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I Quit My Job
Last year, I got on Facebook after 15 years of avoiding it, and it was like stepping into a time machine.
All of the people I hadn’t seen in a decade had been perfectly preserved in my mind’s eye like Walt Disney’s cryogenic body. But suddenly, here they were with their speckled beards and receding hairlines, looking every bit the number of years that had passed.
Some of them had been divorced. Many were raising families. Most lived in the same places. With others, their faith had faded away from the difficulties of life.
What surprised me the most, however, was the number of people who were doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING they had been doing when I knew them a decade ago.
Same job. Same tasks. Same responsibilities. Same interests and activities. Nothing had changed.
I was standing in the Phoenix airport a few months ago when I got a text message from an unidentified friend. (Their contact information wasn’t in my phone.)
“Hey man,” he wrote, “I read your name in a book and thought I’d reach out to say hello.”
I studied it for a minute and then responded:
“I don’t know who this is, but I’m gonna take a guess based on the clues I have about you,” I wrote.
“Your phone number is from Chicago so we know each other from STORY.* We’re obviously friends who should have been in touch long before now. Judging by the book* you’re reading, you must be in occupational ministry, and you’re wrestling with a courageous decision (make it!).”
I think he was surprised. He asked how I knew he was in occupational ministry. The answer was easy:
Certain kinds of people read certain kinds of books. Our lives are governed by predictable behaviors.
WE GIVE OURSELVES JOBS
All of us have neural pathways that become established with repeated activity.
It’s why we give ourselves “jobs” even when they’re not actually jobs. The same restaurants. The same cup of coffee. The same way of making love to our wives.
But we also have neuroplasticity, which means our minds are maleable. With each new experience, we create new neural pathways that continue to shape who we are.
Do you know how Steve Jobs prescribed progress?
“You can't have the same bag of experiences that everyone else has or else you’ll make the same connections as everyone else, and you won’t be innovative. What you’ve got to do is get different experiences than the normal course of events.”
Uncomfortable, seemingly irrelevant, inconvenient, unfamiliar, outside-your-wheelhouse experiences.
QUIT YOUR JOB
We like jobs.
They offer us rhythms of comfort, populate our to-do lists, and give us a sense of purpose in the world.
The trouble is, they keep us from improving our lives. They keep us stuck in old way of doing things.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be the same person today that I was 10 years ago. And I don’t want to be the same person 10 years from now that I am today.
I want to make films and start an AI company. I want to raise $2 million for our non-profit and write a best-selling book. I want to have a second house in Colorado and see MOTW become a global movement.
All of these things require me to change.
Routines are comfortable, but I won’t have it. I won’t be the guy who’s stuck in the past, reveling in a glory that never was and holding back the man I want to become.
The answer is to quit your job.
Not your employment. (You’re gonna need that.) I’m talking about the daily habits you TREAT like a job. The routines and commitments no one ever asked you to make.
Stop doing them.
Change things up.
Unless you quit these jobs...
Unless you reroute your neural pathways...
You will always remain the same man you are now.
WEEKEND IN THE WOODS