Nearly all of us who arrived on this planet after World War II grew up in the Culture of the Single Lifetime Career. From early on, we were encouraged to pick a path and follow it.
Once we had made the choice, we discovered that getting off that path was not only difficult—it incurred scorn and criticism from others. Besides the enormous discontent that such thinking has produced, it’s also crippled our adventurous spirits.
R. Buckminster Fuller was one of the greatest thinkers of the past century and someone who refused to give in to such singular notions. In his fascinating book, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, he writes, “Society assumes that specialization is natural, inevitable and desirable.
“Yet in observing a little child, we find it is interested in everything and spontaneously apprehends, comprehends and coordinates an ever-expanding inventory of experiences. If the total scheme of nature required man to be a specialist she would have made him so by having him born with one eye with a microscope attached to it.”
Isn’t that a great image? Think about an older person that you know, one you would describe as youthful. What’s the distinguishing characteristic of this lively elder? I’m guessing that curiosity about anything and everything is what stands out.
It’s the same quality that makes for successful entrepreneurship. We need to be curious about our own industry, of course, but we need to be equally curious about things that seem to have no direct bearing on what we’re up to.
After all, the world is full of people who are crazy about things we know nothing about and discovering what they love can make our lives richer.
One Thanksgiving, I had dinner with a group of relatives I didn’t know very well. The sister of the hostess sat next to me at dinner and the moment she sat down announced, “I want to have my own business.”
I asked her if she knew what she wanted to do and she lit right up. “I love doing beadwork. I come home from my job and go right to my project room and bead all night,” she told me.
The moment dinner was over, she whipped out her beads and spent the afternoon making jewelry.
A few minutes later, my cousin Ray came over to visit with me. Ray has been a farmer his entire life raising corn and soybeans. A few years ago, he turned several acres of his farm into vineyards
In his second year of production, his crop outperformed all expectations. He was so excited about this new aspect of his business and had a list of ideas for building it. I couldn’t wait to return in the summer to see his vines.
Even though I may never take up beading or growing grapes myself, being with these passionate folks opened a creative valve and I spent my long drive home stopping to write down ideas for my own business.
Exploring is more than just amusement. There’s no doubt in my mind that you, I and our fellow humans are in possession of Renaissance souls just waiting to be discovered.
It’s only by following our hunches, by trying a wide range of things, by listening to others share their passions and by moving outside the familiar that we can unwrap the gifts that are waiting our recognition.
You don’t have to go halfway around the world in order to be a genuine explorer. You just need to open your heart and mind to testing and tasting the unfamiliar.
And when you catch yourself thinking or saying, “I would never…” reverse that thought and give what you’d never do a try. You might discover that you adore traveling alone or giving a speech. Or you might discover that once was enough. Either way, you’ll have gained a new insight into what brings you the greatest joy.
The upcoming Joyfully Jobless Jamboree on October 15 & 16 is going to be a fantastic opportunity to explore more. We’re thinking of it as Woodstock for the selfl-employed. Spending time in a beautiful setting surrounded by lively, creative self-bossers is certain to inspire you to take your business higher and farther.
This is the perfect place to explore, connect and create. Early Bird deadlines are rapidly approaching so don’t wait any longer to get registered.