Click on the mini-image below to listen on the page. Or, tune in through your favorite podcast service available through the “Subscribe” button.
It’s easy to default and still live a successful and fairly comfortable life.
Yet, what if some of the angst you feel inside is there for a purpose? To give you hints that it is time to think differently about your next steps.
Sometimes it is ok to default to what everyone is doing. Especially, if you consciously make that decision.
Sometimes you have to go … zigging on the zag.
Episode 49 – Show Notes
- Book – iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us by Jean M. Twenge Ph.D.
- Book – The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
- Book – Body of Work : Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together by Pamela Slim. She also wrote Escape Cubicle Nation, another great read.
- Books – all things Seth Godin – blog and books and podcasts.
Episode 49 – Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark. Episode 49. Zigging on the Zag This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? A couple of years ago, I read a book that I found very interesting, and it’s called I Jen. Why today’s super connected kids are growing up, less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy and completely unprepared for adulthood and what that means for the rest of us. And that’s by Jean M. Twenge Ph. D. Who is also a psychologist. And if you don’t know what I Jen is, it’s the generation of Children that were born in the mid 19 nineties and beyond. And so many of these, you say, would not be Children at this point, right, because we are well into 2020 at this point. But these are significantly different behaviors than we’ve seen in the past. Baby boomers, Generation X, why millennials, etcetera and so is really fascinating to listen to what she had studied and found out about in those studies, and I also compared it to the reality I saw with nieces and nephews and different friends, Children that fit into that age group because I could see the trends. And, of course, these are people that have grown up with a lot of social media. They were born when everyone had desktops or laptops in their homes. And so they’re hyper connected, maybe on social media but less connected in day to day life because they’re doing a lot virtually so. It was so interesting to see the trends of how they’re higher suicide rates. There’s a lot more anxiety and depression and loneliness in this group. They were less likely to want to have a car when they came of age. They want to be driven by parents so they can text from the back seat. They It’s almost like there being chauffeured and would rather have that than to own a car and be like those of us in the past, where that was a big deal, if you could get a car and some people put so many nights and weekends into the care of their car, and it’s just like this huge shift on things kids care about. She also talked a lot about how, Because so much of this was virtual. There wasn’t as much going and hanging out at the mall or were drinking or trying to be intimate at thes Young Ages. But then it also meant that the kids that were going to college actually had fewer experiences. And so when they walked into college, it wasn’t like they were already experienced in some of these things in life where they were used to driving to the store or going out with friends and making certain decisions that the generations before had made. And so she pointed out how, yes, they did fewer of the things that past generations of teenagers did. But then in college, they kind of overdosed on all of the experiences because now here they were away from home for the first time, never having experimented and done some of these things that the younger ages and now appear a college acting like really young teenagers, so to speak. Now it’s been at least a year and 1/2 maybe two years, since I’ve read this book that came out in 2017 and so I don’t have all of those specific details in my mind. But I remember listening to this book as I was in the middle of trying to make sense of what kind of decisions I wanted to make, to change up my career and to change up where I lived and all of these things. And so listening to the book made me think about all of those times in life where we live under certain assumptions and make decisions from those assumptions. I believe I even picked the book up cause we were working through some technology decisions at work and trying to assess what the best way to offer training and performance support would look like for the next generation of workers coming through the workforce. And so this book came up is something toe take a look at? And so I’m thinking about that book, and I was thinking about past books that I had read, and one of the first people that comes to mind is Seth Godin, who is an amazing person in the marketing world and customer relationships and customer service, and I’ve talked about him before, but he’s written linchpin meatball sundae, the purple cow, and he often talks about offering up your best work and stepping out of what everyone else is doing to make sure you’re thinking about the changes that are taking place in society as you step into your best work. And he talks a lot about the industrial revolution and how it is over. And there’s other authors that have talked about this a lot over the last 10 or 15 years where they’re saying, Hey, folks, the machine that has been working for the last 100 years is not working as well, right? We still need things that air mass produced. But mass production is kind of a race to the bottom, whereas before it was helping everyone make a living. Now that’s become, you know, Walmart, right? What’s the cheapest, fastest way to get things made, the logistics perfected so that we can get this to the people and the masses will buy it. And there’s this shift taking place in the world in so many areas. Reading the book I Jen, it was a reminder that just some subtle shifts in technology and subtle shifts in the way we use that technology have impacted so many industries. It impacts how youth grow up. It impacts how we as adults, inner act with the next generation and essentially a lot of Theus assumptions we had made for quite a few years are suddenly just not true. There are a whole different set of opportunities out there that did not even exist when many of us were in college. And that also means that there’s a whole set of skills that are required to do work that weren’t required in the past, even though underlying it. There’s general principles that stay constant, right, being trustworthy and honest, being able to communicate, be ableto, work well with others, collaborate and share information. And so this got me thinking about decisions I was making in my life. And as you drive through very large cities, which I live in the Washington D. C area, you start to pay attention to certain things and ask questions. Wire all of these neighborhoods the same why air people okay that all of these neighborhoods look the same. Why is everyone in rush hour, which is not even named correctly, right? Because everyone stuck one spot? Why are we willing to accept that is a normal living? Why is it that when I talk with parents of Children that her same age is my child. It’s assumed that both parents will work, that both parents will commute that the child, of course, would go to a preschool. Why would there be any other option? Why is it the we assume that we’re still going to go to college, the more we get interconnected. It’s really fascinating to see that there’s still this overall culture and whatever part of the world urine that finds certain things acceptable as the way it should go, the way you should be raised, the way you should get educated, the way you should go off toe work and do work the way that you handle sickness, right? All of these things that we do as we go about living our lives, and when you get to this point where you are thinking about something in your life differently, perhaps you have a health scare and you start trying to find solutions and you start saying, Wait a second, Why am I just going to the doctor? Why don’t I research all of these other things at my disposal? Oh, wait, There’s alternative medicine and you start discovering something different and moving toward it most of the time. The problem isn’t actually with the thing you’re moving toward. Most of it is getting over our own thoughts about it and having to accept that something is different than we thought by default. That happens when we want to make a change in career, too, but feel like we should stay with what we’re at. Why am I discontent? I have a salary, I have benefits. I’m rising up. I’m getting certain titles. Why should I even think differently, even if you haven’t inter inkling that maybe you should be doing something else but so many things air treated like fax. And so today. I just wanted to bring up a couple of things I just brought up, but to encourage each of us to ask ourselves questions. And this is the perfect time to do that because for most of us in April 2020 we’ve already had some shakeup that’s kind of been put upon us by events happening in the world, and it gives us a chance to change our routine in our habits and to look at some things differently. If we choose to right this is a perfect time to choose to look at things differently. So I wanted to give a couple more examples. You know, as we see how the rising generations already have different habits and a lot of us air constantly rethinking a few things and simultaneously defaulting on other parts of our lives that it’s worth sitting back and taking a look, especially if we feel like there’s some kind of cognitive dissonance between the way we are in the way we feel we should be, or that we’re just ready for a change. We feel like it’s time to just stop doing what the normal day to day and change it up a bit. So I think I just brought up the help thing where you realize, Oh, defaulting and just going to the doctor every time you’re sick isn’t working. And this is no offense to doctors, especially those in my family, right. But you start to realize they’ve been trained in certain things, but they haven’t been trained in others and other people have. And how do you bring those things together to take care of your help? And I love how recently intermittent fasting has kind of become a big deal because to realize wow, you know, the thought that you can actually be healthier by incorporating less food in your life is amazing. And you might say, Well, everybody knows on diets, eat less food. Yeah, but this is saying consciously, I’m not going to have any food for 14 hours every day, right over 15 hours. I’m only gonna eat between 10. 30 and a. M and 5 p.m. And to be perfectly happy and fine with not having anything before or after that and know that that’s actually giving your body time to regenerate. Now that’s not for everyone, but you start to see Oh, there’s all these different health alternatives now, And the question isn’t whether or not there’s a solution to your health dilemma. It’s more of a question of making sure that you’re getting information from the right sources and that that information is right for your particular body. But we have this world where we have tons of information to choose from and alternatives that we can take a look at, and some people may think those alternatives are still hokey, and maybe some of those are but maybe some of them aren’t, and they’re worth taking a look at when it comes to technology. I see a lot of really young kids on phones, which I think is interesting because a lot of the Silicon Valley tech folks don’t have their kids in schools that have a lot of technology, and they’re not letting them use it at a young age. Why, Well, they’ve learned about the brain and realize what this does in our brains. There’s a lot of addictive behaviors and addictive things going on with the way our cell phones and APS and such are designed, and it’s better in some opinions to start Children into that later. And so maybe when the majority of the people are doing one thing you say, Hey, maybe we won’t do that. Maybe it’s OK if your child Onley learns the basics of technology enough to collaborate on teams and interact in that kind of thing, and maybe they don’t need to become a programmer in the future. Maybe they will be more valuable starting the best plumbing company that’s out there, and that kind of leads education. This college matter, some say yes. Some say No. Some say absolutely. Get into the top college, make sure that you’re at the top of the class. Get recruited by the right big companies. But we don’t even know if those organizations will be around in the next few years. There’s been so much disruption across industries. What are we really preparing for? And there I see a lot of people saying, Wait a second, let’s look at this a different way. Maybe it’s OK if I just go to a little college. Maybe it’s OK if I don’t go at all. Maybe I go to a trade school. Maybe I go work for a while, find out what my interest are. And then, as I understand my interests, pursue some certifications or some internships and does it matter? And of course, everything I say right now is going to cause in you a certain thought in a certain emotion about it. You’re going to agree or disagree or go. Oh, that’s an interesting thought, but these were just thoughts out there and some of these things that I’m sharing, like with school. I mean, I have a master’s degree. I have a couple certifications. I have been a continuous learner. I understand, and we’ll share in another episode why I did what I did, and it often wasn’t for the same reasons that other people did it. I think a lot of us can say that. In other words, I wasn’t doing that as a default. I chose those opportunities for very specific reasons, and I learned certain things from them that were different than what I intended to find out from enrolling. But this whole college thing is super interesting nowadays, and I know in the last 10 15 years, like when I read money, magazines and things, they’re always saying, Hey, no point in going to the four year university out the gate, go to the junior college. They’re cheaper and it doesn’t matter, right? It matters where you get your four year degree. I have someone in the family that they ended up going to medical school in Mexico and a lot of people had thoughts about that, which is amazing, cause I went down to visit and it was an amazing place in Guadalajara and they got so much experience down there, but then they had to do an extra year at Yale I believe so. They’re in medical school longer than most, but they get a walk out with a certificate from Yale, even though they went to college in Mexico. Interesting stuff with education, and does it really matter now? You could argue in some situations. It absolutely does, like the M. D right. If that’s the requirement, then you do have to go on and get that extra schooling in that prescribed way. But there’s no reason any of us can’t learn in lots of different ways. My primary choice of learning is the audio book, right? And even if I am taking a course, that’s video. I’m primarily not watching it. I’m listening to it and writing notes. That’s my primary form of learning. Once in a while, I’m OK in a classroom. There were so many experiences growing up that I thought that I wasn’t a good learner, but I was a very good learner. But I was preoccupied with other worries in the social interactions and everything that impacted my grades and who cares about greats? What do they actually measure nowadays? It’s another opportunity to zig on the zag, and some of these kinds of thinking What about homes? Most of us grew up thinking that you’re going to live the dream if you grow up and you buy a home and that’s the greatest investment you can make well, is it really? I mean, a few of us have gone through some downturns where we left our homes and didn’t make money, in fact, may have owed a little. And do you want to have a big house in the suburbs? That’s exactly like the 500 other houses that are built with the exact same driveways, mailboxes, lawns and colors. Usually there’s three or four color scheme, and you may say, Yeah, I’m fine with that because I don’t care about houses. And that’s great, because that tells you something about yourself, right? That it’s okay for you in that particular aspect of life, too. Just not think about it. I want low maintenance. I don’t care that I look like all the neighbors. That’s fine. I care about other stuff rate, and that’s one of the points that I wanted to make in this discussion. Is that there some things that it makes sense to consciously default to what the Norma’s while also making sure that it’s a deliberate choice. Then you’ll know this. If you’re someone that’s living in one of those neighborhoods and was like, Man, I just This is not the right fit for me. I can’t fit into this box And then, you know you’re someone that maybe you can do something else. Maybe you don’t have to live that way. One of my brothers moved. Recently. He and his wife and family moved from Houston to West Yellowstone, and I went and visited both places and is interesting. One was a very nice suburb, and the other is not completely wild. And it’s funny how, like sitting in both houses both had the same furniture, but it felt and looked completely different. And to be in that place, that was just crazy nature, right? Yellowstone, I realized, Wow, it doesn’t matter what this house looks like. Who cares? They keep it clean. They’ve got what they need, and they’re having way different experiences, and it’s opening the door to different opportunities in life. It zigging on the zag, being willing to go against a social norm if you are compelled to do so and it bringing out the best in you or whatever. You need to learn to pursue the right path. So these air basic life things, right? Health, technology, school, home. Do you need to live in a big house? Have you had one? You thought it was a dream. And then you realized Wait. I’m spending a heck of a lot of time on this. And maybe you can go like I’ve done in life. You go from owning for a long time and then go to renting for a while and realizing maybe that’s just fine for that part of life. When you look at vacations, do you need to go on vacation every year? Well, most of us would say yes, but where you going? Are you defaulting to something you think you should do or you think you like? You’re saying, let’s do something different. Have you ever camped in an Amish field in Pennsylvania? I have. We’re on a family trip, Couldn’t find a hotel. Then we’re in like some spot we didn’t know and it was Amish country. Dad pulls over, we put up three tents and of course I slept in the back of the station wagon because I was an older teenager, and I’m like, I’m not getting caught out there. I want to be right in here. If someone comes out here, try to find us. We’ve also camped in Yellowstone and had Buffalo in the middle of our camp or in crazy rainstorms in the middle of Nebraska in these trips were all mixed up with some hotels and stuff. But these air memories that I couldn’t have had if every trip was hopping on a plane and going to a specific beach or specific, very popular place it was going off the beaten trail, going to different places have different experiences, different memories. Some of you have probably read the book by Tim Fares, the four hour work week where he introduces the idea that perhaps we don’t need to fit into this paradigm where we work all these years and then retire. Maybe we can take many retirements along the way, and I really liked that concept that we didn’t have to like, climb this ladder and follow these certain rules. And it’s really telling when you know a lot of people who apparently followed the rules and things didn’t turn out as planned. or people that broke all the rules and had it’s completely different experience. But Tim Ferriss had all these different experiences where I think he had a mail order company, and then he sold it or something. And then he went and became a ballroom dance champion, cause he but all his efforts into focusing on learning a thing, doing it well and then taking a break from it and then going on and delving into different areas. And of course, he’s written lots of books and inspired a lot of people with that idea. And then some of us who have been in work environments for a long time have seen some people that have actually bought into the idea that you must lock, step, follow this approach until you retire, even if they had a major health concern or really yearned to go take a year and travel the world and they didn’t do it. And it’s really sad when someone always deprives themselves of what is actually in their heart and mind, because you’ll see them just keep going against what they want to do and do what they think that they have to do, like sticking with a job they don’t like until retirement, and then coming down with the sickness after they retire and dying and right. But you had all those years where you could have taken that risk and taken a break if you wanted to, or you could have decided that you didn’t need to default on some of these things that you could actually quote unquote Follow your heart. Sometimes your heart is telling you something. Now I love a book from Pamela Slim. I’m talking about a lot of books today. I saw this list this week that I had made a few years ago. Of all the books I used to keep track of all the books I read, Pamela Slim wrote Escape Cubicle Nation and she wrote Body of Work When I read body of work, This is like, five years ago, maybe, and she talks about how we often think, Oh, I took that job, but it wasn’t It didn’t fit on this path I supposed to go to and how, instead of that, just kind of honoring each job for what it was and what you learned and look back on it and think, Wow, I’ve had all of these experiences, and the more variety you have, the more you bring to whatever you go to next. It’s more interesting. It’s more valuable or it can be. And I loved how Pamela Slim talked about Look at your life like it’s it’s body of work and it’s okay if there’s breaks in between, it’s okay. If it doesn’t follow a certain path, it’s all part of you. You can claim it. It’s all part of your life experience. And I think a lot of us will find that we will continue to have experiences in life that teach us about why it was important for us to be in some of these prior jobs or in some of these prior homes or places that we’ve lived around our country or in another country, that it all comes together to help us become. And so today I just wanted to encourage you to sit down and think with yourself and reflect and ask yourself some questions. Am I defaulting in life to what the general society claims is the best way? And if I am defaulting in some areas of my okay with that? Because it may be okay because this is not a discussion about trying to be different or trying to be contrary or trying to do the opposite. It’s more of a discussion about recognizing that there are options, and we live in a day and age where there are more options than ever, which actually can create other issues. And that’s another episode about choice architecture. Hey, but toe ask ourselves, Am I defaulting? Am I okay that I’m defaulting in some areas? Why or why not? Maybe I’m choosing to be unique in one way to follow my heart while also defaulting in another way. And that’s OK as long as we’re thinking about it and making a conscious decision. And some things that we say to ourselves gives us clues right when I run into someone at work and they say that they’re doing fine, but they have five years, five months, two weeks and three days and five hours till they retire. That’s assigned to me that they’re not doing what they need to be doing. Think of how much you could do in five years. Think of how you could pivot if you wanted Teoh to something more valuable for you to be spending your time doing what if you actually did pivot and then you’d find that there were people that were waiting for you for waiting for what you had to offer or that if you did pivot that you were able to meet people that actually do what you wanted to dio and you didn’t know they existed until you decided to step out of your comfort zone and pursue it. The world has changed forever, and I think we could say that every month of every year. Nowadays there’s always something going on that creates new opportunities that closes down old opportunities and the faster we can get used to thinking about all the options we actually have the better position we will be for taking advantage of some of those opportunities. So I hope the title zigging on the zag doesn’t also make you feel like this podcast went all over the place. Maybe a did. But I’ve had lots of thoughts about this is I push up against some of the norms that I’ve been taught in all parts of life and some of the things you hear on the news or some of the things you see in social circles and to realize we can question all of it and say, Wait a second, Maybe there is a different way. Maybe I can follow some of the deep feelings inside of me that I should be trying this thing knew or that maybe it’s time to have a different place to live. Or maybe I don’t have to become a technology guru if that’s not really in me and it’s okay. Maybe I don’t have to go to the Ivy League or even a four year college in general. Maybe I can take another path. And the beauty of the connected world nowadays is we can now see and interact with people who have taken different paths, have been willing to zig on the zag and are very successful in many parts of life. And that can give us confidence if we want to step out and try something new. So just lots of thoughts to think about that. It’s OK to stop sometimes and to consider what most of us think is normal and go wait a second. Is that for me? Is that a normal for me? And we just might find something very thrilling and new in that process. So once again, as I close just to encourage you to ask yourself some questions, um, I defaulting in some of these key areas of my life a my okay, that I’m defaulting to it. I might have my reasons, and that’s fine. But if I think that I actually want to try something different or change something up, why not entertain the opportunity to do so? And you may fail, but at least you will have tried. Thanks again for listening, and I’ll talk to you next week. I am ready to help you move your mind movie deaths. I am a coach. If you’d like to work with me, go to move your desk dot com and select the work with me tab. We can put our minds together and help you offer up your best work.