Don’t Be a Donkey! Best Career/Life Advice Ever! — Stolen From Derek Sivers.
Finished listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast on my morning sunrise hill hike.
I had only 19 minutes left from yesterday.
The whole interview with Derek Sivers is amazing! So much gold advice about life, career, success.
Not cliché. Not something I hear everywhere. Plus Derek and Tim together — it’s an entertainment on its own.
I didn’t think it could get any better — those last 19 minutes.
But what do I know?
When Tim asked Derek for a piece of advice, Derek would give to his 30-year old self, Derek said this.
“Don’t Be a Donkey”.
“Frustrated that the world wants you to pick one thing, because you want to do them all?
The problem is you’re thinking short-term — acting as if you don’t do them all this week, they won’t happen.
The solution is to think long-term. Do just one for a few years, then another for a few years, then another.
You may have heard this story:
Buridan’s donkey is standing halfway between a pile of hay and a bucket of water. It keeps looking left and right, trying to decide between hay and water. Unable to decide, it eventually falls over and dies of hunger and thirst.
A donkey can’t think of the future. If he could, he’d clearly realize he could first drink the water, then go eat the hay.”
~ Derek Sivers, https://sivers.org/donkey
I thought, “Man, I need a T-Shirt like that!” It’s my life story! It explains all the problems and issues I had so far! It’s genius!
I believe, we are all donkeys to some degree in different areas.
It’s our generation disease.
Something like that.
It’s our inability to make a choice. Inability to commit to anything, saying no to everything else. Our inability to set priorities.
Being good at many things makes it even worse (when it comes to career or education). Having great choices, makes it worse too — how to settle for one thing, when there are so many equally attractive options, right?
The reason why I haven’t achieved anything great and amazing yet in my life is Donkey’s diseases!
I always switch from one thing to another: sports, modeling, writing, speaking, programming, design, dancing, business, blogging, weight loss/lifestyle coaching, personal training, stylist, bartender, cartooning, chef — I try one thing, then decide I like something else better, I switch, then something shinier comes along, I switch, something else? You guessed right! Switch again.
At school, majors: music, language, programming, mathematics, literature…
The same with careers. Nothing was good enough to commit fully.
Hobbies: music, making jewelry, parkour, dancing, singing, diving, sky-diving, horse-riding, painting, sculpture…
Relationships. Do I want to stay with this guy? But what if it’s not ideal and something better comes along? Do I want a romantic relationship at all? Maybe it’s better to stay single? Or maybe I do want a committed relationship?
Books: This is such an amazing book — I should read this right now. But that one is so cool too! I need to read it ASAP! Oh, but there is that one, that I always wanted to read!
I don’t lack the ability to focus.
Nor do I have any problems with hard work and overcoming obstacles on the way.
I have so much energy most people think I have an energizer installed somewhere.
Go. Go. Go.
I don’t have problems with my mentality.
Or with attitude.
I don’t do the stupid work. I apply 20/80 rule everywhere and make things more efficient/effective/enjoyable as I go.
What is my problem then?
Cause everything just seems so good! And yet not good enough to commit fully.
I’m afraid to miss out.
I thought I knew what FOMO was. Fear Of Missing Out.
I thought I didn’t need to deal with it. After all I don’t spend much time on social media. I don’t feel like I need to stay connected all the time. I don’t say yes to everything and everyone in my life.
I do prioritize, but not everywhere. Not with some of the most important things.
Like my career. Or my romantic relationships. Or my studies and hobbies.
And those are pretty freaking important areas for me. And for everyone I think.
Look at my health and body.
I prioritized for my entire life there. I chose healthy habits and training over indulgences and partying. And see where I am now — in amazing shape, healthy as a bull (That’s what we say in Russia about a super healthy energetic strong person), flexible, pumped up and enthusiastic all the time. (Saw the movie Morning Glory? That’s me.) And all that I got not so much because I did anything special — I didn’t do anything special.
I focused. I set priorities. I made choices with my actions. I committed. Fully.
At some point I decided that feeling and looking amazing is more important for me. More important than all the delicious food and late night entertainment the world has to offer.
I said no many many times to the things that didn’t support my priorities. I could have said yes. I didn’t. And I don’t regret it. None of it! I got something I really value to enjoy daily instead — incredible health and vitality.
I was walking still.
One word popped up in my head.
“Involves marriage with more than one spouse” — according to Wikipedia.
Isn’t that too inability to make a choice? Set priorities? Why do we need Polygamy?
I mean, if I wanted to date different people and was not ready to settle down, I’d just date for a while. Why have multiple relationships in my life at the same time? Isn’t it a waste of energy and time?
Never could understand it.
I can’t understand how people actually CAN manage polygamy and why. So doesn’t make sense to me. And then it hit me!
I realized, “Fuck! I’m doing the same thing only with my career!”
I need to have it all at once. I’m not able to settle for one thing being afraid to miss out!
Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
How could I not see that before???
That was my real problem all that time! That’s why I didn’t achieve, what I wanted to achieve in my life yet!
I’m not broken. I’m all good actually.
I’m talented. I don’t have any confidence issues. I truly believe that anything is possible, anything we set out mind to.
I’m doing polygamy thing in my career! I have a Donkey’s disease!
So simple! So SIMPLE! SOOOO SIMPLE!
Silly me. I couldn’t see it all that time.
Thank you Derek!
Really thank you! I just got cured of Donkey’s disease!
I know it’s a long way to fully apply this new realization in my life. Old habits die hard. But realization is the first and most important step. And with all the energy I have — the results will follow pretty fast.
Thank you Derek!
I believe this is the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life so far. In 28 years of it.
That’s huge for me!
I believe so many issues we, people, could resolve in our life, if we just stopped being Donkeys, stopped being afraid to miss out and make real choices, stopped chasing the next shiny thing — career, business opportunity, next gadget, next hottest vacation destination, next hottie, next book, hobby, piece of clothes, car, house, hoping, that this is THE one, that will make us happy. At the same time never really ending the chase for THE next one. Never really making a choice. Never really saying, “I want this. I choose this. I commit to this.” Never really saying TRUE yes or no to anything.
And MAYBE “this or that” is just not good enough for a happy fulfilling successful life…