When I Grow Up

Komisar QuoteI have been thinking a lot about a conversation I had with a friend recently – moreover, though, how I can’t help but feel that I have had this same conversation with dozens of people, and that I often wonder how many times a day this same conversation takes place.

It takes many forms, but, at its core, the message is always the same.

‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.’

And though this dilemma carries with it a connotation of youth, I find that many of the people trapped within it are, ironically, not young at all – they are simply facing the reality a bit farther down the road.

The truth is, though, you should feel relieved – at any age – to have this thought consuming you – and, if it doesn’t, perhaps you should try to conjure up some fear of it. Crises of this sort mean that you want more out of life – that your personal composition today is not sufficient, that you hunger for change that gives birth to self-betterment.

But we distract ourselves from this realization too often. It bubbles to the surface, and we panic – that is, until a well-meaning confidant assuages the fear by assuring us that it is natural, normal, and healthy.

In fact, that advice is sound, but it is missing a key followup. Continue reading

Creating a Vacuum (or, when to move on)

Careers and relationships are curiously similar, I think, and as a pair are quite unique in how we approach them. We dive headfirst into these commitments with only partial information – information which, more often than not, turns out to be inaccurate.

I don’t mean to imply that job openings and potential romantic partners are intentionally misrepresented (though, I’ll admit, they sometimes are). I mean to say that they are simply two aspects of life that must be understood experientially – initial descriptions and appearances suffice only to lure you in, and you’ll only truly understand them by experiencing them over the course of time. Continue reading

Twentysomething

George Harrison Quote

Sometimes I stroll into the grocery store and a big, goofy grin spreads over my face.

Look at me, buying my own groceries.

It’s not that I particularly love grocery shopping, exactly. Despite being 26 years old, I just still get a kick out of being an adult.

I distinctly remember homecoming weekend, sophomore year of college, sitting around with a group of alumni recounting their glory days. They spoke of how much they missed college, how things were never the same after they graduated, and how the four years they spent in school were the best years of their life. I wondered silently if I would feel like that in a few years – past the peak, looking downhill on a life doomed to be considerably less stimulating.

Continue reading

Jealousy, Relationships, and the Voices In Your Head

Tim Ferriss Quote

The brain is a wondrous instrument – it builds detailed mental models of how our world functions, storing a dizzying array of information based on historical observations that we’ve made. The purpose of these models, or schemas, is to provide us with a framework for decision making prior to committing to a given course of action.

It allows us to play out a scenario within the comfort of our own minds – it’s a sort of forecasting system, a Dopplar radar for social functions, that is designed to add a degree of predictability to our world. When you’re invited to a party, you quickly analyze the person who invited you, the other known guests, the venue, and any other information to make a quick run-through of the night.

Will it be fun? Will it be my scene? What time will I get home?

Your mind runs a explores simulations and then you make a judgement call whether or not to attend – and, if you do, what you should expect. The problem is, it often ends up being very wrong.

Continue reading

Facing Reality

Flick, flick. Nothing.

The power was out in my apartment. In the middle of June. Awesome.

I walked out the door and down the hall, finally coming across a neighbor on the floor below me.

“Hey man, is your power out too?” I asked.

The neighbor shook his head no and that’s when my mind began to put the pieces together. The piled up mail on the counter. The voicemails on my phone that I hadn’t checked in days. I walked back into the apartment, took a deep breath, and fanned out the mail like a deck of cards. I saw it immediately and my heart plummeted.

It was the shut-off notice from the power company. Continue reading

Life’s Biggest Secret

Yesterday you said tomorrow

The remarkable thing about life is that you are the master of your mind, the undisputed main character in an epic journey through this world. Command your mind or your body and it will obey. You can use this power to shape your future as you see fit; your legs will walk to the gym even if you’re lethargic, your vocal chords will produce sound even if you’re nervous to speak up.

But, for all of the incredible features that come standard on the Human Body, autopilot is not one of them. In the absence of instructions, your mind and body will remain in the default state of Doing Nothing. It will not make friends for you if you don’t socialize, it will not find you a new job if you don’t seek out opportunities. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Trust and Relationships (and when both go bad)

A photo from a trip I took to Patagonia. I love this quote. PS. You know you wanna Pinterest this…

I see a constant stream of Facebook status updates about people hating work and desperately craving the short vacation that the weekend brings. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about trust and how it affects your personal and professional lives – two things that often beg escaping.

A few months ago, I decided to outsource some administrative tasks for my business – tasks that I’ve been doing for years. It was an enormous relief at first – the cost was low and the contractor was highly rated and highly recommended. But over the past few months, I’ve noticed a series of mistakes that have eroded my confidence in the quality of the work.

I realized today that I have a near-constant feeling of anxiety nagging at me. See, your brain is enormously active and attentive even when you’re on autopilot – despite the fact that I may be deeply engaged in another important activity, like the latest episode of Mad Men, my subconscious is vigilantly aware of the fact that I’ve entrusted an important task to an unqualified individual.  Continue reading