May 27, 2017
As life goes on, there’s the sense that we enroll in the next phase of our lives as if the whole thing is a regularly scheduled program.
Elementary school (grades 1 -> n) -> high school -> [post-secondary -> graduate school] -> employment/academia, -> Whatever hierarchy your job dangles in your face (analyst -> associate -> senior associate -> principal -> …; junior -> senior -> director …) -> etc.
At each step, we inhabit a phase of our lives that presupposes how we should spend our time for us and sets the parameters of our behaviour. Always enrolling in someone else’s program for our time.
You can’t get what you want if you outsource who you are to what you’re in. Making that mistake, “What are you in?” quickly becomes confining, better put as a jailhouse greeting: “What are you in for?”
A better question: “What are you in on?” This is independent from what you think you’re in. You decide what you’re in on. What does a day look like in your ideal life 20 years from now? What do you care about? What do you want to work on? What are you afraid of, and what are you doing about it? What are you working on outside of school/work? What’s your side project?
What would your life look like if you could say you were all in? On yourself, on a project, a skillset, whatever.
Blindly enrolling in any phase means taking someone else’s word for what you should do instead of thinking for yourself.
This all boils down to one question: What do you want?