Time anxiety: do I need a purpose?

I have a professional dilemma. Making a career in design or starting a business?

When I have free time, I sit in my chair thinking about startup ideas or how to grow professionally.

Time does not stop. I’ve spent months doing this. I can’t decide between one or another.

But there’s a problem. It always haunts me to think about whether making a career in design or starting a business will make me happy for the rest of my life.

Time anxiety seems like a simple issue: the opportunity cost. Is it really worth doing what I do? Am I wasting my time? What makes me happiest in life?

When I read "How to Do What You Love" by Paul Graham, I understood that choosing between making a career or starting a business should be something simple. Doing what you love should be something that you think is cool. It doesn’t matter what it is, but you have to admire what you do.

In my case, I love designing interfaces. But I also like to think of new ideas. And I am always in the constant dilemma about which decision will lead me to fulfill a life purpose.

Call it purpose, vocation, path. But this matter has made me an introverted and insecure person. The anxiety that I am not doing what I should be doing is exhausting.

Making a career in design until I make interfaces for Google?

Or

Starting a business that becomes the next Google?

Or

Why not do both?

When I realized that I have a problem with time anxiety, I decided to look for new answers. Something that helps me face it.

Nihilism

I found that nihilism is the opposite. In nihilism, life has no meaning and seeing it on the positive side, that eliminates time anxiety. Why bother me? What is the output of thinking all the time about the best decision I can make?

What would happen if, instead of questioning my decisions, I live them as they are?

The truth is that this approach sounds easy to practice. But I think time anxiety is somewhat more complicated. In our society, specialization is respected and honored. You have to be an excellent doctor, an excellent engineer, an excellent designer, or an excellent programmer.

Polimathy

What about people who want to be excellent at everything? It is then that polymathy made sense to me. In life, we ​​can do what we want. Being excellent at the things that inspire us. Being excellent designers and being excellent businessmen. Being true polymaths.

In history, we have had polymaths like Socrates, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Galileo Galilei. People who were excellent in disciplines that today would seem impossible to master together: languages, musical instruments, art, science, anything.

If you are someone who has experienced time anxiety, specifically about a life purpose, there is only one thing that reassures me: reading.

Feeding my vocabulary and knowledge generates intellectual alternatives to what I think. Choose specialization (time anxiety)? Stop thinking about it, and just live my life (nihilism)? Or why not just do what I want (polymathy)?

Something might fit you. We will see what happens.

The untold secret of happiness

Sometimes I get lost.

Sometimes I can spend an hour checking my feed.

But the truth is that most of the time I check my feed, I feel unhappy. The more time I spend checking it, the less I want to do it.

The result of continually reviewing what others do makes you miserable. It is a simple truth. When you see what others do on social networks, there is a feeling that people are doing well.

Sometimes you may think that you are not doing as well as the people you follow.

This apparent happiness on the Internet, in the long term, makes us unhappy.

What I think is that consuming content repeatedly, instead of creating it, generates in us a lack of satisfaction that can become something more profound.

This does not happen when we do the opposite. Creation stimulates happiness. And I think that is the untold secret of happiness.

As Naval would say, the modern struggle is that nobody can defend you from all the content you see on the Internet. It depends on you how you consume it and what it is for.

The people of the 21st century live in dissatisfaction with their jobs. They do not want to spend most of the day working. They don’t want to spend time without doing things they want to do. The most common example is art. Many people would like to spend time drawing, sculpting, painting, acting.

The Internet opens up new opportunities. Now we can spend time writing, podcasting, recording videos.

If you feel unhappy, then pay attention to what you do during the day. Do you spend your free time doing something creative? Or do you spend it scrolling?

Sometimes, when I feel unhappy, I write.

Sometimes, when I feel overloaded with information, I talk to someone about my ideas.

Taking my time to create makes me feel different. It generates in me a sense of satisfaction. Something that the play button can’t do.

Take your time to create. Take your time to do the things you admire the most. It will surprise you how creativity can act in someone who doesn’t even consider itself as a creative person.

We need more people who create, who act, who make, who write. We need to unblock and stimulate creativity in all of us. I firmly believe that creativity makes people happy in the long term.

Stop thinking (if you're smart)

There is the idea that smart people are unhappy, mainly because they can think continuously and nurture thoughts, scenarios, and routes anytime, anywhere.

While listening to Joe Rogan’s podcast with Naval, I learned another perspective. If you’re too smart, then why haven’t you figured out how to be happy? In that case, you’re not that smart, after all.

During the last weeks, I have taken some time to meditate after work. It is a small habit that I wanted to build — and it is difficult, but from now, I can see the changes in my behavior.

I used to feel proud of being someone smart — someone who sees his mind as a machine that doesn’t stop working. But that has caused me anxiety, emotional problems, and unhappiness.

Fundamentally meditation serves to calm the mind. And unlike other methods to feel happy — like parties, alcohol, hallucinogens and extreme sports, in meditation, you don’t get away from your mind.

In fact, meditation serves to learn to live with your mind and be happy with your thoughts. It’s hard not to make judgments or think negatively, but observing those internal behaviors is a huge step.

To be smart, from this perspective, is to observe your thoughts, analyze them, and ask yourself why they arise at the moment they arise. Then you will have the opportunity to solve those thoughts. And to feel calm. And to be happy.

Stop thinking.

You can watch Joe Rogan’s podcast with Naval here.

How stop eating changed my life

It's been over a month since I got heartburn.

The doctor gave me a prescription and told me that everything would be fine. But, to be honest, I didn’t feel the same. During this month, I have felt my body’s warning to change my whole diet.

Practically everything causes me heartburn. Before that, I was used to eating acidic and fatty things. So making this change is really hard. But I have to do it.

These weeks, I stopped drastically consuming coffee, cigarettes, beer, carbonated drinks, fried foods, and fats.

The diet of steamed vegetables and grilled meat became my diet. On top of that, water, green juices, and red apples are my best companions — sometimes I allow myself to eat seeds. But everything in my diet changed.

Stop eating changed my life for good, because I have never felt that silence — the one you feel when your body doesn’t have sugar.

Also, I don’t feel the need to drink anything to have fun. Maybe because I left the beer and alcohol in general. Nor do I look for a way out of my daily stress, because I don’t smoke cigarettes either.

Instead of that, I look for some time alone. I downloaded some apps to do meditation. And now I talk more with my partner about how I feel during the day. Even some of my personal projects have progressed during these weeks.

Stop eating gave me inner peace. I am surprised at how doped we can be for foods that are not fruits and vegetables. They generate anxiety, noise, and we use them to compensate for our negative feelings.

Stop eating is the best gift I am giving myself in the future. Now I have to finish my treatment and hope for the best. But every day, I feel grateful that my body gave me the alarm signal while I am still young.

Plus: Now, thanks to this experience, I am working on an app that helps you build thoughtful habits. You can request the beta version here.

Don't be yourself. Be better

Once I published that the worst advice you can receive is: "Just be yourself."

Two sides of the coin

On the one hand, you can think that being yourself is to be fluid and less analytical with your behavior. Being yourself means then let yourself be whatever you want. With those qualities and defects that you have learned during your life.

It makes sense.

But the other side generates noise to me. Being yourself also means letting your dark side flow. As something that cannot change. The typical: "This is how I am. Accept it."

It also makes sense.

But having this mindset is also contradictory. Accepting who you are, in theory, is also accepting that you can change over time.

Change the mindset

So don’t be yourself. Be better. Not being yourself means accepting that you can react to situations as you want. That you are someone fickle, changeable, and full of emotions. That you can embrace the fact that today you can be happy, sad tomorrow, and in two months excited about a new job.

Not being yourself is opening the door to your goals and dreams, but also putting aside the person you thought you were.

Not being yourself is accepting that you can do better. It depends on you how your identity embraces change. Because that is the only sure thing in this life: as long as you exist, everything moves and moves forward.

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