Recently, I watched a video on YouTube by PragerU and narrated by Mike Rowe. In the video, Mike tells us not to follow our passions, but rather, opportunities that arise. Just because something is our passion doesn’t mean that we’re good at it. How many times on American Idol, or similar shows, do we see individuals who think they can sing, but really cannot. They have been told by their friends and family that they can sing and that they should “follow their passion.”
I don’t think people should avoid doing things just because they’re not good at it, but they shouldn’t make that a career choice. Go where there is a need, a demand. Mike tells about a sewage tank cleaner who is almost a millionaire because no one else wanted to do the job. He said that he saw what and where everyone else was headed and chose to go the opposite direction. Crap had become his passion.
This subject sort of relates to my earlier article The American Education System…One Big Fail, in that we should guide people to an area of need, to show them a path that society has a demand for. They shouldn’t be forced to do these jobs, but rather shown the opportunity that accompanies them.
Let’s create a society of skilled tradesmen and every other profession. We need to stop trying to educate everyone on every subject. Help them find their path, guide them through training, and set them up for success.
Don’t follow your passion. Follow opportunity and bring your passion with you.
Food cares and understands why,
When my stomach roars, I just wanna cry.
So stop messin’ ’round and hand me that pie –
It’s about to go down…that ain’t no lie.
Food knows and fills all my needs,
For that piece of pie, I’d get on my knees.
It’s a partnership that’ll last ’til I die.
Oh how I love you, you sweet piece of pie!
Food cares, when I feel down.
It picks me up and turns my day around,
But when the pain comes and help can’t be found,
I get some Blue Bell and go to town!
It hasn’t even been a week since I decided to give up my phone for a month. I am not struggling too bad, probably because it hasn’t been very long. I have SO MUCH MORE free time now that I don’t stare at a screen for hours everyday. My day and life has become meaningful and honestly, it feels good to be away from all the drama and negativity online and amongst acquaintances. Everyone that has needed to communicate with me this week has been able to do so, just maybe not on their time schedule. And that is okay. They are understanding and patient with me and if their not, then I wouldn’t know!
The point is, the world keeps spinning and everyone else goes on with their lives whether or not I’m keeping up with the memes and news. I certainly haven’t missed Facebook. It is obvious now that Facebook consists of the people I know but don’t care to have conversations with consistently. All of my family and close friends never post anything. If I have their cell numbers and we hangout in person, why even bother with social media?
Back to the focus of this blog; what am I filling my time with now that I have time?
I have always wanted to be fluent in a language besides English. I have been to numerous international conferences where colleagues my age were fluent in multiple languages and I admired them. I have taken enough Spanish courses in high school and college to know that it is a lot of work to learn even one language decently, much less multiple languages fluently.
I chose Spanish for a couple of reasons.
- Previous Exposure: As I mentioned, I had the opportunity to take Spanish courses throughout my education. I had a semi-firm grasp on the basics, but I never strove to be fluent. I was there just to pass the class to receive a credit.
- Application: As a Texan, I have ample opportunities to converse and practice my Spanish with some Hispanics. I have a friend and some colleagues who are Hispanic and they tell me they are happy that I am trying to learn. They laugh when I butcher a word, but that is part of the learning process! Also, being bilingual would be a huge help in the job market. Almost every application I’ve ever filled out has asked if I am bilingual. I know of some people who get bonuses for having such a gift.
- Romantic Language: I love the way it sounds! I know that Romantic languages are only labeled as such due to originating from the Romans, but I like to think that it has to do with how charming and smooth the languages sound. I already have a wife (who is learning French, by the way), so I’m not worried about charming the ladies, but it is an amazing language with lots of culture behind it. I keep recognizing English words that I didn’t know came from Spanish. It’s remarkable.
I am doing other things with my free time, but I will tell you about them at another time. If you don’t know how to fill some free time, I would strongly recommend learning a new language, whichever one it may be. I am using a website called Duolingo to learn. They are wonderful and really run you through the basics to help you build a good foundation. They have 10-20 options of languages for you to learn and are developing more programs for other languages as well. They have an app that makes it more convenient to study and practice. Go check it out and let me know what you think!
I draw inspiration from many sources that I read, watch, or experience. One of my biggest influences of late are The Minimalists. These two men, Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus, are spokesmen for a more meaningful life void of the extra material possessions that occupy our time and affect our cognitive function. They preach that was should strip away the excess that keeps us tied down, to purge our lives of all things that do not add value to how we live. I am in the process of getting rid of the mess in my house/life. You can read more about it in detail on my wife’s blog, Cut The Crap. (Link is on my homepage sidebar for “Blogs I Follow”).
This morning I was reading one of their essays talking about giving up their phone for a month. It talked about how a large percentage of Americans would rather give up sex, vacation days, and days off for one whole year than give up their phone for the same length of time. How addicted are we that we would give up some of the most pleasurable things for a screen to stare at for hours everyday? Anyways, I was inspired by the challenge, so that is exactly what I am going to do.
No phone or social media for a month.
I expect withdrawals for the phone. I constantly find myself checking it and playing around on it throughout the day. I don’t think I will miss social media that much. All I have is Facebook and no one I truly wish to talk with uses it very often. I am excited to have more time to focus on things that add value such as blogging, practicing my violin, writing songs, and reading books.
I hope it will help me pay better attention to the people I love, to cherish my time with them while I can. I know it will make me a better person, after all, I spent the first 23 years of my life without a smartphone. I know I can do it. At the end of the month, if my the quality of my life has improved, then I plan on downgrading to a cheap phone that will simply just call. I have thought about the actual productive things I have on my phone, and the only thing I would miss would be the GPS. We have a Tom Tom GPS for travel that would be significantly cheaper than a large data plan.
I will update you on my progress occasionally, giving you my thoughts and observations about the process.
Could you do it? Could you give up your phone for one month? I challenge you to begin this challenge with me. Who knows where we’ll end up?