Be Less Do More

In general, we have a obsession with the idea of “being something”. We start off young, being asked as kids: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” That same question is ingrained throughout our growing years, and becomes super important during high school. We make life choices based on what we want to be. And stop doing the things we love because that interferes with the busyness of being.

Once you’re in the working world, recruiters will quizz you, managers will subpoena you, peers will interrogate you: “what do you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years from now?” Enough of the BE. It’s a lazy short-circuit attempt at trying to pigeon-hole your capacity.

When you stop asking that question and start asking: “What do you want to DO when you grow up?” you get a subtly different perspective with a radical shift in thinking; and hence, outcome.

There’s a big difference between being something and doing *stuff that represents what that being is supposed to entail.

Before there were plumbers, there were people who just did stuff, like fixed drains. Before there were doctors, there were people who just healed others. Before there were programmers, there were people who solved problems using software. Basically, before the BE came into existence, people got on with the job of DO.

Once the DO becomes established, others who do the same, team up and then what they do collectively becomes known as a BE of sorts. Everyone else then stops thinking about what to DO and focuses on what they can BE. That is, they just follow. We will not carve the future we need by looking at (following) what we can BE.

When you stop putting constraints on what you want to BE in life, you can start focusing on what you want to DO with your life. And that’s either a good thing, a bad thing or a scary thing.

Try it for yourself. Ask yourself those two different questions.

What do you want to be in life?

What do you want to do with your life?

There’s usually two different answers. The one is typically a label (because it’s asking for a noun) and the other is a typically an action (well, it is a verb, right?). But they should amount to the same thing? If not, what are you doing?

Start with what you want to DO with, and in, your life. Once you got that priority sorted out, you can then get on with creating the next BE, without worrying about what it will be called. And if you got kids, remember, we are are preparing them for a future we have no idea of. Almost all the “jobs” that will be available by the time they’re ready to enter the “workforce” do not exist today.

Encourage them (and yourself) to do the things they (and you) love- and do them well. Our world and our lives are richer because of people who dared to do the things they love before what they did became known as something professional that you could be, and make a living from.