The first task in my list is to find out what should be my first priority. Without putting much thought into it, I start searching product ideas. “Once the idea is clear I can already start building it”, I am thinking. It feels too rushed. It hasn’t been not even a week since I quit and I am rushing to start a new job already. This time it’s my own company but still it’s the same pattern. Something doesn’t feel right. Work, stay busy and make money as fast as you can. Even though it doesn’t feel right deep inside me, I keep looking into ideas. I am stressed to think about anything else.
All of my ideas are related to tech startups. This is the industry I have been working on for the last 7 years. “I can build tools to make products more human-centred. I can help the industry level-up the design standards by providing tools that facilitate that”. Even though the ideas feel like worth exploring something is bothering me. I feel I am repeating myself. I have one of the most beautiful opportunities in my life, to be 100% free for one year, and I will just repeat what I used to do for the last 7 years? I take some notes and keep thinking. “What should I build?”.
At some point I realize that it’s impossible to come up with something new if I just keep trying the same way over and over again. Einstein once said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So I decide to do something different. I close my Mac, get out of my office and start doing things that make me happy. The things that I like investing my money into. In the end why do I make money in this life? To do things I love, and have a safe future. I grab my backpack, and go to stay for some days to a friend of mine in Amsterdam. The following days will be full of fun. It’s Friday, and I can feel the summer spirit outside. Parks are full of people, walking around and smiling.
We go skating at the park, listen to music and chill there. The day after, we will go surfing at The Hague. Music, surf and skate are my main passion. When I practice them it’s like my brain is turned off; no thoughts, just feelings.
Surfing culture, like skateboarding, are very unique. Both teach me the value of cooperation and respect for others. The beauty of cheering each other on, and the importance of persistence after failure. The importance of trying something again and again until I succeed. They make me feel stronger, and always remind me that life is and should stay simple, fun and creative.
It’s been many years now that I dream about having surf as a regular activity of my weekly routine. This week I decided to take the courage and go for it. Turns out to be awesome. Once our surf session is over, we pack our stuff and start driving back home. The sun is still there. I am feeling exhausted and happy in the same time. While I am driving back home, thoughts start getting into my head again. “What should I build?”, I ask myself. “What I am good at and do for 7 years now is building digital products. What I really love is music, surfing, skateboarding and well-being in general. So what if I focus on these, and find ways to produce value for their communities?”
This changed totally the way I think. Now instead of creating products that can make money, I will start thinking of ways to solve problems for communities that I personally love and am part of.