Humans of New York are amazing.
They are photos of people from the streets of New York.
I am in love with the stories embedded in those photos.
The photographer, Brandon Stanton, is now an NYT best-selling photographer.
Once in a while, doppelgängers meet each other through the enigmatic photos. Some personas keep returning.
In particular, this type of story strikes my insides:
“When I was 20, I made a plan to get a good job and be secure. Now I’m 35, and I need a plan to be happy.”
She is financially secure, trying to figure out how to be happy; I don’t want her to be a projection of me. Except, I’m not photogenic.
I’m terrified. I don’t want people to desert me because I stopped doing music everyday, especially when I’m stumped, or when my team is stabbing angry pencils at each other.
But I’ve found something special and I’d love to share it.
Finding your special success
Success is related to happiness. And the quality of your thoughts. When you discover what makes you happy, and shift your mindset accordingly, you’ll open the door to be successful.
I’m an easy-going person; I see the big picture quickly and I like helping people.
Designing is a good task for me because new projects keep coming up: I research new fields, invent a million concepts, be creative.
I don’t like robotic tasks. When I was an indie teacher, I kept records and collected tuition. My classes overflowed with students, but those things wore me down; I didn’t want to manage a music school.
People commented that I was “young and successful.”
I didn’t feel successful. I was tired and the studio wasn’t perfect; an awkward, too-tall table hugged the wall and the chairs didn’t match.
I had a busy studio in North America’s most expensive city and I should’ve been proud. Everyone thought I was successful, except myself.
You will not be happy if you cannot come to peace with your progress. The success does not feel real if you cannot be happy, even if you reach a goal.
To me, designing is meaningful. I help people look good and earn a higher income, while being creative.
The key is to find your niche of meaningful work. Carve it out, and move into it.
Your idea of meaningful is not the same as someone else’s.
Music is a broad industry. Performing solo music is only meaningful for some people. There is stress and doubt from the practice room to the stage, although it can feel amazing to showcase your passion.
Few people are naturally comfortable onstage, but if performing is meaningful to you, then you should work at it.
If not, you can teach music. Or make an app that teaches music. Evan has a nice sight reading service. The mainstream music apps section is lacking. You don’t even need to code; just get an idea and gather people to develop for you.
Most people get stuck when they practice too much or practice the wrong way. Stop practicing if you’re stuck. Taking a break means you’ll return with new ideas; staying stuck means you’ll get frustrated.
It starts with a choice.
Doing it right: finding your secret sauce
When you do things that feel meaningful, the prospect of failure has a smaller impact on your mindset, so you’ll brave more challenges.
Have you ever wondered why 90% of small businesses fail within the first 5 years?
The truth is, all businesses struggle in their first 5 years. Even big companies, like Apple, struggled in the beginning. You just have to get through that. If the work is not meaningful, then you will let something fold the business.
Top performers are mostly at the top of their game because they’ve found meaningful work.
We get happiness from the way we view the world and whether we feel meaningful in our everyday lives– if we feel that we make a difference.
If you’re doing something meaningful, and you’re smart about it, your income will increase.
This is about finding success and happiness, and braving uncertainty.
If you are confused, let’s find something meaningful to do.