DANCE LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING.
Which activity are you more likely to succeed in or feel happy about?
One, where you know you have to be consistently delivering the goods over a long period of time, with people watching your work? Or one, where you have to do it once, with no one necessarily watching?
Your professional project(s), for which you get paid, has the capacity of wearing you down. What infuses spark, rejuvenation, a reset, if you will; is your personal project(s). Imagine that little vacation, where there is no real schedule, no administration, no evaluating tasks on monetary grounds, and no unreasonable expectations either!?
You know that it’s short-lived; hence the entire experience is dense, full of energy, and concentration of passion. I am not pointing to only hobbies or recreation here; perhaps something that fetches you some learning or advancements – indirectly helping your main profession. Experiments; thinking outside the box!
Dilbert – Thinking outside the box
At the risk of sound self-promotional, allow me to state for the record that without realizing, my side-projects became the ones that gathered more sincere appreciation and unexpected rewards too. The biggest reward was of course a work-life balance, which we all talk about and crave about. A sense of well-being started increasing, as my blogs, free designs, activities on social media, song collection, chess-playing, cooking custom recipes, and generally sharing contextual knowledge (advice) – found resonance with people around me. I could never become a professor in any of the things I have mentioned, but was effective as one (temporarily of course).
An analogy: Kid Vs Adult. You see kids perform and do better at so many things – shorter attention span relieves them of the noise that adults have to deal with. You unknowingly become child-like when we work on passion-tasks, and it yields either superhuman results (outside of the skills that people usually relate you with), or superlative delight (due to zero expectations). Another analogy is: Marriage Vs Courtship. The short-term angle, makes you experiment freely – with the same set of activities that you would perform during the long-term counterpart. But the difference is huge.
Most brilliancies are a result of need-of-the-hour, raw perspective, unbiased viewpoint and bold experimentation.
The world has many examples of personalities who would continue to do things in a better fashion, more often than most. They seem to have mastered the art of inducing passion at will by breaking down their main projects into conscious pockets of sub-projects (with smaller attention span). I know I have in my own limited capacity grown to deliver better output, in areas where I am not the perceived expert. Just a case of doing or building what I think I am capable of, not going by what the world thinks I am capable of. The key difference is that the focus is on doing something than on acquiring some skill and/or approval.
HR Managers and Corporate Management also weighs the “personal” side of employees a lot. The side-activities reveal your personality better than your work-activities. Since you “own” the side-activity, it reveals patterns about how you think and act independently, where your interests and passions lie, and how you feel inspired and motivated. Your work-activity is more institutionalized and can be semi-automated in most cases…as following some steps of a proven process. “What do you do when you’re not working?” – is a regularly asked question during interviews.
Your side-projects is that what makes you an Entrepreneur! Because that’s how you choose to freely express – your opinions and your craft.
It is not always easy to love what you do; but it is easy and rewarding to do what you love. Consciously fix that UX of your daily routine. Do the “U”sual, but not without doing the e”X”citing.