“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Safe to say, most of us have been asked the big looming question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” before the age of 7. Sure we can easily criticize the poser of the question for asking this too soon in one’s life but is that really an issue? Living in a day and age where technology is revolutionizing itself before our eyes — there is perhaps no point in asking children the big looming question. Not only is it too soon for a child to have pre-established ideas of what they need to be passionate about but jobs exist today that didn’t exist just a decade ago.

Gone are the days where one person was only meant to do one thing. [Click to Tweet!]

As the fickle creatures we truly are, there is no surprise that we have the tendency to proclaim our love for one career — only to wind up hating it and moving on to another one. And to be fair, that’s why we’re given more than one chance to get it right. Because how are we supposed to know whether or not we’re actually passionate about something before trying it? No expectations formed from a single job description will ever match exactly with what the job is really like. Things just aren’t as you first imagine them to be.

There is fear that the technology revolution will make jobs disappear. Since we are stuck to old assumptions about pursuing one career we forget that these jobs are being replaced by new ones. Ones that we too can have if we were willing to re-educate ourselves. Of course education doesn’t always have to be tied to the bureaucratic system that made up nearly 2 decades of our early lives. If anything, learning from reading every book, talking to people in the industry and attending very event takes a heck of a lot more energy than going back for another degree.

If selling ourselves to employers has become increasingly important to answering the modern day version of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” the need for us to: define what we want, test out the waters and steer onto a whole new course free of obstacles is essential. With the overwhelming number of passionate people setting out to fix problems through start-ups, workplace models are rapidly changing. What are the chances of your start-up finding success like Google or Instagram you say? I’ll say we’ll all have a better chance if only we treated ourselves more like start-ups. Selling ourselves is one thing, but it’s another to be able to identify and make changes before diving into disasters head on.

Here are the days we can give the most interesting answers to the question: “What do you do for a living?” [Click to Tweet!]

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Make Your Own Life

You’ve been over this before. Frankly, your brain is sick of hearing it. There is something you want to do that you just haven’t yet. You want to go back to school, you want to start your own business, you want to learn to cook…

The non-existent book you have yet to write.

Perhaps HALF of a book draft that you just haven’t been able to bring yourself back to touching since work got in the way.

And I could go on with this list, but what’s the point? You’re such a smart cookie you’ve already got where I’m going with all this talk.

We’ve got to take the “you only live once” and direct it in the most positive way possible. It shouldn’t be an excuse for acts of recklessness. What it should help us realize, is that we ought to stop preventing ourselves from doing the things we want to.

Funny thing is, we like to assume we’re being realistic and logical for not pursuing the things we are deeply passionate about. Common logic: No money, no time, not young enough to fail again, don’t want to start over, don’t want to do something you’re not the best at etc. They say we’re afraid of failure, but it seems we also have a fear of great success. To know so much is to have more potential fear.

At some point someone might have told you you’re not capable of the thing you wanted. You didn’t want to believe it. You thought you were capable of not listening and not caring about what they said. Why is it that you went ahead and followed through on someone else’s words instead of your own?

Your single belief should be the only thing that matters.

Some of us are just naturally the ‘glass half empty’-types. We pride ourselves on being able to avoid all disappointment because of the lack of risk in our lives. And as our ancestors might have advised us from the dinosaur era, stay in a place where there is the lowest possibility of your predators ever hurting you.

There is no short-cut out of the pessimistic mindset. For every 10 lovely compliments you receive, you may only find yourself pondering the one time someone doubted you. Not only doubted your dream but also doubted you as a person. It’s important we make an effort to facilitate encouraging interaction between those that we care about and care about us in return.

We will forever notice more reasons to not do something we want than to go for it. At the end of the day, we don’t ACTUALLY need a perfect track record clear of failures in the long-run –so stop being so OCD about it. Take the first step. And if it doesn’t work? Well, now you know what the better step is to take the next time around. To give yourself a chance at succeeding is to gift yourself with a new habit; the habit of accepting better solutions to old problems.

You’re doing it for yourself. To remind yourself that you’re amazing and deserve to follow through with your own words and not others’.

Make your own life.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Why You Should Travel

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Let me start off by saying that I’ve always been the scrimping-to-save-every-last-penny type of person.

That being said, I’m no stranger to being told that I should travel and do the things I want while I’m young and have the chance.

I’m working on a happy medium here.

Day after day, we are bombarded with the idea of quitting our jobs now in order to pursue a life of carefree travels  –why we should travel. For whatever reason, those that are only taking their annual 3-week vacations are deemed to be restricting themselves to unfulfilled lives.

From the very beginning we’ve had misconceptions over what the ideal career would look like. Having the most fulfilling jobs that are best fit for each individual never meant that it wouldn’t come with pain and frustration. The concept of ‘loving every moment’ of our work is simply too abstract for our complex lives.

Feeling hesitant to pack up your bags and jump into an unknown world doesn’t mean you’re fearful of living on a budget or even clinging onto a stable life for fear of change. You see, life isn’t defined by whether you leave your cubicle to travel; it’s a matter of bringing Paris, New York and Rome all to a warm and fuzzy place you call home.

The only time we can truly grasp onto is now. We scrimp every last penny to go on what we’ve labelled once-in-a-lifetime trips. On these days or even weeks if we’re lucky, we neglect all our e-mails and even the internet because we’ve come to understand that perhaps we’ll never visit this geographical spot again.

Now allow me to suggest that you were never able to go on this once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Instead you were home with the people you love the most. Certainly being with these people is once-in-a-lifetime.

Why is it that we don’t jump upon these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to spend time with the ones we supposedly care about the most? Instead, many of us can be found purging on television shows and internet fads as if being home makes time a limitless commodity.

We’ve forgotten that home –like Paris, New York and Rome –is also, once-in-a-lifetime.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

Give Yourself Permission

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If you have writer’s block, give yourself a chance today. Give yourself permission to produce work that isn’t your best. Enough with the advice that suggests that we should never openly show work that isn’t our best. How else will our growth be recognized? Some of us have never been editors by nature but that’s alright –we can all learn to be. Love the flow of words instead of being caught up in the fluidity of which they sound together initially.

Hate and criticism comes in the form of silence as well. Just as you thought you’d be able to save yourself from hurt and judgement for expressing your thoughts in writing by stopping, the same people can still criticize you for remaining in silence. Don’t let them forget the beauty of your words.

There is no reason to hide the fact that you’re afraid.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” ― Ambrose Redmoon

And aren’t we so often told to embrace the struggle? If you take out the sugarcoating you’ll realize there is no heavenly bittersweet moment experienced until the struggle transforms your writing for the better. It’s the enlightenment that allows us to appreciate the struggle and motivates us to subject ourselves to it over and over again. But hey, even your dream job has its own little downers.

Your voice is as original as it gets when it comes to writing. What you’ve developed through continuously reading, writing and even imitating your favourite writers will become the basis of your growth. You will discover opposing ideas and conflicting voices that make you just that different. Just original.

Back your ideas up with a story. Shared ideas are not owned by individuals, stories on the other hand are.  Put a twist on the idea and make it your own story. Realization of the story is the most difficult part.

Regardless of whether the  ideas conveyed through your stories are agreed or disagreed upon at the end of the day, you voice will grow stronger. As for the people you’ve reach? Your voice has allowed them to learn more about themselves –love it or hate it.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

The Difference Between Stories and Experiences

“Those who tell the stories rule society.” –Plato

When I began to post my thoughts publicly just six months ago, I had to make a good effort to get over how self-conscious I was when it came to talking about my experiences. While I had no readers at the time, I felt incredibly disorientated with my words and paralyzed when it came to storytelling or lack of. Yet at the same time, when I heard the everyday stories of others trudging, navigating, and skipping their way through the world I was completely intrigued by experiences that could have been my own.

The more I learned from the stories of others, the more I learned about myself and how I wanted to avoid pitfalls, take risks and travel through life. It seems to me that despite how great the world appears to be, all our stories are worth telling if only you’re willing to share them. Now when you can be entirely honest, ask yourself: What makes their story better than your experience? The only difference between your experience and their story is that you never had the courage to tell it to make it a story.

Perhaps the single biggest mistake we make is considering ourselves to be individuals that possess independent experiences and isolated thoughts that aren’t relevant to the people in the world around us. Such fallacies demean the value of not only our experiences but also our own abilities to express what we know. Being confident enough to tell stories from your own experiences doesn’t make you self-absorbed but rather, open to sharing with others.

Remember that article you read? How about the incredible story a friend told you about from their adventures abroad? Those stories resonated with you and left its mark in your memory like your own experiences. Fact of the matter is those people reached out and made a connection with you that day using their story and you can do the same.

Maybe you’re still not convinced your experiences are worth “story-status”.

Why not think of it like your social network? Enough people in the same Facebook group or Twitter list make for a community. The connections made through stories are the same. They create not only connections but build communities, create successful initiatives and drive power.

Storytelling is power.

In fact, the power of storytelling is so great that over the course of human history the ability has both produced influential leaders and shunned those going against popular opinion. To stop a story from touching the lives of others is to stop the story from ever being told again.

Not all stories have resonated with you (which are most of them) and this will likely be the case with the stories you end up telling but it doesn’t make your story any less valuable. Just recall the stories that once touched you with their words and how you would be a different person without them.

Return the favour, stop keeping the experiences to yourself and share stories.

— itsfruitcakeweather.

The Neglected Books

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Day after day you remained perched on my desk, guilt-tripping me at every glance for not picking you up again.

I still remembered the day I brought you home from the store. There seemed to be an endless amount of potential  that the words on your pages could bring to my life. In fact, I was more than delighted to have sent the little money I had on you, over what could have been a nice evening to the movies or a month’s worth of Netflix subscription. You temporarily deceived me into believing I was perhaps capable of becoming anything beautiful words could form: a writer, dancer, hippie, philosopher, entrepreneur…. there was no way I would’ve passed up the opportunity to know you.

Let it be known I appreciated the knowledge I have extracted from our short-lived time together. But why must you continue to emit non-verbal judgement as I go about my daily activities? As of now, you represent everything I thought you weren’t. You represent my unfinished meals, undone chores, piling schoolwork as I engage with passive entertainment like surfing Youtube and social media networks.

For weeks upon weeks I trudged to work, classes, and meetings with you. You would help me pass time with your many words of wisdom at the doctor’s office while waiting for an appointment. I couldn’t be more grateful but the weight you’ve placed upon  my shoulders while in my backpack has no doubt made me shrink a couple centimeters if not more. I despise you for this.  Shame.

Now I’m beginning to question your value. You’ve hurt my ambitions to achieve greater things in the world of literature.  Admittedly, I should have read you months ago whilst the wonderful summer rays but I procrastinated. Now my OCD is preventing me from neglecting you completely. I am unable to start again with other great written works because of your presence. All I ever really wanted was to maximize the lessons learned from you –not read every word you had to offer.

Believe me, I wanted to learn everything when I caught sight of you. From insight on global economics to math to poetry. I convinced myself you were a worthy investment. Now tell me the honest truth –has anyone ever managed to intake your every word? Do they work? Are they users of public transit that trudge through the cold rain with you on their side? Have they elected to read you over papers they should have read for class instead? Perhaps they took you to more interesting places. Maybe they wrote their first published novel with you by their side, took you travelling and introduced you to everyone at a party. Your thoughtfully composed sentences certainly do deserve more than 15 minutes of fame.

Don’t even get me started on your fictional counterparts! Such tall tales of magical kingdoms, wizards and vampires have had more than enough unwarranted exposure at the bookstore. Sometimes the story even turns into something like a bad pun. A considerable effort to convey a message but the bad punch line leaves a bitter aftertaste. The time I thought I was capable of burrowing through a 10 novel series has come and gone along with a series of unfortunate events.

So, to the books I have neglected on my desk for too long, I can only say I want to be the ambitious ordinary superhero you told me I could be and reach my goals with the wise words you have kindly bestowed on me. Today, I have no choice but to retire you to my shelf along with some other dated folks and visit the bookstore again.

— itsfruitcakeweather.