Lessons Well Learned

stop setting goalsI am a regular reader of Leo Babauta’s blog, zen habits. He often talks about not setting goals, and accepting that we are not as much in control as we think. What Leo has to say is important. I agree that goals are a distraction for me. When I don’t reach one, or I get set behind in reaching one, I get stressed or discouraged. For me, I have reached a point in my life where I can effectively toss goals out the window. However, two years ago, telling me not to set goals would have been less productive than talking to a wall. I was stuck in a self-pitying depression and inactivity and boredom, mainly from coming down from a college high and graduating into a recession. I was also “stuck” in the Louisiana country without a car and without friends near me, under the delusion that I needed a job to support myself. On top of it all, my parents were pushing me (with good intentions) because I can get an Ivy League degree but apparently not a job. They meant well. Nevertheless, in hindsight (the great 20/20), taking those expectations and self-made failures off my back would have been incredible.

If this is/was you or something similar to you, the advice still stands: toss your goals out the window and just do! Stop focusing on what you don’t have and figure out what you do. Then, bleed those resources dry. In the meantime, create more resources. Your thoughts, experiences, friend/family connections, skill sets, computer/Internet are all powerful tools. I started my first blog, Kandeke, almost a year ago for the sole purpose of sanity and filling a gap I felt in my life that I know other queer women if color experience too. Blogging made me a blog reader. Being a blog reader opened me up to a world of people who financially support themselves through blogging. Never in my life did I think I’d be a writer! And yet, here I am. Trying to fill yet another gap: the vast world of jobless yet bright young minds.

What I’ve learned since graduating college:

What I imagined life after college would be like and what it actually is didn’t match up. I would have been more productive if I had just stayed positive, no matter what.

Adapting is a life skill. The more I started living in the present, and stopped worrying about the past or future, the happier I became.

Living at home with my parents wasn’t the worst thing in the world. However, it would have been worlds easier if I had kept myself busy all hours of cognizance making my ideas a reality. Today, I’m trying to incorporate a mantra into my daily life: don’t plan, just do. Be open. Meet people. Make mistakes. Learn. And most importantly, give without expectations. (Side note: This formula is what helped me figure out what I want to do with my life.)

Everything that I do, do it whole heartedly, and do it well. I have gotten three job offers from doing this. Two are in the works, and will hopefully pull through. I have faith.

There is no progress without patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was greatness.

Never quit. There is no failure.

What are some of the lessons life has taught you, and how do you incorporate them into your daily life?

In life, we cannot avoid change; we cannot avoid loss. Freedom and happiness are found in the flexibility and ease with which we move through change.” -Buddha

 
 
If you have advice, stories or experiences regarding unemployment/entrepreneuring (past or present) that you’d like to share, email me at hustlingcitizen@gmail.com. Include your first name (real names preferable), one sentence about yourself (it can be anything), and your city+state. If your submission is published on The Hustler, this information will be included.
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