“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” – Lucille Ball
Read more at: Brainy Quotes
This quote got me thinking about different times in my life. I recalled a time when my life was very predictable. I would get up, go to work, come home, drone out in front of my TV and go to bed. It was comfortable but boring.
Our brains automate everything. The brain doesn’t like change. The brain uses a lot of energy to alter the patterns or grooves it wires for itself. Each time you do something new, the brain creates a neural pathway to automate that action. If you perform this action over and over, the brain continues to reinforce that pathway until it becomes automatic. This process occurs over and over again subconsciously. The brain resists change because the creation and reinforcement of these neural pathways eats up a lot of the brain’s energy. Your brain is always trying to automate things to conserve energy. Our brains love being static. The less energy your brain uses the happier it is. Changing things is hard and requires consistency for the changes you make to take hold.
If life bores you, you might explore for things you could do differently. Do you have any hobbies? Do you read? Do you do any writing? Do you exercise? Do you create any art? Do you play an instrument? These are things I questioned when I was exploring for something new in my life.
You are unique. You have more talent than you know. Each of us comes into this world with active talents and latent talents. Active talents are those talents we develop out of necessity. Latent talents are those we have but are unused or undiscovered. How do we find these talents if we do not know what they are? We can find our hidden talents by trying new things.
Discovering Latent Talents
My search started with the Internet. I wanted to know the things I could do to add spice to my life. I wanted to find things that other people were doing to add flavor and excitement into their lives. I wanted to find things to do that would assist me with generating an income I could earn on my own, without having to go to a company or work for another boss. I wanted more control over my life, and I wanted to be doing something that built a life with a solid foundation. A foundation that would fulfill me and provide me with an income.
Next, I wanted to find out what successful people were doing with their lives. What is Tim Ferris, Bill Gates, and other successful people doing? What was the template? To learn about these people, I read. I read articles about morning rituals, evening rituals, habits and their formation, planning and goal setting. I saw a pattern emerge. Successful people concentrated their efforts on those things that provide the greatest benefit to their lives.
I followed the advice these people were offering. This led to reading more books, chasing after meditation, writing, exercise, reading, and lifelong learning. I saw areas in my life that needed improvement and discovered things I would like to try. This led me to writing.
Writing was something I liked early in life but never really pursued. I used to be a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan. To run a game for my friends, I had to create entire worlds from scratch. I had to create characters, scenes, and dungeons, filled with monsters for my players to fight. I had to create plot lines that would react and evolve with my player’s actions. Then, I joined the Army and my childhood writing ceased.
Another area I discovered during my search for latent skills and change was computer programming. I love video games. I don’t play a lot. These games are very addictive and eat up a lot of time. I play them, however, and because I play them, I became interested in how they work. This led me to reading about programming, earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in IT, and dabbling in programming languages throughout. Again, I didn’t take these skills to the next level.
When I retired in 2016, I learned why people who retire get bored. They no longer have an organization giving them things to do. There is no structure in their lives, other than what they structure. I decided after a few months of piddling around that I needed a daily structure of doing things to build new skills and pursue paths towards residual income. I had to choose paths that would allow me to work, build content, and sell that content for the rest of my life. Writing and programming became my focus. These were two latent skills I uncovered by accident.
This is a wonderful time to be alive. Technology allows all of us to find information we seek. Technology has also altered the education landscape. To build my writing and my programming skills, I needed to find out who was teaching these things and work towards proficiency. I found multiple resources for writing and programming and have built in daily activities to achieve my goals. My goals are to build a large following for my blog and write books. I also want to build programs and applications that will serve people in ways unavailable to people now or improve on existing applications that are good but could be better.
Using all the knowledge I gained around goal setting, planning, habit formation, and daily rituals (collections of habits that are synergistic), I planned a daily regimen of writing, programming, reading, exercising, meditating, and learning. Applying what I learned has helped me plan a fulfilling day of activities that help me forge ahead toward my goals.
You Can Do It
Anyone can do what I’ve done. It really starts with the motivation to change your life. Are you bored like I was? Is something missing in your life? Get out there and look. Experiment with different areas you are interested in. You may find some hidden talents you never knew existed. Once you have clues that uncover one talent or another, get out there and find the resources you need to improve these skills. All that’s left is figuring out how to monetize these skills so you can continue to support yourself.
I hope each of you takes risks. I hope each of you pursues the things that interest you and excite you. I hope each of you attain your dreams. I hope you pursue all the things you want in this life and avoid the regret that accompanies a life of inaction, mediocrity, and fear. Take risks, explore, and try things out. You’ll never know what your life could truly be, if you don’t get out there and try.
Until next time…