The chance of a lifetime
Writing these Friday essays is one of the best decisions I made in my life. Even if no one read it I would still do it, and here is the reason – if you know that next Friday you have to say something original, you keep your brain in the creative mode.
And if week after week you leave this trail behind of thoughtful examination of the world, you can’t help but get better in whatever it is that you seek to do. And if other people read it and trust you more – that’s a jackpot, no?
Being good at something is not a good enough reason to spend your life doing it.
I realized that some time ago. I may be a bit out of place as a structural engineer in the pharma industry, but I learned and I’m good at adapting.
Still, I prefer writing, which may be also a decent retirement plan.
But when I walk into a slick design like Toronto terminal 1 or Gdansk (Danzig) airport I see right away how the loads are transferred through the exposed structure. This gives me a strange sense of pleasure.
You never forget your first profession.
Gdansk, by the way, is comprised of 3 cities, the best kept secret is Sopot. I just spent a few nights in the Grand Hotel there on the beach, typing on the famous molo.
It was absolutely fantastic.
I started writing about 10 years ago, because imagination is the power to bring to mind things that aren’t present, the ability to step outside the moment. And I love it.
The step up from imagination is creativity, which is making something that is original, never experienced by anyone yet. How cool is that? You create something that wasn’t there before.
When we write our resumes, we make them sound like the life ran a narrative course, when in fact it was no-linear random process and that made it interesting. Life is a process of improvisation between your talents and the circumstances. Never clear where it will lead.
The most efficient people are the ones who absolutely love what they do.
If you say – “why don’t you stop it and try something new for a change?” they wouldn’t know what you’re talking about, because they’d say – “this isn’t what I do, this is who I am. This defines me.”
It’s just this something in life that you get right away when you put your hands on it. Dancing, sailing, flying, writing.
Like my brother, who would show up for work and fly the big birds across the Atlantic to the JFK even if they’d stop paying him. He wouldn’t likely even notice that they’ve stopped.
“What’s the best airport from pilot’s view?” I asked him.
“LAX, hands down, Chicago’s O’Hare close second.”
“On the Dream (787)?”
“Good wings, pull up quick.”
Wings are the most important part of the plane, the rest is just mechanics.
Wings are art.
Some people have figured out how to be naturally more productive than others per minute, and the way you do that is by having the instinct to ship. Not the instinct to polish, to justify.
You may call it “staying ahead of the pain”.
Don’t wait for the perfect alignment, just jump in, and then jump out if you lose interest.
Sing in the shower, write a poem, take chances in life, at the end you came to the world with nothing and you will leave with nothing.
It’s all about making the best of the meantime.
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Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler