Bullish: How To Make A Career Out Of The 10,000 Things You Want To Do

And then I realized what I was reading. The book didn’t say “Refuse to Choose: You Can Still Be Successful!” It just said that you can refuse to choose. Never anywhere did the author even remotely suggest that this would lead to a fruitful career or even solvency.

I put the book down. I said: This is exactly what I must never become.

That was the best $1.99 cautionary tale of my life.

Dear 99 here is going to get one big piece of advice from me, in several steps:

  • List all the skills and talents you don’t hate doing.
  • All these people whose opinions you find credible, at least in aggregate? Ask them which of these things would make the most money.
  • Become the very, very best in the world at that one. Give it about 80% of your time for at least the first few months.
  • You can still do the other things. But you have to make them relate to the thing you do for all the money.

If you do the above steps, once you’re financially stable, have saved up an emergency fund, and your reputation greatly precedes you in the field that pays you all the money, then you can think about changing things up. But until then: Don’t fuck with the model.

When I say “the model,” let’s actually visualize it. Instead of a giant mess of random stuff, imagine spokes on a wheel. The thing that pays you the money is the hub of the wheel. Don’t necessarily choose the thing you love the most. The thing you love the most is probably something other people love also, so there are too many people wanting to do it and therefore the laws of supply and demand work against you. Pick something you don’t hate but that other people find difficult, scary, boring, etc. Get so deep into that thing that you learn to love it more.

From that thing proceed all the spokes of the other things you want to do. More exciting, more gratifying, less lucrative things, perhaps. Start with the ones you can try to sell to the same people “in the hub,” people who already know you as an expert in your main field.

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    • eemusings

      I read that book a while ago – my best friend’s mother, funnily enough, suggested it for my partner, one of those types who’s good at everything he tries, but gets bored easily and lacks directions.

      I kind of agree with some of your thoughts on Refuse to Choose. But for me, my main takeaway was that everybody does not necessarily have one chosen path. Which is totally okay (maybe you knew that before, but for me it was a bit of a revelation). A good-enough job is good enough for some people, as long as it gives them room and money to pursue their passions elsewhere, with decent pay and being reasonably challenging and interesting. That sometimes you should build your job around your lifestyle, or rather, choose one that fits in with the vision you have for your life. And perhaps most of all, that all your various skills and interests can lead to reinventing your career several times over, over the years.

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    • Eve

      This came at a great time for me. I was having a similar issue, going “well, I like to do this and this and this and this,” and I realized that everything can be applied to working in/for/with a theatre company. Granted, theatre isn’t particularly lucrative, but I did find it pleasing to note that any and all of my skills could come in handy while doing the main thing that I love/have a degree in/have professional experience in.

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