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Everything I Know

The basics of creating a learning and problem-solving culture

By Paul Jarvis
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
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Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis

As the title suggests, Everything I Know (2013) is a collection of what author Paul Jarvis knows, after having worked as an in-demand web designer for over 20 years. This is a compendium of insight on how to be a successful, self-employed entrepreneur with a rewarding and lasting business.

Key idea 1 of 10

It is scary but rewarding to choose your own adventure.

If you were a schoolkid in the 1980s or 1990s, you may remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books, a series of adventure stories that allowed you to decide what the main character did or didn’t do. For instance, if you chose to go through the scary forest, you’d turn to a certain page; if you chose to go around the forest, however, you’d turn to another.

When the author, Paul Jarvis, was a young boy, he loved these books, and as an adult he continued to choose his own adventure by deciding to be his own boss rather than working for someone else.

After quitting college, Jarvis did work for someone else, as an employee at a web design company in Toronto, and he didn’t like it one bit. However, this experience taught him the ins and outs of running a web-based business – things he knew he wouldn’t learn in school.

Sure, when you work for someone else, you’re not risking much and you may feel a sense of security, but it’s not very rewarding in the long run. In order to get the big reward you have to take the big risk and embark on your own adventure, which means doing something no one else is doing – something that speaks to who you are as an individual.

As a web designer, Jarvis has met clients who point to someone else’s website and say, “I want the same site they have.” But what they don’t understand is that following someone else’s lead is just going to make them boring and forgettable.

Following someone else’s path may seem like an appealingly safe way to go, but imagine following someone else’s treasure map. It may lead you to where the gold was, but that gold will be gone by the time you get there. So why settle for the leftover scraps that come with copying someone else when you can do your own thing and uncover your very own treasure?

The universe rewards those who do their own thing in an authentic way while managing to help others. It’s true that corporations and schools often tell people to fall in line and be like everyone else, rather than promoting individualism and uniqueness. But the fact is that we’re all unique and, as we’ll see in the next blink, it pays to embrace our weirdness.

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