Should You Follow Your Dreams?

Should you follow your dreams? Do you even know what they are? George G talks about how to move beyond platitudes and get to work!

May 6, 2024 | Blogs, Podcast

About the Episode

Should you follow your dreams? Do you even know what they are? Does it even matter with AI? George G talks about how to move beyond platitudes, find meaningful work, and solidify your personal and professional worth!

 

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Episode Transcript

ll right, here we go. Here we go. This today’s letter, today’s letter comes to us from. Let’s Andrea Landry, who writes, Dear George G. Have you ever done something purely exclusively for money? The answer is certainly yes. Little Andreea probably a fair amount of things like that the majority of the work that I did when I was a young person was just for money. It was a means to an end, and he did some walking around money, it’s gas money, wanted to buy a toy, whatever. So it was do yard work, shovel, some snow, or some weeds, do a lemonade stand, get a job, whatever. And I can definitively tell you that all the work that I did in college, and in high school, as I was waiting tables, that was just for money. It was fun, I enjoyed it. But there’s other things I would have rather been doing. So that was all money. And when I graduated college, I got into financial services, which was my first job, I it was all about money, I had no idea, the intrinsic piece of the purpose piece, any of that stuff, so it’s all money. And it took me a really long time took me a really long time to figure out that there was a lot more that that I could have purpose driven work and become passionate about the work that I do and develop expertise and, and all of these things. But that was in 2001. And I don’t know that there was a lot of talk about purpose and finding your why. And all that kind of stuff. If there was I wasn’t paying attention to it, there was a lot of talk about, about the impact of paying a death benefit, selling life insurance. So that is about as much of a glass of cold water to the face. As you can imagine, if you have somebody that you’ve sold the life insurance policy to, and they actually die and they use the product that will sober you up that will change your perspective on the business, whether you were looking for it or you were not. And all that being said, too, I know plenty people that worked in that business that continue to work in that business that are in it just for the money. And people that are in it for all the quote unquote, right reasons. They placed the intrinsic value of the work that they’re doing at the absolute top, far and beyond any monetary reward, which they all do. People that make a lot of money, but that’s not why they do it kind of a thing. So there’s a lot going on. What I wanted to talk about the reason I’m talking about this, because there was an article in the Wall Street Journal, talking about follow your dreams and other terrible career advice. So the letter or rather, the article talks about how generations that predated Gen X, which I’m a proud member of, I suppose are a member of, and the millennials, generations of for that, they felt like it was incumbent on them to make work, more fun to make workers happier. So to move away from just the idea of this is your work box, and then this is your personal life box. We’re going to see how we can blend these things. So you feel like you’re actually enjoying your work. And it is more fun. How do we make younger workers happy, which I don’t necessarily begrudge I guess that that’s a good thing. Sometimes, anytime, always. I misspoke when I said sometimes I think anytime you try to engineer things, kind of overly engineer things. That’s when you start to screw stuff up. So let’s just keep in mind that these folks, the generations that predated X and Millennial that these are the folks same folks who invented participation trophies, these the same folks who invented the self esteem movement, and a myriad of other bullshit ideas that have, without question been counterproductive and done way more damage and trouble than they could have ever been worth in the first place, particularly those two that I mentioned. And that’s not a secret I am well, on record of talking about how self esteem and participation trophies, I think are an absolute cancer on society that’s neither here nor there. So it’s an interesting thing when you think about it, same thing that you call when somebody is doing something for somebody else, but they’re really doing it for themselves, projection, you call that projection you are projecting on me with your participation trophies and your self esteem. So I certainly never asked anyone for anything, when I came into the workplace or work environment, I never asked to fit in or to have accommodations made. For me, I didn’t want other people to create the conditions that would allow me to be happy or to thrive, I am a person who is going to be happy and to thrive, regardless of what the conditions are. I’m an inside out kind of guy, not the outside in kind of guy, I’m gonna sort of assume that that’s you too, if you are, if you pay attention, and you’re listening to the stuff that I think and say about things. So it’s always just been sort of a whatever thing. But I appreciate that we are all very different. And that you are, you may be somebody who does really want to feel like you’re part of a team and part of an organization. And I definitely want that, I always wanted to feel like I was part of something bigger than myself. But I find that through the work more so than I find it in the culture or the environment. And that may just because I haven’t found the right culture or environment yet. Anyway, it’s just a little bit of background and sort of where I’m coming from, when I’m thinking about so a lot of it’s a mystery to me, but let’s just keep it moving. The article goes on to talk about how we’ve been lied to about work, and they point to, to what they consider to be lies which are follow your dreams, and the Know your worth. Okay. And those are to the articles point, those are niceties, they are affirmations, or aphorisms, or whatever they are, follow your dreams Know your worth. Those are good things. But they are without question, sort of throw aways, they are vapid, meaningless words put together. And they think that they fall on a lot of deaf ears. And the article then goes on to talk about the future of work. And anytime I hear about the future of work, I just think, okay, great. So this person is going to tell me that things are going to be different, we don’t know what the future of work is going to be, it’s just going to be different. And what we’re doing now, which is nice, just not super groundbreaking. Let’s not, don’t think that we needed to have a big long conversation about that. It’s gonna be different than it is today. Like it always is. I see. Like work always is, like work has always been influenced and impacted by technological innovations. Is that what you’re saying? That that’s gonna continue happening? Got it. Okay, cool. I see. The article does have a really strong finish talks about you, you’ve just got to earn it. Stop expecting stop being expectant that people are just going to give you a medal, or trophy just for showing up. That investing in hard work will result in positive things for you got to put your time in, it’s got to eat a bunch of shit, you gotta get good. So I like it. But then I just got got to thinking I remember years ago, reading about how a very healthy percentage in this example, very unhealthy percentage of workers, employees in the United States and all around the world are actually disengaged that they don’t want, they don’t like. They do not like the work that they’re doing. fact the opposite. And according to a recent Gallup state of the global workplace report, 85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work. economic consequences of that norm, are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. That’s difficult to get your brain around. So there you go. 85% of employees are not engaged at their work. Crazy. That’s pretty wild. And that is a big bummer. It’s a massive problem, not because I really care about $7 trillion in lost productivity, although that’s an absolute shame. Because we’ve got one crack at life. got one shot at life, at a career or doing your work. And when we spend the majority of our waking hours engaged in this work that we hate, what a terrible thing. What a sad, terrible thing. That’s a waste. It’s wasting your life. That’s where you are just thrown in it in going through the motions. collecting a paycheck. In

the rat race, the corporate ladder, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, is it really bad advice to self tell somebody to follow their dreams? Is it really bad advice to tell somebody that they shouldn’t know their worth? I don’t think that it is. I think that that’s great advice. It’s just It’s just that there’s no instruction. I think that just do it is a great slogan sells a lot of sneakers. But there’s a problem with just do it. If I don’t know how to just do it, if I don’t know how to do it, well, then I can’t just do it. I don’t know how to do it, then I can’t just do anything. So don’t know how. So follow your dreams? What does that even mean? Does anybody have any idea how to do that? What does it mean to know your worth? Is that just mean, understand the the monetary value of the work that you’re doing? Okay, fair enough. I don’t know. Do you know how to do that? Do you know how to follow your dreams? Do you know what your dreams are in the first place? Some big questions here. You know, in questions, but I question I submit that most people have no idea what what what that means. I submit that people, and I know for a fact, when only 3% of Americans have written down their goals, then they don’t know what their dreams are. Unless your dream is to fuck around at work, and to not work very much. You know, and to some have some dreams outside of work that you’re just trying to fund through work, well, then that’s a whole nother animal, then that’s fine. I think that that’s great done, then you’re sort of doing what I was doing back in high school, which is, I want to be doing this. But this cost money. So in order to earn money to do this, I’ve got to do this work, I’ve got to do it for a certain amount of time, or complete a certain number of tasks or activities. And if I do that I am rewarded or the trade off is you then give me money. And I may have to go do the thing that I really want to do? Great. Well, then why would I worry about being engaged in what I’m doing? Because I’m 100% engaged. Because I am working to do a certain number of activities, or I know that I need to do a good enough job and a time that’s been allocated for me to do the thing. And then I get the thing that I’ve been promised, and I get to go do the thing that I want. Okay, great. I think that’s fine. In a perfect world, in a perfect world, you’d have really meaningful work, and you’d be paid a wage that you felt was commensurate with the amount of value that you’re bringing to the table. So I guess that’s really what we’re shooting for, is to find work that you believe to be important, you believe to be meaningful, that is necessary. There’s that Japanese concept of Akagi eat cookie, where it’s what it is, like, what do you like to do? What are you good at? What is the world need kind of a thing, you find the intersection of these things. And that is then what you should be focused on. So that’s the ideal is to be able to find important work that you think is important that you enjoy doing, you get paid the right amount for. Okay. So why is that bad? Just to have a really frank and honest conversation with yourself. And I think that there’s a lot of that going on the whole financial independence, retire early, the whole Nomad kind of lifestyle. And so these are just, these are just steps in the process of us figuring it out. steps in the process, time freedom and location freedom and hybrid work, and retiring early or being able to travel and all these sorts of things. These are just us rethinking the way that work makes sense. But it doesn’t make any of it right. Doesn’t make any of it right. This is such a personal thing, and a thing that it’s of immense value to spend time thinking about. Follow your dreams. Know your worth. I think that those are the two greatest piece of advice. And both of it is it demands that you understand yourself. It demands that you take the time To do the work, so you understand what your dreams are, what you want to do, how you like to do things, and then line up the right opportunity for yourself. You being stuck in a shitty job that’s dead end and doing nothing about it, and putting in a quarter day’s work, doing an hour of work. And of course of an eight hour day, well, that’s all BS. You’re ripping off everybody. You’re stealing from the company, but you’re stealing from yourself, you are cheating yourself. Especially if you’re doing these things in your 20s. Like, my goodness, you’re just you’re folding your cards, you’re phoning it in. And you’re cheating everybody. So what is your worth in that scenario? Very little, very little. All you’re proving is that you’re, you’re not a self manager, you’re demonstrating that you can’t manage your time, you’re demonstrating that you can’t advocate for yourself, and have a serious and frank conversation with supervisors or I think you understand what I’m saying. So, but just do it, it’s a big problem. Follow your dreams? Is it possible to do two things at once, I think that it really is, I think it’s really possible to be working in a job where you’re just getting paid, they don’t necessarily like it, but that you are working through another avenue. And you’re after hours that you’re reading that you’re studying, and you are matriculating or moving towards doing the kind of work that you are interested in doing or the to actually enjoy. You can do that. It’s just a function of I don’t think that that people have taken the time to figure out what are the streams that I ought to be following? If the answer is I just don’t want to do a lot nothing, then then that’s fine. And find a job, you’ll be able to do for a short amount of time that’s going to pay you enough, and then go do whatever it is that you want. came and then know your worth. The article talks about the difference between personal and professional worth. And I appreciate that. I appreciate that. I think that everybody is in the article does talk about this talks about how I think all human beings are inherently worthy. I think this is me, I think that all in all human beings aren’t inherently deserving of the things that they want. But to give the article credit, nobody’s entitled to any of it. That’s, that’s the thing right there. Because you have worth as a human being, you have value as a human being doesn’t mean that you have professional worth. Good person, awesome. Go do good person stuff somewhere else. Here. And as professional and professional enterprise, there are things that must be done, we have results that we must pursue and and achieve or hit or come really close or exceed. So understanding that this is a value exchange, in exchange for your time, slash expertise, slash whatever, we are going to pay you this much money. higher value, more money, lower value, less money, fairly straightforward. So in regard to and this wasn’t mentioned, the article, this idea of follow your passion, Jordan Peterson talks a lot about the importance of getting serious first and then becoming passionate. And that’s, that’s wonderful advice. Get serious. So what happens is, when you get serious when you really take something serious, whatever it is that you’re doing, get serious about it, get really good at become an expert in it. So many wonderful virtuous things going to start happening. First and foremost, you’re going to get good at it. When you get good at it, you’re on the path to achieving mastery, once you achieve mastery, believe it or not, you’re going to enjoy it. We enjoy doing things that we’re really good at. And then passion will probably follow. Maybe it won’t, but it probably will. So I submit that if you take things seriously, you get serious about whatever it is that you’re doing. That passion will, in fact, follow closely thereafter. And then everybody’s winning. That’s nothing but a good thing right there. So we’ve only got one crack at this deal. And that being life and comes at you fast. You’re gonna be an older version of yourself before you know it. And the more we can maximize our time and whatever we’re we’re dedicating our energy and attention and time to honor what you’ve allocated time towards.

So if you’re working This morning, this afternoon, got time allocated for it, give it 100%. Give it everything you have, donate or dedicate your 100% attention and resources to doing the thing that you’re doing. You’ll get great at it, it’ll become serious, probably even become passionate about it’s nothing but a good thing. If you’re doing stuff that you hate, and you know that it’s not long term, still the same. Give it all you got. But then work, figure out, what would make me happy? What do I want my life to look like? What kind of work do I really want to be doing? Where do I want to be doing it? How would that make me feel? And how do we get closer to that? And you’re able to answer those questions. Do more thinking about it, become a better thinker. That’s what it’s all about, come more valuable, personally more valuable, you become professional and more valuable. They’ll have a higher worth, nothing but a good thing. So just because you know, you’ve heard all your dreams and ask for what you’re worth. It doesn’t mean that it’s obvious. And just know that well know is obvious to me. Not obvious to a lot of people. But it’s all available to you. Having a dream, following your dream, doing your dream job or your dream work is available to you. You can have that. But like we’ve been talking about you’re not entitled to it. So well, Andrew, thanks for the thoughtful letter. I appreciate it. Final thought you can do two things at once. You can be working in a job that you know isn’t your long term career. Still be 100% engaged and still be doing really great work. Still be learning a lot from it. We don’t live in a vacuum. Two things can be true at the same time. You can be pursuing lots of different goals, missions, dreams, all of these things all at the same time. Finally, finally, a friendly reminder. It’s never going to be anybody more interested in your financial success than you are. So act accordingly.

 

 

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