One life to live, and doing my best to do more than one thing with it

One Way and Another Way

People that know my background from the rigid plastic packaging industry sometimes shake their heads trying to figure things out when I tell them my ‘day job’ in now in the feature film industry. (For those plastics nerds reading this, ‘film’ is not referring to flexible packaging — no, it means movies — as in entertainment) “Oh, so you got a new hobby,” some have said. Ah, no. Though I do not tell them directly my thought is to help build a bigger business than what I left behind in manufacturing. For those still listening the question that comes up almost all of the time is, “Do I miss it?” The answer I give comes with a pause — how do you describe something that you truly valued and are grateful for while at the same time not missing it?

The manufacturing business was not just a business I owned but rather a family business my father started and I took over after his passing. When it achieved a level of success I felt I could not take further it was time to leave. I am grateful for the people that became a part of my life along the journey and obviously for the resources it created to continue down a different path ahead.

If you are an assembly line worker and love your job then you probably do not understand what I am talking about. I cannot imagine doing the same thing day in, and day out. Yet, if I am brutally honest with myself there is a level of abstraction where I am probably doing just that. I may have had no love for plastic packaging but I certainly enjoyed building the business — finding the people, capital, and strategy needed to make it grow into something my own father would have never imagined. To a great degree I am still doing the same thing, just in different industries now with the film investment being the one I hold closest to my heart.

My thoughts, when I started writing this piece, did not begin here but where I ended up leads me to a blog entry of Tim Ferriss, The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades:

  1. It’s more fun, in the most serious existential sense.
  2. “Jack of all trades, master of none” is an artificial pairing.
  3. In a world of dogmatic specialists, it’s the generalist who ends up running the show.
  4. Boredom is failure.
  5. Diversity of intellectual playgrounds breeds confidence instead of fear of the unknown.

Thus, is it really being a ‘Jack of All Trades’ in the end or just being a miserable failure of labeling what you are good at that is the real truth? In other words, if you think you are a specialist could you be missing out on a larger picture to which you fit in just as well? Either way, the push towards a ‘gig economy’ is here and it is growing. As terrible as the thought is of finding something new, after doing the same thing over and over again for literally an entire career’s time, it is also becoming easier. The challenge, as with many things in life, is usually more of a mental shift than a lack of ability. Take that challenge, conquer it, and you just might find — as I have — the thrill of being born someone new again.

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one.” ― Confucius

(Originally posted on Medium)