Stop fast tracking your career

I just read this from the Harvard Business Review recently; in other words, don’t rush into trying to be the best immediately; take your time and focus on developing yourself

Meet Generation Impatient: the growing group of 20- and 30-somethings who are smart, ambitious, and all-too-eager to quit whatever it is they’re doing right now to get promoted, acquired, or make more money somewhere else. Hating your job on day three? Leave and find something better. Beta launch didn’t work out? Shut it down and move on. Although these individuals come in different forms — from buttoned-up investment bankers to scrappy entrepreneurs — one thing is consistent: They just won’t wait. Taking great pride in failing fast and increasingly looking for ways to “hack” their success in the shortest possible time frame, this group tries to exchange predictable linear career growth for an exponential trajectory.

This is why I’m not really anxious about getting into graduate school immediately (I’m going to wait at least 7-10 years+), as well as, if possible, am willing to take careers outside of urban planning because I’m not in a rush to go into career advancement. If I rush my advancement in life, I will have a poor work-life balance, which will hurt my health in the long run.

Here’s another quote:

“De-rushing” your career also improves the odds that you’ll eventually deliver something big because you’ll run into less competition. As Jeff Bezos emphasized when discussing Amazon’s long-term approach:

If everything you do needs to work on a three-year time horizon, then you’re competing against a lot of people. But if you’re willing to invest on a seven-year time horizon, you’re now competing against a fraction of those people…Just by lengthening the time horizon, you can engage in endeavors that you could never otherwise pursue.

I agree with this since:

You are lowering your expectations since you are putting quality over quantity. It’s better to be good at a few things than being awesome at too many.

I’m still working on this, but I think I’ve narrowed down that I want to focus on working on being better at illustration and design, as well as making better cultural bridges. This is broad enough (and can include urban design if I decide to pursue it). It’s tough since we all want to feel accepted in one way or another,

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’ll never get everybody to accept me; that’s life. Doing too many things at once (note: you can accomplish a lot in life, but your schedule in one moment in time is very restricted!) or trying to rush a lot in one period will not take you far.

I must digress a bit: there’s a difference between knowing a lot and doing a lot. You can know a lot (and thus be a strong generalist who knows how people from different background thinks), but to truly be good at something (i.e. a specific skill-set), you have to truly physically experience it. You have to go through pain (physical/mental/emotional) and struggle in order to improve. And at the same time, you need downtime to recover from practicing the skill-set you are trying to improve on.

The amount of downtime varies from person to person, but point being, being good and making a difference in this world takes time. And to be honest, it’s better if it takes time, because rushing to make decisions is not healthy for everybody in the long run.

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