Building your life – herd or lead ?

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“If we all grow up to do what we dream of as children, the moon would be full of unemployed astronauts”

From one side it says you can’t always do what you want.
But from the other side, it says life is not that simple
Most end end up doing what society drags them to do…and that’s to become part of the herd and not an independent thinker

Herd Mentality

If you don’t build your dream, then someone else will, and they will hire you to help them build theirs !

I will be writing here about some lessons I have learned from my experience of being an independent worker since I was about 13. Today I have my own company and we have some very big clients.
I could have stayed at my job (where I worked for barely 1.5 years before quitting) but I decided that being employed is not for me and I did not want to work on someone else’s vision.
That was the hardest move I did to get out of the ‘comfort zone’.

You might think I was unhappy at my job or not getting paid enough so quitting was easy.
But, fact is, I actually got accepted by many different companies when I submitted CVs by chance during the last day of a job fair. I actually had the luxury to pick the company I liked best.
I still had 1 semester in college yet I was hired with a salary of a 5 years experience.

I talk about how important experience is and how college degrees alone are just a piece of paper in this article:
New graduates, your degree means nothing“, I strongly suggest you check it out.

Quitting my job was not an easy step. I had security, good income, and great work environment.
But every person should try taking a leap of faith at least once in life.

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Most people I know, and starting with myself, underestimate how much is learned by ‘doing it alone'; but if you take a pause and think about it, you do realize that what you learn is more valuable than any educational system.

Success isn’t everything
You might have read these quotes before:
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new” – Albert Einstein
“I have not failed. I’ve just fount 10,000 ways that won’t work” – Thomas Edison

I find this ideology the only way one can move forward.
If you don’t fail at something, it means you’re not learning new things;
when you don’t learn new things, it means you’re just like everyone else.

BeDifferent

A learning process always comes with challenges and failures (as simple as they can be).

Pause for a second, think about the last time you actually tried something yourself and failed…if you can’t find anything, then you better start finding a passion and ride that steep learning curve.

Failing in a project means one thing, and it is not failure.
Never underestimate how much better you get doing something, working on it, improving it, getting feedback and re-working on it.

As a coder I would know that if I write a piece of code today and review it after a while, I will definitely make it much better (even adding simple comments or documentation is already a step better); imagine this on a bigger scale such as an app.
This applies to about every major out there.

Continuous trial and error leads to improvement and that makesyou better.

success

 

Who’s the boss?
The most common thing I hear as someone having his own business is: “you’re the boss, you can do anything you want”.

Fact is, the toughest boss is yourself !

If you think working for some picky manager is a pain, try starting your own project, business, or startup.
Managing your own self is a big challenge; it can make it or break it.

If you are anywhere near perfectionist of what you are doing (and you probably would be), you will not be satisfied until you think it’s perfect and that means you will become the boss that keeps nagging until the job is done as needed…sounds familiar?

whos the boss

A boss will drive you until the best is achieved. If you’re the boss, it is until perfection is achieved.
But you have also to understand that you are a finite resource, so you have to find the proper balance!

“If you don’t have a plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. Guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

“Work” hard but don’t work
Working is a pain,
but if you’re doing a hobby or something you like, then technically you’re not working.

Find that thing, and do it for the rest of your life.
If you’re not already, reconsider what you’re doing.
Many people I know are driven to what they do from peer and family pressure … you should decide, not others !

I love my job businessman

Working hard and being your own boss is not easy…we all get distracted, even more when no one is supervising you, and that’s the challenge!
The best way to focus yourself is split your tasks, estimate their time, then split that into schedule of 30-60 min intervals…during those intervals, shut down from the world (Facebook, phone, any distraction).
Your productivity will greatly boost…phones and social media distract you more than you might even think, consciously and subconsciously.

Learn how to focus yourself and get your tasks done.

Persistence
Some days are good, some are bad, others are worse.
The only way to keep going is to know how to motivate yourself and be persistent.

Many people will tell you “you can’t do it” or “it’s a waste of time”, but if you believe in it…try it.
It will, at least, get you more experience, which is always a good thing… and as mentioned before, there’s no true success without some failure!

persistence

Procrastination is your biggest enemy; it comes natural when you face challenges! So follow the advice in the previous point on dividing your time, splitting tasks, and avoiding outside interference…it takes you a step further!
Get yourself to start…most cases when you do start, you won’t stop.

Starting everyday is a skill worth mastering !

Do something alone at some point
All our lives we’re taught to get along with others, work with others, work in teams, be part of teams, etc.
Even though it’s a good thing, but it’s overrated! Just focusing on teamwork will make you miss out on a very important life skill: working alone.

Most people never work alone…starting from school.
In school everyone gets into groups where they let others handle some tasks (if not all for some of the lazier people out there).
This system carries on so much that it becomes inherit in each person.

entrepreneur-001

Working alone means picking a project, planning it, plotting the path from start to end, setting deadlines, reviewing it on your own, adjusting to feedback, and being 100% responsible of the final result.
Many have had good contributions in teams, but do you really have a strong handle & perception of how much you’ve actually contributed ?

Some say as long as the team succeeds, all else is irrelevant.
Here’s an a common scenario:
– when the team succeeds: everyone wants to get credit for what they did
– when the team fails: “the team failed”, everyone blames the team and not himself

Do it yourself and you have no one else to blame…failing is a good thing, because it teaches you where you’re weak and you discover yourself in ways that cannot be taught.
You will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses, and therefore grow and fine tune yourself!
This will never happen in teams, as your weak point is where others will come in and work on your behalf.
Doing this will really let you know what you bring to a team in the future, and that is yourself!

Every single CV I’ve seen has “works well in a team”, what about working alone? it’s an underrated skill that I think can many times be more valuable!

The comfort zone is not so comfortable
Almost every single person lives happy in their own comfort zone.
You’re there, all is good, all is safe, no worries…
but that’s your biggest setback.

Imagine you’re a runner, you’re in you’re 20s and you’re running against 80 year old people.
You are always the first, you’re great, you’re the best..why change?

That’s your comfort zone! Will you improve or practice harder? NO! no need to…
Race against a group your age…oh oh…you lost…time to tune your skills…that’s exactly how to get out of a comfort zone: challenge yourself, take the hard away, push yourself to your limits.

where-the-magic-happens
If you have an idea that might not work just because others say so, you’re setting back.
Have successful people made it by doing what others told them ? of course not, otherwise everyone would have done it before.

So think outside of that comfort zone and outside things you understand 100% and try new things.
If you are working on something, try doing it in a new way the next time.

All excitement and possibility of new things lie outside the comfort zone…failure lies outside the comfort zone (and failure is what drives you to get better).

The main thing you should ask yourself is not “who will let me ?” but “who will stop me?” .

The fear of losing should not be greater than the excitement of trying.
Don’t play it safe to be good, but take a chance to be great.

Usually the biggest difference between successful people and others is not lack of strength, but rather lack of will.

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Which one do you want to be?


Look up to someone
Simple thought but important.
Musicians might understand this best; they find an artist they like, they look up to him, and start learning every piece of composition they have.

That directs and orients the musician on a path to be as good as that musician.
This drives the ‘learner’ to achieve a certain goal. This should apply to life as well.

Consider every person in your life an artist…whether older, younger, more experienced, less experience, someone you like, someone you hate…it doesn’t matter!

Find qualities you like in people and look up to them. Be humble and learn how to admire people and reach those qualities.
Personally I look up to several of the known names out there, but more importantly I also look up to some closer people such as family and friends…funny_pictures_cat_has_a_role_model_xlarge
 Be positive

I am a very optimistic person and I have had my set of failures. But if I wanted to dwell and get depressed about the times it doesn’t work out, I would be shooting myself in the foot.

Always look at the positive side of things as your life is shaped by your own positive energy.
The people around you are influenced by your energy and vice-versa.
The more positive thinking there is, the more one can do, whether in community or on personal level.
Life is too short to dwell on the negative things, and most people already take what they have for granted.

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude” – Oprah Winfrey

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Live your life
As a last point, I strongly believe that one should not live to work.
Find time for your friends, family, and yourself.
This helps build a positive energy. When you have positive energy you can work more efficiently and better achieve your goals.
Find time to take breaks, and don’t overwork yourself.
Simpy enjoy life.

“Live a good life. In the end it is not the years in a life, but the life in the years” – Abraham Lincoln

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Thank you for reading !

About the author, Roy Naufal:
Computer & Communication Engineer.
One of the earliest web developers in Lebanon starting his career in 1995 at age 11.
Has won numerous awards and competitions and ranked as one of the top developers in Lebanon & the Middle East.
CTO and founder of Grind Design & Development, a digital design agency with unique development services. Head of web department at College Notre Dame de Louaize.
Founder of 2 startup projects currently in development.
Also owner and founder of an events management company and reputed sound engineer. Musician. Blogger.

http://lb.linkedin.com/in/roynaufal
http://twitter.com/roynaufal

 

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  1. Thanks for sharing. Good stuff!

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