Updated: Apr 15
There are two kinds of professions in this world... The Process: when you focus solely on the end result, and follow the path to getting there. The Art: when you want to make a change, and the way by which you achieve it is different everytime. I think it's why so many 'traditionally successful' people realize they've wasted their lives chasing the 'American Dream'. They were focused on the end result they were told they wanted, and did all the things previous achievers told them were needed in order to climb the ladder. So they spend long hours in an office, on the road, in front of a computer, ignoring the family get-togethers, birthdays, and vacations. I don't blame them. When the assembly line was first implemented in the late 1910's, all of a sudden widgets were being pumped out at breakneck speeds. These widgets needed to be distributed. Teams were needed to manage production, distribution, advertising, promotion, and consumption of said widgets. This phenomenon was great at first - more people had better paying jobs with room for competitive advancement. But sacrifices had to be made. The American Dream told us when we had the right stuff, we'd be happy & fulfilled. In order to buy more fulfillment, we had to make more money. To make more money, we needed a better job or promotion. And to get the better job, we needed to do certain things, behave in certain ways, and value certain beliefs. If we instead decided that an end point isn't the goal anymore... If we instead focused on a change we want to create in the World... what would 'the work' look like? I have to believe it might be a bit scary at first. It might seem impossible. It might be frustrating, and it might feel counter-intuitive. It's no wonder... we've been taught and reinforced the "End Goal" model for over 100 years. But just as it is with the "End Goal", I feel we'd overcome those emotions rather quickly, with practice. And practice is the point of art. When we seek to create a change in the World, the work is never linear. The work is the destination. It's the purpose. Creating art, as Seth Godin refers to, is the act of saying "I made this, and it might not work, but it serves to create the change I want to see in the World". Why did you start your business? What was the change you set out to create? Or we're you merely doing it to reach a certain goal (like market share or revenue)? If you'd never thought of it this way, and you were asked now, what change would you want to create?