My name is Marco, and I suffer from an unusual condition: I have no purpose.
Some people were born to be pilots and they think about flying 24/7 and the thrill of whizzing through the sky never gets old. Others want to be an actor so bad that they move to LA, live in a tiny apartment with a bunch of roommates, waiting tables for years so that they can pursue their dream. My wife loves children and animals so much that she has devoted her life to helping them. And no matter how hard of a day she has, like when she has to put down a sick foster dog – no matter how sad she feels, there is no doubt in her mind that she should continue on the same path the next day. I have a friend who doesn’t care much for any particular job, as long as it pays the bills so that he can spend every possible waking moment camping and off-roading with his big 4×4 SUV.
Everyone tells us to pursue our dreams, we hear it endlessly from the time we’re little. But what if you don’t have a dream or a passion? What happens when someone doesn’t have a purpose?
That is a pretty sad and depressing picture.
Let me start over.
It’s been a long road to get to where I am now and all that sad stuff I just spoke about is true. That’s how I would often feel when my friends and family were moving forward in the world with what seemed like laser beam focus. My mom and dad both had the same job for over 40 years. Growing up, one of my cousins wanted to be a veterinarian. So she grew up and became a veterinarian and she’s still doing that today, 20 years later.
But I grew up wanting to be a bunch of different things. When it came time to decide where to go to college, the hardest part wasn’t picking the college, but what to major in. The what to do concerned me way more than where to do it. After a lot of deliberation I narrowed my grown-up career down to 3 choices: Pilot, Historian, and Zoologist. Each choice meant that I would go to a different college and upon graduation, pursue a totally different life path.
In the end, I decided to be a pilot. Aviation had always been one of the few constants in my life. As a kid, I went to airshows with my dad. I consumed everything I could about airplanes, memorizing ridiculous facts like the maximum range of a P-51D – both with and without external drop tanks. I built model airplanes, which hung from my bedroom ceiling…even throughout high school.
So I went to university, worked my ass off, didn’t take summers off, and graduated a year early. I had my fancy degree and even more importantly, a Commercial Pilot License.
I quit flying the next day.
Today, over a decade later, I’ve yet to be paid to fly someone somewhere.
I just didn’t love flying anymore, or at least not enough to do it day-in, day-out. I bounced around from interest to interest over the next few years. I traveled the world and met a lot of cool people. Somewhere in my mid 20s all of that sad stuff about not having a purpose was weighing heavily on me. I had accomplished so many different things, tried so many different jobs and hobbies, but there were so many more that I still wanted to explore.
Even when I met my would-be wife and then got married, things didn’t get any clearer. Sure, now I knew who I wanted to be with, but not what I wanted to be doing. And the pressure of having to support someone else and a future family didn’t make me any less worried about not having a purpose.
I don’t know how it happened but one day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I figured it out! I figured out what the hell I want to do everyday! It was like as if Toodles found his marbles.
My purpose is to do everything. My goal is to pursue anything that interests me to the fullest.
I finally began embracing my Jack Of All Trades personality, not to find my purpose but because that was the purpose. I dove into multiplicity more than ever, turning “I’ve always wanted to do that” into “yeah, I’ve done that” and not stressing about if it was a waste of time.
Society is constantly telling us to specialize, to focus on one thing. Specialize, focus, specialize, focus, and then drill down even further onto a subsection of that specialty and become an expert in that. Being a doctor isn’t good enough, being a podiatrist isn’t good enough, being a podiatrist specializing in plantar fasciitis isn’t good enough.; you need to be a podiatrist specializing in plantar fasciitis in pediatrics. If you don’t, you will never be successful. You can’t afford to take a year off and pursue something just because “you’ve always wanted to”. You’ll fall behind your peers and never catch up. You can learn French when you’re retired, get back to work.
“The riches are in the niches” they say.
Well surprisingly, I agree with that expression because having a multitude of skills, interests, experiences, and memories is rare. Being well-rounded and well-traveled is rare.
Here’s just a few random fun things I’ve done:
- Remodeled a house and flipped it
- Won a Geography Bee
- Lived abroad
- Attended a Manchester United home game with pitch level seats in the players’ family section
- Stand-up comedy
- Sold worm poop door to door
- Performed music at the Warped Tour
- Been banned from Walmart for 1 year
- Caught a fish as long as my leg
- Invented a product
- Touched the Rosetta Stone
- Been strangled by Colin Quinn
- Restored a classic muscle car – then sold it to a guy in England
- Gone on African safari
- Been Interviewed on Portuguese TV
- Learned a foreign language
- Started a business
- Written a monthly newspaper column
- Created a comedy short film
- Had Chris Shiflett (my guitar idol) bow down to my guitar chops
And in my pursuit of knowledge and adventure I’ve confirmed that knowing a little bit about a lot is not a hindrance. More Skills, More Success.
This podcast is dedicated to helping and supporting that niche of people who have multiple passions. As well as to encourage everyone to pursue their hidden interests.
My name is Marco and I embrace an unusual condition: I am a Renaissance Man.
Join me as I explore the world of everything.