The Tipping Point

There sometimes comes a point in life when you realize you're trying too hard for something you don't really care about. Maybe this is the root of all lazy? Maybe this is the root of all change? Maybe it's both of these things.

In Jon Acuff's book Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job he doles out handfuls of advice for those on the verge of quitting their day job for their dream job. One of the unexpected wisdoms he gives is not quitting your day job when you're pursuing your dream job. He says that people think that quitting their day job is the best way to start pursuing their dream job because they can focus all their time & energy on pursuing their dream job. He says that this is a surefire way to end up at some version of your dream job that you don't truly love. That the financial obligation eventually starts weighing on you, and you'll start taking on shallower versions of your dream job just to make ends meet. This sounds correct too. Are both versions true? I feel like most people lack the discipline it takes to pursue their dream jobs while they are still working at their day job. It's a lot of cognitive dissonance...which is why the former sounds more appealing.

Without some way of empirically measuring the relationship between happiness before and after cutoff points for quitting your job, it's all just anecdotal storytelling to me and I'm content with taking both options with a grain of salt. However, I do think there is a tipping point where some version of your dream job is within your grasp and that version, however watered down, is a hell of a lot more appealing than the effort exerted on your day job. I'm pretty much at this point in my life.

I'm the kind of person who has a hard time not being a perfectionist. It's sometimes my best quality and other times my worst quality. I'm addicted to self-betterment. I read books about this stuff in my free time. I majored in psychology because I was obsessed with understanding my own behavior and what it takes to be an optimal version of me. I take online courses on understanding human irrationality for fun! Ironically, I would fail an assignment because somehow that was better than turning in a sub-optimal version of it. That last one I still don't understand, but hopefully it is in the past since I no longer go to school...

I guess the point I'm making is that it's really hard for me to turn off wanting to improve things. My current employer probably benefits immensely from this, but at the same time, the cognitive dissonance of exerting so much effort on something I don't really care about is emotionally draining.

According to Jon Acuff, I need to "Stop swimming in tennis courts!" What does this mean exactly? Well if you imagine your dream job is a swimming pool and your current job is a tennis court, the logic goes that you need to stop trying to turn your current job into your dream job. It will never happen. What I do at my current job will never be my dream job, no matter how much I try to work it. So basically, I need to stop thinking things will fix themselves, before I really regret my 20s.

And to do this, I need to stop being the perfectionist. I need to face my fears:
My fear of failing.
My fear of starting.
My fear of success.

As Jon says:

“90% perfect and published always changes more lives than 100% perfect and stuck in your head.”

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Meet the Author

Hi, I am Julie.
Sometimes Jules Juke.
This is where I ramble, reflect, and refocus.