Reminder to Self and Reminder to You

Be brave. Do it scared. Refer to the sections “Scary, Scary, Scary” (page 12), “Defending Your Weakness” (page 16), “Fear Is Boring” (page 19), “The Fear You Need and the Fear You Don’t Need” (page 22), and “The Road Trip” (page 24) in Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Ramblings Inspired by My Weekly Life Crises/Y’all Are My Therapists

God, where do I start with this post? So many things make this thought come up: Filling out an About Me online, thinking of an interesting fact for introductions in a new class, thinking about what to do with any free time I get, thinking about who I am outside of what I do for others, thinking about living a life out of college and with a job and before having kids. My gut instinct is to go from college to having kids because what else is there to do? Living life is what there is to do, but what does that look like? I refuse to spend my life working, eating, sleeping, cooking, cleaning, running errands, and scrolling on social media. I don’t know what I like to do. That’s kind of a lie. There are things I think I would like doing, but I really don’t know because I’m too scared to try them. What are they? Building Legos, writing, making YouTube videos. What am I scared of? Looking stupid and wasting my time. I think about using these things to generate main or side income, and I think that if I don’t generate a significant amount that it would be a waste of my time, and I know that that is dangerous thinking—that if you use things you like to earn money, you can kill your enjoyment of it. But doing something you hate for money is also draining. I feel like there is some sort of way to generate income from doing things you like to do without killing your enjoyment of it, but in my head—in my fears—it feels like the only outcomes are being the relatively few that can make five, six, seven, or more figures from what they like to do or not making enough money doing things that you like to do that you have to suck up something you don’t like doing—that drains your soul. And how is it decided who can earn a comfy income from doing what they like to do? I don’t know. You’re just born being able to be that good? Probably not. I hear things like Malcolm Gladwell saying something along the lines of being really good at what you do (which increases your chances of being able to earn a lot of money from doing it) requires 10,000 hours of work on that skill. Ten thousand hours? That number is overwhelming. I feel like no one even lives for 10,000 hours, but I know that’s not true. I just did the math, and 10,000 hours comes out to 416 days and sixteen hours. Still sounds like a lot. But there are so many factors to consider: Why do 416 days seem like too long to get good at something/good enough at something to earn a significant income from doing it? But is that what Malcolm Gladwell said? That in order to earn a really good salary from doing something, you have to work 10,000 hours at it? No because so much of that is relative and there are many more factors that affect earning money from a skill/task/etc. How good is “good enough”/”good”/”grandmaster”/etc. How am I choosing all these words? Good enough is my own interpretation—good enough to earn a substantial income. Good comes from the Malcolm Gladwell quote from his book Outliers, which is where he wrote about the “10,000-Hour Rule.” And grandmaster comes from another quote of his where he explained on Reddit that popular culture has oversimplified this rule. Ten thousand hours simply seems to be the common or minimum amount of time that the greats he studied spent on their skill at which they’re considered naturally talented. Basically, he’s arguing that it’s not “natural” (innate, born) talent that these greats have in common. Maybe that’s part of it but also they spent so much time working on their skills, so there’s no way of telling if it’s just natural talent or practice. It’s probably a combination of both with a stronger influence from practice. So my point(s) of going from my weekly life crisis to Malcolm Gladwell are two-fold: 1. Being able to earn comfy income from a skill is not something handed out at birth that cannot be changed with time and 2. Ten thousand hours is not an unrealistic amount of time to spend working on a skill. It’s not an amount of time in which you’ll die before you get “good” or even ten years! If you spend only fifteen minutes every day, it will take you over 112 years to get that “good.” That’s a terrible example. Let me find another number—one hour a day will take 27 years to get “good”—better but still not ideal. I’m not going to keep crunching different numbers and saying you have to spend at least such and such amount to get “good” within a year or two or five years. We all know that the number of hours we work on something fluctuates day to day, week to week, month to month, etc. We almost never spend a predictable amount of time on something. And again, many people probably earn great incomes before spending 10,000 hours working on it, and/or 10,000 hours pass faster than you (I) think—probably a mixture of both with it being more likely that 10,000 hours pass faster than we think. I’m really bad at summarizing this post because another point to which I want to bring back attention is that you don’t have to be “good” according to Malcolm Gladwell’s standards and thus have to have spent 10,000 hours on your skill before you can earn amazing income from it. And depending on how extreme to which your brain tends to default, you can have trouble accepting the 10,000-hour rule and Kate Northrup’s Do Less philosophy, but I do think they can go hand in hand. You have to be able to untangle all the toxic ideas we’ve been socialized with regarding productivity and worth and deservedness. I don’t know if y’all have realized this by now, but most of my posts are reminders to myself or allowing me to flesh out and work through my thoughts in order to become aware of how I feel and figure out what I need to do next and/or whether a particular thought or idea serves me. “I don’t know what I think until I write it.” -Joan Didion YES, Ms. Didion. And then, I feel like an imposter for feeling that way/agreeing with a great. Who am I to think like a great? But she is a great because so many people can relate to her or see themselves in her work, and that’s why they like it and are drawn to it. And yes, I can think like a great. Because I’m not not a great just because I am not a millionaire. Money does not a great make.


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