Have you watched the 1996 movie “Independence Day“? If you grew up in India around the same time as me, chances are you did watch the movie. If so, you will definitely remember the “Independence day” speech in that movie.
Never heard of that? No problemmo… Let me recreate the scene for you.
The year is 1996. Aliens have attacked earth and humanity is on the brink of total annihilation. The Americans are getting together a plan to save the earth. You get it, the usual stuff…
But this time, the situation is extremely tense. So far, earth’s best defenses have failed to put a dent on the alien advance. Now all hope depends on the success of a last-minute plan hatched by Americans and its perfect execution by pilots Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum. The two pilots need all the air backup they can get, and so it falls upon the President of United States to rally his troops for one final sortie.
And boy, does the President deliver! His speech is impassioned, emphatic and downright inspiring. The entire world is looking up to the Americans (even the Chinese have tuned in to the speech) — and no one is left disappointed. Here’s an excerpt from the speech (video links here and here):
“We will not go quietly into the night!
We will not vanish without a fight!
We’re going to live on!
We’re going to survive!”
Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!
Why I digress?
Now, you may wonder why I speak of Hollywood speeches in my book on unconventional career. Let me tell you the reason for my little digression.
When the President of United States made his emphatic speech, did he know if his troops would succeed in thwarting the alien invasion? Did he show any trace of doubt when he faced the nation? Hell, no!
We all know that if that Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum had not done their antics in the end, the President would have been proved wrong. But everything worked out fine in the end, and once again, the world was saved.
The main thing to learn from the President’s speech is that it was emphatic. Even in the face of many odds, the President was confident of his assertions. It is that same emphatic spirit that we must all imbibe in our unconventional pursuits.
How should I?
You might be wondering how you are to imbibe such lofty ideals into your unconventional career journey. I will tell you how.
Close your eyes, and think about the one unconventional aspiration that brought you to this book. The one thing for which you have made that shitty start. Thought about it? Now, with the same emphatic emotion as the President in his “Independence Day” speech, say the following aloud …
“I am what I want to be.”
Replace the end of the sentence with whatever it is that you want to be. For example, if you want to be writer, say out the following loudly:
“I am a writer.”
If you want to be a photographer, speak the following out loudly:
“I am a photographer.”
If you want to be an entrepreneur, say this:
“I am an entrepreneur.”
Simple, right? However, by no means should you discount this as a trivial task. With this one mental exercise, you just made an exhilarating journey from ‘I want-to-be’ to ‘I AM’. You have arrived.
You ARE what you want to be
Credit must be given where credit is due. I first read this idea in Jeff Goin’s book, “You are a writer“. In one of his articles, Jeff acknowledges that he too learned this idea from someone else. Whatever the source, this principle is universally applicable. Anyone pursuing any unconventional career can apply this.
The exercise does not stop with you saying the line “I AM…” loudly to yourself. You also need to say it aloud to others too:
- At social media outlets (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.), change your summary to read “Software developer at Acme Inc., Founder/Photographer at MyCompany.com”. (Remember that you can publicly divulge your unconventional aspirations only if they have no clash with your full-time work).
- At get-togethers with friends or colleagues, share your excitement on the thing that you are working on. Tread carefully… you do not want to bore others, but definitely pique others’ interests by mentioning the latest developments in your unconventional journey.
How does this help?
So you might wonder how all this helps. What advantage might you get by mentioning “I AM a writer” when you have not even published a book? How does saying “I AM an entrepreneur” help, when you have not even started your company?
Or as Paulo Coelho put it in his book, The Alchemist:
I do not want to go into the debate about who said it first (I am sure it was Thalaivar who thought of this first!). But what is important is that:
… in order to get something, you must first tell the universe that you want it.