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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk with PH team member Nii Codjoe about careers and not living a life of leftovers.

Transcript of this podcast:

Joel: Welcome back to the Personality Hacker podcast. My name is Joel Mark Witt

Antonia: and I’m Antonia Dodge.

Joel: Today we are bringing a guest back. Nii Codjoe is with us again. Hi Nii!

Nii: Hi!

Antonia: And if you remember from the previous podcast, Nii is a team member here at Personality Hacker and it’s actually been really nice because Personality Hacker is filled with a bunch of crusty generation Xers and Nii has come on with a fresh Millennial perspective.

Joel: And as a young millennial man, he works with us here at Personality Hacker. We thought could do some conversations around your career as a person. Now you may not be a millennial listening. You might be a little older than that. You might be any transition time of your career or coming down to this idea that maybe I’m just on the wrong track in life. Maybe I want to try something different. Or maybe you’re listening right now and you’re ready to graduate or you’ve recently graduated. You’re. You’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do in the world for your work. And I think this is something that can cause a lot of people stress or distress.

Joel: There’s so much pressure in our world to go to college to get a good job, to do the right thing, and then add on top of that this idea of like not only do I want to work in something, I want to make a big impact in the world and using my life for good and there’s this notion of I want to do so much, but I have no idea how to get from where I’m at right now into the impactful work that I want to do and sometimes it can feel overwhelming and then you look on instagram and twitter and social media and maybe friends of yours or other people. Your Peer Group are having success and you’re like, “how are they doing it?” And then you might have envy. Like there’s all these narratives that come out around work and the impact we want to make as people. Especially if you’re listening to this podcast and others like it around personal growth and making a big difference in the world.

Antonia: So we’ve been having a lot of conversation around these topics and Nii you came up with a really interesting way of titling it. You were talking about this concept of living a life of leftovers. Can you explain to the person listening what exactly that means?

Nii: Yes. So my wife and I have been having this conversation around the idea of work in the western world. Uh, just to give a little context, my wife is an INTJ and I’m an ENTJ, so we’ve been talking a lot about this idea of work balance and how it’s a goal that most people are trying to achieve in their careers. And what’s interesting about how we think about work in the Western world is that we actually separate work and life. We got work on one side and we have life on the other side and we’re trying to balance them. But I think there’s this myth around the modern work day. Right? Most people are working 9-5 roughly, and in their mind they’re going to spend their weekends and evenings doing their own thing. But if you actually sit down and look at the numbers, most people aren’t working 9-5, it’s more like 7-7. So the average person gets about eight hours of sleep, so that means we’ve got 16 hours awake. We’re going to spend about 12 hours of our day working.

Nii: You know, if you think about the time that you would get up in the morning and you, you grab your toothbrush and you brush your teeth and you go downstairs and you grab breakfast or a quick cup of coffee and you get in your car and you’re sitting through traffic. Maybe you’re listening to this podcast on your way to work and then you get to work and you sit through work, you pack up your bag, you get in your car, you sit through traffic again, you go home, you grab some food, you’re still checking emails and trying to unwind from the day. So really most of us aren’t working 9-5. It’s more like 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. And so that doesn’t really leave us a lot of time afterwards. It leaves us with a few hours to do everything else, grab groceries, eat, run errands. There’s just not a lot of time left over. And that’s where this idea of living a life of leftovers emerged from. Um, and so what’s interesting is if we hate our jobs or we feel dissatisfied with the work we’re doing, the question we have to ask ourselves is, does that mean we hate our lives? If we’re spending most of our waking life working, but we are unfulfilled and unhappy with that work, what does that say about our life? And I think that’s a really sobering thought.

Antonia: So the idea of the leftovers is just whatever time you have, like that’s like the leftover time you have. And I’m assuming that it’s intended to evoke this metaphor of the leftovers in your refrigerator is like. It’s not fresh. It’s not high quality. It’s whatever you can microwave and get away with. And so the hours in our day that are leftover after we spend all this time at work or thinking about work or commuting to work or whatever, then the little bit of time you have at the end of all of that before we have to sleep, it’s kind of on the same level of sort of exciting, which is like nuked food basically.

Nii: Exactly. And it just seems like an unsustainable model and it seems like a recipe for… It can feel like a recipe for having an unhappy life if we’re stuck in a situation where we don’t enjoy our work. And so I think it’s important that we redefine our relationships to work. Um, so I feel like this conversation is part of a bigger motif around work in the Western world. And I think our, our society encourages us to live a low risk life. This is something my wife and I love to talk about all the time and see it try to observe it in our lives or in the lives of other people. But this idea of low risk living is this, it’s the art of living a safe conventional life that conforms to the expectations of our family, friends and society. It’s keeping up the status quo by censoring who we really are. And most people are following this path. They’re following this script that society is handed them that you need to get a job. And even if you don’t like it, it’s okay because you can live for the weekends, even though when the weekends come, we’re spending that time trying to arrest and recoup from the work that we just spent, you know, 60 hours of our, uh, of our week doing, um, and really people that followed this path of low risk living ended up going through almost like this three stages in life or this three act play. And we can think of act one as the transition from being maybe a, like a college student. And now you’re being thrown into the real world. Now you’re an adult and suddenly you’re expected to have everything figured out when you were younger.

Nii: It was cute and adorable that you had dreams and aspirations and that you wanted to be a doctor or an astronaut or change the world. Then the moment you become an adult, it’s almost as if the light switches or the flip switches and now you’re expected to have everything figured out and all the dreams that you grew up with are now unrealistic and impractical and what you need to do is get something that’s a job or career that’s more realistic and safe. It almost feels like, um, it feels a little bit like puberty. Puberty part two. Right there when you transition into the real world, that just so many changes emotionally, mentally, and trying to recalibrate and defined. You know? “Who am I and what kind of work do I want to do in the world?” “What kind of contribution do I want to bring?”

Nii: And then in the second act, this is when people start going through the motions, right? They cling onto that safe, secure job and they start going through the 9-5 and they’re doing what my wife and I like to call white knuckle work. It’s when you’re just kind of pushing through the work, you don’t really love it, but you know that it’s the responsible, respectable thing to do as an adult and you’re just going through the motions hoping one day you’ll be able to find something more fulfilling and then we, it hit the third act of this play or the story, the story arc. And that’s when you get old. And it’s a season when you retire and you look back on your life and it’s often full of regrets for people. Like, man, I spent my entire life going through the motions, doing something that wasn’t really fulfilling for me because I was living a low risk life. Uh, so that’s, that’s, uh, I think I’m a symptom of the way that the west thinks about work.

Joel: So as you’re talking Nii, I’m reminded of a movie that came out back in the 1990s called Mr Holland’s Opus. And it’s about this, this music teacher at a high school who had dreams of being a symphony conductor, writing musical compositions and like having this amazing artistic career. And he got married and had a baby and he had to like pay the bills. It was like the 1960s. The story takes place in and he had to go and get a job teaching music at this high school. And interestingly in the movie, the movie unfolds with him showcasing basically how the arts aren’t really honored in our school systems and how the budgets get cut and all this. And it’s the arc of watching his life unfold. Not having lived his dreams, which is a really interesting movie. I remember my dad taking me to it and my dad like crying.

Joel: It was just a really powerful Introverted Feeling styled movie. And you know, I won’t spoil the end, but basically you know, it basically just kind of showcases of this. And there’s a line in the movie. I don’t remember if it was quoted by somebody else or if it was actually from the movie, but he says “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” And it’s kind of like what you’re painting this picture of when you get to your older years and you look back on a life and you go, “I didn’t even see this happen. Like how did I get here? I had dreams. I had goals. I had ambitions. I wanted to change the world, and somehow I ended up kind of doing what I wanted, but also I’m looking back at a life going: I didn’t grab life by the throat.”

Joel: I didn’t like make something happen and I might be frustrated. I think for me that’s like one of my fears is like I look back and have all these regrets like, “oh no, I didn’t do this thing” and I think that you’re painting a picture for me, you know, coming, approaching middle age, that’s a fear that I can feel burgeoning. Like I’m running out of time in life and I can’t imagine what it might feel like right now. I mean, I remember when I was around 20 or something, the feeling of, man, I got to really. There’s a lot of pressure. I think when I was younger of now it feels like time’s running out back then it was like, if I don’t pick the right track, I’ll be off track. I remember that being the anxiety at the time. So I think even it really depends on your stage of life.

Joel: You probably have some kind of anxiety around this. Whatever it is, whether it’s you’re turning on a time, maybe you feel like you’ve, if you’re in your seventies or eighties, maybe feel like you’ve already run out of time and you’re just like, oh no, did I do everything I want to do. Or if you’re young, you’re like, what if I don’t pick the right course I’m going to be way off the whole thing. And uh, I think it speaks to something that a lot of us can resonate with as an anxiety we have. Did you struggle with that as a young person because you’re like approaching 30 now? Like when you were in your early twenties and in college, were you like, “Oh God, if I don’t pick the right track, I’m going to be way off.” Or did you kind of just like, is it something more new that you’re, you’re realizing in your life?

Nii: So when I was in my early twenties, there was a lot of anxiety because I was going to be. I knew I was going to be jumping into the real world. I and I saw this happen with my friends. As soon as you jump into the real world, all of a sudden you’re just expected to know what you’re, who you are, what you’re going to do with your life, and you’re just expected to have a crisp, clear plan and it needs to be reasonable and it needs to be safe. And, I just felt a lot of fear around that because I knew that I didn’t want that type of life. So being an ENTJ, you know, leading with Extraverted Thinking, I was like, I have to come up with a solution to solve this problem because I can’t go down that path.

Nii: I’ve seen too many people go down that path to where their life is just leftovers. Life is just whatever they have after work. And I couldn’t have that happen for me. So I started looking for people who loved what they were doing. Everyone from top executives to artists and the question I was looking for is like, what’s the common denominator here? People that are doing work they love and making an impact in the world, what do they have in common and what do they understand that I don’t? Or that most people in society don’t? So I started this project of just trying to find these people. And what emerged is this pattern that they’re group of people in the role that have a completely different relationship to work than most of us do. Right? So for example, most people are working to just pay the bills.

Nii: People who have a career calling, they’re using their work as a tool to make an impact in the world, whether it’s big or small. Um, another thing that I started to notice as I found people that were doing meaningful work in the world is that most people are working in their careers. They go to work and they’re putting their head down and they’re just pushing through, hoping to get to the weekends, but for people who have a career calling, they are not only working in their career, but they’re also working on their career. They’re stepping back and asking themselves the question, what am I good at? What are the gifts I bring to the table? What are the opportunities in the world that I can attach myself to and do something meaningful? And they step back and ask those questions instead of just going into autopilot and following the script that society is handed to them. So these people have what I call a career calling and a defined a career calling as a situation where you’re welding your superpower to do worthwhile work in the world. You’re serving people. You’re solving problems and you’re making an impact. And a career calling isn’t something that you hunt for and find. Instead. It’s something that you cultivate like a, like a garden.

Nii: And I started as I started to meet all sorts of interesting people and figure out more about what their career calling looks like. There were a series of principles that started to emerge.

Antonia: So before we talk about those principles, if it’s okay. There’s something you said before that I thought was really intriguing and I, I mean it was just interesting to me so I don’t know if it’s as relevant, but you called it puberty part two and, and you mentioned how when we’re young, teenage years or high school or college, it’s cute to have dreams, right. And then all of a sudden, you know, you graduate, you enter the world and now it’s like that demotivational poster that’s called Get to Work. You know, you’re not being paid to believe in the power of your dreams. It’s like suddenly it’s not cute anymore. And I thought puberty part two is such a great way of saying it because that’s what happens in actual biological puberty. Like when you’re a little kid, everything is cute, but once you hit puberty, nothing’s cute anymore.

Antonia: Like you’re just not cute and all this behavior you’ve got away with or the things that were entertaining to adults when you were little or no longer entertaining and you’ve got this kind of like, well no, you have to grow up now because you can’t rely on being cute anymore, and then there’s a disorienting time period of your teenage years and you’re just disoriented all the time. All of these expectations, all of these things you now have to step up for like you’re like now a mini adult as opposed to a tall child or at least that’s the transition. And I thought puberty part two was so interesting because that’s a disorienting time period for people in their twenties and sometimes it extends into their thirties. So when you’re disoriented and you have all these new expectations placed on you, it’s so easy to hand yourself over to whatever the template is, which is what teenagers do too.

Antonia: Right. “Okay. Well, I’m super disoriented so I guess I’m supposed to play sports or I guess I’m supposed to get good grades.” And then like just name whatever template feels the best to the teenager. I think 20 somethings and 30 somethings do this too. They just hand themselves over to the template because they’re not expecting that time period of disorientation because nobody preps you for it. Nobody says this is going to be disorienting and it’s not cute anymore to dream, like Whatever we said before, which was like, yeah, do whatever you want. You can be an astronaut. That’s not cute because you got to pay the bills and so I thought that was a really fascinating correlation between those two time periods in your life. I think I’m going to see that time period differently now. I’m going to see it as a disorienting time period that we don’t mentally prepare ourselves for, so how do we navigate out of that I thought that was fascinating.

Joel: Well, no, I would add to that too, that I think it used to be. We had biological markers, most people probably had children a lot younger and so when a kid like in their early twenties, they’re like, “okay, I’ve got to get serious,” like it would switch something. But people delaying marriage & families, the biological rites of passage that we have built into our wiring as humans, we’re delaying a lot of stuff so we’re having to make up new narratives that were just predesigned and so to your point Nii, when you. You’re confused as a young person and you don’t have the normal, you don’t have the normal tap in narrative of maybe family life or marriage. You look around to your peers and go, okay, what’s everyone else doing Okay. They’re plugging themselves in this templatized work situation and that must be what I need to do and I guess I’ll get to these other things I want to do around making impact leader, but let’s just start here because it’s whenever bill seems to be doing right now.

Antonia: Yeah, and because people are delaying those things, when you don’t delay them and you do get married and have kids, you still have the pressure of also having a career and an impact because your peers may be have kicked the can of marriage and children down the road themselves and now you’re not only having to grow up quick to be responsible for your family, but now you also are comparing yourself to your friends on instagram who are out building careers or doing something fun and so now you have like double whammy pressure. It’s like a. it’s a really interesting way of looking at that.

Nii: Exactly. That’s exactly what happens. People in their twenties and early to mid thirties hit that phase of puberty, part two, and they’re disoriented and what happens when we overwhelmed or confused, right This is, this is human nature. Whenever we’re overwhelmed or confused, we looked at the people around us and we say, what are they doing? And whatever they’re doing, I should be doing the same thing too. And then we just hit autopilot and life happens and we have kids and we get a new house and you know, we get a new car and we’re just going through the motions. And then before you know it, you wake up, you’re 60 or 65 and you wonder where did my life go? Where did it all go?

Antonia: Yeah. So to get back to what you were saying before, you know, like before I totally tangented off on this puberty part 2 thing, what were the principles that you culled when you looked at people who did seem to be very happy with their careers.

Nii: Yeah. So there were, there were five principles that kept emerging over and over again. And the first one I like to call it, um, Work Wise. And it’s this idea that people that have a career calling our working wisely, they’re playing to their strengths and they’re being productive. That’s one thing that is just so critical. People that are making an impact in the world, they’re usually doing it by leaning into their strengths and honing those ranks and, and turning their strengths or turning their talents into a skill. And using that to do meaningful, fulfilling work. The second thing that, um, that people with a career calling do is they invest in themselves. They don’t limit their learning to the classroom. For them, learning is a lifelong journey that leads them to their best self. So that’s something that I kept seeing over and over again.

Nii: And it could be as simple as reading a new book a month or investing in a continuing education class or developing a new skill, but they’ve got a spirit or a desire to keep investing in themselves. Another thing is the third principle is they give back. They use their time and talents to help others and do good. And in doing so, it creates fulfillment and purpose and more meaning in their lives. And sometimes they give back through their work. Other times it’s outside of their work. The fourth thing that kept showing up is that these people show self love. That’s the fourth principle. They know how to take care of their mind, body, and spirit because it’s the only one they have. And so they carve out time to rest and recover. So it might be working out, it might be getting a massage or doing meditation, but whatever it is, they are investing in themselves and they’re thinking about their life more holistically.

Nii: They’re not just going to work and trying to make as much money as they can. They’re trying to take care of their entire essence, their mind, their body, and their spirit. And the fifth principle is they connect with care. They have relationships, meaningful relationships in their life. They have friends in their fields as well. People who are like minded, who also want to grow. And so they plug themselves into a community which is innate. All humans want to be plugged into a community of some sort. And so that’s something that these people do. So these were the common denominators that kept emerging over and over again.

Joel: So I’m gonna push back a little bit here just for a moment. So we get a lot of people that come to us and go, “man, you guys have a podcast and online business. You sell digital products, you do live events.” And there’s this question like, “how did you guys do that? I would love to do something that you’re doing.” and 9 times out of 10 I usually ask the person questions about what they’re into now and most of my recommendations are they would need to first go back and build what you talked about last time you were on the show Nii. This idea of career capital, before you can get to the life you really want because it looks like Antonia and I just kind of maybe easily stepped into this, but I think one time I counted personally I have like 17 failed business initiatives from the time I was like 12 or 13.

Joel: Some of them weren’t complete failures, but they were never. They were never the success I’m having now with Personality Hacker and I look at all of those and go. That was a lot of learning, a lot of hard work. I had to build a lot of career capital over that time to be in a position where personally I can join with Antonia and you need on the team and all the other team members and make an impact in the world and from my perspective it’s. There’s this belt so I want to be cautious to say that I think you listening, should consider what Nii’s talking about as far as like directing yourself toward a career calling. But there’s a lot of nuance in what you’re saying. I don’t think Nii, you are positing that you just dream big have these five principles in place and it’s all going to be okay.

Joel: There’s embedded in these five principles and the things you’re talking about. There’s a lot of work involved, a lot of constructing your life and I think the biggest distinction you said Nii that I took away is, and this is a business principle that we talk about in business all the time. Like work on your business, not just in your business. Don’t just be in the mundane day in and day out of a business. Work on the planning and the strategy of your business and it sounds like that principle also translate to the like if the one principle you went away with from this podcast, from my perspective, or at least the thing I would take away from this is work on my career, not just in my career. Think in terms of, how does this play into a bigger picture? and sometimes that is getting down into the mundane nitty gritty work of building career capital or learning a skill or something that may not be fun right now and it may not be obvious how it links up to me making an impact in five years, but it’s absolutely fundamental to me doing this.

Joel: Does this makes sense what I’m saying?

Antonia: Well, so your pushback isn’t that you disagree with.

Joel: I’m adding more nuance to it.

Antonia: Yeah. Like you’re not disagreeing with that. These are solid principles. It’s that also embedded in the message is you got to grind too.

Nii: Exactly. That’s it. That’s exactly yet that’s a key distinction between people that have a career calling than those who don’t is people with a career calling are not just working in their careers, they’re working on the careers and they’re investing in themselves. Most people that are following this script and they have a low risk life, they’re not really investing in themselves. Right. That’s what one of the things that’s so powerful about what you guys talk about with Personality Hacker is how important it is for us to identify what our strengths are, how important it is for us to know what our personality type is because it’s a model or tool we can use to develop ourselves and grow and so that’s a huge difference between those who don’t have a career calling and those who do is, are we just working in our career or are we working on our career Are we investing in ourselves and are we working wisely? Are we playing to our strengths?

Antonia: When you mentioned that concept of working wisely and being productive, I think what I’ve come to discover about myself, is that when I have a light inside of me around something, when I mentioned, you know, those five principles also include grind. I mean, like when I was working before I did PH, um, I was, I did a lot of temp work. I did a lot of, you know, just. I mean I wasn’t really building a career. I was just hopping from thing to thing and I have said I worked hard at all of those. I would’ve called that grind and now that I’m doing something that lights me even when I’m doing the mundane stuff that I hate and we just recently recorded a podcast on surrender to the work, which is like, there’s a bunch of shit you don’t want to have to do and you’re going to have to do it anyway.

Antonia: But I’ve noticed that my productivity is outrageously. I’m like, I’m way more productive. I am out outrageously more productive when I’m working on something that I really love because that added incentive, you know, the fuel in the belly makes it so that I’m not just getting away with the bare minimum and calling that hard work or I’m not doing something that is out of my skillset and working twice as hard for half the return and so the productivity just skyrockets when I’m doing something that I really enjoy doing and I don’t know if I would have understood the level of production that comes along with passion.

Joel: So I have a question. I think I’m getting more clarity. Clarity on what you’re talking about with these principles. The hard work when you’re in, I think what Antonia just said is absolutely true in surrender to the work. I don’t mean to discount that by getting into the next point. I just, it was like top of mind. I’m like, I got to say this quick before I forget it. Uh, when you are in like, the metric of hard work is does this grind invest in myself as the question you’re asking. So when you’re doing the, because what you could take away from this conversation is, look, you just get in this career and you set yourself on autopilot, you follow the template and you’re probably working really hard spending that 7-7 time period, getting ready for work, going to work, coming home from work, maybe even thinking about working on the weekends or having to do a little extra email checking or depending on the type of job you have, you might have to take work home with you on vacation.

Joel: Stuff like that. Like you’re working hard. You’re putting the time in and the and what I hear embedded in the second principle you talked about with investing in yourself. You know you’re doing that hard work, right If that’s building toward that investment, if it’s just doing it because you don’t know what else to do or you’re just following a template or it’s not really leading you anywhere. That’s when you might need to make an adjustment in your life because it’s not like you’re saying, don’t work hard or put the time in. You’re saying work hard to put the time in as long as it contributes to the investment in yourself, that idea of career capital or bettering yourself, so it’s not just about learning. It’s also about experience of doing something and I think that’s the nuance that could be very easily misunderstood in what we’re trying to say here because I think like on the last podcast you talked about for capital, it almost sounds like you’re saying don’t, don’t just go get them on day job, just, you know, just follow the passions and, and that’s not exactly what you’re seeing these, these principles embedded in there.

Joel: There’s a bunch of other stuff that comes from them. That is the metric. So the question that begs in my mind is how do I know I’m investing in myself or not beyond just like learning, reading a new book. How do I know what I’m doing is building career capital or if it’s a dead end and I’m not? And rhetorically I would say, well probably every little bit is building any experience, but there probably are better experiences and others have you. You might have an answer to this yet, but I’m sure you do like have you thought about how you know whether you’re on the right track or not in your life, Nii or maybe you Antonia to. Are you listening, maybe come over and chime in on this and maybe it’s sparking something in your mind. How do we know we’re investing in ourselves when we do the grind versus just doing the grind and wasting time

Nii: Yeah, that’s a great question. So before I dive into that, I’m going back to this idea of hard work. It’s just something that I think in the, especially in the west, we value hard work and we think it’s a virtue and it’s important to work hard and it’s also important to make sure that we’re climbing the right mountain to spend all this energy. Most people have spent all their life working hard to climb a mountain and they finally get to the top of the mountain, maybe in their sixties when they’re at the time when they have the ability to make the biggest impact in the world. They arrive at the mountain top. They’re looking out and they realize, “Oh crap, I’m on the wrong mountain. I should have been on that mountaintop all times up.” So a lot of it is not it. It’s not discouraging.

Nii: What we’re not trying to do is discourage people from working hard. We want people to work hard and we also want people to work wisely. And so to answer your question, I remember after sitting down with all these different interesting people, I remember thinking to myself, how do I do this? Okay, so now I found a poet. I found a film directors, entrepreneurs, investors. What are all these interesting people that have found work they love and I’m still young. And the next question again, being an ENTJ leading with Extraverted Thinking. The next question is, so how do I go from where I am now? Yeah. Whether it’s, you know, you’re stuck in a job that’s not fulfilling or you’re graduating from college, you know, how do you go from that to a career calling? What are the steps there?

Nii: So, um, what became clear is that in our society there actually isn’t a clear step or path to help people do that. It’s like we’ve got a huge fundamental problem on a societal level, which is we don’t have the tools and infrastructure to help guide people to that answer. So after lots of trial and error and experimentation and um, I’m like meeting as many different people as I can. I designed a three step process and I started to test it out and it was very clunky and I made a lot of mistakes, but I found something that worked. And while in my mid-twenties, between 25 and 27, I got very clear on what direction I wanted to go in my career. I got very clear on what my career calling could be as it was emerging.

Nii: Again, a career calling is something that emerges. You don’t go hunt for it and find it. It emerges organically like a garden. So, um, so that was really powerful. So I can share those three steps, um, because I think they’ll give a lot of clarity. So the first step is identifying your gifts. All of us have gifts that we were given at birth and the first step is identifying what those gifts are because these are the cards that we’ve been, we’ve been given. We all have a set of cards, some people have more gifts than others, right But nonetheless, we all have gifts and these are our tools that we can use to make an impact in the world. So that was the first step. It’s so important for all of us to know what we’re good at, right?

Nii: Because that is working. Again, the first principle is, is about working wisely. So one of the ways that we work wisely as we figure out what am I good at and how can I create situations where I can spend more of my time doing the thing I’m good at because it’s going to lead me to more success and more fulfillment, which is part of the reason why I love what you guys do at Personality Hacker. I love what we’re, what, what our mission is. We, we use the Myers Briggs as a tool to help people figure out what their strengths are. That was huge for me. I remember one of the things that helped me out when I was in my early twenties is, um, I remember my wife and I sat down and we took the Myers Briggs test together again. We had taken it in college, but we sat down and we took it together and I remember discovering that I’m an ENTJ.

Nii: And I remember combing through your site and learning about myself and learning what my strengths are. And it gave me clarity on the successes and failures I had with internships in a when I was younger and so forth. So now I had an idea of what my skills are or not my skills are, but what my, what my gifts are, and, and the goal then is to take these gifts we have and turn them into skills and then to evolve these skills until they become our genius where we’re bringing something to the world that’s not just useful, but it’s poetic and it’s beautiful. So that’s the first step is identifying our, our talents, which we all have. The second step is exploring our career interest and options and figuring out what’s out there when we’re in, when we were younger, right, They’re not a lot of career paths that we’re exposed to.

Nii: Right. If we step back and think about it, you probably were, you know, as a kid you were probably told that you could be a teacher, you could be a doctor, you can be a lawyer, an engineer, right. Maybe you can be an astronaut, but they’re not a whole lot more career paths that we were exposed to in our youth beyond that. Um, but there are so many career options and opportunities in the world, especially with the emergence of technology. With technology, we have new, not only new career paths, but we have new industries that have been born just months or years ago. And so then the second step is it is learning how to explore the options and see what’s out there and see, “okay, well these are the strengths I have. These are some of the options and interest I have.” And the third step is finding the right role and it’s usually something that organically emerges over time.

Joel: Three steps. Basically, this idea of unearthing or really recognizing your superpower. Often I’ll ask people what they think their superpower is. I must be kind of pre-wired this way because I’m always like at meetups or live events or I’m talking to people, I’m like, so what is your superpower and my superpower and let me think about that. And they usually give me something often it’s not what they are, they’re career is. And then I asked usually like what do you love And often that’s also not what their career is, which is interesting. But basically finding out what your superpowers are, what are the things you naturally will gravitate toward, even if you don’t have skill built. And then you’re talking about this idea of from their connecting skill to those superpowers. So you’re building the career capital. I guess we could call it like the things that you are good at.

Joel: And then if you weave those together and you’re working on yourself on your career, you’re investing in yourself, then there’s an emergent of a role you take on that makes it just makes sense for the things that your, uh, your good. And I think there’s a, um, I think there’s a breakdown in that we feel like we have to have a vision of what that end looks like before we start the journey. And it’s been emergent for me. Like I want to. I was a teenager, I wanna be a filmmaker. I want it to be a media producer and maybe a creative person. And, and here I ended up doing a lot of those things, but it’s in a different business or industry. It’s in personality type, which I will also was extremely attracted to as a teenager and these things I would’ve never dreamed woven together now in my life they were emergent and when I look back I almost sometimes I feel like I failed because it was emergent and I didn’t fulfill the dream I had at 12.

Joel: Like this is almost like this, this fantasy of like a fatal, like or like fatalistic, but like a destined thing like I’m going to dream this at 12 and make it happen. You hear these stories right from like entrepreneurs or actors or whatever. They had these like childhood dreams and then they made them reality and that’s like the perfect way to go about it from what I was told as a kid.

Antonia: But that’s like marrying somebody you met in kindergarten. I mean it happens but it’s not very common.

Joel: Oh, of course. But, but those interests are still there and it was interesting to see how it emerged in a much different way than I would have predicted it playing out. And as I look back on it, we were just on the movie set or the TV set for Antonia’s brother’s TV show on Amazon and I was looking around thinking in terms of my childhood dreams going, “wow, I’m glad I didn’t end up here.” Because this is like, this is a lot of just. It’s not the kind of work it would fulfill me. It would probably be something where I’d be, I feel stuck. It’s got creative elements to it, but I’m probably going to end up getting to do a lot of the things I would have done as a filmmaker with more control, more influence, more of my own voice woven into it. I’m not just pulling cables in somebody else’s movie or TV show. So I was just reflecting on that going, I kind of glad I didn’t get my childhood dream because the thing I got was so much better because I did. I think the things you’re talking about, Nii is, I focused on what are the things I’m good at and superpowers, how can invest in myself, how can I build skill and then emergent out of that with something that is way better than I could have dreamed about at 12. I didn’t even know this was going to happen. And I think that’s something that’s really interesting in this conversation.

Antonia: And just to be clear when I said that’s like marrying somebody that you went to kindergarten with. I think there is a romanticism to all those kinds of stories and then we get kind of caught up in that. Like you were mentioning Joel, but it’s super unlikely. It is very unlikely to have a childhood dream last your entire life. I mean you even mentioned before you wanted to be a filmmaker. You wanted to be a general in the army, when you were a little kid. So it’s like, it’s really uncommon for us to just pick one track from childhood and just see the, you know, it, it sort of ended up being exactly as you imagined it. But I think going back, is it okay if I jumped to something sort of pre this conversation as well, which was your question, Joel, about how do you know what you’re working on is investing in yourself and Nii you talked about this idea of figuring out what you’re good at, figuring out a career, exposing yourself to a lot more options of careers and then finding sort of a match between all of that.

Antonia: And what’s interesting is embedded in this conversation around self love and self care and investment in the self, I think, I think that we also have a narrow definition of what all of that is. Uh, I, I was thinking about when you were talking about, um, this idea of, of self care and it could be a massage or it could be, you know, going and working out. I was actually thinking about you and I, Joel, we spend a lot of time talking about a relationship, like making sure that we don’t let challenges in our relationship metastasized and become really bad. And sometimes we’ll pause like, well, you know, we’re supposed to record podcasts or whatever and a conversation will start before the podcast where we’re trying to get on the same page and sort of, you know, get into the zone and then all of a sudden I relationship challenge will rear its ugly head and sometimes we’re, you know, we run out of time and then we have to like do the podcast anyway.

Antonia: But most of the time if we have any space at all, we’ll stop the productivity and we’ll address the issue in the relationship. And I, for awhile, I thought that was just really self indulgent. Like I was like, well we just really want to have a good relationship, but are we being self indulgent And then at a certain point it hit me. Our relationship is a major part of our business because if we don’t walk the walk of what we’re talking about on the podcast, which is personal development and growth and really trying to do our best in the relationship, then pretty soon our content will get very shallow really quick. Because we’ll be talking about all these principles, but we won’t be implementing them and a big piece of what we do is the relationship between you and me, like we’re talking on the podcast a lot and people will hear anybody with a discerning ear will hear when their strain or when the relationship is not as we’re presenting it.

Antonia: So we just try to be super honest and go, yeah, we had a fight last week or you know, like I was really badly behaved and you called me on it and we mentioned all of those kinds of things because it’s part of our self care that relates directly to the career that we’re in the career of chosen. So I think that the answer to the question of how do you know if you’re investing in yourself for your career, is what is the foundation of your career? What’s it built on? And Are you making sure that you’re keeping yourself resourced in that way? Does that make sense at all?

Nii: Oh, it makes perfect sense. I think that’s a fantastic example of this idea of showing self love and of working on working on the career, not just in the career. I think those are fantastic illustrations and what it does is it creates opportunities to have checkpoints. Part of the danger of the low risk life of low risk living is we just go into autopilot and we stop with the check-ins. We just going through the motions. So having these opportunities to work on the business means stepping away from the work, taking time off, evaluating where am I at in my life right now Where am I? What am I good at? Am I moving in the direction I want to go? Those checkpoints allow us to calibrate and to ask ourselves, am I climbing up the right mountain or do I need to move to another mountain?

Joel: Are we talking about also moving away from rule based thinking? I mean, it’s kind of seems like this is what we’re talking about too in this conversation. We’re moving away from this idea of you’ve got to do a career this way. These checkboxes follow the template. This is what your friends and peers are doing. This is how people do it to more principle based thinking. So I know like some feedback I think we’ve all gotten when we talk about career advice is “okay, that’s cool, whatever you’re saying, but what are the 10 steps?” It’s almost like, well if I gave you the 10 steps, like it’s so unique to your situation, you’re going to have to follow principles and make those steps yourself because by giving you the 10 steps, that’s exactly what we’re talking about. Avoiding is just somebody handing you a template to follow.

Joel: If you think in those terms, like maybe that’s a way you could also see the calibration. Am I working on my career which would be falling principles; or am I working in my career, which is following the steps of tasks to do? And that’s how we can know whether we’re calibrated against this or not. Are we rule based thinking or principle based thinking because as we talk, the first thing is coming to my mind. Nii is like, I’m just thinking about all the dissent, you know, like all the, I’m a mismatcher by nature, right? So I’m always thinking of all the, the push back, like, well, what about this? What about this? What about like, even if I was young, what would my dissent be? What would my pushback be? Well, it’s still esoteric. It’s still principle based. And I think that’s the point in some ways.

Antonia: Yeah. Having to put the thought and intention into it is a big piece. Like if you like, like a big part of it is putting them in like the mental labor, the thought Labor into connecting the principles to your unique situation.

Nii: Yeah. You’re absolutely right about that. And because I lead with Extraverted Thinking, I can’t help but have to. I can’t help but break things down into practical steps. I know you guys are EPs, so I know you love your high level principles and concepts, right? For some of us, we need a little bit more, and so I had a compulsion to break this down and come up with steps, really practical concrete steps and um, I started to organize it and teach it to other people and over the last several years I’ve been able to help several people, countless people in multiple countries be able to go from white knuckled work where they’re just going through the motions to finding work they love. And, and I finally been able to distill all of this down into an online video course called the Career Calling School. And it’s about helping you identify what are your gifts and genius?

Nii: What are the things that you bring to the world that nobody else can bring to the world? What are those? It’s designed to help people figure out what to do with their lives. That’s such a big question. It’s an overwhelming question, especially when you just have a little bit of life leftover after 9-5. And then finally it, it shows you how to take all those things, what you, what you’re good at. It helps you identify what your skill or what your interests are or what options you have, and use that to land the right role that’s perfect for you. Because again, being someone who leads with Effectiveness or Extraverted Thinking, being an ENTJ, I have to have something that’s very concrete, practical and specific.

Antonia: Okay. That’s a fair point. You’re right. We are to ENPs and I’m always like, what’s the principal? And you’ve got to tie it to your specific circumstance. So we still. I still think that that piece is there, right Like having to put the thought into it, but you’re right, as a person who’s extroverted, think you probably do have some concrete steps. So we’ll meet in the middle. And so I think that as a person who has followed kind of a similar path that you’re talking about, if I retrospectively at some of the things that we’ve done to get to a place where I’m very actually happy with the direction that my career is going, I’m very happy with where I’m at and w I resonate with actually some of the principles that you’re talking about I think I would’ve struggled early on to understand how they relate.

Antonia: But I think in retrospect it’s a lot easier to go. Yeah, I know you’ve, I think you’ve got a pretty solid formula. So I think it’s interesting that you created some step by steps, um, because it is much easier to understand those things when you’re looking backwards than trying to figure out how to, uh, sort of, I don’t know, put them in place as you’re moving forward. That whole concept of hindsight being 20-20. There is one thing that I do want to say, and I know we probably have to wrap up. There is one thing I do want to say from a comment that you made me, um, were you talking about this idea of getting to a certain age and you get into your sixties and like time’s up and you went down the wrong road and I know that you were mentioning sort of that’s the template or that’s the rule.

Antonia: The rule is that if you haven’t figured it out by that time, then you’re just screwed. But I do want to kind of represent quote unquote old people for a second because I’m realizing that I’m an old person now, or at least I’m quickly approaching it. I think what’s nice about the modern world is that those rules are also being reevaluated. Like I think that you can have an impact and make a career change and do something radically different at a time period where people don’t think you can anymore.

Antonia: Do you remember you and Joel were in the airport in California and we met the guy who created. What was it? It was like a blender. There was like, like I’m trying to remember what it’s like a kind of a, it’s a recognizable brand at this point and we were just happened to be sitting next to him and struck up a conversation and he was a self made multimillionaire many times over and he had, I don’t know if it was an invention or if you’ve done the marketing, but he was now a self made millionaire and he said he didn’t start until his mid to late fifties. Like he started the process in his mid to late fifties and so he was in a very comfortable situation. But that is oftentimes where people think that you are past your time of impact. I remember hearing that you do the most impact between the ages of 40 and 55, but he was doing his most impact after the age of 55. So I did want to mention that. I think what’s nice about the modern world is that we have the ability to go around the biases because before it was like, oh, after a certain age you’re not hireable anymore. But we have so many opportunities to create a career for ourselves or use the seasoning of age, uh, as long as we’re not too afraid of the technology that we’ll have to interface with in order to get there as long as you can get through, like the comfort piece of not having to do an in templatized way.

Antonia: I think you can be literally any age and start to have an impact. Um, another example would be a woman who, she and her sister were not of great health and at the age of 75, they both decided that we’re going to take up weightlifting. They were twins. And so she started doing weightlifting at 75 and now she’s in her eighties. Her sister has since died, but she’s in her late eighties and now she’s gotten all this notoriety as a person in their late eighties. That’s a dead lifter. So I just, I feel like, uh, I feel like this concept or the concepts and principles you’re talking about can actually apply at literally any age.

Joel: So as we start to land the plane here on this podcast, you’re listening along, you heard some of the principals Nii talked about. Nii, if there is something that somebody’s listening could take away, like what is the one message that. What’s the one thing, the one distinction, the one thing that like, like chew on this. Like from your perspective, what’s the thing that you can see being powerful for yourself maybe in pursuing a career. What would you have wanted to hear from this podcast? Like the final message to go away with talking about this topic of, of pursuing a career, calling in your life, not just a career you’re okay with, but something that juices you up at. It’s passionate. You’re and maybe you have a plan to get to the ultimate thing, but you’re on your path there. What is it that would have been something that would’ve really impacted you personally at a time in your life when you could have heard that message? If you have one thing, it could be a couple of things, but what’s the kind of. What’s the close out, I guess

Nii: Instead of thinking about our life and our work as two separate things, we should see it as one. Really our work is our life because we are going to spend most of our waking life working. So instead of adopting this perception that the west has that, you know, you’re trying to achieve work life balance, which is again a Myth, right? Because at the end of the day, after we take away all the time, we spend preparing for work, actually working and unwinding from work. And then you also add how many hours we spend every night sleeping seven to eight hours. There’s just not a lot of life leftover. So instead of trying to live your life, um, instead of trying to live a life with a lot of leftovers, it’s important that we redefine our relationship to work and see our work in our life as one. And in doing so, we’re setting ourselves up to have a more fulfilling life.

Nii: Particularly if you can find a career calling: work that wields our gifts to make an impact in the world. And then I would say the second point is, is that we want to make sure that we’re not just working in our careers, but we’re working on our careers and that we create opportunities where we step back from the work and we ask ourselves the question: Am climbing up the right mountain? Am I investing in cultivating the right skills? Am I taking what I have and improving whatever gifts and talents I’ve been given? I think that’s so important. That reflection. I don’t think our culture creates many opportunities for it. I think so many people are living the low risk life. They’re going through the rat race and it’s constantly moving. Our culture loves activity. We associate activity with productivity. But the two aren’t the same thing. Just because you’re moving. Just because we’re moving around and doing a lot of things, it doesn’t mean we’re being productive. Sometimes. The most productive thing we can do it step back for a moment. It’s slow down and ask ourselves penetrating thought provoking questions about who we are and where we’re going in life and that’s the beginning of the journey.

Joel: So this idea of picking the right mountain to go up and also probably a sense of sometimes I’m getting this instinct that sometimes we pick mountains based on our ability to measure them. So I think in terms of like the Ken Burns documentary about Vietnam, there’s this segment in there where they talked about the generals going like literally we’re going to go take that mountain and sending the troops up and they would measure the success on taking the mountain. They would get to the top and literally take over the mountain like militarily and then they would determine the success rate based on a body count ratio, how many on our side did get killed and how many do we kill on the other side. And then the story was that they would abandon that mountain and go onto some other theater and fighting and they’d be like, oh wait, why don’t we give that up?

Joel: Let’s go take that mountain again. It’d be reclaimed. They would just charge back up the exact same mountain they’d already conquered and it was almost like it was a way to measure it or there was an obvious mountain to take, so let’s go take that mountain. There’s a lot of things that were obvious to all the soldiers there in Vietnam to go take these mountains, but it’s like, what’s the point of taking that mountain? Like why are you doing in the first place It’s almost like a premise level question of when you’re selecting the mountain or the career mountain. Let’s just say it’s a career metaphor. A metaphor for your career. How are you measuring that and how are you choosing that because maybe you’ve chosen it because it’s obvious, it’s right in front of you. There’s a way to measure it. And measuring in this case is to look around to other people around you.

Joel: What is your peer group or society telling you? It’s an easy way to measure the mountain you’re conquering. But like you said, you get to the top and you’re like, man, I might be in my later years going, well, I took this hill, but why did I take this hill? Maybe I should be over there? Or I didn’t really pick the right hill to take, did I? But I picked it because it was right in front of me. And so there’s this, probably counterintuitive idea of slowing down, working on your career means slowing down, look at all the different career mountains and say, am I picking this because it’s easy to measure? Am I picking this because it’s so obvious in front of me? What are maybe other things that I can get a little perspective, you know, and get an a drone and cloth and like look over the terrain or you know, metaphorically speaking and try to determine what those are.

Joel: I think that principals really powerful because it backs us up and says, why are we doing this in the first place? And that probably goes back to some fundamental things in your life as you listen, you know, what are you actually here to do? Why, why does it matter? The why, right The why of life. What is it that you, you also want to do. And the other thing that comes up from that principle though, is it, that might be a hard question to answer early on in your early life. Like you might have like a bunch of kind of whys, like it gets more narrow as you get more clear about this over time. So. And that goes back to again, our conversation about a career capital that we had last time you’re on the show is kind of build so that when that is more clear, you’re going to have the resources to capitalize on it.

Joel: I think in terms of that gentleman you talked about Antonia that built the blender at 55. You’re like, yeah, he just got started 55. No he didn’t. He got started a lot sooner than that. He built on a lifetime of something like you don’t, just build at 55. I’m going to go invent this and become a millionaire, like he had to have built career capital for that to be possible, but maybe he didn’t know that was what he was going to do to contribute, but he kind of had an inkling of the right mountain to start going toward. And uh, I don’t even know if I helped answer anything. I might have just opened up a bush. More loops just conversing about this. But that’s what comes to mind as you say that.

Nii: Yeah. I think what’s so interesting about, about work in the Western world is we’ve got this huge problem, this huge problem that there are lots of people that want to make an impact in the world. They want to do something that’s meaningful because this is the one life we have, but the, but the problem and challenges. Our society hasn’t really equipped us with the tools to navigate the world and figure out how to go from where we are to a fulfilling career. We don’t really have a lot of tools or that. Those are part of the reason I felt compelled to create the Career Calling School is because when I looked around, I just didn’t see a clear solution. I saw a lot of, um, like platitudes and high level advice, like “Just do what you love” or “follow your passion” or uh, you know, things like that that we all heard growing up.

Nii: And again, for me being someone who leads with Extraverted Thinking that was never enough. So coming up with a set of steps became really important and even though there are steps, um, it’s still an organic process and I think that’s also something that can be difficult for us to absorb in the western world. We like clean, crisp solutions that sound that we like sound bites. We like things that are just perfect and neat. And the reality is that the world we live in is not perfect and neat. And so it’s this interest intention. This was, uh, this was an interesting. It was a cool experience creating the course because I had to strike the balance between providing those practical concrete steps that anybody can follow regardless of the context, but also create space to allow the organic process to merge as well.

Nii: So it’s not a one size fits all cookie-cutter solution. There are steps that someone can follow, but we also have to learn to embrace the journey and remember and realize that the journey is actually the destination.

Antonia: Yeah. To piggyback off of Your Metaphor, Joel, of the Vietnam War – or your analogy rather – the idea of using body count as a metric: Like they lost more guys and we did. shows that when you’re not really sure what it is, like you’ve lost sight of what it is you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll attach to really lame metrics like maybe even like really bad and harmful metrics. And I think in the concept of career, I think a lot of us attached to really bad metrics. The metric of how much money we’re making or whether or not recovering the bills or you know, like, like things that indicate that we’ve sort of lost sight of the end game as opposed to metrics like, you know, freedom of time or set personal satisfaction. And I suspect that as you were going through your process of creating content around this, uh, knowing you as a person and of course, again, knowing that you lead with Extraverted Thinking, but also you have your Introverted Intuition supplementing it.

Antonia: Thank you. Uh, that there’s, um, that there’s a, probably one of the things is the introduction of have better metrics. Like I think that gives a little bit of space for the organic nature because what specifically you chooses, you know, that’s, that’s you as an individual that’s unique to you, but how are you going to measure it and how are you going to determine whether or not you’re on the right career path. So, um, yeah, so I think that this is all just a really interesting concept and topic. And I think, I think it’s really important right now since I hear, especially from your generation as Millennials, but I hear it from Gen Xers who are doing it a transition and career are like starting to realize you got to get their act together all the way up to people who are maybe even exiting that middle aged time period going like, did I leave the mark I wanted to leave? What am I supposed to do here I think no matter where you’re at as if you don’t have the career you wanted, this is the question you’re asking.

Nii: So you’ve been listening to this conversation. You haven’t been part of the conversation right now, but now’s your chance to come over. What’s your career been like? Have you been working in your career? Have you been working on your career? How are you measuring it? What are some of the things, these principles that Nii shared today, How are they resonating with you? Do they make sense? Are there things that you’ve noticed as you connect the dots? Looking back, maybe you’re later in your career and you go, “wow, I did a lot of those things and that’s why I’m so fulfilled or happier. I feel like I’m on the right path toward the thing I want.” Maybe you’re starting out, maybe you’re in college and you’re freaking out because you’re gonna graduate soon and you’re like, oh my gosh.

Joel: Like I’m taking notes with what Nii’s talking about because I want to do something passionate, but I know that there’s got to be a path from here to there and I don’t know what to do. I’m not exactly sure the steps. I. I hear some of the principles and, and we’d love to hear your story as well because I think that in the community we can get a lot of conversation around this and of course my recommendation is to checkout Nii’s course Career Calling. I think it’s a great avenue for people that are looking to connect some of these things going forward and that’s one of the reasons why we’re endorsing it and part of it is because of the thinking he’s put behind it and the experimentation over many years to connect some of the dots to help create a path. I think one of the things I like about Nii is his passion for people that are younger than him to basically go, man, I wish I’d had this coming up and he has a passion for helping connect people that are, that want to do passionate work and there’s a lot of levels of this.

Joel: I think if you’re in college and you’re ready to enter the workforce, this can be really helpful. Also these ideas. I think there’s this, there’s like this 27, 28 year old time period in our lives where we tend to enter the real career time period of our lives. I’ve noticed this, I talked to a friend of mine in Washington DC, I said, “tell me about Washington DC.” He said everybody’s 28 years old and they’ve already kind of had some work under their belt, but they just came to DC to start their real career, whatever that is, and it’s usually around that time period that we lock into something that ends up defining our career for a long time and that’s usually, you know, when you’re starting out, that’s where a hill can be chosen to go up.

Joel: But I bet that more around the time in your late twenties is when you still have enough time to change hills before you get locked or stuck. And it seems like around that time that’s when people go, okay, I got a little experience now I’m going to start. It goes from having a job to really formulating a career path and I think that’s the sweet spot where, you know if you’re a 27, 28 year old. I remember being 27, 28. That’s like the time period where things happen around this idea. I don’t know if you resonate with that Nii, but that’s something that I think is a time period that special attention needs to be put to.

Nii: Yeah. I think most of the people that have been able to take these, these principles and the process that I teach in the course and make the most of it, a lot of them, to your point, not all of them at a lot of them are between that range of 27 to 37. Right? It’s around that phase that we are maturing as adults. We have a clear sense of who we are. We’ve been in the in the work world for a little bit now and we’ve got a little bit more experience and now these are opportunities to step back or even that person that’s right around the forties and you’re hitting that halfway mark and you’re stepping back and saying, “wow, okay. I’m approaching 40 or just hit 40 and I still have another 20, 30 years left. Is this the direction I’m going to keep going or do I need to, Do I need to calibrate?”

Antonia: Yeah, I mean the embryo for Personality Hacker was in my early thirties, but we didn’t really get serious about it and really start making this a thing until my until our mid thirties really. So I think that that’s also a time period. I mean if I had gone the traditional route, maybe I would’ve felt that way in my late twenties, like I was really starting my career around 28, but just because of my circumstances, I guess I’m a late bloomer, but that was more of a mid thirties decision for me.

Joel: So if you’d like to come over and leave a comment, ask a question, you can do that right below this podcast, over at Love to hear from you. I think it’d be really great for you to enter into this conversation with us and let’s have a conversation about how this looks for you.

Antonia: And before we complete, thank you so much Nii, once again, for joining us and sharing some of the wisdom that you’ve culled with people navigating their careers.

Nii: Thank you.

Antonia: So if you enjoyed this podcast, you can subscribe to us on itunes and android platforms. Uh, you can leave us a rating and review on itunes. We have a book, go buy it and leave us a rating review on Amazon. That also helps us out a lot. That’s right. My name is Joel Mark Witt

Antonia: and I’m Antonia Dodge

Joel: and we’ll talk with you on the next Personality Hacker podcast.

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We want to hear from you. Leave your comments below…


  • Mel
    • Mel
    • October 27, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    Hi! I’m looking for more information on Nii’s “Career calling school” but can’t find anything online. Can you help me? Just found the podcast and love it! Am searching for info on careers and type. Thanks!

  • Michael (A.A)
    • Michael (A.A)
    • December 16, 2019 at 5:39 am

    18 year old Gen Z’er here in college, and I’ve been studying MBTI since 13 years old and found this website around 16 years old. So I thought I’d stop lurking for once, and talk.

    It’s long (Almost 100 Pages), but I recommend the free ebook Seth Godin shares on his blog. Here is the link to the PDF of “Stop Stealing Dreams.”

    Honestly, here in the East, specifically in the Philippines, the attitude here is more of knowing how to accept and relax to life’s circumstances. To enjoy life as it is. Though due to this, the economy is failing in a lot of achievements, and so we’ve gathered a more Western mindset over on to have a kind of hard work as well as innovative spirt over time. We’ve only had the K-12 System recently, and I was young enough to be one of those that received 12 years of schooling before college here. On the other hand, it feels like the West seems to be earning a lot of the perspectives on mindfulness, relaxation and being in the present, especially from Alan Watt’s books who popularized Eastern philosophy to the West. His lectures on Youtube also show this.

    President Duterte is often hated for his efforts in the death penalty at the drug war, but he has done a lot of good things — lowered education fees, creates new railing systems to increase efficiency to get to work, and all kinds of more liberal ideas such as a bill against discrimination of the LGBT. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah criticized his choice of those he has for government seats, but you have to realize, Otso Diretso (Straight Eight in English), the fighting team, often had completely contradictory promises that made them untrustworthy to me. So even if the ones working for President Duterte had some claims of corruptions, they are at least honest and consistent about it, rather than doing it behind your back. They’re the lesser evil, if you ask me.

    I find the grass is greener in a lot of how other countries see each other. The West as a whole seems to be out of touch with more relaxed emotions and emotional connection, having a lot of data on what you guys call, “The Loneliness Epidemic.” I suggest looking at the most popular articles on the website Brainpickings, which features a lot of comments around this type of mindset of working without end. The East on the other hand tends to suffer from material economic problems, and have less of a technological as well as innovative presence in the world. Connection over career is emphasized too much, and agreeing too much to blind obedience lessens innovation. Both envy or even worse, scorn each other for this difference, but I wish really both can learn from each other.

    Haha, I should know, because I’m biracial. You might mistake me as a white person with black hair and brown eyes if you saw me, really. I’m sure a lot in the West understand what fundamentalist religious ideas are like there — patriachal, controlling, homophobic, greedy, and so on, but interestingly fundamentalist religious ideas in the East are also bad — but in a different way. (The satire channel AwakenwithJp on Youtube makes fun of this attitude a lot.) Instead of emphasizing material success to the extreme, emphasizing spirituality through learning how to accept things to the extreme gets pushed to the level where people feel guilty for having basic needs. It’s seen as more spiritual to be poor, and even if it would help support your family, and make your lives better, people volunteer to be poor because of this. That ironically, messes up the economy as a whole, which makes other people more likely to be poor, and the cycle continues. Aaron Doughty’s channel videos on money talks about this a lot. Think how the misuse of the law of the attraction encourages people to believe visualizations and affirmations can attract what you want without work, which is far from what it originally meant when Eastern philosophy got commercialized and disrespected by, “The Secret and Oprah.” (Ex. See Teal Swan’s video, “F*** the Law of Attraction).

    I find that over time, I see more of the overly ambitious attitudes in Asians, and overly cheap attitudes in Western people. Think overly strict Asian tiger moms, or white hippies that want to force everyone to be vegan, as Lisa Simpson’s pretentious activist character portrays. If you ask me, there should be a balance.

  • Sonia
    • Sonia
    • November 14, 2019 at 1:34 am

    “Sometimes being in movement isn’t the same as being productive. Sometimes making a step back, slowing down and take your time to think who you are, in what you are good at and what you want from life, is more productive” So true!!

  • Cori
    • Cori
    • February 20, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    I was shocked that I didn’t hear any mention of the Myers Briggs Strong Interest Inventory. I was fortunate enough to have a mother who took it to find her career who suggested I take it as well. In college I completed the test and found my interests and strengths matched to very interesting career ideas I have never encountered. Thanks to that test, I am now a speech pathologist who had never heard of speech pathology before laying eyes on my results. As an ENFP, my interests were so widespread and I had a hard time narrowing down a career path. A bio major, music minor was just not practical at the time. I used my love of science combined with love of singing to specialize in voice disorders. It turns out that my interests could intersect, and I would have never found it without that test. I get to problem solve daily and communicate effectively with each of my patients using my social strengths. I knew from a young age I could motivate people in a way that was different from others, but I’m so fortunate to get to use this skill everyday along with my constantly growing knowledge in the field to make positive changes occur in people’s lives.

    Hope this information can be helpful to someone! It was a life changing test for me once I started exploring the outcomes and suggestions.

    Side note: I have found the PH podcast helpful to give me vocabulary to help some of my patients. The work you do does spread to others! You are helping me help others and I’m grateful for this resource!

  • Antonia Dodge
    • Antonia Dodge
    • February 4, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    It’s important to remember that you weren’t the only generation to get saddled with a bad deal. Many X’ers graduated college and had to find a job after an economic collapse (it was called Black Monday and happened in 1987), and were actually the first generation to be subjected to the ‘you have to go to college!’ rhetoric while college administrations were jacking up prices. Most of my contemporaries who graduated in the early 90’s just paid off their college debt in the past five years (or haven’t yet).

    You, of course, can choose your path in whatever way makes sense to you. But it’s important to zoom out and realize that, while timing does matter and there are things each generation deals with that are unique challenges to them, the two you mentioned may not be the things holding a person back/down/etc.

    Get a job that makes financial sense, of course. As someone who changed their career in their early-mid 30’s there’s more time than our young minds are programmed to think.

    I hope your path is rewarding both financially and spiritually.


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