Everyone has a “someday.” Someday I’ll start working on a book, someday I’ll start saving money, someday I’ll read Ulysses.
The thing is, someday doesn’t always come. You might die, like a friend of mine did, or you might just keep pushing things off until you come up with even more excuses for not doing them. “Someday” may eventually become “I can’t anymore” or “I wish I had.”
I take what I’ve previously described as a “venture capitalist” approach to life. I make many small investments in things that might pay off. If a good looking productivity app costs $1 there’s almost no way I won’t buy it. If a book might help find one valuable new idea it’s almost certainly worth $9.99. I make a lot of these tiny little investments: books, apps, introducing myself to people. Most of them don’t pay off, and very few of them have a negative outcome, but the winners are big.
Here’s a winner story. About five years ago I decided that I hated my job and wanted to move to California. Every weekend for about five hours I sat down, edited my resume, and mailed it to a few companies. A crazy idea came into my head that maybe Facebook was an actual company that hired people, so I took a guess and found facebook.com/jobs. It took me about an hour to reformat my resume to apply to Facebook, it took them about two weeks to get back to me, and it took me about 24 hours after receiving a full time offer to accept it.
Most people would never even think to apply to Facebook. Even right up until I left I would tell people how I got the job at Facebook and they’d be amazed. Companies in Silicon Valley work mostly off of university recruiting and poaching, not submitted resumes. Few people think to apply directly.
I got rejected from 80 or more companies in Silicon Valley, but by total blind chance I found a job at one of the biggest and most interesting ones. It was a long bet, it cost me maybe an hour of labor, and it paid off huge.
I’m making a bunch of these small bets right now as well. I’m traveling, working on documentary photography, writing a lot, reading a lot, learning some new programming languages and spoken languages, and meeting new people constantly.
What this kind of insane “do everything at once” strategy is doing though is it’s taking every “someday” I have and moving it into the present. I could have spent my entire life waiting to quit my job and travel around the world to take pictures. Now that I’ve done it it’s an old thing — it’s just a thing I do — and it’s the fuel for entirely new ideas about what I want to be doing with my life.
If you have some crazy far out “someday” idea that you’re thinking of doing, my advice is to just start doing it. Once you take the first step it stops being a crazy idea. It just becomes one of the many things you do, it gradually starts to feel normal, and then you learn to build on top of it to do entirely different things. Start on your “someday” now in as small of a piece as you can manage per day. That might be 30 minutes of learning a language, an hour of writing per day, or taking one picture with your camera every day.
God forbid, don’t wait until you’re 65 to find out that your “someday” idea isn’t even something that you like.
The picture at the top is a bunch of protesters in Hong Kong. They quite clearly are not waiting until they grow old to start chasing dreams.