Anthony's Story: Taking the Unconventional Path

The conventional path is filled with so many assumptions that most of us don’t realize exist. Things like, “applying to a job through the company’s website is the only way to get noticed,” or “going to college is the only logical route for me to take to become successful” and, “I will feel fulfilled in a single career forever.” Some assumptions are valid, but others may be based on passed truths or the truths of others. Still, we follow the obvious path in front of us without realizing that there are better ways, more suited to us as individuals.

I (Anthony) have fallen victim many times to blindly trusting the conventional path, but I’ve also deviated and experienced great reward as a result. Here are three deviations that have altered the trajectory of my life:

 

FALSE ASSUMPTION #1: IF I FILL OUT A JOB APPLICATION, I WILL GET A CALL BACK AND HAVE A FAIR CHANCE AT ATTAINING THAT JOB.

Deviation: The job application is the secondary step to getting the desired job. Making a human connection and showing up on their doorstep will put me at the front of the pack.

Result: I have never gotten a job from filling out an application as the first step in the process. In fact, my career as a project manager at a video game studio started from me messaging the head of design at a company and asking if I can sit down with them for coffee. There are a half dozen other stories I can tell like this. The point is that human connections are what open doors, much more effectively than the online funnels that we are so often forced into.

 

FALSE ASSUMPTION #2: STABILITY WILL CREATE HAPPINESS AND FULFILLMENT.

Deviation: Happiness and fulfillment come from knowing yourself and staying true to who you are.

Result: Beth and I got married, bought a house, and acquired a bunch of stuff because we felt like that was the expected path. Once the dust settled from all of that, we realized that it wasn’t bringing us fulfillment at all. After much reflection, both of us realized that our values didn’t line up with the traditional path. We also realized that fulfillment comes from an ongoing commitment to yourself and not from reaching a final end point. We sold everything and prioritized flexibility and travel over stability and comfort. Our lives have been filled with more family, friends, new experiences, and joy ever since. 

 

FALSE ASSUMPTION #3: TRAVEL IS NOT FOR ME, BUT MOSTLY FOR OLDER PEOPLE WHO HAVE TIME AND MONEY. 

Deviation: Travel is possible for anyone when it becomes a priority.

Result: Most adults have their own budgets to manage. They pay off cars, mortgages, and student loans over time because it is expected of them and it is broken down into small payments. Most people don’t approach travel in the same manner. They see the total cost of a trip or a flight and think, “I could never afford that.” You can’t afford that, but you can pay down a $20,000 car loan?! If you prioritize travel like the other items in your budget, you too can pay off amazing adventures in small installments.

 

The paths we take are filled with so many decisions, some intentional and some as a result of false assumptions. I know that thinking about those decisions and challenging the assumptions behind them has led to positive deviations in my life.

We encourage you to consider the path that you’re on. Was the path laid out by you, or the expectations of others? What assumptions are you making while on this path? Are there better ways forward? Think about these things, and you might just begin your own adventure.

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