Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do

Knowing What You Don't Want

Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do

Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do


What do you want to do when you grow up? We’ve all heard this question in our lives, and to some point it may still apply. We go through changes in our lives, whether career, relational and even spiritual. Knowing what we don’t want, interestingly, can be as important as knowing what we do want.


If you are not the biggest fan of, let’s say, other people’s children, then maybe a job or career change to teaching is better left untapped. However if we like the instructional process of helping people discover a topic or more about themselves, then perhaps creating online courses or a book may still fit the bill.


No one likes to spend all that time, energy and let’s face it, money on a vocation that you might feel trapped in or is sucking the life out of you, every… single… day… for the next 30 years.


Other times, it’s the system that evolves around us, and what we originally went through for pales in comparison to what it has become today. Like the book says, “Someone Moved My Cheese”. Healthcare might be a good example of this as of late. It’s “not what it used to was”, as the old farmer saying goes. Farming is another industry where, if one doesn’t have the latest tech which comes at an extremely high price tag, then one simply doesn’t compete in the market. Meanwhile, it’s the love of the land and hands in the dirt that is the real call to those who steward the land… “husbandry” it’s actually called. Well in terms of relationships it’s hard to “husband” with only technology, even with the land, there is an element of romanticism involved… values such as caring, honesty, salt of the earth… Not cyborg 101. For this and other reasons it’s changing the landscape of our food from human produced to corporation produced.


Bring back metal shop. Various high school shop classes were great for those who lived in suburbia and didn’t have access to rural equipment like other kids do, to try their hand at not just the trades, but even electronics and other interesting skill sets. You don’t know if you love or hate working with metal until you, well, actually work with metal. It’s a lot easier to suffer through a quarter of a semester in a wood shop or automotive than to go through it in college and find out you hate it on the jobsite! Clearly this is too much of an expense and liability, especially with kids who don’t listen these days (my dad was a shop teacher in addition to a commercial builder). Going to a makerspace where one can be trained and certified on certain equipment to learn is a fabulous option and is becoming more and more available. Even working in a hardware store can give some idea to the tools of the trade and getting a sense of what’s what.


Having lots of jobs as a kid helps immensely. Work in a bakery, a restaurant or a deli if you think you might like the food industry. Work at a hotel or nursing home if you think you want to try hospitality or personal support work. These are all things you can do as you “learn while you earn”. If you hate getting up at 5am then a bakery is probably not for you, but perhaps a gastro pub is, with their late nights and funky bands.


Adding new hobbies as an adult is monumental. We don’t want to finally retire and stare at the walls… studies show this is the quickest way to push daisies. Having hobbies and interests prior to sticking it to the man will help create lifelong interests and sometimes even lifelong friends before kicking the can for good. It’s good to keep our synapses functioning and our brain’s tuned up. Who knows you just might find your lifelong passion in your 60s, and enjoy puttering bliss every day until eternity comes calling!


Knowing what you don’t want is especially true for relationships too. Deal breakers are as important as knowing you’d like someone kind and caring. If you don’t like the smell of poop, a dairy farmer is not for you, even if you love the idea of living in the country on 100 acres. If someone is cute but standoffish and aloof, or doesn’t pick up a dish or help bring in groceries… if you’re dating, listen up and remember this… this is their best behaviour! Those characteristics are likely going to go downhill from there. Gals, especially, don’t gauge “by potential”. Women marry a man thinking he’s going to change, and he doesn’t. Men marry a woman thinking she won’t change, and she does.


So go ahead and try some things and find out what you don’t want. It will likely lead you to the things you do.



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