The Weekly Review

by Chris Bowler

Contentment Where We Are

Have you noticed how so much of what people share online is what you should do and how you should do it? One of the greatest aspects of this Internet we’ve built is the sharing of knowledge.

But did you also know that you do not have to use the knowledge that someone shares with you? Despite how we all feel when reading about the success of others, it’s actually ok for us to appreciate their success without having to duplicate it ourselves.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last year about doing well at one thing. If you find that idea, that activity, that excites you and you have a full time job doing that one thing, that can (should?) be your one thing.

Now, I’m like the rest of you. I love my pals Justin Jackson and Shawn Blanc. I appreciate and admire guys like Paul Jarvis and Nathan Barry. They’re all talented, intelligent, and creating valuable things. They’re the cool kids.

And so it makes sense that people hear what they’re saying and then experience the urge: I want to do that. And if you have the time and capacity to create something from scratch, you have an audience with a need, or simply a passion to share, then get up and running!

But if trying to be like these guys puts undue stress in your life, or means you have to drop other important things (important to you, or your family or friends), then maybe you should take a step back and evaluate. If you’ve been online for the past 5–10 years, you’re likely familiar with the feeling. You know, that moment when you come across a photo, an article, or anything someone created, and this thought comes unbidden. “I can do that. I should do that!”

It’s the Idea. We all have ‘em. The wiser among us have learned to ride the feeling and make sure there’s real substance on the other side when the feeling passes. But how to handle the ideas that come to you is not the point I’m trying to make. Here’s the point:

If you have a full time job, give it your very best.

If you hate what you do for a living, then by all means and if at all possible, make a change. But if you have a good position, work with caring people at a good company, don’t take it for granted. It’s easy to see what others are creating and sharing online and feel the pull to do the same. Suddenly, your job can seem drab and dull. It doesn’t have be that way. It shouldn’t be that way.

Like everything with the Internet, when the Jeff Sheldon’s and Justin Jackson’s of the world launch something, you’re only getting a glimpse of their life. You do not know the full costs. And even when someone takes time to share the results of their creation, you still don’t get the full picture. People rarely share (or even count) the costs on relationships, personal improvement , or other responsibilities they hold.

So think twice. When that feeling comes and you feel the need to do more, or that your job is not good enough, stop and really compare. How are you blessed with you already have and what will it cost you to put your focus on something different? It may very well be worth your time and attention.

But do consider that it may not.

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