I should be upfront; I’m of the belief that nobody on this Earth is actually lazy, most people just have trouble getting their shit together. I don’t actually believe anyone is happier doing nothing rather than something. I think laziness is what happens when the tasks we’re told we have to do hold no value for us.
Why, the burgeoning young artist asks, am I being forced to memorize the dates that a bunch of old documents were signed into law? Why, the twenty-something year old data entry specialist asks, am I sitting here doing what a computer should be able to do instantaneously?
But how do you go about getting your shit together? How do you figure out what you’re meant to do, or what’s important to you, or what people will even pay you for?
1) Figure Out What You’d Do If You Already Had a Billion Dollars
Go make a list of all the things that you really like to do. Write down a list of every skill you have, every hobby you enjoy, every subject that interests you. Figure out what you’d do for a living if you already had a billion dollars.
If you need some ideas, go try something new. You wouldn’t be the first person to find their purpose in life by jumping out of a plane. Getting your shit together isn’t supposed to be rigorous and challenging- it should be the most fun you ever have.
2) Determine the Value You Can Bring Into the World
Go make a second list- brainstorm ways you could get people to pay you to do what you want to do. Blogging, speaking, selling, grants, commissions, teaching, starting businesses, getting ad revenue, whatever. Scrap ideas and find new ones. Shuffle them around. Get feedback. Ask other people who’ve gotten their shit together how the hell they did it.
You don’t always need to be selling a product or offering some essential service- anytime you create value for someone else, you have something they might be willing to compensate you for. Figure out ways to provide value to the people around you, and watch as they scramble to make sure your needs are met.
3) Burn the System Down and Build Your Own
Write down everything you’re already doing. If you’re in school, is that helping you accomplish anything off the first two lists? Why the hell not? If you’re close to the fancy piece of paper they call a degree, tough it out and get it, but remember, C’s earn degrees. Getting your shit together isn’t about mastering somebody else’s system- it’s about taking charge of what fires you up.
If you’re working an awful job, are they paying you what you’re worth? Try demanding a raise. If they fire you, you can always get another job that won’t pay you what you’re worth
4) Get Obsessed With What You Love
Start adjusting your life’s habits until they are in line with your goals. Go read some books. Go subscribe to our podcast. If you have a social media addiction, unfollow all the cat meme pages you follow and go like or follow a bunch of pages that post exclusively inspiring messages or content related to your passion. Fill your life with the thing or things you’re crazy about.
5) Get Loud About What You’re Doing
Talk about it. Drive your friends nuts. Embarrass your family. Make people unfriend you on Facebook. Make a generic-sounding page on Facebook and starting reposting all your research. Make a blog on Medium and write out all your thoughts. This is the art of documentation, and it is the number one way to build a presence, a tribe, or an audience.
Make sure everyone knows what you’re crazy about, because otherwise how are they going to help you get your shit together, and why are they going to think you’re worth helping if you aren’t helping yourself?
6) Become the Expert
By now, without even realizing it, you’ve become an expert in your passion- we might even say you’re getting your shit together, slightly. You should know more than anybody else who isn’t an expert in it, which means it’s time to start collecting other experts. Shoot unsolicited messages to pros in similar or the same field as what you want to be in. Reach Out. Start joining meet-up groups, online communities, or whatever else works for it. Or start your own.
7) Join the Experts
Now you’ve got a network, you’ve got knowledge, you’ve got ideas, and you’ve got a name. It’s time to get up and do something. If you still don’t know what that something is, that’s fine. Keep working on the first six steps. Go travel. Go learn something unrelated. Go move somewhere with more people who are crazy about the same thing you are.
If you do know what that thing is, then why are you looking to me? This is your life, get it together! You know what to do, so do it.
8) Hustle, Hustle, Hustle
This is the point for self-reflection; What do you need that you don’t have to move forward? How can you get it? If you need money, go get a job as close to your field as you can. Ask those experts and pros and friends from earlier what they recommend. Work with them, get experience, and build up skills. You’re stalling, sure, but that’s no reason to waste the time.
9) Put It All Into Action
Create value for other people through your passion and succeed. That’s all there is to it.
If you follow the first seven steps, work tirelessly, invent new ideas, and try different techniques eventually you’re going to have your life together. Notice I didn’t say you needed to get a college degree and work twelve internships while doing intramural sports and community service so that you could build a resume.
Nobody is paying you to have fancy pieces of paper. People are paying you for the value you’re generating, and you’re working for the value you get from the work, not the money anyways.
10) Do It Again, and Again…
Repeat Step One. Don’t quit just because you’ve succeeded and feel like your shit is together. Outsource the parts of the work in Step Nine that you don’t like to employees. Do only the parts that you’re the absolute best at.
Find a new passion, and work your ass off at that too. Never stagnate, never retire. If you always put something you value in front of you, you’ll never want to retire anyways. A lot of people want to escape because they think that’s how the game is played- they didn’t like the life they built. Stop playing the game, start winning your life.
If all of that was hard to follow, let me break it down for you. Find something you love, and let it consume you. Become an expert. Become friends with experts. Use your impressive knowledge and skills and network to create value for other people, and they’ll pay you whatever you ask. You’ll never go hungry, you’ll never be bored, and you’ll never be lazy or unsatisfied. It takes a hundred times more energy to work on something you don’t care about than to work on something you love.
So stop being a slacker, go do what you love, and get your shit together.