More fodder from my inbox.
Yesterday, I was very pleased to find the following message in my email inbox (emphasis added):
I’m not selling anything…and I’m not asking for anything =) I just wanted to drop a heartfelt “Thanks!” for what you’ve written. I’m a career Navy guy… I retire in a year and a half. I finally started my flight training this past Feb. Now that I’m on shore duty and not at sea, I have the time. Fortunately for me, the GI Bill is covering the cost of my flight training. It really is the realization of a lifelong goal. I *almost* had the opportunity to fly in the Navy, but my 31st birthday fell three weeks prior to receiving my BA. When you couple that with a backlog of Student Aviators pushed back in their training due to Hurricane Ivan, it meant… No age waiver approval for me. The Navy wouldn’t let me fly…
I never gave up though and while I had to put my flight training on the back burner when I was out to sea, it’s finally coming together now. It’s a poor choice for a second career, I know. However, there is just something about flying that draws me in and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’ve perused the various forums throughout the years and despite all the negativity associated with anything related to pilot jobs… I’m still moving forward. I’m a firm believer that what you achieve in this life is directly proportional to what you put in.
So what’s the point? Thanks for posting up your perspective! Your blog is a goldmine of lessons learned and experience gained. I really enjoy reading it. It’s motivating for an “old guy” like me. Yes, I “get” that I should have started this career 20 years ago but it’s water under the bridge now. In any case, at least I’ll have my retirement pay to supplement the low wages :). Ultimately though, being satisfied with what I do rather than how much I make is what matters most. Thanks again for blogging!
Now that’s what I call the right attitude.
Here’s a guy approaching retirement age — not quite sure what that is for career Navy guys, but I assume it’s past 40. He knows what his passion is. He knows that it’s not the best career choice if money is important. But money isn’t important to him and he’s going after his dream job, knowing that his retirement pay will supplement his pilot income. You have to have a lot of respect for someone like that.
I know I do. He’s in nearly the same boat I was in back in early 2000 at age 38. I was also fortunate enough to have another income to fall back upon as I worked my way up. I was chasing down a dream. Profits didn’t matter — at least at first while that second income was there for me. What mattered was rising to the challenge and doing something I really wanted to do — something I loved.
But what really struck me were the two sentences I highlighted in bold above.
I’m a firm believer that what you achieve in this life is directly proportional to what you put in.
This is the truth. There are many ways to go through life. One way is to “skate,” doing just as much as you need to glide forward on a satisfactory path. (I was married to a skater, although he didn’t think he was. But if he would have turned off the TV once in a while and spent that time learning and doing the things he needed to achieve his goals, he’d be in a happier place right now. I think we both would be. But that, too, is water under the bridge.)
The other way to go through life is to work hard and smart and to stay focused on your goals, doing whatever you need to do to achieve them. It’s not easy and it can be exhausting. I know this. I think Ryan does, too. But the rewards of all this work are worth all the effort.
The more you put into life, the more you get back from it.
Ultimately though, being satisfied with what I do rather than how much I make is what matters most.
This is another version of the old adage, “Do what you love.” If there was any one piece of advice I could give a young person, this would be it. Remember, if you’re not happy with what you do every day, you will not have happiness in life. Only by following your dreams and doing what matters most to you can you be really happy.
This is something I learned back in 1990, when I left a job I hated to start a freelance career. The way I see it, I wasted 8 years of my life. But what followed (so far) were 23 great years doing work I loved and achieving my goals. Ryan understands this, too.
Being happy at work is far better than making a lot of money at a job you don’t like.
Do you understand these things? When you do and you’re not afraid to let it guide your life, you’ll be on your way to a rich, fulfilling life, too.