Here’s My Secret Plan: Just Do Things.

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I wrote this seven years ago, while I was a videographer on Tucker Max’s movie tour. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it still rings true for me:

I haven’t really talked about this before, but I’ve failed more times than I can remember.

I’ve tried starting up several businesses, tried patenting inventions, tried starting up online communities, tried building several websites, tried to win contests… and failed almost every single time.

But I never chalked any of them up as failures in my head, because I learned so much in the process each time.  So now, when I’ve finally reached a point where things seem to fall into place with less effort, I can’t help but think about all those times where I didn’t succeed over the course of the last eight years. And I look back in fondness, because those lessons learned are the reason I’m here.  None of this stuff happened over night — in a way, I’ve been working to reach this point since I was 15 years old.

I actually shouldn’t even call them “failures,” because they were really just attempts.  Big difference. Everyone has failures, but most people never attempt things just for the sake of trying out something that looks fun, interesting, or challenging.  For some reason, a lot of us reach a point where we stop doing things for the hell of it.

Why do you think I’m such a huge proponent of free work?  Doing work for free forces you to find jobs where you can honestly say, “I would do this even if I weren’t being paid for it.”  That’s an expression I took a bit too literally, but it is spot on.

My favorite part of The Dark Knight is when the Joker is talking to Harvey Dent in the hospital, and he says:

“Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just DO things.”

And therein lies the best advice I could possibly dispense: Just DO things. 

Chase after the work that interests you and makes you happy.  Stop acting like you have a set path, because you don’t.  No one does.  You shouldn’t be trying to check off the boxes of life; they aren’t real and they were created by other people, not you.  There is no explicit path I’m following, and I’m not walking in anyone else’s footsteps.  I’m making it up as I go.

It’s harder, for sure, and kind of scary sometimes.  But it will allow you to look at yourself in the mirror and know you’re playing by your own rules.

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Charlie Hoehn is a speaker and the author of Play It Away (“Here's the cure to your stress!” -Tony Robbins) and Recession Proof Graduate. He has presented at the Pentagon and three TEDx events. His article about the importance of play is the #1 result on Google for the search “cure anxiety." He was the former Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss, and helped launch The 4-Hour Body (#1 NYTimes bestseller, million copies sold). Charlie's work has been featured on NPR TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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