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November 14, 2020

Start Over — Why You Should be an Amateur

I turn 25 tomorrow.

By this age, most people hope to have some sort of idea about where their career is heading.

After all, who wants to be 25 and be starting their career from scratch?

No experience. No skill. No immediate earning potential.

That’s not ideal.

More importantly, who would be crazy enough to choose to be an amateur despite having worked for a secure career path that was already laid out for them?

Well, me.

For the last few months, I’ve spent a large proportion of my time on this newsletter and Youtube channel.

At times I’ve asked myself, why not put all your energy into your medical career, academic research or teaching?

Wouldn’t you get more bang for your buck seeing as you’ve spent 7 years doing so already and have a unique position that others can’t easily replicate?

Well, yes.

But I’m choosing to be an amateur instead.

Here’s why you should consider it too:

Reinvent Yourself

“Today it is the amateur — the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love (in French, the word means “lover”), regardless of the potential for fame, money, or career — who often has the advantage over the professional. Because they have little to lose, amateurs are willing to try anything and share the results. They take chances, experiment, and follow their whims. Sometimes, in the process of doing things in an unprofessional way, they make new discoveries. “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities,” said Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki. “In the expert’s mind, there are few.”” 
- Austin Kleon

Some of the best (and most enjoyable) learning comes at the start of trying something new.

By creating space for something you can be an amateur at, you open the doors to reinvent yourself.

There’s something incredibly liberating about being an amateur at things alongside a full-time job.

It means you get to learn and practice freely on your own terms.

It means you get to mingle with different types of people.

It means you get to make mistakes in a safe environment, free from judgement.

Freedom of Amateurism

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” — Steve Jobs

Amateurs have little to lose and everything to gain.

No one to tell you what to do.

No expectations from critics or fans.

No money or fame to taint your intentions.

There’s something liberating about being an amateur in your craft. It’s where creativity is nurtured, mistakes are made and seeds of passion planted.

Make room to be an amateur.

Takeaway

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” — Alan Cohen.

Don’t be afraid to start something new, welcome it.

Don’t be afraid to be seen as an amateur, wear it on your sleeve.

I’ll be there right there with you.

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