Marry the Farmer’s Daughter: Why Being Right-Brained in the “Left-Brained Age” Can Still Be Profitable
If you were living in Canada 100 years ago, you would have an 80% chance of working on a farm.
That was the predominant industry at the time. Long before harvesting silicon, people were purchasing land, and making farms their start-ups.
Did this mean you had to live and work as a farmer?
Probably in certain cases, but not absolutely. We’re always free, especially to follow the deepest vocational urges in our heart.
But if you weren’t sitting on a comfortable aristocratic inheritance, or able to find venture capitalists to back your original idea, acquiring capital to vitalize your project would only be possible by earning wages through some honest work. In early 20th Century Canada, 4 out of those 5 jobs would have been on the farm.
A modern example of sustaining oneself with ordinary work while pursuing one’s dreams is Robert Herjavec, a global IT and cyber-security mogul who waited tables in restaurants when just starting out in IT sales as a recent University graduate.
Where am I going with this?
Well, as I’ve indicated above, we’ve replaced wheat with silicon, and the modern road to sustenance and prosperity is the acquisition and exploitation of virtual real estate. Land is purchased and money changes hands online.
We do remain free to pursue our vocational desires, and we should be courageous enough to discover, listen to and follow what our heart truly desires, but most of us need a way of surviving while doing the soul searching. 100 years ago, that would have implied running a hoe through the soil; today, that means running QA tests on a basic accounting platform you just built for a small business’ website.
Our global economy continues to shift quickly and unexpectedly, but there is no doubt that a lot of money circulates in virtual space. And just as risk assessments apply to our investment portfolios, so do they to our professional endeavours.
Some are capable of placing their assets in the most aggressive of portfolios, just as they’re able to dive into Branson-esque entrepreneurial tasks, while others literally risk cardiac arrest upon attempting either.
We certainly live in a left-brained world moving into a right-brained age, as the most ordinary of industries are faced with numerous disruptions, but those who succeed are those who use the mind in its entirety – just take Lucy, for example! Please pay attention to that fact: those who succeed are not the ones who foster the right side at the complete expense of the left. Birds need both wings in order to fly, and while our creativity needs continuous nourishment, so does our logical side – I use this term loosely, as neuroscientists have ceased distinguishing between two sides of the brain, and focus on distinguishing between functions and areas responsible for them. And here’s my first lesson in logic:
In order to invest money, you need to earn it
In order to earn money, you need to work
In order to work, you need a marketable skill that can be rendered as a service
A very marketable skill that can be rendered as a service is navigating through and building in virtual space, such as data science, programming, and IT support, just to name three
Therefore, if you need work, acquire one of the abovementioned – or related – marketable skills.
It won’t hurt you to learn how to code while you chase the dream of building your own empire, just as it will never hurt an architect to work as a bricklayer.
Additional Note: In reference to this blogpost, I’d like to briefly vent. We currently live in the age of data, which ironically and sadly enough exposes us to a lot of misinformation, which consequently hurts the uncritical mind. I’ll give you an example. I was scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, and someone posted a meme which was a picture of Harvey Spector beside his protégé, Mike Ross – characters from the show, Suits – and the caption said, “Experience can be more valuable than education, and the right mentor can be more valuable than a degree”.
In case you don’t watch the show, Mike Ross is hired illegally by a corporate law firm because of his remarkable mind. He has perfect photographic memory which allows him to retain almost everything he reads after the first time around. He’s so good that he was able to write the LSAT on other peoples’ behalf to make extra money, while high on marijuana!
If you’re able to read an LSAT prep manual once through, smoke two joints, and then score a 178 on the exam, then please do skip additional schooling and higher – no pun intended – education. But if you’re like 98% of the population, you’ll probably have to practice with the manual for a couple of months, while sober, in order to score a decent 165.
Yes, a lot of successful entrepreneurs have dropped out of school; Ivy League schools, sometimes in the middle of PhD programs. They jumped into their dreams with both feet, but they were wearing good parachutes.
If you really want to show the world that you’re a natural-born entrepreneur, doing the grunt work may help you tremendously. If you decided not to get your diploma at the local community college because Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard, maybe you might want to try to get into a renowned University, and then build your business as a student in order to compare your success with his more accurately.
There’s no shame in jumping out of the plane with an emergency parachute. Call me too “left-brained”, but education also has value.