The human economy is slowly turning back to an artisan society: we’re buying products and services directly from the people who create or offer them.
1: When booking a taxi or ordering pizza, we are used to phone the national call centre who would find a local taxi/pizza company, who would take our order and eventually dispatch a taxi (or pizza) to our door. By the time we’re dealing with the actual driver we’ve gone through several steps of management layers, who all take a portion of the money we pay for our fare (or meal). Both Uber and Skip The Dishes have proven to be successful because they created a model where we interact directly with the individual drivers, who, in turn, are a lot more motivated to deliver excellent service since almost all the money goes directly in their pocket.
2: The same goes for food. People buy less at supermarkets, and more directly from the farmers who grew the produce themselves. Farmers markets and “organic” produce become more and more popular.
I think these two examples illustrate the evolutionary worldview in our current time. From an entrepreneur (or artist) perspective , there’s a great opportunity to participate in this new view since so many people are looking for local businesses instead of large multinationals. Even Walmart has a preferred local vendor program now.
Made In China
For a long time, “made in China” was trendy. Almost everything that we owned came from overseas. More recently, there has been a shift in focus to local products. As a society we’re starting to buy more organically produced foods, preferably grown as close to our home as possible. The same goes for locally manufactured goods. Instead of buying mass produced art at a big box store, I’ve seen many people come to me for something more unique, something they know the story behind. It’s what made my photographic art business a success. People value their community, and support artists and people working in it. Our society is becoming an artisan society again, where we’re buying more and more at specialty stores: bread from the bakery, meats from the butcher, and vegetables directly from the farmer who grew them.
Many people are using this trend as a way to start their own business, even if it’s just a part-time endeavor initially. That also creates an opportunity for anyone who isn’t immediately interested in becoming an entrepreneur. Instead, you can get involved with “artisans” who did start their own business. Eventually their small business might grow, and they will need help to run and operate certain parts of it. For some people being involved with small local businesses has given them a greater sense of accomplishment, and a feeling of making a difference in the world and contributing to a greater good. That’s what happiness is about.
Happiness: Making A Difference
Happiness is not about making money, performance reviews, promotions, or job security. It’s about making a difference and contributing to a greater good. What that is depends on where your strengths lie, and what your core genius is. Neale Donald Walsch, author of the Conversations with God series, says your purpose is whatever you say it is. There’s no blackboard in the sky where God has written down what your purpose in life is going to be. Your purpose is what you’re drawn to, and what you decide to do with that. It’s not meant to be a struggle. There are plenty of opportunities to do something different, even if that means you’ll continue to be employed and be part of a larger or smaller company. Too long I’ve dreaded going to work, being happy when it was Friday, but starting to dread the week ahead as early as Sunday afternoon. As long as you love what you’re doing and you actually really want to be at work, you’re on the right track.
In pursuing that purpose, it’s often not the sky that’s the limit, it’s ourselves, holding us back, thinking we’re not good enough, not smart enough, or undeserving of the life we want. We settle for mediocrity and all it’s perceived benefits and securities, not going after what we truly want, and therefore it never happens. Whether the goal is to travel, to play the piano, or start our own blog; if we keep procrastinating we’ll never really get there. The universe rewards action, even if that means you’ll make a mistake or two along the way. Mistakes are ok, as long as you learn from them. Just listen to the feedback you’re getting and adjust your course. Don’t give up on your dreams when you’re already on your way there. If you put your mind to it, you’ll get there.
Become Good At Something New
Malcolm Gladwell says that if you spent ten thousand hours on anything you want, you’ll become an expert at it. Divide that number by eight workable hours in a day and you end up with just over three years of focused efforts. Not everyone can spend three years of fulltime focus on starting something new, and the good news is you don’t have to. Along the way you’ll get better, eventually bringing you to expert status. You can do something today, even when you’re employed and spend the majority of your day in the office, to slowly start to introduce the things you want to achieve into your life. If you want to play the piano, do that every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. If you want to change careers, find a way to do something today and every day that will help you move into that direction. Pick things that you cannot fail at, like reading an article about something new you want to learn. As you change your mindset and become focused on introducing your passions into your life, and persisting to hold on to that image, you will start to attract that into your life. You will start making your goals and dreams a reality.
Over time you will find that you’ll get better and better at playing the piano, and you’ll discover new and different opportunities to get to the skill level you would like to be at. Not everything has to turn into a career, you might have no desire to become a concert pianist, and, unless you want to, there’s no need to go there either. You can apply the same principle at work. If you want to move into a different area of work you can start doing things that would contribute to that transition. You can take a course, volunteer, do research online, and apply for opportunities that come your way.
Doing Something Different
To prevent myself from getting bored, I’m a big fan of doing something different approximately every three years. That doesn’t mean you have to completely change careers or even leave the company you’re working for right now. It means you’ll have to introduce new things into your routine on an ongoing basis, and become comfortable with continuous learning and growing in all areas of life. Most people don’t want a job for life anymore, and most companies have realized that people are more effective if they can grow within the company towards what they would really like to do. A lifelong employee isn’t nearly as effective as a dedicated employee that goes to work because it contributes to his or her goals and passions, because the latter gets to make a difference in the workplace, doing what they love.
The Freedom Project: Happiness shares how Travel is an appetizer of true freedom. Too often, I used travel as an escape from a life I didn’t even like in the first place. When travelling, I felt less confined by time, money or location. I could do whatever I wanted, I could spend some extra cash I had saved up, and go wherever I wanted to go. Yet after coming home my stress levels quickly spiked back to where they were before I had left. Instead of tacky souvenirs, I wanted to take that experience of freedom home with me. I became passionate about implementing my “traveling lifestyle” right at home, reconnect with my passions and live a meaningful life.
Wilko van de Kamp Author
WILKO VAN DE KAMP is the author of #1 international best seller The Freedom Project and several other books and e-books. He's also an award-winning photographic artist, and professional world traveler. His inspiration comes from traveling all over the world. He calls the Canadian Rocky Mountains his home, and the rest of the world his office. He has been capturing our wonderful planet, and it's beautiful inhabitants, for more than half his life. Wilko has spent his life traveling the world to capture awe-inspiring images for those who wouldn't see them otherwise, and to inspire others to embark on their journey of a lifetime. Through his art, writing and appearances as a keynote speaker he enjoys sharing his colorful experiences with the world. Visit him online at www.wilko.ca