We've got the wrong theory about how minds work and it's ruining our lives
Nice post. Unfortunately it's pretty rare to be paid to do something you enjoy (assuming you even know what really makes you happy in life).
Having accumulated f*ck you money is a solution but unattainable for most.
Maybe find a decently paid 9-to-5 that has you eat the lowest amount of frogs and spend the rest of your day doing things you truly enjoy?
My dad has said, “I used to judge my success by how many unpleasant things I could force myself to do. Now I judge my success by how few things I have to force myself to do.” I think about that a lot.
I’m no longer eating many frogs, but I’m still feeling ambivalent about it.
Love the "eat frogs" analogy. The best career advice I ever received was from an Irish magazine editor, who I was working for in Dublin. At the time, I was 22-years old and a pup journalist. I was very worried that I was missing out on advancement back in the United States, that I had to get back, and as you say, Adam, "eat frogs". I expressed this to my editor. He said rather bluntly over what must have been our fifth pint of Guinness: "Neal, you can't really screw up your career until you're at least 30." What he later described over a ninth pint (it's like catching fish, the amount grows after each retelling) was that I'd be better off finding out exactly what I loved to do rather than worrying about hustling to get ahead in a job I didn't even really want. In other words, don't eat frogs because everyone else is eating frogs.
I want to bring in the research that shows that some people (looking at you, people with ADHD! although not only) are really terrible at estimating how many frogs will need to be swallowed to work on or complete a specific task. When we over-estimate that, we procrastinate on doing things that don't contain half as many frogs as we thought, leading to the reaction; 'huh, that wasn't so bad! Wish I'd done it sooner and not had to experience all that stress/guilt'. Most procrastination is driven by attempts to avoid negative emotion, so if we're over-estimating how negative an experience can be, there are real consequences.
We can learn to be better estimators, though, and to pay more attention to the satisfactions of getting things done, too. Much less procrastination!
We do have to eat some frogs, however, reach desired goals or to be allowed to do the things we love to do. Very few people like paperwork, but to keep teaching and therapizing, I have to do a certain amount of it. And a reasonable number of frogs were consumed while I reached the qualifications required to do so (although uni and grad school were also super fun and interesting much of the time).
When eating certain frogs actually aligns with OUR choices and goals, then cutting them into small pieces makes them much easier to eat.
But I totally agree with a previous poster who mentioned that when a low-frog way to earn a living is not available to us, it's a good solution to have a moderate-frog job, and then a LIFE outside of work. Certainly that's how most of humanity has managed, for most of history; seeing friends and family often, making music (not just listening to it), creating beauty around us (gardens, making utilitarian objects also beautiful ...), helping others and building a better society ....
I especially encourage stepping away from the 'find your passion' narrative. MANY people don't have a passion, especially when they're young and having to decide what to study/where to work. How about 'find something that you like somewhat better than other things, and build on that' and 'avoid fields that have way too many things that will taste like frogs for you'?
This makes a lot of sense. I noticed with myself that while I was stuck in my terrible relationship, I vegged out watching television basically all the time. When I finally admitted to myself what garbage it was and left, I naturally stopped watching so much TV and started doing more productive, fulfilling things with my free time. I had spent so much of my mental energy dealing with the thing that I thought was supposed to bring me joy that I needed the emotional equivalent of bedrest when I was not actively engaged in dealing with it. And I can certainly see why having a terrible job would do a similar thing.
It would have been a less important post, but I can't deny that I'm very slightly disappointed this wasn't an analysis of frog legs consumption patterns.
The worst is when you have to apply for a job and are forced to tell your interviewer how much you relish the smooth salty taste of one frog after another going down your throat.
Another wonderful blog and your timing is perfect! My newly minted college graduate son will appreciate your advice on finding what to do with his life (or what not to do). I retired at 50 last year from a frog-eating career and love all the time I now have to enjoy music, friends, READING for fun, and whatever else I *want* to do. Burn out is a dangerous thing. Also, thank you for the wonderful photos you include in the post. They are priceless. Looking forward to your next article.
Its sad that capitalism rewards those who eat frogs all day every day and suffer only to be made the richest person alive.
Then they are given the privilege to hire other frog eaters for them which still counts as their frog.
Worst thing anyone can do is to get paid to eat someone else frog and provide a 12 page report on how that felt.
The worst is when you have to apply for a job and are forced to tell your interviewer how much you relish the smooth salty taste of one frog after another going down your throat. You will use words like "passionate" and "engagement" to describe the delicate flavor of all those frogs. Then you will have to repeat the exercise periodically so that your boss is content that he can command you to eat as many frogs as he wants to feed you at any time.
I'm one of those people who just stopped eating frogs at 20. What happened? I never got any important job. I don't complain, because I think I lead a happier, more frog-free life than most people: I live on the countryside with husband and five kids and spend most of my time doing manual subsistence work. But I also lost the opportunity to do something important. Through refusing the frogs, I lost my opportunity to do things that count among people who count.
Those of you who have secured a position can of course question if you really have to eat those frogs. But it is definitely possible to eat too few frogs too.
Thank you for the post Adam, this is exactly the type of thing I needed to read at exactly this moment. Hope you have a fantastic week, because you made my week a lot better!
I recently read I Didn't Do The Thing Today and the vibe is quite the same. Take care.
Great article. Who is the guy with the microphone in the black and white picture?
this was beautiful and very thought provoking, thanks so much, I am tired of eating frogs, they don't taste good
This is excellent. Thank you. I need to read this. So many people need to read this.