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Take those lessons

I’ve held a lot of jobs, all of which have come with a lot of learning.

My very first paid job was cleaning a car park of a gym. I remember showing up at the gym and one of the very buff trainers took me out to the car park and briefed me.

“You see all of this litter…we basically want it all clear.”

I was 15 and I was keen.

As soon as his spandex covered physique turned to go back into the gym I got to work.

I focused all I had on picking up every piece of litter in that car park that I could! It was spotless.

When I went upstairs to let him know I was finished he came to check, nodded in approval and then took me back upstairs to call the owner.

The owner came out to the gym reception (in a tighter spandex) and turned to one of the shelves where there were sachets of protein powder on and counted them out.

I didn’t get paid in money, I got paid in sachets of protein powder, which at the time was of great value as this was my first job!

It was a once off gig and chuffed with the experience I proceeded to get another job soon after at a laundromat where my job was to sweep and mop the floors, clean the washing machines and then lock up.

I did both of these jobs with pride to the best of my ability.

Many more jobs of different variety came up after that (including stacking shelves in a shop and pressing the lift buttons to take customers from one floor to another).

As I calved more skills + ‘study’ I started to take on more interesting, complex, and challenging ‘jobs’.

Whether I was cleaning a car park or lecturing what was key was increasing the quality of the experience for the person(s) with whom I was engaging + in the process seek to get better and better.

Here is how Newport describes this:

“…the craftsman mindset, which focuses on what you can offer the world. The second is the passion mindset, which instead focuses on what the world can offer you. The craftsman mindset offers clarity, while the passion mindset offers a swamp of ambiguous and unanswerable questions... there’s something liberating about the craftsman mindset: It asks you to leave behind self-centered concerns about whether your job is ‘just right,’ and instead put your head down and plug away at getting really damn good. No one owes you a great career, it argues; you need to earn it—and the process won’t be easy.”

I’m not offering career advice here, nor the answer to jobs and vocations.

What I’m saying is that there can be value in discovering and developing your own ways to perform highly even on tasks that may appear on the surface to have no relevance (at the moment).

String enough of those peak performances together and you’ve got what Newport calls ‘adjacent possibles’.



p.s. you’ll be amazed at how the skills and experience in one area can transfer epically into another.

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