Much of the advise you hear about success can be very useful to help you get what you want. But what if you don’t know what you want?
Maybe you have an idea like “I want to get more money” or “I want to work in entertainment”. The problem is, vague goals produce vague results, here’s a couple examples:
- You want more money? Here’s 5 bucks, now you’re $5 richer.
- You wanna work in entertainment? Be a stripper, welcome to the entertainment industry.
Get where i’m getting at?
The problem with not having a specific goal is that it affects all the little decisions you make down the road, or even worse, it stops you from making a decision altogether.
Sometimes what’s perceived as laziness is really a lack of clarity. So figuring out what you want should be your very first goal.
Most people ignore this, they don’t know what they like so their parameters to pick a job are something like ‘A job that will bring me money’ or ‘Somewhere I can meet chicks’.
I think this is a recipe for boredom and depression.
Figuring it out
The best way I know to get clarity about what you like and what you don’t is simple experimentation.
If you’re not sure of what you like just pick anything you think you might like and start learning it and doing it.
At this stage you don’t need to worry about whether or not is profitable, or if you’ll make it.
Don’t even try to be good at it, in fact, embrace the fact that you’ll suck! The point right now is to find out what it feels like to do it.
Just commit to advancing as much as you can for at least a few weeks.
Eventually you’ll either love it, hate it or find it fun but not your favorite activity. All three results are a good thing.
If you absolutely love and can’t have enough you can start figuring out how to make a living off it.
If you hate it you have acquired first hand experience and you don’t have to wonder anymore ‘what if I had done…’.
And if it’s fun but you don’t love it you can still keep it as a hobby and try something else for the thing you want to do in life.
The most fun aspect of this is that trying new things opens your mind to even more new things that you can try until you zero into the thing you actually want to live off.
This can take you on an exciting path down the road that you would’ve never taken if you weren’t open to try things.
Here’s an example of how I got to where I am.
When I was little I loved video games and computers. I thought I was going to be an engineer or video game programmer.
I started going down that path and I started learning programming at age 14.
At some point I found a racing game where you could create your own cars, but you had to do them in 3Ds Max, so I started playing with it.
I was never able to create my custom car for that game (3D modeling is hard!). But as I started playing with the 3D program and creating my 3D scenes, I started liking 3D animation.
In High School I read a book that I loved and I wanted to make a short film off it. It was a lot of work and a lot of nights sleeping next to a noisy Pentium III while it rendered, but I really enjoyed the process.
Several months later, my first animated short was done (watch it here!) and I was really proud! I knew I wanted to do more of that.
At some point a friend saw an ad on the paper for 3D animators so I applied.
Since I started experimenting with the 3D program when I was 15, I was fairly good. Suddenly I was working for The Chronicles of Narnia. I was 17 at the time and the only one who needed a letter from my parents to get the job.
After Narnia I kept working with the project manager at his company doing Visual Effects for commercials. A year later I realized that I hated commercials (still do) and that while I liked Visual Effects, I didn’t love doing them. I wanted to be in production.
Unfortunately in Guatemala most productions at the time were either commercials or documentaries of some sort.
I figured that Los Angeles was the place to be. It was a big change of course but I decided to give it a try. Luckily I have an aunt in Los Angeles who helped me out tremendously.
I looked around and found a program designed to help you find internships. For the next few months I worked for free in several productions interning in every single department except wardrobe and make up.
Over time I became very certain that I didn’t just wanted to work in production, I wanted to tell my own stories.
Now I knew I wanted to be a director, but I needed a screenplay. I started looking for scripts online and reading scripts in school but I couldn’t find one that I really loved so I decided to try to do my own.
As I started writing, I fell in love. There is just something magical about it, and when I combine that with directing it’s like a big orgasm. Yup, I said it!
It was clearer that ever. I love creating stories and telling them visually.
I create them when I write them and I tell them visually when I direct them. For me they’re a match made in heaven. For other people it’s a lot of work and a pain in the butt.
The thing is, for me too, they are a lot of work and they often are a pain in the butt. They didn’t come easy to me. In fact it has taken me a while to get good at it (especially writing in English, my second language).
But I kept doing it because I love doing it. And when you find what you love is magical and definitely worth experimenting with things that end up not panning out.
So go out and experiment. You never know where it’ll take you.