Choose your own adventure
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” – Scott Adams
You know that you can choose your own adventure, right?
Do you know that your life and business can be your most striking expressions of creativity, resulting in a completely unique work of art?
We all want to do work that matters…If there’s something creative or innovative inside you that needs to come out, get to work and start now. – Paul Jarvis
Author Paul Jarvis demonstrates his truths–aptly using the metaphor of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book series–and describes [everything he knows] in my new fave book recommendation, Everything I Know.
Note: You need to know that I don’t read a lot of business-y, non-fiction or even self-help books. I buy them fairly frequently, but I don’t get around to reading them very often. I think that’s because I spend so much time on the internet every day–researching and collecting and consuming information. By the time I get into bed, fiction is all I crave. So many fantastic titles–or so I’m told–are still languishing on my iPad.
But…for some reason, I was immediately compelled to underline nearly every other line in this book. I’m truly amazed by how quickly it had me hooked. I’m eating it up. And I am totally impressed by how much insight is packed into this deceptively simple little read. (It’s only 139 shortish pages.)
Honestly, the concepts Jarvis expounds upon in Everything I Know aren’t brand spanking new to me. I started writing about my own middle-age discovery that I could (theoretically and actually) choose and create my own life–rather than waiting for someone else or some twist of fate to do it for me–in my personal blog, back in 2012.
But the way Jarvis talks about what he has learned in the process of choosing his own life’s adventure is unique, fresh and energizing. And his real-life success and broad set of experiences take his words from “pie in the sky” to firmly grounded and completely solid. In other words, he has the credibility and true stories to back up what he says. The resulting book is like a flashlight illuminating the path directly ahead of me.
You need to go off-trail and off-map to find your own lucky charms. The world rewards people who try things and come up with new ways of doing business. The biggest innovators get the biggest rewards, and those who simply copy the original model get only part of the original reward–at best.
I can’t say this enough–you don’t have to model your work on someone else’s pattern, or to emulate how things typically run. And you definitely don’t have to follow how big businesses operate. If you take one thing from this book, I hope it’s that the adventure you choose is your own…
So if emulating another person guarantees nothing, then why not do things your way–where your way is aligned with your values and what’s important to you. And if what you try doesn’t work, you can always pivot or change things up. You’ll be in the same market as the leaders, except you’re now different from them. Win-win, right?
This is how you choose your own adventure. – Paul Jarvis
In case you’re interested, Jarvis is a web designer who lives in the woods on Vancouver Island (I used to live in that part of the world too, yay!) He’s self-described as introverted, stoic and neurotic. Belying his very humble approach to talking about himself–I discovered him in a totally random way–he actually has an international reputation as the designer whose vision and web design strategy builds multi-million dollar businesses. He’s worked with Fortune 500 companies (Yahoo, Mercedes Benz + Microsoft), best-selling authors and the world’s biggest entrepreneurs (Danielle LaPorte, Marie Forleo and Kris Carr.)
He also steps away from his work for months at a time to pursue other interests and travel the world. He may not be a flashy guy, but he is certainly a fascinating one. You can sign up for his blog and more at his website.
Going your own way, down a path no one has ever forged, is scary territory. It’s not enough to be curious and to be yourself, you’ve actually got to do real work. It’s easy to get tripped up or overwhelmed with questions like, ‘What do I do next?’ or ‘What happens if?’ when all that matters is, ‘Where do I start?’ …
Focusing on the present requires real effort…It means doing what’s required, right now–and success still isn’t guaranteed. But if you don’t do the work, nothing will change, so why not at least try?
For good or for bad, you aren’t entitled to the results; you’re only entitled to do the work.
Our egos make it hard to let go of potential outcomes, but…the results of your effort–fame, money, power, etc.–will either appear or they won’t. Spending even a second thinking about tomorrow requires you to stop thinking about the work you should be doing today. The results might not happen. But if what you do aligns with your values, those results won’t matter. The fact that you went all-in will be enough. And if the labour itself isn’t enough, perhaps you need to switch up what you’re doing.
Spend your time worrying about what’s now, not what’s next. It’s the only way to ensure you do meaningful work regardless of an outcome you can’t predict or set.
…It takes sacrifice to make something great. In order to shift your mindset and experiment with ideas, you have to choose a new path. You have to change your paradigm from consumption to creation. Then the possibilities are limitless.
Once you choose a path toward creativity, it becomes easier to prioritize. Why watch TV when there’s important work to be done? Why get caught up in a social media time warp when there are great ideas to develop?
If there’s something creative or innovative inside you that needs to come out, get to work and start now.
– Paul Jarvis
Now…please share your brilliance with me! Have you read a great book recently? What’s been inspiring you? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.