UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM - PART 1
Since around the age of 16, I have been something of a collector. No, not comic books, not trinkets, not baubles, not those silly plates from boardwalk tourist shops. No, what I started collecting almost 36 years ago was advice. Advice that I thought was the best advice for a young kid who wanted to be successful in life, even if I had no clue what success meant at that age. I would read something, listen to a cassette tape, hear something on the radio, or some adult would impart some kind of wisdom upon me, and I would write it down. Over the years, those notes would gather in dozens of different places.
I still have notebooks from that time in my life and, every now and then, I crack one open and read the notes, the thoughts, the interesting things that were going on at that time in my life, and I’ll find some piece of advice that I thought was worthy enough to memorialize at the time. What that has allowed me to do is think about that advice with 36 years more context, life experience, mistakes, and wisdom. Those lessons, the advice, coupled with three decades of practice, eventually led to me journaling about what I would consider unconventional advice. And it came in two forms. Something I would call traditional advice that I received from somebody at some time that, today, and with life experience, would not necessarily be the advice I would give someone else, and then advice that somebody gave me that went counter to the advice everybody else was giving.
In today’s show, I’m going to be sharing some of that advice that I’ve been accumulating over the years. I’m going to share my version of that advice in what I’ve affectionately called my ‘unconventional advice’ journal. The reason it’s called unconventional is simply because it’s advice that, when you hear it, your ears and brain perk up and take note because it’s not the typical advice that you were expecting.
I started sharing some of this advice in LinkedIn posts and it garnered lots of comments, so I thought I’d better share it with you all, my favorite people. This will be at least a two-part series, maybe even a 3 parter since I’ve got almost 50 pieces of unconventional wisdom accumulated over the years. I’ll share 5 of those pieces of wisdom in this episode, look for the some of the others in the subsequent episodes.
Important note before we dive in, although this is my version of each piece of advice or wisdom, all credit goes to all of the great mentors, guides, teachers, and random people I’ve met along my journey who were gracious enough to drop some of that wisdom on a fellow traveler.
The first piece of unconventional wisdom is:
- Progress isn’t linear, and success is never final. Sometimes you’re simply not improving, and that’s ok.
There are simply going to be times in all of our lives where we’re not getting better and, in fact, might even be going backwards a bit. We said we were going to do something, and we’re not doing it. We promised we’d start that thing, and we haven’t started yet. Or maybe you did start that thing, but you’ve stopped doing it far too soon to see results. Whatever it is, give yourself some grace. True progress doesn’t happen in a straight line going from low to high. It often looks like a slow heartbeat with random peaks and valleys, and that’s ok. Progress isn’t linear and success will take on different meanings for you based on the thing you’re working on at the time, your age and place in life, and what is important to you at that time. And I am quite happy to report to you all that what success was for me at age 25 is vastly different than what success for me is at 52.
The second piece of unconventional wisdom is:
- Don’t wait for the money to show up before starting or doing the thing. Money can unlock more options for you, but it shouldn’t be the determining factor in your life’s adventures.
Life is a collection of experiences, no more, no less. If you’ve been wanting to take a trip, take the damn trip. Want to try out that new business idea, don’t wait for the money to show up, start it anyway.
We all know people who have more money than we do who don’t lead fun or interesting lives. We probably also know several who have more money and do lead fun and interesting lives. But here’s the thing; everything they do, you can probably do as well, maybe just not in a Lamborghini or sitting up in first class, so what. If you were to actually look into the costs of doing fun and interesting things, you’d find that almost everything can be rented, leased, borrowed, traded, and obtained at relatively low cost with a little bit of research and ingenuity.
Want to drive an Aston Martin for a year? $1500 a month. You don’t have to be rich to experience driving a $300,000 car, you just have to value that thing enough to allocate those funds away from something else. Don’t want to drive it for a whole year? For $200 per day, you can drive it for a week using the Turo car rental service. I actually think it’s far better to rent that $300,000 car than to own it. I get the experience of driving it for whatever period of time, yet have no responsibility to maintain it, store it, insure it, worry about it, and so on.
Life is a collection of experiences. Prioritize the experiences, you’ll figure out how to make them happen.
The third piece of unconventional wisdom is:
- Say ‘no’ to almost everything. Life is too short to live somebody else’s life and do things everybody else wants or says you should do. Do the shit you like and want to do; not what others expect of you.
When we’re young, we’re at the mercy of our authority figures and what they think is best for us regardless of whether it is or not in reality. They’re operating from their own perspective, upbringing, prior training, fears, aspirations, faults, flaws, values, and life paradigm. All of which might be completely opposite of how we’d ultimately like to be. The big problem being, we’re too young to know that yet. So, we end up with the hardwiring, an operating system, and all the programming that our parents, their parents, the community at the time, the values at the time, and a bunch of other stuff crammed into our little brains. Some of it serves us, and some of it doesn’t, yet we’re still running on that same program.
As difficult as it might be for you today as an adult, if you haven’t done a deep examination of your beliefs, your paradigms, your programming, and your internal operating system to see if all of it squares with who you really want to be, as opposed to who you are because somebody else programmed you to be that way, it’s time. And one of the big takeaways for me from that exercise is that, not only is it ok to say no, it’s imperative to learn to say no to almost everything that doesn’t fit for you anymore based on who YOU want to be. Which leads us nicely into the fourth piece of unconventional wisdom.
The fourth piece of unconventional wisdom is:
- Learn to say ‘Fu@k it more often because, as the Latin saying goes, fortune favors the bold and the brave. If you’re not doing some things every now and then that scare you, you’re not pushing hard enough, and you’ve stopped growing.
Let’s be clear, I’m not telling you to put on one of those wing suits and to start jumping off cliffs and fly to the bottom. For most people, doing something that scares you lands more in the category of the last piece of advice, which is to go against what your upbringing programmed you to think is the best path and to do it anyway. Doing things that scare you means to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone and puts you squarely into the zone of the unknown. The unknown for almost everyone simply translates as the unfamiliar.
The vast majority of people grow up in a world where what others think carries an outsized amount of weight in the decisions we tend to make on a variety of things. From what we buy at the store, to what we wear, what we eat, what we choose to do with our time, and who we choose to do it with. Developing a healthy practice of simply saying, ‘fu@k it!’, and doing some things that might go against what our internal programming says is acceptable can go a long way to helping you experience some things that may never have been able to experience previously. If you’re not uncomfortable from time to time, you’re not growing.
The fifth piece of unconventional wisdom is:
- Stop focusing on what you call your ‘career’. Careers don’t exist, contrary to popular myth and conventional wisdom.
There is so much advice published over the decades around career advice. What you’ll be good at, what will bring you good income, what might be around 5 or 10 years from now, what can give you some security, and so on. The vast majority of it is, well, useful, but potentially very misleading, and here’s why.
When we hear the word career, we all have our own ideas of what that means. However, for most people it means what our guidance counselors told us it means when we were in school, which is something akin to the proper path we could or should be on to be safe in the world and be able to survive.
And I’m here to tell you it’s all bullshit. Guidance counselors have a long history of directing people into jobs and ‘career’ paths, as they tend to call them, that suck the soul out of many human beings. If you were to research the statistics on people with college degrees working in their field of study and measured against some kind of happiness quotient, you’d see that there is an inverse correlation between the two. That means that the majority of people working in their field of study are not truly happy with what they do. Their ‘career’ does not motivate them, it doesn’t inspire them, it doesn’t excite them or turn them on. They’re not happy and excited to wake up the next day, but they keep doing it because it’s their career.
Complete and utter bullshit, friends! Instead of pursuing a career, pursue things that interest you. Not because it might lead to a decent income and health insurance plan, but because it will feed your soul. In fact, to take this a bit further, I’d go so far as to say that, for most people, pursuing a particular career path is a slow death in the world we live in today.
The world is moving and changing extremely fast. Other than some of the STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering, and math), most people will not be doing what they do today five years from now, or at least in the way it’s being done today. The greatest opportunities in the future, at least in my opinion, lie in what isn’t being done yet.
Don’t focus on a particular career or career path because it likely will not be around, or at least not around in the same way, five to ten years from now. Pursue things that interest and excite you, but with the mindset that it’s likely just one of many things you will do over the coming years. The more adaptable one becomes, the more successfully one will be positioned when things inevitably change.
The one piece of unconventional advice that was given to me long ago that has helped me the most, and it was tied to the last piece of wisdom about the myth of careers, was this: be willing to reinvent yourself at any time and at any age.
We tend to view ourselves based on what we do. When people ask as what we do, we tend to answer in a way that sounds like we believe it’s who we are. We’ve labeled ourselves as ‘an appraiser’, or a lawyer. But that’s just what we do at the time we’re answering, it’s not who we are. The more adaptable we remain, and the more willing you are to reinvent yourself at any age, the more ‘lucky’ you become because you’ll be able to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
If you’re an appraiser and you’re ready to reinvent yourself, it’s time to stop waiting for it to show up on your doorstep, it’s not going to. It’s time to give the Appraiser Increase Academy a try. I’ve gone ahead and paid for your first month so that you can try it out completely risk free for 3 days. I’ll brag a bit and tell you that I had 6 one on one coaching calls with Increase Academy members just in the last week and every single one of them said, in their own way, you’re not charging enough for this academy and community. Not only does that always feel good to hear when members say it, it confirms for me what I set out to do, which was to provide way more value than the meager monthly investment, which is less than $1 per day. After the free month, the Appraiser Increase Academy is only $29 per month to have access to 60+ hours of coaching videos, a private Facebook community of like-minded people, and ideas taught and shared weekly that can easily add 10 to 1000 times the investment.
Go to www.coachblaine.com/freemonth and check it out. You’ve literally got nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, until I see you in that private million-dollar community, I’ll see you all next week, right here for some more unconventional wisdom. Until then, I’m out…
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