Author and entrepreneur Derek Sivers writes on his blog that life is like any journey: “You need to change directions a few times to get where you want to go.”
For Sivers, when you’re early in your career, the best strategy is to say yes to everything. The more things you try, and the more people you meet the better – each one could lead to a lucky break.
He recalls in a separate interview
how this strategy led to success in his own life while he was a student at Berklee College of Music:
“I’m in this band where the bass player, one day in rehearsal, says: ‘Hey man, my agent just offered me this gig—it’s like $75 to play at a pig show in Vermont.’
He rolls his eyes and says, ‘I’m not gonna do it, do you want the gig?’
I’m like ‘a paying gig?! Oh, my god! Yes!’ So I took the gig to go up to Burlington, Vermont.
And, I think it was a $58 round-trip bus ticket. I get to this pig show, I strap my acoustic guitar on, and I walk around a pig show playing music.
I did that for about 3 hours, and took the bus home, and the next day, the booking agent called me up and said: ‘Hey, yeah, so you did a really good job at the pig show.’
So many opportunities, and 10 years of stage experience, came from that one piddly little pig show.”
Sivers explains that once you find something that’s especially rewarding, it’s important to focus all your energy on that one thing. “Don’t be leisurely. Strike while it’s hot. Be a freak. Give it everything you’ve got.”
If instead what you settled on turns out to be a dead end, then switch back to your strategy of trying everything.
Eventually, your focus on something will pay off: “Because you’re successful, you’ll be overwhelmed with opportunities and offers. You’ll want to do them all.”
Now it’s time to switch strategies again.