I recently ran into a guy I used to work with.
We talked for a while about the old job. He is still there and still hates it. He had a career that pretty much went away with changes in technology. He ended up there because he just needed work when the other job dried up.
Did I mention that he hates it as much now as he did when he started six years ago?
I asked him what he was going to do about it? What did he really want to do? It turned out that he wanted to write. When I mentioned that I was making my living as a writer, he was interested, but only for a few seconds. Then he went back to griping about his job and the events that forced him to take it.
After a few minutes of trying to explain that I had been through the same thing, and how I eventually became a writer, it became clear that he wasn’t listening.
He was entirely focused on his problems with no interest in finding a solution.
He didn’t care that I was actually offering to help him get started as a writer. He was completely content to be miserable in his situation.
I know the mentality. Been there, done that. The point where frustration and defeat are like drinking buddies. You just sit there and complain to the familiar faces who are happy to let you vent, but have nothing to offer.
Here’s the fact… You can get up and move on whenever you are ready.
For this particular guy, I had answers for him. We had similar stories. We had similar ambitions. We could have similar results if he was willing to shut up and listen for a few minutes. But he couldn’t see past the problems to look for a solution.
Over the course of my life, I realize that I have developed an intolerance of helplessness. People who know that they have problems, but make no effort to resolve them. Folks who expect life to hand them things because they don’t have the initiative to get up and help themselves. I don’t tolerate it from my own kids or anyone else.
“Never take problems anywhere but to a solution.”
My kids have heard that line hundreds of times. It means that there’s no point talking about your problems unless you are searching for a solution. Nobody wants to listen to a whiner. Heroes are made when people are devoted to solutions, not problems.
Does your career suck? Is your family life miserable? Are you frustrated with you bank account? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Do something about it.
My career didn’t start when I walked out of some school or walked into some office and declared myself a writer. It started when I decided to create a career that I wanted.
My career as a writer started, when I finally started writing.
It doesn’t mean that you need to take some massive leap of faith and quit your job. Bills have to be paid. Families must be supported. There is honor in doing what has to be done. Just work your way out.
The next few years will come and go whether you are in front of the TV or studying a new skill. You can waste your time being entertained or spend it creating a new life. Figure out what you think you want to do and learn all you can. Then start doing it.
You can focus on the problems or focus on the solutions. Your choice. Just don’t whine about the results of your choices. The rest of us are tired of hearing it.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com, ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.