It has been a busy this year so far: Trying to keep blogging on a regular basis, pushing forward my design work, paintings and musical endeavours like DJing. And my energy invested has been paying off. Not in a big way, more like in a “I am happy with myself” way.
This focus on getting things done might have been connected to me hitting the big 4-0 last year and realizing that my time on this planet is limited. Some people might call it a midlife crisis, but I rather call it a “motivational awakening”! Actually, I always enjoyed doing many different things at the same time instead of committing my sole focus on one big goal and I must admit I always kind of felt guilty about it. The term “Jack of all trades, Master of none” is not a great label to be attached to.
Funny thing though: I know a lot of people who are stuck in a similar situation. People who want to do so many things that they never actually cross the start line doing at least one!
This fascinates me. Especially when I see so many people depressed, dreaming of adventures they never embark on which leaves them miserable and unhappy whilst living in one of the richest and safest places in the world ( talking about the middleclass parts of Europe here).
So what’s the root of all this ambition and unhappiness?
The reason of this internal suffering is very well explained in this Huffington post article “Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy” by Tim Urban of Wait But Why:
“The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security. The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY. Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.”
( “A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.” It’s all explained in the article so go on and read it! It’s worth it! )
I think trying to live your own dream and having ambitions is not inherently wrong. Especially when you realize that you are crazy lucky to even have these issues. Not only did you win the sperm race against millions of other competitors, but you managed to manifest yourself on this tiny spec of dust in the vast emptiness of the known universe. Oh, and apparently this show called life has no rehearsal and jumps straight into the main play! No pressure there!
So I ‘d say it’s OK to feel at least A BIT special whilst hearing the clock of life ticking!
Our society and media are not really supporting a humble outlook on life goals either, fanning the fire of ambition even further. How does my career having a 9 to 5 compare to this entrepreneur that keeps on Instagramming all these damn yacht pictures? Badly is the answer!
A excuse back in the day not to get going used to be: Well I don’t have the equipment!
With digital technology at our fingertips enabling us to film awards winning movies on our mobile phone if we only choose to, there really is NO excuse anymore to not follow your dreams, existent or not!
When even a multimillionaire and iconic rapper/producer that already achieved the highest of highs like Kanye West is sad that he can’t be the next Michaelangelo, then the issue of “Generation Y Yuppie Unhappiness” goes all the way to the top and is blatantly not connected to just earning money and being famous.
It’s the annoying feeling that there are still so many ventures left unexplored!
These days it’s not enough to just be amazing in one thing if you can have a go doing all these other things too. So although “Jack of all trades” used to be a bad term connected to mediocrity in the past, today it’s all about exploring all the possibilities this short life of ours has to offer.
One can imagine my delight and feeling of validation stumbling across this TED talk:
Whilst I DEFINITELY prefer having a specialist for a heart operation as a surgeon, I think it’s ok to embrace all the different paths that might appeal to you in order to have the most fun on this planet without carrying the stigma of being indecisive or being called a “Jack of all trades”.
As I try to walk the path of many roads at the same time without feeling guilty about it, I thought I could share my Top 5 Tips on how to try to indulge in as many passions as one can without getting lost…
1) Embrace your unique shittyness
You might not be the best potter in the world, but that should not stop you from pottering. I know a lot of people might criticize this article, but I had fun writing it and I am more than up for a discussion. Being exposed to all the talent in the world via our digital appliances can be a massive demotivator, but if you feel something might be worth it just stop thinking and start doing! Embrace the fact that the initial product might not be up to the level you wanted to but hey: Life is about the journey, not the destination!
This attitude did not only lead me to start blogging again, but to think less about it. It made me take acting classes, drum lessons, do improv theatre and even end up doing stand up on stage just to see how it feels.
2) Stop distracting yourself
Yeah a night down the pub with mates getting wasted is great fun but it’s zero productive… most obvious fact ever! One day I was realizing that I was so busy consuming stuff I liked like magazines, clothes and screenprints that I actually stopped producing anything tangible myself I could feel proud of!
Again.. Why But Why explains this whole ordeal perfectly.
This realization led me to be motivated go home getting things done rather than going for a quick fix of feelgood to the next party or pub. It’s still a daily struggle, but a struggle that pays off.
3) Get real with what you want
So you want to crochet a blanket, do stand up, learn how to juggle and take up boxing? It’s important to figure out what’s first, what’s second and what’s actually maybe interesting but not urgent at all. A good way to figure this one out is by checking your pain tolerance. For what are you willing to suffer?
For example I really enjoyed boxing but when I realized I had to get real with my fitness regime to reach the next level I stopped because it wasn’t that important to me at that time. Then again the urge to being able to enjoy and DJ music was strong enough to fill my Mixcloud account with 43 one hour long mixes!
4) Try to stop caring about recognition
Super hard as we are all online and the world is watching our every move! Plus we all want to be super awesome, let’s be real. It still should not hold you back from posting your latest track or publish that gallery of images you just took on Facebook if you feel like it.
But what if the track you just did in Garageband sucks? What if your stencil Graffiti of Mickey Mouse peeing on a Mc Donalds sign is getting hated on the internet? What can I say, try to get over it. Some people gonna dig it, some people gonna hate it, if you are personally happy with the outcome at that time just roll with it.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST…
5) Be less Kanye and more Pharrell
Talking about two renaissance men doing many things at the same time!
A mantra I tell myself time and time again when that little self entitled douchebag turns up at my doorstep that get’s all pissy and outraged about how his genius is not getting acknowledged and how he should get this or that… I just breathe in and tell myself: BE LESS KANYE AND MORE PHARRELL!
While Kanye’s behaviour with his hissy fits, megalomaniac statements, self entitlement and disrespectfulness to his fellow artists really doesn’t win him any fans, Skateboard P just hugs a minion and does all the things Kanye craves doing like it’s no biggie: Running his own fashion label CHECK, creating art pieces with Murakami CHECK, doing jewelry and product design CHECK CHECK, releasing Number One hit albums CHECK! So l rather follow the gospel of P than the scriptures of Yeezus. There’s just a better vibe going on!
So keep on crafting and don’t be afraid to be jacking all the trades… it’s a waste of life if you don’t at least give it a shot!