Learn from Gwyneth Paltrow.
In 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow was at an enviable point in her acting career. Behind her, almost 20 years of constant work, including big Hollywood productions, the latest of which, “Iron Man”, had just premiered.
Yet, that same year, she launched a weekly lifestyle newsletter named “Goop”. Immediately, the question arose: why? “I remember once I also had a movie coming out around the same time and there was a huge article in the New York Times about why am I doing this? And I thought, this seems extreme, I’m just writing banana nut muffin recipes!”, she confessed to CNBC on a “Trailblazers” interview.
Goop went on to become a wellness and lifestyle company, reaching global success, not without some controversial moments. Paltrow continued acting as she developed the company but eight years after the launch, she announced a break from acting. Since then, she has been acting only on selected movies, while continuing to work on Goop.
I am not Gwyneth Paltrow.
Now, that should be quite clear to you, I am not Gwyneth Paltrow. Yet, somehow, in the past couple of years, I had to constantly answer the same question of “why is she doing this?”.
I studied communications and worked as a journalist for about 10 years until I decided to completely change my career. In 2018, I did a programming boot camp and now I work as an IT Business Analyst. Whenever I tell this story, people ask one of the variations of the same question:
- Didn’t you like journalism?
- Do you prefer to work in IT?
Yes, I loved working as a journalist! And no, I don’t prefer to work in IT, although I enjoy it. I also wouldn’t prefer to work in journalism again. These are just two different fields and each brings me a different type of fulfillment.
But that brings us to another question: if you like something, why would you let go of it?
Too much of one thing makes you sick.
Think of a fruit you love. I hope you chose “peach”. Let’s pretend you did. They’re sweet, fresh, and yummy, so you probably eat them often. Now let’s play that game:
“If you could eat only one for the rest of your life, which one would you chose, peaches or bananas?”
You already said you love peaches, but would you really want to eat only that fruit for the rest of your life?
Major life choices — like your career, or the city you live in — are not as easy as picking what you’ll have for lunch. Yet, the way society is structured makes these decisions even harder, as it can lead us to think in dichotomous terms: one thing is good, the other is bad; one food is healthy, the other is unhealthy; you are an actress, you are not an entrepreneur.
But this is a social construct. In reality, just because you are an actress now, it doesn’t mean you can’t be an entrepreneur in the future. Looking at everything in non-dichotomous terms opens up the possibility of perceiving life as a playfield where you can be everything and anything, sometimes simultaneously, other times consequently.
The generations before us followed a much stricter career path but this article shows that “Gen Z is 3 times more likely to change jobs than baby boomers” and “more than 40% of all professionals say they are interested in making a career change to a different industry or different role entirely”, according to LinkedIn.
You can love something, but that doesn’t stop you from loving something else.
The “find your passion” idea can be poisonous.
Most of us grew up with the hope of “finding our passion” as if there was a box somewhere at the end of a rainbow with paper inside containing a magic word: “dentist”.
“Finding your passion is a pop culture lie. There is nothing to find, only to create.”
And you create by experimenting. By testing the waters, by embracing change, by trying out different things until you find one you like.
Bartlett is another illustrative example of someone who loved to do something and, still, let it go to pursue something else. After 6 years of hard work to create Social Chain, he stepped down from his CEO position. He is now a Sunday Times Bestselling author and the host of №1 European podcast “The Diary of a CEO”. Would he have achieved any of this if he had never let go of his first passion?
Changing makes you richer.
The funny thing is that the more things you try, the more ideas you will get, and the more experiences you will want to live.
Pushing yourself to pursue new challenges makes you get out of your comfort zone, and that will force you to grow. At the same time, it will make life more exciting and bring back a beginner’s mind that you easily lose after a few years on a certain job.
Taking twists and turns in life is like going on a road trip without a fixed destination. You will enjoy some of the roads and stay on them for a little longer. And others will just make you so sick that you will want to pull off as soon as possible.
But with each of them, you will accumulate experience and life skills. Your worldview will adjust. You will grow and gain a wider perspective on life, people, and the world.
You only have one life, it’s up to you to make the most of it. Do you really want to bet all your chips on the same thing?
Moving on doesn’t mean completely cutting ties with the past. Look at my example: I work in IT now but I am still writing these lines. My passion for journalism and words didn’t go away, but I get even more pleasure out of it now because I do it out of passion, not duty.
Avoid looking at each decision as a dead-end. Whenever you go out a door, make sure to leave it open behind you. That way, if you let go of something you love, and regret your decision, you can always go back.
The first decision you make in your life to change something major will empower you. The next one will be easier, and the third even more so. Soon, you will lose your fears because experience will show you that after each change, eventually comes happiness, growth, and rewards.
Wouldn’t it be so tragic to have the possibility of loving the whole world but only love a portion of it instead?
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? — it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”— Jack Kerouac