Why smart people should build things

Please allow me the liberty to go off-topic for a moment. There are a lot of really smart people that read this little blog. Some are my personal friends, but many have found this site on their own and some have taken the time to contact me with feedback (for which I am forever grateful).

My smart friend Sam (who's currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Chicago) texted me to get this book last night. After reading the first chapter on the L, it was enough to convince me to consider changing the direction of my life.

Why aren't smart people building things?

In short, this book makes the case that smart people are taking 'easy' (structured) career paths rather than pursuing entrepreneurial ventures that solve problems, create jobs and build the economy. (

Here's an excerpt

.) It spoke to my soul, articulating what's always in the back of my mind: despite the challenges and growth I've experienced in my career, there's something missing and I've been trying to fill the void through my moonlight creative ventures.

One reader from London named Jenny left a very sweet comment a few months ago mentioning that it must be difficult to maintain a side passion while working in a really serious industry full-time that might find said side passion stupid or unintelligent. Jenny was right that we're often discouraged from putting ourselves out there and fear taking risks that might make us look like fools to our serious counterparts. My Twitter profile is private for this very reason, lest a client Google me and discover that - gasp! - I have a style blog (...and a design blog).

What do we do about it? 

If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're smart with a structured career path like me but also have side passions. There are probably millions of us, working in corporate jobs while harboring (and hiding) these brilliant creative sides. Those corporate jobs are important, and not everyone can run out and build an empire. But more of us need to try, even if it is just making an example of ourselves by continuing to honor our creative sides and putting ourselves out there to support others trying to find the courage to do the same.

For me personally, that means thinking long and hard about how to channel my creative endeavors in a way that meets a need, or solves a problem. After starting my (selfishly driven)

no new things challenge

earlier this year, another reader (Hi, Ivanka!) connected some dots for me by linking my small mission to live with less to a huge, global problem with the fashion industry: Ivanka recommended a documentary called '

The True Cost

' which exposes how our endless appetite for new clothes is causing a global crisis that's polluting the environment and killing women. I can't get it off my mind, and am going to spend my year of living with less also figuring out how to contribute to the solution in a more impactful way.

Anyway, will get off my soapbox now. I highly encourage you to read this book and let me know your thoughts! And special shout out to Echo who has been leaving so many thoughtful comments on these posts and, along with Jenny, Ivanka and many others, is helping me overcome my fears about honoring my creative endeavor!

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