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The Beauty of Boring

We are all drawn to what is sexy, exciting, and interesting. This is true for our careers and social lives. If someone had to make a toast to you, and wish you a boring and simple career and life, you may be taken aback. But let's drill down into the world of boring and assess whether it really is the kiss of death.

Tech is the hottest sector right now. Everyone wants to learn how to code, start a tech company with a killer app, and hire an army of whiz kids in hoodies to work out of a modern industrial-styled office with free catering and unlimited vacation time. Careers are like asset classes. When everyone wants to invest in real estate, prices get inflated and returns get diluted. The industries that everyone wants to work in have the lowest return on your efforts because everyone wants to be in them. They attract the best talent and if you want to stand out and be super successful, you need to be a genius.

Twenty years ago it was cool to have a job. Now it is cool to start your own business. We now romanticize entrepreneurship, but the truth is that it is not as rewarding as everyone thinks because it is starting to get crowded with many people chasing after the same market. If you are in the business of web design, you are competing with millions of people around the globe that are probably better and cheaper than you are.

To be successful as an entrepreneur, you have to go against the flow - offer a simple product or service that is so boring and mundane that no one is prepared to do it. It is also so boring that people are dying to outsource it to a third party (you).

In your social life, social media leads you to believe that you want a life of excitement that is Instagrammable. It is a life full of friends, social engagements, fancy cars, flashy watches, and exotic vacations. How happy will this life truly make you? You will never have enough because there will always be someone with a better life than you. Your eternal pursuit of the "best life" will make you empty, envious, and frustrated because you are never satisfied.

How about the opposite? You have only a few good close friends, only a few social engagements every week, you live in a simple house and you are not overwhelmed with physical possessions. You get plenty of sleep, and you limit your news and media intake. You enjoy the simplicity of life - a beautiful sunset, quiet meditation in the morning, helping out at the local homeless shelter. You are not afraid of being alone. You enjoy long solitary walks along the beach, being engrossed in a good book, sitting on a bench watching children play and the birds chirp.

Of these two lives, which would you say is the most successful? Society will tell you the first life. We live in an age where idle time is bad because you are unproductive, and busyness is a sign of success. Maybe the lack of happiness in your life is not due to the lack of busyness, but rather the lack of boring.


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