True Adventure means No Map

by Jeremy Powers on July 19, 2010

Here is part of an article found at Overcoming Bias:

” . . . Watching Journey to the Center of the Earth, I noticed yet again how folks seem to like adventure stories and games to come with guides. People prefer main characters to follow a trail of clues via a map or book written by someone who has passed before, or at least to follow the advice of a wise old person. . .”

I almost immediately went to how this applies to my experience in corporate cultures, where careers are expected to follow predetermined paths.  Fortunately for me, the author touches on this:

“If you want life paths that quickly and reliably reveal your skills, like leveling up in video games, you want artificial worlds like schools, sporting leagues, and corporate fast tracks. You might call such lives adventures, but really they are pretty much the opposite. If you insist instead on adventuring for real, achieving things of real and large consequence against great real obstacles, well then learn to see the glorious nobility of those who try well yet fail.”

It is not a long article, please take 2 minutes and read the whole thing.

I have experienced and witnessed this reality.  In helping a business owner work out marketing plans, I often have to help the owner commit to a vision for his company.  Knowing where you are and where you want to be is often the most difficult part of the process.  Knowing the start and finish allows you to see the path between; it clarifies the adventure.  Many corporate employees have the finish line exemplified for them in their superiors.  The willingness to define goals which are unique to you is one of the great separators between managers and entrepreneurs.

Many managers explain to me their view of “hanging out a shingle” is a question of risk and reward.  The real question is, “What is the reward?”  If the answer is wealth or income, how much?  If the answer is freedom, how much?  If the answer is pride, of what?  Your ability to answer the “why,” “for what,” and “to what end” makes a difference.  A title or income level is a position, not a purpose.

Hat tip to Marginal Revolution.

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