Ditch the Sorting Hat. Choose Your Own Adventure!

Imagine you’ve just arrived as a first-year wizard at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

You’re scared, you’re alone, and you have no clue what’s happening. At your first dinner in the Greart Hall, complete with four incredibly long tables, floating candles, and headless ghosts, you’re sheepishly lead to the front of the room where an oversized hat is placed on your head. You’re told you’re to join one of the four houses.

Whether you’re put in the house of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, you’ll spend the next seven years in that house, living with other members, competing against other houses, and so on. Ultimately, this initial selection is a BIG deal.

But, if we actually think, the Sorting Hat was only part of the equation. The Sorting Hat was seriously considering sticking Harry Potter into Slytherin, but sent him to Gryffindor because that’s what he chose – he wanted to be in the House of his parents. Hermione too, because of her intellect, was well suited for a different House (Ravenclaw). However, valuing friendship and bravery, Hermione also had her say.

When it comes to books like Harry Potter, video games, or real life, our “class” selection is a pretty big deal. It’s easy to end up heading down a certain path, thinking our decision is out of our control – that we fit in to a particular box because we think that’s what we have to do.

But today we’re going to learn from Harry and Hermione and challenge the “Sorting Hat.” Today we’re standing up for ourselves and choosing our own damn adventure.

Avoid the Sorting Hat Trap

Sorting hat table

Maybe you went to college you knew you always had to attend, and majored in what you always thought you were going to study.

Or maybe, after college you took the job that you thought you were supposed to, or that your parents advised you to take, and now you’re known as the “girl that’s really good at sales presentations…” or “great in Excel,” and a decade goes by before realizing the job you’re currently in isn’t anything like what you set out to do.

Once we start doing something, heading down any path – it’s like we end up as characters in The Breakfast Club: the soccer player, the gamer, the powerlifter, the runner, the nerd, the academic, the ____. It’s as if we’ve been permanently sorted into a House at Hogwarts and we’re stuck with it!

We get scared that if we lose the identity that has been chosen for us, we won’t have one; we won’t know who we are anymore, and we’ll be shunned by the group we just left! It all results in us being an outcast because people’s expectations of us will differ from the new reality (or so we think)…so we keep ourselves pigeonholed in that role.

I remember in High School, and I wanted to play basketball. My brother was the captain, my friends all played, I had just grown from 5′ to 5’11” (yay puberty!) and I got cut. I thought to myself, “if I’m not a basketball player with my friends, then what the heck am I?” I felt like a Gryffindor student that got kicked off the quidditch team…lost.

When I started applying for colleges, I was so excited to follow my brother to Duke University, one of the most prestigious colleges in the world. When I got rejected, again I felt like my world was over. “If I’m not the kid that goes to Duke on early acceptance, and the smart kid, what the heck am I? My life is over!”

When I moved to California after college, I took a job in sales because both of my parents were in sales and they were damn good at it. After six months I learned that I was terrible at sales, but continued to force myself down this path because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. I cried weekly asking myself why I wasn’t happy and how I could get better at that gig.

In each of the situations above, I had sorted myself into a category, or felt like I had been sorted…and then panicked when I didn’t fit or wanted to get out. It turns out, I was the one doing the sorting, not my family or friends. It was pressure I had been putting on myself: I struggled with losing my identity that I THOUGHT I needed to have, that I thought others had of me.

I turns out, none of those things were true:

Basketball. I actually didn’t like playing basketball, I just played because I had been playing since I was a kid. I didn’t like the coach either! On top of that, I sucked! I was legitimately not good enough. So, I instead got a gym membership and started training, and discovered a love of health and fitness. Heyo, Nerd Fitness! And my friends on the team? They still liked me!

College. I didn’t know much about Duke other than my brother went there. For any number of reasons, many of which were outside of my control, I wasn’t accepted. WHO CARES! Going to another school allowed me to create a new identity: “Steve” instead of “Jack’s Little brother,” I made tremendous friends, and fell in love with Vanderbilt and Nashville, which is where I currently reside.

Sales. I hated sales! I sucked at it! Once I let myself get over that fear and anxiety, I allowed myself to start thinking of things I actually enjoyed. Marketing, community building, and health and fitness. So far, so good.

If we’re not careful, it’s very easy for us to fall into a path we never envisioned (or wanted!) for ourselves, and it’s very tough for us to get out. That path and that training and that attitude can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we spend our time trying to fit more into this path we’re on, rather than asking “do I even belong on this path?”

And this isn’t just a problem in life – this is a HUGE issue in how we go about fitness and health as well.

Maybe you were the “skinny runner” in high school, or the “fat funny guy” in your group of friends. Pretty soon, you had your group of friends and your way of life, right?

Whether in fitness or in life, it’s time to stop sorting ourselves into the house we think we belong to, or forcing ourselves to live up to the expectations we think others have set for us, and instead start doing stuff that we want to do…for OURSELVES.

Choose your Own Adventure

Hogwarts sign

Our Master Wordsmith Taylor was a runner throughout college and for years after. He was intrigued by the idea of strength training while, but never gave it a try.

It wasn’t until a running injury FORCED him to find another form of exercise that he discovered strength training was something he loved…  In his words:

For years I was reluctant to start to strength train because I was ‘the runner.’ I was the nerdy, sci-fi reading, Star Trek watching, guy who couldn’t touch a weight for fear of becoming a meathead. That was THEIR domain.

At the same time I wanted to be stronger and see what my body was capable of…I wanted to be able to carry heavy boxes for friends, maybe even do a pullup, and and develop a part of my body that wasn’t below my waist.

But this seemingly immutable self-identity paralyzed me. In fact, it wasn’t until I found Nerd Fitness that a crazy idea entered my mind: I could be strong AND be a nerd? What a revolutionary idea 🙂

I wasn’t JUST a runner, or a nerd, or anything else. All of that was just an illusion – and I soon discovered that I get to choose what type of hero I want to be.

The best part of this giant game of life that we are playing is that WE are the hero, and we get to play the game how we want. What you classified yourself as yesterday doesn’t mean you need to classify yourself as the same thing today.

On top of that, we often classify ourselves, and we expect others have these same expectations of us, when in reality it’s all in our mind. We get to determine who we are, and what we want to become.

If we want to change how we train or what we want to accomplish, then we can do that.

If we want to shed the “fat funny guy” tag and instead just become the “funny guy,” we can! If you’re sick of “you’re pretty [fast/quick/flexible]…for a big person,” you can change that.

If we want to mix up our career, there’s nothing stopping us. After all, as Stephen Kellogg says, It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.

When Harry encountered the Sorting hat, the hat was fairly insistent on placing him in Slytherin…and yet Harry fought for, and ended up, in Griffyndor. He chose his own adventure…and I want you to do the same.

The path you’re on

Scarf

Our whole goal with Nerd Fitness is to remove every barrier, physical and mental, that exists between the current YOU and the YOU that you want to be:

  • You can train in a way that interests you and makes you happy.
  • You can look in the mirror with pride and confidence.
  • You start choosing adventure over the safety confines of your hobbit hole.

If we’re not careful we can end up blindly following down the path we’re currently on, because we THINK we’re supposed to be on it. Before we know it, we’re living a life we never wanted to live.

There may be no literal “Sorting Hat” in our lives, but through our parents, friends, peers, tv, movies, and every other influence in society, there surely is a “Sorting Hat” in our minds.

Last week, there was a post from a 46-year old guy on Reddit that absolutely blew my mind; he reflected back on the past 26 years of his life, and realized he opted for the safe track he was supposed to be on.  This is an absolute MUST-READ.

Listen – you might have always been the “skinny guy” or maybe you were always the “big” one in your group. Thousands and thousands of Rebels have broken free of their old identities and chosen their OWN fate. If they can do it, so can you.

I saw the path I was on, and decided that I didn’t want that path anymore, so I created my own.

It turns out the only regret I have about making those changes is that I didn’t listen to myself sooner. I wanted to choose my own adventure, and after ignoring that path for years and years, I did.

Choose your own class and own adventure

Garden of Forking Paths

Earlier this week, we started a new Six Week Challenge on the Nerd Fitness message boards (now ~30,000 people strong).

In it, we encourage people to join a guild, select some challenges, and begin (or continue) your journey. We understand the importance of getting started and picking a class to begin your training.

Heck, our Nerd Fitness Academy allows us to pick a class based on our preferred training style and actually complete quests to earn experience points and level up.

However, we’re also aware that most of us don’t fit perfectly into a particular category.

I know I don’t fit into one or the other! The bottom half of me would be a Warrior: heavy squats and deadlifts, while the top half of me would be an Assassin: gymnastics, handstands, and bodyweight exercises. On top of that, I’m trying to be a druid and learn meditation and created a bard class for my musical passions. You can follow how THIS is going if you want! Yay accountability.

We have people that have started as Warriors and have transitioned into Scouts for a challenge or two!  For example, Stacdogi is taking swimming lessons and goes on runs with her dog now. Though if you see this dog, you’ll see why you couldn’t say no.

Every time I start a new challenge, my goals vary. It might be gaining weight, or getting more flexible, or getting stronger. Sometimes I feel like an assassin, or a ranger, or a warrior. It’s always changing.

So, I want you to stop sorting yourself into a path and blindly following it. Instead of perpetually moving forward with your head down and your eyes closed, choose your own adventure. This applies to not only your training, but even your life decisions.

If you want to change paths, climb different ladders, or play entirely different games, you have the power to do so. Identities are things we often forget to make for ourselves. We have that power. You have that power. And only you.

Audit Your Path

path

Your mission today is to take 10 minutes and reflect on the path you’re on. Are you blindly reading the book in order? Making decisions based on what you think somebody like you is supposed to do?

Or are you choosing your own adventure?

  • Are you a yogi that always wanted to try strength training, but is using your “yogi” identity to rationalize staying in your corner of the gym?
  • Are you a lifter who is afraid to incorporate cardio (in the form of sports or steady state) because the brofessor told you that’s how it’s done?
  • Are you a girl who can’t possibly lift weights, because girls don’t do that? Don’t wanna get bulky!
  • Are you a runner who only has ever known running, and is using your “runner” identity to stay in your lane?

Don’t wait for a major life event to think critically about what YOU want. Train for you from the get go.  Ask yourself: is staying on this track the best way to make you happy, build your confidence, and improve your health?

Build your class around YOU, not the other way around.  

Question everything means everything – especially your own BS!

YOUR MISSION: Spend 10 minutes auditing your path, both for life and for training:

  • What does your current path and class dictate how you’ll spend your day? Are you happy with the Sorting Hat?
  • What would somebody (you) who is CHOOSING their own adventure do instead?
  • If you have recently rejected the Sorting Hat and switched things up, please share with us!

We rebelled against the Empire for a reason. To think for ourselves. So THINK for yourself. You don’t have to “be” anything – a powerlifter, runner, or even a nerd. Just be you.

Let me know how you plan on branching out and forging a new path. Be specific, and share your story!

-Steve

PS: Don’t forget, next week we’ll be opening up a small number of early-bird spots for Camp Nerd Fitness 2015, along with full details of the event (which will be taking place in Georgia Sept 30-Oct 4th, 2015).  Sign up for the interest list to get early access, as spots are sure to go fast!

###

photo source: Peter Asquith: stone path, Bart Everson: Fork Path, Denise PS: Sorting Hat, Andy Castro: Hogwarts Sign, Sarah Ross: Scarf, viviandgnuyen_: sorting hat

Get The Rebel Starter Kit

Enter your email and we’ll send it right over.

  • The 15 mistakes you don’t want to make.
  • The most effective diet and why it works.
  • Complete your first workout today, no gym required.
  • These are the tools you need to start your quest.
  • http://www.randygage.com/ Randy Gage

    Love this! Yes, we rebelled against the empire for a reason…

    -RG

  • Emily

    As someone who put five years into a grad school program before deciding it wasn’t for me, I can relate to this. And confirm that it’s worth the effort of starting from the bottom to be in a place where you’re happy.

    However, I’ll add that as an introvert in what’s typically considered an extrovert’s profession, it took time to get better at what I was doing and really settle into my new role and industry. So don’t get discouraged if it takes some real work, or if you feel that you’re not perfectly suited to a field if that’s what you truly want to do. It was the same type of networking that was problematic in academia and in my current industry; I was just willing to put forth the time and effort to develop those skills in my current job, whereas it hadn’t been worth it to me to do so in order to finish grad school and follow an academic path.

  • Alex

    I was just thinking about this sort of thing on my drive home from work yesterday. I arrived at an interesting conclusion that sometimes you have to figure out who you are by first figuring out who you’re *not*. Mostly by taking chances, following the goals you feel interest you and see where it leads.

    So far I’ve figured out:
    * I’m not an elite runner… I’ve DNF’d anything beyond marathon distance. But… I did find out enjoy spending hours on end out in nature on the trails
    * I’m not a bull rider… Learned that the hard way (ouch!!!). That lead me to rethink things, and that leads me to: take well calculated chances, but don’t be completely reckless. Enjoyed the experience, and I’ve honestly never met a harder working group than professional bull riders. Great work ethic!
    * I, similarly, found out sales isn’t my thing. What I did learn is how to break out of my shell. It’s possible to be an extreme introvert and still be social and not be shy!
    * I’m not a biker. Nothing wrong with that. I haven’t logged ridiculous numbers of miles on my bike, taken my ride across country, and while I tried I can’t very well pull off “dressing the part.” No big deal! I enjoy the wind in my face riding around town on the weekends. As far as other bikers go: as long as you ride, you ride… nobody cares.
    * I’m not a skydiver. I have a terrible fear of heights, but hey I gave it one try and for one day I broke free and I looked fear in the face and didn’t let it control me.

    Just do everything to enjoy the journey and take a lesson from every path explored!

  • lostphd

    wow, i must say this post really touched me. i am at the tail end of a phd program (okay, the beginning of the tail end, as i am just starting to write my dissertation), and i am facing a HUGE conundrum because i am miserable doing what i am doing and don’t want to keep doing it. on the one hand, i know i will regret not finishing now that i am this close, so i have to push through and finish it, but on the other hand, i don’t want to pursue the profession (academia) i am training for, so i kind of feel it is pointless. anyway, while it is next to impossible to tell my committee/advisors this without being asked to leave the program, i realized that the majority of the pressure is actually pressure i put on myself. after all, i’ve always been “the smart one” and if i can’t do this, does it mean i’m “not smart enough”? if so, then who am i? i am just starting to figure this out. but i’ve realized that i don’t have to prove anything to anyone except myself, so i am starting to figure out what *i* want– not what i think other people want/expect of me. THANK YOU for this post… it made me feel less alone.

  • Jennifer Nelson

    Once someone invents time travel, I’m going to go back and give this to my 23-year-old self. More seriously, yesterday I finally got a diagnosis that explains big chunks of my life and actions: Hearing-impaired. I am going to be a mid-thirtysomething with a hearing aid, and I am STOKED about it…but kind of nervous, too. Trying to understand the conversations around me takes up a TON of mental real estate. My entire brain is going to change, my work habits will change, my social life will change, because I won’t need to try as hard to understand what’s going on around me. My hearing will no longer hold me back, so there goes that excuse. Right now, I like the path I’m on. I’ll bookmark this and re-evaluate once I get the superpower of effective hearing. 😀

  • thompsonpat

    i love this post. my wise woman trainer (Stanford med school drop out) once said to me “you never really wanted to practice law” and she was right. the law school weight gain should have been a clue!

  • Courtnie Marie

    Great post! John’s story on reddit almost brought me to tears! I truly appreciate everything NF community has done for me in this respect. I wouldn’t be running my first Spartan Sprint this weekend without the encouragement on the boards! It seemed like a far off dream back in July and something I truly felt I wouldn’t be able to accomplish for another year or two. I know I am going to cross that finish line in two days and then move on to the next completely wild and far-fetched dream!

  • ssxsolstice

    This is a fantastic post. Seriously, thank you for writing this. As I continue my disheartening job search (rejections are no fun), I have to continuously remind myself that I don’t want a job that’s the same as the one I have now; if I liked this job, why would I want a new one? I need to not let my lack of “related experience” deter me from what I really want to do, or pigeon-hole my into an industry that I desperately want to escape.

  • Brandon Wallace

    Love this article Steve. I’m actually in the process of changing a few things in life. One is starting a new website and business call “Adventurous Living”. Adventurous Living combines my passions for essential oils, fitness, and adventure. I have never done anything like this before and people may not think of me as someone who would normally do this but I’m going to do it anyway and see how it goes. Life is an adventure and I don’t want to stay in the garbage industry (I’m currently a Dispatcher) for the rest of my life. I’m taking the necessary steps to move forward to get Adventurous Living off the ground. Who knows, it may give me the chance to travel a little more and forge new adventures to new locations. Here is to a new way of life!

  • Nick

    thanks a million for this article! This article pretty much described how I looked at myself, until a week ago, when I finally realized that no one can just “fit-in” into some “category”. That we all have the power to control our destiny, it’s just if we choose to or not.

  • Jason

    Great article, Steve.

    Just the other day I was thinking aloud to my girlfriend that sometimes I feel like I have been telling the story of my dream career for so long that even though it doesn’t seem to be cracking up to my expectations, I feel that the story has taken on a personality of its own. If I suddenly abandon this dream I have always had it will significantly alter the way many of my close friends and family identify me.

    Its not that I think they would think any less of me, just that several people have been rooting for me for years and it almost seems like that expectation has become a part of the reason I carry on.

  • Rutger

    I’ll be honest here: I have no clue what to do with my life. I’m 26 years old, have a respectable decent paying job I don’t love and I’m not that great at. But there simply isn’t anything I can think of that I would WANT to do. I barely have hobbies except now strength training and some gaming. I don’t have any career path in the back of my mind that I would like to do but am afraid to start. This makes me feel like I’m slowly dying. I can use all the advice I can get.

  • M.

    If I were to be honest with myself, I’d have to admit articles like this make me uncomfortable. If everything goes according to plan, next March I should be starting computer engineering school. In all honesty, I’ve always had my doubts about it. Engineering (civil,not computer, though) is what my entire family does and the one thing I was raised to do. Deep down I know I want to be a writer, I’ve wanted it since I was 8 years old, and I’d love nothing more than to study literature and fiction writing in college, but the thing is, making it as an author is incredibly difficult, and you can’t get a real job with that degree. The best I could possibly hope for would be teaching, and I hate teaching.Now computer engineering isn’t something I hate. I’ve always been great at math, I have some mild experience with coding and I’ve certainly got the profile for it: introverted nerd with decent logical skills and a weird interest in technology. I like it, but it’s just…I don’t love it. Not as much as writing, anyway. To be fair, I’m not all that familiar with the computer engineering field, it just seemed like a nice high-paying job I could actually enjoy doing and be good at. Usually I’m pretty confident I’m making the right decision, but posts like this make me wonder if this is all a big mistake and I should just throw engineering away and go dedicate myself to writing, but, then again, the chances of me ending up unemployed and miserable are huge. I just don’t know what to do.

  • Ashleigh Jarvis

    This article completely resonates with me.

    I’ve recently jumped off my path and onto another one regarding my career. I was groomed by a corporation to become a leader in their business while I attended university. I had an ‘aha’ moment one day and decided that this job no longer fit into my long term goals. So, I quit. Moved back in with my parents. Started a new job (in the same industry, but with more autonomy and responsibilities) and am saving my money. I am now set to open my own business by 2016 and am following my own path!

    I have so much more energy and it’s spilling into other areas of my life. I am no longer drained by a job I hated, living in a town I hated. I now have an active social life, which I enjoy (normally I’m hardcore introverted and hate going out), I am working on my business plan, I am networking and finding so many more opportunities for myself. I also have more motivation to eat healthier and take better care of myself.

    Basically, choosing my adventure has made me an exceptionally happy person! I highly recommend it ;).

  • http://teaandkettlebells.com/ Simone

    (Nooo Steve there are so many typos/errors in this one! If you need a proofreader, I volunteer as tribute!!)

    LOVE this post as always. I’ve been working on building who I am instead of who I thought I was supposed to be lately, and it’s been pretty amazing. One example from the summer when I was working at Ren Faire – I still think of myself as the nerdy, non-athletic bookworm, but after getting into fitness in the past few years, all the new people I meet see me as sporty. While I was cleaning up my booth one morning before Faire opened, one of the performers came up to me and asked me if I lifted weights. WHAT?! In my mind, no one has ever seen me as athletic before (including myself). It was pretty cool.

    I still have to work on believing it though – I’m working towards getting my NASM CPT (thanks for the inspiration, Amy Clover 🙂 ) and I still find myself wondering what the hell I’m doing. Not used to seeing myself this way!

  • http://teaandkettlebells.com/ Simone

    The good news is you’re certainly not the only one trying to figure that out 🙂 Some people are less motivated by their career than others, which is fine – but if you’re looking for a career change/job you’re passionate about, maybe check out a local community college to see if there are any classes that pique your interest, or wander around a library and see what sections catch your eye? Learning something new may open up new ideas or interests whether they become hobbies or job opportunities.

  • http://teaandkettlebells.com/ Simone

    Will you have the chance to take classes in both areas while you’re at school? I’d recommend giving them both a try, and see how you feel as you go. If it’s any comfort, I spent 5 years getting an undergraduate degree towards the job my 17-year-old self wanted, and in my 4th year I realized that the person I was growing into in my 20s wasn’t interested in anything remotely similar. I finished out the degree, went and got a completely unrelated and dull office job, and am now pursuing options that should help me build the career I DO want. SO many people leave college with a degree in one thing and end up doing another. You have time 🙂 If you don’t hate computer engineering and think you’d be good at it, I personally think it’s worth checking out (and it’s definitely nice to have marketable skills) – but I wouldn’t ditch your dream of writing yet, either. Chase the things that excite you. 🙂

  • http://teaandkettlebells.com/ Simone

    Oh, I forgot to add: Your post made me think of this AMAZING song by Amanda Palmer, about our self-expectations and tendency of saying “If I just had/was X or Y, then life would be great and I would be worthwhile.” Sometimes we just need to step back and realize we already have B and are Q, and that’s actually even better. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9WZtxRWieM

  • Marcel

    As a huge Harry Potter fan, this article naturally made me happy!

    I identifiy with Ravenclaw House the most because I imagine it’s where introverted nerds like me would feel most at home. However, being sorted into any one House need not define who you are. Like many Rebels on here, I have undergone a steady transformation over the last couple of months/years, going from “the nerd musician” to “the travelling, exercising, novel writing nerd musician”. I’m expanding my horizons and interests, trying out new things that make me happy and ditching things that I have no use for. I feel like I’m slowly becoming who I’m actually meant to be!

    Now, the biggest (and scariest) thing in my life that I wish I could change is my job. I know I’m only one of many who isn’t fulfilled by his/her job. My current work pays decently, I’m not too bad at it but it’s definitely not making me happy and the thought of being stuck doing this for another 30 years is severely depressing. My goal for next year is to figure that out. Introspection FTW!

  • TQA

    hey, maybe not my place to give suggestions, but when i was in a similar situation to yours, i asked for help. it was my mother that helped me through writing my thesys. i am forever grateful for her. i have chosen a field that didn’t suit me for the only reason that i need to have some formal education, but it was difficult for me all the way. so for the final push, i was asking myself the same questions i see you are asking. and then i asked for help.

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    hey Emily! This is fantastic, and similar to what Cal Newport, professor from Georgetown talks about. Instead of trying to find your passion, pick something and get really good at it, and develop passion around that 🙂 Cheers!

    -Steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    Let us know how things go once you become a superhuman Jennifer 🙂

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    good luck at the spartan sprint Courtnie! The Rebellion’s got your back!

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    Great stuff Brandon (and you had a great part in the Camp NF video!)

    My college degree was in economics and I sold construction equipment when I started Nerd Fitness. I had also never been outside of North America – excited to hear where you’re at with Adventurous Living next year at camp 🙂

    -Steve

  • http://www.nerdfitness.com/ Steve Kamb

    heyo! If you want to write, write 🙂

    Brett from ArtOfManliness.com went to Law School and came out with his blog as his fulltime profession. Carve out 20 minutes a day to write. You can pay the bills and work on writing on the side, it’s how many many many authors get their start!

    So, to start: deep breath! It’s gonna be okay. Next, nothing is permanent or irreversible. You can change paths whenever you want. Sounds like writing is your thing. Is there a way you can find a job to write while you work on writing things you love on the side? Or take classes and write and see if you can mix in some literary classes as well? My friend double majored in computer engineering and philosophy!

  • Bert

    Hi Steve, Thanks for this great article!

  • Laura

    Talk to the advisers in both departments and like Simone said take classes in both! It wasn’t until the Fall of my Junior year I took the dreaded Finance class required for my major and I LOVED it!!! I seriously considered changing my major but it would have added another year of school and I was more interested in getting out than getting a Finance degree over Agribusiness.

  • Sam1234

    This article couldn’t have come at a better time! I was just talking to a friend of mine the other day about how I’ve finally decided to take another fitness path. It’s a hard decision because I feel like I’m changing my identity. I’ve been a competitive runner for almost a decade! It’s part of how I paid for my college education. I’ve never been scared of weights or getting bulky; but it never piqued my interest until recently. My new job and new relationship (just got married!) has changed my lifestyle in a way that has made it difficult to cling onto being a runner. It’s been a hard process for me to go from “I’m losing my identity” to “I’m just trying a new class for while” I used to think I was going to mourn Runner Sam; but it’s not goodbye – it’s see you later Runner Sam.

  • spongebobmx

    My dream has always been Working in the United States for a company developing software. I could not achieve doing this in my late 20’s, and yet kept pushing and studying.
    I was out of touch, sad, depressed and complaining about how life does not deliver when you need the most., I was supposed to be the guy who lives an awesome life, works hard and becomes this happy winner, soon, at his twenties. That didn’t happened.
    I wanted to be in touch with the best damn software developers on the planet, the brightest minds. I saved and planned for a year and a half quitting my job in Mexico and joining a coding bootcamp in SF. It was by far one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made in my life.
    Six months passed by, I didn’t get the job I expected I could get, being a foreigner and all, I had to face defeat and went back to Mexico.
    I got depressed and realised I got myself go too bad, started working out, doing Yoga and Intermediate bodyweight circuit. Lost 28 pounds, got leaner, stronger and, even though I didn’t
    have had a job, yet I decided I wanted to have a routine, something to do every day. Cooked for myself, cleaned and sorted my room, worked out religiously, and dedicated 4 hours of the day to improve my software development and interview skills: I had on the horizon, but I knew momentum was what would pull me from here to where my dreams were.
    Long story short, I started interviewing for a company, joined them and now I am being sent to San Antonio, USA, for the next six months, with a possible extension to a year. I COULD NOT BE happier!
    My determination and focus to a dream, along with my resolve and visualization to SEE ME IN THE US, made that possible.

    It is true that you want to be flexible, but you also need to remind yourself, you will only become good and achieve if you put ALL YOUR MIND, BODY AND SOUL to become better each day.

    With Warm regards, and all the passion of my heart,
    Stay Nerdy,
    -Nick-

  • chacha1

    If you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write. If you already have a facility for language (which I’d say you do), you don’t need to ‘study’ books and writing. You just need to write, and figure out your own voice, and discover what it truly turns you on to write *about*.
    I was a language-gifted high-schooler who was steered into the humanities. It was easy As all the way in college but what did I actually learn? Nothing. I’d have been much better off studying something that was challenging, something I wasn’t already good at, something practical. Because reading and writing are FREE.

  • Name

    I don’t know what I want anymore. I am so confused. At my job I feel like I am round peg square hole yet I don’t know what else there is :/

  • Name

    Legend

  • Sage Mattison

    I am very inspired by this article, my whole life I’ve been just generally overweight, I thought I had to run in order to lose weight. I thought cardio is the only way that works. I’ve been trying to run for years. I hate it, I’m bad at it and I never lose any weight until I finally resign to the fact that this extra weight is just who I am. And then I discovered your blog and got serious about weight training. Since October I am now 14lbs lighter, a belt loop smaller and a whole heck of a lot happier. Thanks for Nerd Fitness Steve!

  • Damien Gray

    This post resonates with me, as does the linked post. When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted to be a heart surgeon. I read up on it, learned as much as I could, and started a premed program in college to get there. Halfway through my junior year, I realized I liked physics a lot more than I like medicine. I switched majors. It required some real sacrifice (24 hour semester – ouch!) to get out in four years, but I made it. Then on to grad school where I got a PhD in physics. My first job was awesome – I designed optically based medical instruments, using almost all my training. That decision was one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I am now 55 years old, have had three careers, and am about to embark on a fourth. Never let the wonder die and you will always be happy.

  • Penny

    I knew at 7 I wanted to be a writer (of fiction), but my first jobs were in computer programming. Because I liked writing, I wrote the user manuals as well as programming, while writing bits of fiction on the side. Now I’m heading towards more of a technical writing career (I was a SAHM for a while), and I’m really happy about that. It is much easier to get into technical writing if you have the right background, and it will help rather than harm the chances of getting a fiction deal later.

  • wonderingpiper

    While reading this post, I kept feeling sad because throughout my adolescent and young adult life, I was made to feel so ashamed of my geeky tendencies.

    I was a little girl who loved the Ninja Turtles and would pretend to be a ninja, only to be discouraged from that, and instead encouraged to be the good little academic bookworm. I then fell in love with science and wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones, but was told there was no money to be made in such a career, I should be a doctor instead… Sigh.

    Now, after reading this article, I realize just how much of my true self I allowed to be pushed aside to fulfill the expectations of others. I has been a wake-up call for me and I will be doing some serious pondering. Thanks for this.

  • wonderingpiper

    Rutger, you currently are where I was 10 months ago. I had a decent paying job that was killing me. It was the stress of the job – I carried so much of it with me, that I started spiralling into depression. I knew I was getting depressed and sought counselling, but it really didn’t help. I didn’t care about anything – I felt trapped in my job and hated everything else about life, lost all interest in things besides sleeping and Netflix.

    The thing that changed: my husband got an opportunity to relocate to a new city. I didn’t know what job I would get – a burger joint, retail, office admin – but I didn’t care, I was so excited at the fact I would not have to go back to the same old stressful office again. I took a page from Bilbo Baggins and ran head-long towards whatever was out there.

    I too felt like I was slowly dying inside, but I said “f*ck it, what’s the worst that could really happen from the change?” For an introvert with high anxiety, saying such a thing was tantamount to blasphemy. I now see it was the best tactic I could ever have made. But at the time, it was scary as hell.

  • Cheesman

    For most of my life I was, by all means, “the fat funny guy”. I am also pretty smart. So All through high school I thought it was a forgone conclusion that I would never be an athlete, but I would go to college, get a degree, and a career. I went straight into Ball State University after high school thinking that I would pass with flying colors. Instead, I failed ingloriously…
    I thought that life was over at first. I cried a bit, got angry a lot, and went out with my friends to try to get my mind off of it. But nothing really helped until I found Nerdfitness. I started taking steps to change the way I lived, and long story short, I’m about to go into the Navy as a Corpsman FMF!
    So maybe the Sorting Hat told me that I was destined to be a chubby intellectual, but I decided that I want to make the best of myself, save lives, and keep on being the smart funny guy while I’m doing it!

  • Essie Lenchner

    This is totally in line with what I’ve been thinking about lately. I spend too much time worrying about the track I’m on, and whether it’s the right one, and will it lead to greatness. I’m finally starting to relax, and just focus on what I’m learning.

    I’m a senior in college studying economics, and recently decided I want to learn how to program and get into the tech industry. In some ways a long shot, in other ways, not. So I’m teaching myself with online resources like Codecademy, and seeing where it goes. I spent the last year worrying about getting into a top school for a PhD in economics, and now this. Pretty excited 🙂

  • Amanda Harris

    Oh my goodness! Can it be?! Amanda Palmer and Nerd Fitness in one post?! I love both so much, and I definitely needed these in my life today. Thank you for posting her song!

  • spongebobmx

    you howuld blend it with Yoga, You’ll see how pain goes away like magic!

  • Mike

    Since I don’t really know anything about you, or your life, it’s not really a good idea for me to comment on whether or not you should be finishing your PhD. I do have a couple of comments in reply to your post, though. There are few things that are more important than spending your days doing something you love. Work is such a huge part of your life, that you don’t want to get stuck doing something that you question, every single day.

    I also want to comment about one of the comments that you made in your post. Choosing not to finish your PhD doesn’t mean that you “can’t do it”. It doesn’t mean that you’re not smart enough, or that you’re not “the smart one”. It just means that you chose not to continue doing something that you’re unhappy with.

  • http://www.homebehindtheworldahead.com Emily

    I recently quit my job as a dolphin trainer which I’d worked most of my life to become in order to travel the world (for 2.5-3 years at this point!). I decided I didn’t want the daily grind anymore (though I suppose a daily grind that involves baby dolphins could be worse) so I moved on. It was difficult to quit something I’d worked so hard to get but I knew it was the right decision. Now I’m on the road and trying to figure out how to get healthy and into shape (though it’s proving quite difficult). Still working out the kinks on that one…

  • six fitness