I’ve always wanted a map. Something to tell me exactly how to do what I want to do, and do it right.
Well, not always. When I was a kid I made movies. And comedy skits. And drawings. I don’t remember looking for a map. I remember having fun.
But when I got older, I wanted a map. I felt the pressure first in school, because there is definitely a right way to do things in school.
Play the game. Get good grades. Get into a good college. Get a shot of having a stable career.
Then it crept into my spirituality. Go to church X times/week. Pray X times/day, in this particular way. I became kind of spiritually OCD and it sucked.
Then I knew it was bad when it even crept into my dating life. I was constantly checking in with friends and reading dating advice.
Should I say this? That? How often should I reach out? Which date should I hold hands? When should I make it official?
I was looking for right answers.
But there weren’t any right answers.
I even did the same thing in a part of my life that should have been totally free and creative: my music production.
Is this the right drum sample? Will it work for what’s on-trend right now? What about the right plug-in? Should I master myself or hire out? Which mastering engineer?
I got so map-oriented that I literally had to tape this on my desk to remind myself to actually enjoy what I was doing:
Then I started to realize that A) this was making me incredibly unhappy and B) people didn’t know the answers.
Well, they thought they knew the answers, but would always contradict each other. And it’s hard to actually validate their advice. It might have worked for them (or not), but that doesn’t mean it will work for me.
I’m starting to learn, however, that the most important things in life don’t have right answers. There is no map. There may be models, analogies, and metaphors, but there is no how-to guide.
And I think realizing that fact alone is one of the most freeing things in life.
Which career should I choose? There is no right answer. And please for your own sake don’t outsource that question to people around you. Only you can answer it.
Just like only you can answer whether or not to marry that person, initiate in that relationship or give to that person you know needs help.
We are all looking for people who make decisions that are interesting, authentic and well-intentioned. We want innovators, risk-takers and those who want to move things forward.
We get scared to do it ourselves because we might fail, but we love when others take the chance.
Then after they succeed we look up to them as successes, role models and those far above us in life.
But they’re just people who decided, “Hey, I’m going to choose this path because I think it’s exciting, it matters to me and it may help someone else. Who knows how it will end up.”
It’s okay if it doesn’t work. Maybe we should be more “explorers” than drivers following a GPS anyway.