The Life-Changing, Inner-You-Revealing, Passion-Unleashing Magic of Initiative

March 15, 2024 by Joshua
in Creativity, Education, Entrepreneurship, Exercises, Stories

I’ve shared Eugene’s public postings of his experience doing the exercises in my book Initiative. At each stage, he learns more about himself and making his world work for him. Taking initiative forces you to learn your values, not in some abstract way, but:

Joshua Spodek's Initiative: A Proven Method to Bring Your Passions to Life (and Work), 3d cover

How do I want to spend my time, money, energy, and resources?

How long do I want to follow other people’s values, or the worn path society lays for me that benefits others, not me?

Quoting his recent post, Method Initiative (Round 4) – Exercise 9 – Second Personal Essay:

For the first time ever, I’ve made it to the final exercises in Josh Spodek’s Initiative book on bringing your passions to life. It took four rounds of going back to square one and building up a project and over 4 years, but I finally found a project that resonated enough with me to keep wanting to push forward

[Next he describes his particular project, “nature-themed story sharing event,” based on his values and goals, which I recommend reading, but leave as a teaser for you to click to his site. I’ll focus on the effects on his life, but he writes about the project’s origins in his life, the problem it solves, and the project itself, called The Campfire. Now back to quoting him:]

My Experience with Taking Initiative

In general, my experience with going through Josh’s Initiative methodology has been one that is empowering, very education, has helped me to grow as a person, and has challenged me in ways that I’ve never been challenged before. In a previous iteration on a past project, I had to cold call people who “felt the problem” to learn more about how they feel. At the time, it felt like one of the most daunting things I’ve ever done in my life, but now that I’ve done it, I feel empowered.

Initiative has taught me that almost any project is possible, if you’re willing to just iterate on asking for advice and talking to people who feel the problem – with enough iterations eventually you reach a project that will solve a problem for people, and after going through the exercises, you’ve probably fully thought out a solution that people will pay you for. I’ve learned that it’s not just about me and what I know, I now know that for all the gaps in knowledge I could have for my project, others can fill those gaps, and often people are eager to and want to help you. I truly do feel like I could make any project I want to work. It seems stupidly simple now, but as long as you talk to enough people and consider advice seriously, your project will eventually work.

It’s also helped create a mind-shift for me when I think about work and jobs. I used to believe that when you want to find a job, it’s all about selling yourself; how can you polish up your skills and highlight all the things you do to make an employer like you and want to hire you.

I no longer think that’s the way to get a job.

An employer, just like an Initiative project, has many problems, and it’s up to you to come up with the solutions. It’s nuanced, but I’ve changed from a “me-focused” way of thinking, to a “problem-focused” way of thinking. What problem is an employer trying to solve, and how can you solve it? You may not even have all the skills necessary to directly solve the problem yourself, but after Initiative, you can show an employer you know how to fill any gaps in your knowledge, which makes you a very strong resource to have.

My Growth From Initiative

Initiative has helped me to draw some lines – that is, to recognize realize what my strengths are and where I need support. It’s forced me to take some time to think about where my gaps in knowledge and ability are and more importantly, find out how to fill them. The exercises have brought me to a point where it feels like there really isn’t much you can’t do as long as you have the will to continue and the humility to ask for advice.

The Legacy I Want To Leave

I’ve done four rounds of Initiative exercises. Every single one has come to closer and closer to something that I feel is ME. Something that is what I could both do for others, but also feel satisfied myself by doing.

Most importantly, Initiative has further clarified a goal I’ve always thought about: I want to help drive a shift to a world that’s better for you. And for me. And for my kids. And for your kids. We need a better world, and I want to be on the right side of history, assuming we end up surviving the mess the human race has put itself in.

If someone 50 years from now is reading this, I hope it’s remembered that I tried to push the needle in the right direction, and Initiative exercises helped me do it.

It’s a goal that is quite possibly too grandiose, idealist, and likely impossible, but I think that in a world where the majority of the population is blindly marching overconfidently towards a cliff that not only spells disaster for our own species, but also for many other species on the planet, maybe that is exactly what we need – thinking that is apart from what has become normal and accepted, and rather than being focused on convenience and dopamine-inducing, short-term pleasure, we can move to a society that cares about our own long-term health, happiness, well-being, and a bright and thriving future.

The Final Exercise

It’s now on to the final exercise: to speak to 10 valuable people in my field. I’m not too nervous for this exercise, partially because the previous exercises have prepared me for it, but also because the people I will be looking to talk to will be similar to those I spoke to for the previous exercise. I haven’t had any negative experiences yet, so I’m looking forward to getting more great advice and watching my project grow further.

Note in all his work, personal development, and professional development, I don’t think he’s spent a penny after buying the book. He doesn’t need any other resources unless you count the phone, a spreadsheet, and email.

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