Since childhood, I have had a gift for working with computers. For a
while, this seemed like the perfect fit for my life. My grade school
teachers were not surprised to find me interested in computers in high
school. My high school teachers were not surprised that I took
computer science in university. One of my university teachers told me
I’d do well in “hard” computer science and encouraged me to go for a
master’s degree, maybe even a PhD.
But I am also awakening to a gift I have with people. I want to reach
millions and millions of people over generations and generations. I
want to lift them up, inspire them, share my experiences with them.
I want to tell their stories and help make their dreams come true.
This is what I want to do with my life.
I don’t want to wait until I’ve made my money before I do good. I want
to get out there and live and love and do and write and speak and
share. I will keep my needs simple, my schedule flexible, and my
overhead low so that I can spend as much time as possible developing
myself and other people.
I belong to the world not just as a mind, but also as a heart, and I
will make a life that allows me to express both.
So, concretely, how can we make this happen?
- I want to repay the trust the university has shown in me by finishing my master’s degree and doing well.
- I want to set up a newsletter and topic-focused blog that inspires people and shares tips with them.
- I want to write best-selling books. The second book will be easier than the first, so I should really just sit down, pull out material from my blog, do more research, and make this happen. Hey, maybe even before I’m 25. ;)
- I want to be a totally awesome professional speaker. That way, I can reach *lots* of people with not only my message but with my communication style. It’s also a good reason to meet people around the world.
- I want to set up an organization for generous connecting.
- Lots more!
How can I make this self-supporting? I want to get as quickly as
possible to the point where I don’t have to worry about my expenses so
that I can follow these crazy ideas for free. Then I can build up my
crazy idea capital, and then we’re off!
The best way for me to do that is not to plan for retirement at 60
with a slow-and-steady savings plan, but to take advantage of my crazy
ideas, train my intuition, and get better at going from crazy idea to
If I open my mind and look for ways I can create value for other
people (like my networking business cards that list my favorite
networking books!), then I’ll probably be able to create enough value
to make the kind of life I want.
(Crazy idea! Trust in coincidence by having business cards with random
stuff on the back. Moo cards does this with Flickr photos. Why not do
that with whatever you currently want/have? I think business cards
should be short-run and current. That way, they’re more than just a
static piece of contact information, and you’ll have reasons to keep
giving people your cards and for people to keep reading yours! Maybe I
should start date-stamping my business cards… Ah, now there’s a
Right. That’s the ticket. I should keep a notebook of all these crazy
ideas. Probably a blog page *and* a paper notebook. Probably part of
my Moleskine. And I should go and make those crazy ideas happen, like
advertising on my laptop or tweaking my business card, etc.
I don’t mind giving the ideas away. I get terrific feedback. In fact,
if other people pick up the idea and run with it, that means I get to
train my crazy-idea sense for free!
Remember the movie Phenomenon? I want to be that guy, overflowing with
lots of ideas and improvements! I want to be someone you tell about
the cool stuff you’re working on because I’ll be enthusiastic about it
too, and I *might* just go “Hey, what do you think about trying out
Simon’s fantastic at designing systems from scratch. I’m good at
thinking about how to improve something that’s already there, finding
things to smoothen, noticing things that are missing… Come to think
of it, even my computing background points to this. Why do I love open
source development? Because I can build on what’s there! Why am I
totally addicted to Emacs? Because it indulges my crazy-idea thing!
So I want the ability to explore all these crazy ideas even when I’m
working. I have lots of options in terms of the type of job, too.
- A high-margin job that will train me up and take advantage of what I can do well and the crazy ideas I can come up with – marketing and sales, maybe?
- A job that develops my skills even though it requires more work and concentration, such as writing. But not for long.
- Something that pays for my expenses without demanding any mindshare, such as waiting tables ;) (Can’t do that on my work permit, though!)
Right. Getting a better sense of what I want in life. There we go. Does that sound like a plan? Let’s make it happen. =)