and may lead to new ideas forming.

My last point (and hopefully one takes us back to where I began at Wikipedia) is that there is not one set path to achieving anything anymore. I think we all can take great confidence from this premise and definitely use it as an antidote to doubt and remember that every journey begins with a single step.

  • andrew

    I agree with the ideas on this article, except for one part, and that is that there is a socialist undercurrent. I think bank bailouts are a form of socialism for the rich, and it is individual freedom which should be the undercurrent, the individual freedom to decide to escape and do something for society. Money is defined according to inflation and economic output, and not according to individual liberty, and it is liberty to choose and to do something meaningful that should be the aim.