As ideas come to me, I write them down and have a long list of future blogs. Yesterday I watched the below video from Steve Jobs as part of my MIT course and decided to put the list to one side and simply share the video. I’m actually amazed that I have never seen it before. I spend a fair amount of time looking at TEDTalks and other sources of inspiration, yet had never seen this.
Dropping out and dropping in
Before this blog comes across as my case for arguing why Steve Jobs and I have a lot in common …… it’s not. Steve Jobs is no David Mellett (and vice-versa of course), but there are a few things in his story which resonate in my own story over the last few years.
First, to a certain extent I “dropped out” of corporate life as I couldn’t see how it was helping me to achieve any of the things which are important to me in life. This was the case for Steve with University. It was only after I dropped out that I was able to start “dropping in” on other things. Again, like Steve, I had no idea what I wanted to do. There was no master plan. I went to one conference with a friend of mine I was helping at the time. That was the beginning of my journey of discovery about entrepreneurship, start-ups, crowdfunding and collaboration. The impact of me dropping in on that conference isn’t the same as the inspiration which Steve got for coding the first Mac but it could prove to be just as significant in the course of my life as that class was in his. You just never know as you cannot connect the dots going forward.
Love what you do, do what you love
At the moment, I’m not sure that I am doing the one thing which will make me happiest in life but what I am sure about is that it makes me a whole lot happier than when I was working in large companies in the financial sector. Part of the reason for that is that my attitude to work has changed since I left my job. One of the biggest evolutions I think is happening, and will continue to happen over the course of the next few decades, is that we will redefine the term “job”. I once told somebody close to me that the company I was working for was great if you wanted a job but crap if you wanted to make a difference.
I guess I have never really wanted a “job”, where I sell time for money. I have always been seeking something else, without knowing what it was. I’m probably still searching but working with start-ups in a more dynamic environment where I can see the impact of what I do, is certainly taking me closer. There are frustrations in start-ups just like there were when I was an employee but I’m starting to love what I do and this makes it easier to deal with them. That is why I push the “Happy Canvas” to the start-ups I coach http:/http://www.thehappystartupschool.com/ . Find what makes you happy as getting paid to be unhappy isn’t sustainable !!!!
Stay hungry, stay foolish
We are of course all different. Some of us work better under pressure, some of us don’t. What I think is true, especially for entrepreneurs and start-ups, is that you need to have your back against the wall a bit to stay creative and take risks. Whereas many feel that the lack of money is the reason they cannot achieve what they want to achieve, there are also cases where having too much money is the reason they fail. Once we become complacent or once things get too easy, we lose a little of that hunger which we need to be successful.
When I started my entrepreneurial journey, I took the easy road to begin with. I had the luxury of being able to choose what I wanted to do and take the necessary time to figure it out. That was over 18 months ago and since then, the pressure has been building, little by little. As time goes by, so does my appetite to take a little more risk as my confidence that I will choose the right dots for the future also builds. I need that pressure to stay creative but also to be opportunistic and not spend forever figuring out what I should do.
Yesterday, as part of the MIT course, I had to write a letter to myself from the future. Imagine the type of future you would like to be part of and imagine yourself in it. Then turn around and speak to yourself where you currently are today. What advice would you give yourself? It’s a very interesting question to ponder? Though I won’t share the entire letter with you, I will share the last two sentences as a parting thought “Move forwards, not backwards. The future needs you, the past does not”. Signed by Future David circa 2020.