YouTube: https://youtube.com/watch?v=OCO8eoDWqHQ
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I'm just a little sick of people feeling like they've failed or like they don't matter because they aren't hitting every single target society puts in front of them. No one does that. And a lot of those goals are dumb anyway.

I know that society thrives on driven people, and I hope you are driven to achieve, and that a lot of that drive comes from not necessarily healthy desires. But I think we can make the world a better place without putting all of this fucked up pressure on ourselves.

Also, this video is basically the same as this one Evelyn made, but Evelyn's is way more funny and articulate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=575LByUKT00


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Good morning, John, and good morning to the class of 2017 and also all of the other classes and people who aren't in classes. Here's what I think is probably up with most of you. It's what was up with me. You have done the thing other people have told you to do for your entire life, and now you don't know what to do, because guess what, freedom is awful and I can't decide what to have for dinner much less what to do with the rest of my life. You have an infinite number of paths ahead of you - pick! Join the army or the Peace Corps or the clergy. Go to grad school or business school or horoscope school, where do astrologers go to school? Build your side hustles and start a podcast and follow your dreams until you realize that your dreams aren't actually that great because work has much more to do with the people you do it with and your own attitude than whatever it is you're actually doing?

I loved science and I got a job doing science after I graduated and it was miserable. Not because I didn't like the science, it's because I was the only person in the lab. All the time, just me and my pipettes and a family of armadillos and a giant canister of liquid nitrogen, and yes, that sounds kind of awesome, but after six months, it gets a little lonely.

If you are very lucky, you have discovered something you like doing. It is very easy to get through life without discovering a saleable skill that you enjoy, and that, is by the way, how dream jobs actually happen. You find a thing that you like doing, at least most of the time, and you do it enough that you get good enough at it that people will pay you to do it. So if you like doing a thing that has economic value, continue doing that thing. You are one of the lucky ones. 

If you don't, welcome to being most people. To you, I offer only this: you are normal. We evolved for a world so unlike the one that we find ourselves in that it is amazing any of us can function at all. Humans are above everything adaptable, but the idea that any of this stuff, careers and job interviews and diplomas and the jobs themselves is like a normal human construction that, like, that you're designed to... It's crazy! It's all brand new, super weird cultural constructions that didn't exist, like, 300 years ago.

This stuff seems very normal. It's not. And if you base your self-worth on it, which we do, we are asked to, it's what society says our value is, but if you do, you... It's gonna be real hard to be happy. You don't need a job that changes the world and that's environmentally friendly and that is creatively fulfilling in every way and that uses any diploma, much less the diploma that you happen to have. You need to feel valuable, but all of the different constraints that is being placed on, like, what a valuable life looks like, it's nuts! It's way too much to expect from anyone, much less everyone! It takes so long to get it into your head. You didn't go to school to learn how to get a job, you went to school to learn, and you did it! You know more stuff now!

So you might never know what you're doing. But do me this favor: get out of bed every morning knowing that no one changes the world alone and no one doesn't change it at all. We are all exceptional and none of us are, and we are all lost sometimes. So follow a path, any path, until you get to a place that you feel like you don't like and then change your direction. Because there is one thing that you are making every day, no matter what you're doing, and that is yourself. That is your job and you must do it well.

For me, there's a lot of strength in knowing that the wandering that I am doing, that I've done, is normal and kind of beautiful and not something I should be stressed out about. You're on a path. You don't know where it's going, and that would be boring if you did. John, I'll see you on Tuesday.

Here is the current list of people who will be at PodCon, just an update: podcon.com.