When you’re at school, university or in a job. It’s like it’s your central focus. Your aim is to learn more. Or get more done. Or work harder. More. Better. Work.
But at the end of the day, does it really matter?
Like, if you’re working for a startup, and the product is flawed.
Or you’re creating marketing collateral for a company who are too stingy to print it.
Linds Redding, an advertising veteran, worked in the ad business for 30 years before getting terminally ill. Then he asks himself this:
So was it worth it?
Well of course not. It turns out it was just advertising. There was no higher calling. No ultimate prize. Just a lot of faded, yellowing newsprint, and old video cassettes in an obsolete format I can’t even play any more even if I was interested. Oh yes, and a lot of framed certificates and little gold statuettes. A shit-load of empty Prozac boxes, wine bottles, a lot of grey hair and a tumor of indeterminate dimensions.
So what really matters to you?
I’m trying to work that out for myself. Over the past two months I’ve been a lazybum. Well, not that lazy. I created Cart Abandon. But I got bored. Every e-commerce site should have that cart recovery software. And that’s a problem solved.
There are bigger, much more worthwhile problems worth solving, don’t you think?
So then my focus shifted to education. You know, it’s expensive, outdated and slow. Every year millions of young people go through the mill of the education system, feeling inadequate. And never discovering your true talents, and what makes you shine. You conform. You become boring. You have your A grades, but they don’t mean anything.
I’ve started a site, Educating Education where I’m brainfarting ideas and I’m also writing for Uncollege. I’m not earning anything from that at the moment – but I’m writing about it because it’s something I care deeply about.
Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator says here, that replacing universities is one of the most frighteningly ambitious startup ideas ever. It will probably end up being what I do with my life.
In the meantime, I’m looking for some freelance copywriting work at the moment to fund the Uncollege Gap Year. I’d prefer not to have a 9-5 job, because I’d be unproductive and get bored. I work best for 3-5 hours of super-productive work in the morning. 7-11am is my sweetspot and in the afternoon my productivity plummets. So that’s why I need to work in my own time.
Travelling also is also something which matters to me a lot. This week I went out to Switzerland with Dale Stephens, the founder of Uncollege. We sat in the mountains, we drunk plenty of wine. It was so beautiful!
So now I’ve got to a stage where I’ve worked out what matters to me now. Some interesting freelance copywriting work, some travelling, and in the long-term creating a business/organisation which makes education better. That’s what interests me at the moment.