the worst question in the world
this single question is the silent killer of dreams
Written by jack friks
Last Updated: Jun 6, 2023
Although you are under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago, most of us attach our work, or one thing of so many things we do, as our identity.
“I’m a chef”, “I’m a writer”, “I work for Google”, “I’m a programmer”, “I’m a YouTuber” & so on…
& what’s the “worst question” that helps reinforce this?
It’s the first question you will get asked when you meet someone:
“what do you do” — yeah, this question sucks some serious but cheeks, let me tell you why.
Why this single question is “the worst”
Sure It’s an innocent question, & I’m sure no one means any harm when they ask it.
but in reality, this question sends a pulsation through our entire body.
A pulsation to reassure ourselves that we aren’t falling off the imaginary cliff that is: not being able to answer the question proudly or succinctly.
This simple question forces us to in a few sentences or less (maybe even just a few words), describe what we “do” in our lives.
In almost all cases this means “How do you make your money” — any other interpretation of the question will get you weird looks.
Answering anything nontraditional & you’ll be seen as some form of outcast.
Now, what’s worse than being seen as an outcast?
Telling yourself & everyone around you “What you do” & then having a change of heart.
Or one day waking up and questioning that maybe you want to do something different with the bulk of your time than that single thing you said you do to 100+ strangers and family members over the course of the last few years.
Now this question comes back to bite us in the butt… humans have an ego to uphold, and we need our perception of others to maintain a certain level of “Oh he’s not completely losing it”
— In other words: we have a need to be understood at all times. (though this is an impossible mission, even in your most fond relationships)
In this sense, the question “What do you do” is a silent killer of our dreams.
Many won’t do something true to themselves because of the perception it will give off to others.
Many make compromises away from their true self to please others, which in the long term make them miserable.
All because our identities are often formed to be as fragile as a few words based on “what we do”.
Hopefully, you understood my perception of why I think this question sucks serious butt cheeks.
If you disagree or have anything to add, send me a reply: I’ll read it.
a better question & thought experiment to align your identity with goes something like this: “What do you want out of life?”
Now, of course, you aren’t going to ask someone this question on the street or be asked this: and if you did you wouldn't be able to come up with a snappy response that fulfills other’s perception very well
But this question is not for others to know necessarily. This question is for you to note down & remember.
So you can answer the “what do you do” question & curb the negative side effects I mentioned earlier, the effects that stop people from being someone different than they were 5 minutes ago (if they so please).
& guess what… you can change your answer to this antidote question, as many times as you want, for the rest of your life, whenever you want.
The more you think about “What do I want out of life?” The more clarity you will have in making decisions that affect your everyday life.
& the more peace you will have knowing your perception to others doesn’t mean all that much because it’s only a blockade to your answer to the more meaningful question “What do I want out of life”.
My answer to the question
What do I say when someone asks me “What do you do”?
Well, I used to tell them I’m in college to be a computer programmer, or that I work at McDonald’s while I’m in school, etc, etc… something people can nod their heads at without a second thought.
But one day my answer changed because I had found myself leaving Mcdonald’s in the dust & dropped out from college… my script flipped, or rather: I no longer had a script.
That brings us to today, & the last 3 years of being self-employed.
Some of my answers have been:
“I freelance for tech startups & make videos for them” — I did this only a few times
“I run a media corporation” — I have a corporation for my work (it’s only me in it)
“I'm writing a book” — I’m sending out newsletters twice a week that will eventually become a book
“I’m a YouTuber” — that’s about 10% of what I do
The truth is… whatever answer I say nowadays will always leave me feeling a bit hollow for a second.
Like I am lying because I’m not disclosing the whole truth.
But It doesn’t really matter because when I tell the whole truth, the outcome is the same: people do not understand what I do or who I am after I spit out a few sentences, how could they?
Mainly what I’ve been doing for the last 3 years has been making youtube videos, testing online businesses, & spending nearly 2 years on end in the crypto rabbit hole… or rather that’s the most traditional answer I could give you.
Our lives are so much more than how we make our money, & I’m not going to spend now to give you my life biography because I do not need to be understood in all cases, so long as I know I’m following my answer to one question.
“What do I want out of life?”
This question & my answers to it are my north star far more than “What I do”.
Experimentation with your identity
In order to figure out your answers to the question I’ve listed above you will have to experiment, Iterate & TEST FOR YOURSELF.
We all have vastly different likes & dislikes, an ideal place to live or travel too & completely different perceptions of the good life.
So you’ll have to, In a sort of serendipitous sense: Try new things.
This is one thing I try to keep at the forefront of my mind even when I do think I know all the answers to the question “What do I want out of life”.
For me, writing has been a new discovery in itself something I no longer want to live without.
Had I not experimented with this medium of thought vs always talking to my camera I wouldn’t have known how much I actually enjoy writing.
Leave room to grow, you’ll need it.
& how could I forget, our sponsor (the best & only sponsor yet)
A massive thank you to the sponsor of this newsletter… ME!!
If you have interests in crypto & want to explore your curiosities while documenting them to the world, building an audience, & much more, then check out my brand new Crypto Creator Course.
Otherwise, go get your free daily planner so you can spend more time doing stuff that actually matters.
That’s it for today, if you enjoyed this consider sharing it with a friend 🙂 (or your mom, I’ll be sharing it with my mom, she’s awesome.)