Many people view a job as a means to an end. Working can simply become a necessity to gain payment, to fund a particular lifestyle. When a role is purely fuelled by payment there can often be various trade offs in terms of motivation, quality and, importantly, progression. If an individual can't wait to leave the office at 5pm on the dot, and doesn't intend to spare a thought towards anything work related until 9am the next day, then they don't possess "the immersive advantage".
The age old idiom, "If you love what you do, you'll never have to work a day in your life", simply suggests that we should follow our passions to lead a more enjoyable life whereby our interests generate income. Whilst that seems fairly easy to agree with, there's another unmentioned aspect to it - development.
If you love playing piano, and get a job as a pianist, it's reasonable to suggest you'd play in your own time and not purely at work. Practice makes perfect, so naturally the more that you enjoy playing, the more time you'll happily dedicate to honing your craft- leading to better paid jobs/gigs. Creative careers are archetypal examples to demonstrate the immersive advantage, as few object to the idea of a writer or musician never 'switching off' from their passion and finding inspiration from all aspects of life. However, if a banker spent their weekend wading through loan applications, micro-finance strategy and financial news, most people would feel their job has 'taken over their life', and they're arguably less unlikely to uncover helpful niche banking insights off the clock.
Regarding 'the clock': Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk and Bill Gates share a level playing field with us in regards to one key aspect: Time. We all have the same amount of time each week, but what usually separates the hyper-successful from the rest of society is their efficient usage of time, their focus, and their passion. Finding ways to increase your focus is key, and optimizing your learning and development will help catapult you ahead of complacent competitors/peers. When we think of the most successful people, it's rare to imagine them finishing work at a designated set time each day- more likely they're always fairly switched on, ready to absorb key information and opportunities.
Think of the last time you felt obsessed by something. Was it a game? Was it an item you wanted to purchase, or even perhaps a recent purchase you adored? Was it a band? Was it a sport, perhaps a team or even playing it yourself?
When we're passionate about something, we have no qualms dedicating large amounts of time to it, and we also find it can bleed into other things we do. A computer game aficionado may find that they develop their reactions and even linguistic skills through in-game dialogue and plot. Someone that spent a lot of time researching which suit to buy, may suddenly find themselves looking at various other fashion choices under a lens, leading to a greater awareness on trends and styles. A super-fan of a band, may find them referencing that band in relation to almost every topic, almost impressively able to weigh in a particular subject matter to most conversations without too much of a tangent. A Manchester United football fan, may constantly have the team on their mind and be in tune with all club news and rumours.
So, what if our obsessions were constructive to our betterment rather than purely for enjoyment?
For example, if you have a passion for marketing, there is inspiration in almost every waking moment. While you're out the office you might notice how certain people behave in certain situations, and this may lead to new ideas on how to reach consumers. The immersive advantage, is based on finding opportunities relating to your craft at any given moment- it could be seen as never really switching off. To explain it clearer, let's consider two individuals in the same industry but with different mindsets.
The Immersive Advantage in Action.
Let's imagine that Simon and Geraldine both work as managers for major nightclubs in the same city. They typically work 12pm-5pm and 9pm - 3am five days a week. Simon is a highly capable manager, but likes to keep work and personal life as separate as possible, ensuring that work is 'out of sight, out of mind' whenever he isn't on the clock.
Meanwhile, Geraldine adores every aspect of the nightclub trade, and as such tends to spend her off-the-clock time daydreaming about various work related ideas and strategies. For example, when Geraldine goes out to dinner, she spots good habits that the waiting staff possess, she sees a problematic menu format (and retains the issue to ensure her own design team don't enter the same pitfalls), and notices a really effective flyer advertisement; After leaving her dinner, she's brimming with productive ideas to enhance her business because she's been 'switched on'.
Simon's nightclub enjoys smooth operations due to his steady leadership, but over time Geraldine's nightclub starts developing ahead of competitors due to her additional planning, ideas and strategies. One of the best parts is that Geraldine won't have felt she worked extra, as her genuine interest and passion made the additional focus fun.
How to Become Immersive.
Being naturally immersive is a nice competitive advantage, but it's certainly a trait that can be learned. By practising various habits, we can all become more in tune with applying every day scenarios to business and/or personal developments.
Find your Passion.
Perhaps the most important point, is that enjoying what you do makes immersive behaviour much easier. If the idea of thinking about work all day gives you shivers, then perhaps you should be dedicating the majority of your week/year/life towards something that'll make you happier.
We can also look closer at jobs, and the skills we need to succeed. Instead of an accountant thinking about paperwork and numbers all day, they may choose to focus on improving their interpersonal skills for networking and increasing their clients. If they angle their spare time around improving their likability, rhetoric, elevator pitches and general social skills, their business life would also increase. After all, learning on the job is grand but if you can also learn off the job then you'll soar ahead.
At Mäd, we don't tend to set hours or timetables on our team. If our team want to work offsite, or spend their morning reading books from our library, we trust that they'll take a sensible approach to completing their task and growing as an individual.
Mapping out your Passion
One extra tip to get a foothold on potential is to run a quick brainstorm sprint through things you love. The purpose of this, will be to identify potential career paths and skillsets you can develop through loving what you do, and therefore happily adopting a the Immersive Advantage.
Take a blank sheet of paper, and spend ten minutes writing down a list of your interests. They can be as general or specific as you wish. Once you've finished your list, number the five most interesting to you in order (1 most interesting, 5 least interesting). Turn your paper over, and write down those five items in their now ranked order. Next, write down career ideas next to each item: the goal here is to imagine how a certain interest could to a profitable, healthy and happy life. It may be easier to expand on certain points, which is why focusing on a top five rather than a singular point is useful.
For example, say we identified the following:
Heavy Metal Guitarists
Open-World RPG Computer Games
This eclectic mix may look very hobby/entertainment heavy, but we could find ways to link passion and work by expanding such careers as:
Football: Journalist, Social Media Executive/Marketer, Trainer, Coach, Football Charity Agent, Scouting Agent.
Electro Music: DJ, Producer, Music Software Developer
Heavy Metal Guitarists: Professional Musician (such as Session Musician or Artist), Guitar Manufacturer, Roadie.
Open-World RPG Computer Games: Professional Gamer, Professional Youtuber, Game Programmer, Game Tester.
British Comedy: Comedian, Journalist/Critic.
Then, we can start searching for ideas that marry up each passion as merging interests will further enjoyment and potential.
An E-Sports gamer, or E-Sports presenter nicely combines Football and Games. Perhaps even factoring in humour as a core personality to building social media followings and marketing potential.
Know your Personality Type
Certain personality aspects help individuals succeed in various careers. Whether you're extroverted, introverted, sensory, judging, or whatever mix of defined characteristics, a Myers-Briggs test is a highly recommended psychological measurement to consider.
The test at 16Personalities, is one example of a free online test that can quickly (around 10-20 minutes) highlight your personality type and corresponding careers that may be of interest to you due to how you 'tick' as a human.
Aim for the 1%.
Firstly, we advocate achievable and consistent growth. Being immersive does not mean you need to find huge opportunities and inspiration every day, but by making small steps forward each day you'll have travelled far by the end of the year. You can read more about this in our dedicated 1% insight.
Carry a Notepad.
In a digital age, physical notepads are becoming less common. However, carrying one prompts using it and keeps your awareness up. If you have your notepad on the table, it may serve as a reminder that inspiration could be around you at any point in time - ready to be jotted down for later.
Aim to make three small notes each day for any designated project. For example, if you want to become a better speaker, you may aim to write down three people that you encountered that day that spoke well. Then you may want to add a few notable features that made them so effective. If you are a nightclub manager like Geraldine, perhaps you'd pick an area of interest to focus on such as 'Staff training', and then write down three examples of good (or bad) service you received elsewhere, in order to address these points when compiling your training.
Write out your Goals then multiply them.
Take time to think long term. Where do you want your career to take you? What do you need to get there? What is your ideal 5-year, 10-year and 20-year vision for your life?
If you want to become a millionaire, aim to make 10 million. If you want to get articles published, aim to get a full book of your work published. If you want to learn a new language, aim to have a friend that speaks natively in that language that you will be able to converse with entirely in their language. This idea of multiplying our goals, forces us to push harder towards a grander goal - making the original goal seem easier in comparison, and just a passing step towards the final goal. Also, having your original goal suddenly as a mid-point means you are less likely to get complacent, and will more likely stick to continued progression.
By committing pen to paper and hanging your goals somewhere you'll see them daily -such as your bedroom door or mirror- you'll begin to force progression upon yourself. With the daily reminder, keeping the aims on your mind, you'll be en route to developing an immersive mindset. You'll think about the impacts your daily decisions will have on the long-term vision, and start making steps towards achieving your plan step by step.
Imagine your plan was to get rich, and to do so you decided ten years ago that you'd find a way to improve your income by 10% each year. Perhaps you started at $20'000. By working hard throughout year one, you negotiate a pay-rise of 10%. Year two sees you start a small side business to raise your overall income that further 10%. For the third year, you find a financial adviser that can invest your savings intelligently to aid your long term plan. Years four to nine continue with developing side 'hustles', investments and your professional career. By the end of year 10, your yearly income would have reached over $50'000, an impressive 250% increase from year 1.
In a nut shell, this concept can be summarised as follows:
The Immersive Advantage refers to the ability to consistently absorb potential learning, ideation, and information in relation to a job, industry or skill. Thus, extra time is gained through sharper focus and awareness of progression opportunities.
The main pitfall, is that without passion and genuine interest in any given immersion focus, you'll likely spiral down a miserable path leading to a burn out moment. The crux, therefore, is to align your work with something you truly care about and would happily discuss at any time. Referring back to the early musings on obsessions, can you imagine how many hours in a year a football ultra dedicates to discussing, watching, travelling to and from, researching, and playing football? Can you imagine how many hours an avid 'gamer' likely spends on whichever console, with so many 200+ hour games available? The Immersive Advantage would put the former examples into football journalism roles and the rising Esports explosive scene.
But now imagine yourself, even if those topics don't interest you: Imagine those hours put towards something we deem more academic or beneficial for our careers, like learning a language, educational courses, reading or navigating the latest tech software; The mere musing of what we could accomplish in the time we 'unwind', if our passion was indeed productive, constructive and useful, helps paint a picture of the fantastic progress we could make without feeling a need to 'clock out' - but do remember that rest is important for us all, even the greatest minds of our time have relaxing holidays!
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