Do something you love

❇️ Performance

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Nick Mackeson-Smith
Nick Mackeson-Smith
Chief Curiosity Officer, Founder and Director
December 6, 2020

When it comes to career advice, I often hear people say “do something you love”, or “follow your dreams”. That might sound a little cliché, (and more like one of those quotes you see on a background of pristine mountains and trees in an Instagram post) as opposed to actual solid career advice.

Here’s why it’s actually great advice.

Can you love learning?

Grace: Learning from feedback, and plotting her growth.
Grace: Learning from feedback, and plotting her growth.

As I sit here on a Sunday night watching my eight year old daughter attend volleyball practice, I think about all the other sports she’s “loved” before, and wonder if this time it’s any different. Yep - this time it is. This time, we have to get here 30 minutes before everyone else arrives, so that she can “train before training”. This time, the passion for playing volleyball is coupled with a with an unrelenting desire to learn. She hangs off every word of her coach. She asks for feedback after almost every dig or set (I’m still learning the lingo!!). Between each play, she stands chatting with the coach about how things could be better next time - plotting and planning her next strategies for getting the ball over the net to where no one else will be able to reach it.

It’s compelling.

Be clear on the vision

I believe that the reason she loves it so much is partly down to the clarity of her vision. She knows - in every muscle in her little body - that she must be a volleyball player (she idolises a fictional player called Shoyo Hineta from a Japanese anime series). The clarity of her vision means that she knows what it will take to get there - effort. Lots and lots of effort. Pain. Cuts. Burns. Grazes. Tears. Just now she told me that she thinks she’s “popped her wrist a little”. All of these things are worth it, because what’s on the other side is her dream.

Dive in to the learning pit

She’s by far the smallest player in the training session - perhaps too small to reliably get the ball over the net. She’s also the youngest by years. The group is aimed at 12-16 year olds - there are a handful of 10 year olds, but she’s eight. She talks about how hard training is going to be on the drive there. She talks about how she knows she has a lot to learn, and that the others get the ball more than her, but she knows that she needs to dive in at the deep end to grow. It’s not that she’s fearless - I know she’s afraid. The difference is that she runs towards the fear to overcome it.

Adapt or fail to grow

Each week as we drive home, I listen to all of the new moves and skills and techniques and tricks she’s learned. I’m regaled in stories of “that epic dig” she did, or when she tripped at the baseline. All of it - and I mean all of it - shapes her practice the next time. It’s adaptability at its finest. Things from the previous week that no longer serve her are rapidly discarded, and are replaced with new skills and new moves to refine in her next outing. It’s true agile learning. Rapidly unlearning and relearning new skills.

So seriously - truly do something you love, because it unlocks the joy of lifelong learning and the development of mastery.... and that’s totally worth doing.

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December 6, 2020
December 6, 2020

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