Last week I turned 30. Unlike most people, I do like getting older. 10 years ago, I was a complete idiot.
Now, a decade later, I still know nothing, but I do feel more in control of my life. I thank that personal growth to an idea I stole from Socrates, the person who was once named the wisest man on earth by the Oracle of Delphi.
When Socrates heard that the oracle had made such a comment, he believed that the statement was wrong. Socrates said:
“I know one thing: that I know nothing.”
How can the smartest man on earth know nothing? I heard this paradoxical wisdom for the first time from my school teacher when I was 14 or 15. That humility made such an impact on me that I used Socrates’s quote as my learning strategy.
“Have a little patience.” That’s something many people have told me very often in the past. And it’s true, used to be very impatient.
Too often, we don’t realize how bad impatience is. I was recently rereading some parts of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, my favorite book on conquering fear. And this sentence grabbed my attention:
“The biggest pitfall as you make your way through life is impatience.”
I’ve struggled with patience for most of my life. I always want things to happen now. There are many examples of that.
Have you ever been let down by a colleague who you thought was a friend? Or how about getting drunk at the office party? If so, you’re not alone.
But here’s the thing: You can’t mix your professional and personal life. And that’s not a great thing to hear, right? We all desperately want to have a great time at work. And I get it.
You spend more time at work than any other place in your life, so it’s important to enjoy what you do. But doing what you love and workplace rules are two different things.
That took me a long time to understand. Granted, I’m a stubborn idiot who has to learn things the hard way. But one thing I’ve learned about the workplace is this: Things are not what they seem.
Just admit it, you’ve thought about it before. Social media is great and all. But you and I both know that it also sucks.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
- It’s late at night, you’re in bed, you dread waking up early tomorrow because you have to go to work, so you grab your smartphone, you open up Instagram (or whatever app you’re addicted to).
- And you start browsing, you go from one picture to the next, you watch some videos, you start feeling bad about your life, because all the other people have fun, and you have to go to work in the morning.
Last year I decided to start a podcast. I had no idea where to start, so like everyone else who needs information about a subject, I went to Google.com for some answers.
And I searched for “how to start a podcast.” It wasn’t helpful. Google only confuses you. There’s too much information. And you have no clue how good that information is.
Every time I use Google, I think of something my college professor told me a decade ago. We were once talking about the influence of Wikipedia on books, education, and knowledge in general.
I remember that in 2007, Wikipedia made the top-ten list of the most popular websites. They had surpassed the New York Times. That was a big deal ten years ago. So I said something like: “Who needs books in the future if you have Wikipedia?”
My college professor laughed. He said something like:
Do you believe that more opportunities equal more chances of success? I sure did.
And since we all want to feel important in this world, we think that the way to achieve that is to chase every single opportunity out there.
I hear it often: “This is a big opportunity for me.”
But that idea is broken. Chasing opportunities is a bad strategy. It’s more practical to chase skills, and PREPARE for opportunities.