I’ll always remember two small things I read as a child. I have no clue where I read them, but they’ve had immense impact on everything since then.
Watch the sunrise, and
Do something that scares you
The first is a whole other discussion, and really isn’t my place to comment since I normally wake up at 10, but I appreciate it every time I pull an all-nighter; I’d take a sunrise over a sunset any day.
Doing something new and unknown once in a while however, gives you the ability to ignore conventional wisdom, fail miserably, and still walk on, bruised but not broken. That is incredibly powerful.
Approaching the end of school, I was suddenly presented with the question ‘What do you want to do now?’. This was strange. So far, people had told me what subjects to study, I had studied (sorta), gotten past their arbitrary line of competence, but I hadn’t really known what all that was for. So I made a break for it. I went for the only pillar of non-conformity my TV soaked mind could fathom: advertising. I wanted to write ads.
I actually took a course and everything. But found out a little late, it was more a visual design course than writing. Incidentally, I learnt about graphic design, I worked for a corporate communications team and set sails for the big bad world of advertising. Soon however, the excitement was dying but I knew my area was roughly right. David Carson was my hero, and magazines were my next target. That went well for a while but grew mundane all the same. In the process I experimented with 3D, photography, movies, branding, …, everything I could get my hands on. I slowly started to realise I wasn’t actually searching for a good fit, searching was a good fit. My comfort with a medium bored me, and I had to be learning something new to push myself hard enough. It showed in my website, which I redid almost cyclicly (The Random Lines site – Over the years). The end wasn’t good enough for me, I needed the journey.
This is a difficult position to be in: Jack of all trades. There is always the fear you will not be able to commit to something enough to be a master, or even be all you can be. I’m proud to say, my story diversified even more after that as I delved into web design, started programming, and went to Melbourne to study game design and digital art. Today, I am just about to start designing and developing a public interactive touch-screen system. Each step has been immensely scary, but has given me the ability to jump into absolutely anything. It’s not fearlessness, nor reckless abandon, it’s an understanding that failure isn’t an end or a means, simply a sideroad with a patch of countryside where you could stop and have lunch.
I don’t necessarily recommend being that frivolous with your career, but do, beyond the shadow of a doubt, think doing something with an unpredictable outcome is some of the most gratifying work you will ever do. From the literal ‘scare’ of watching a suspense thriller, through getting lost on a road trip, cooking something without a recipe book, getting on stage, absolutely anything that breaks you out of whatever it is you do everyday will most certainly pay-off epically.
Do it. It will rain awesomeness.