Spent the day failing the Olin challenge with David Nelson (Olin '09) and his JET buddy Fitz roaming Bangkok. (We discovered we'd all be in Bangkok 3 days before meeting up, and thus count this as a Challenge Fail.) It was a wonderful time, from the McDonald's chicken porridge to tuktuk negotiations to drinking from the coconut cart outside the temple to snacking through the market to long conversations while
getting lost exploring the palace.
One thing we talked about was the hazy topic of "the future" - all three of us are in our twenties and going down our own routes instead of going for "the defaults." That's not to say that "defaults" are bad... juts like everything else, it's possible to do them with great thoughtfulness, and it's entirely possible for them to be the best thing for you to do. From "ode to the entrepreneurial spirit":
Is someone working at Cisco or ABC Tool & Die missing out on the good life? Are line-workers and 9 to 5r's less daring, less free, less...entrepreneurial? I used to think so. I apologize. I know executives who are profoundly liberated in how they bring their gifts to the world. I know people who work for themselves in such a punishing way that they may as well be working for The Man.
It's not about the packaging, it's not about the form, it's the heart of the matter that we need to see rightly. It's the entrepreneurial spirit that I want to foster. Inside the system and out. Everywhere.
All three of us are also in periods of transition and decision; do we go here, take this contract, stay, switch continents, move, go back to school, defer, take what sort of job? That sort of possibility is exhilarating and tiring and scary all at the same time. When you gain freedom, you give up certainty. Not necessarily safety or stability - I don't think it's possible to actually be free and take risks unless you feel safe somehow, preferably via world-proofing yourself, not you-proofing the world, as the latter usually entails defining your world as a restricted subset of the actual world. But when you get freedom, you get options and you get choice... and that's powerful, and it's also a bit terrifying to have that power. Because then you're responsible. What if you pick the wrong thing? What if you screw up? You've got nobody to blame but yourself.
Uncertainty is scary. I don't know a good way to make the fear go away. Then again, courage isn't an absence of fear; it's taking action despite that fear. I've written about this before, and it's interesting to see how and how often some themes come up again and again.