Not sure what’s going on with the weather this year, but it’s surprisingly cold and windy here in New York and the April is almost gone…
Normally around the same time, I would already be swimming in the ocean, but as of now there still no leaves on the trees. Definitely, the coldest spring that I can remember.
I think the mother nature intentionally throws us some curve balls to keep us in a good shape.
Anyway, yesterday was a pretty decent and sunny day so we decided to throw a little barbeque party in the nearby park.
Check out what we got:
As we were eating and drinking, the conversation naturally drifted towards business and money making activities. Turned out our group had a lot of entrepreneurs ranging from real estate fix and flippers to dental crown makers, iPhone apps developers, salvaged cars gurus and even truck owners.
Everone was doing ok money wise (at least as far as they were willing to open up) but when I mentioned that my main focus at the moment was to re-discover my passion, I was surprised to learn that I was far from alone in my pursuit of happiness.
In fact, almost everybody agreed to some extent that our lives are too boring and repetitive. Wakeup, go to work, go home, watch tv for an hour (if you lucky) and go back to sleep… Rinse and repeat.
Initially, I thought money was the answer to everything and was busy making them for the past 12 years of my life only to realize a few things:
- You can’t really get ahead by simply working a regular full-time job. Even if you make 200K a year there is a good chance you will have nothing left after all of the expenses paid.
Everyone is replaceable. You may think you are smart but there are people who are smarter. Especially true if your skill set is very limited to particular tool or technology. You are just a commodity.
The amount of money you get at the fulltime job is not correlated with the amount of work you put in.
You have very little control over projects or people you work with. In theory, you can always switch the job, but realistically speaking, it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Switching jobs is a big stress and not many people are willing to undertake it, plus you may end up in the same (or worse) situation.
The longer you work as an employee, the higher is the chance you will give up on your dream and trade it for the mediocre 9-to-5 lifestyle.
Software engineers get old and rusty same was as other professionals/tools. Eventually, they get bored of doing similar things over and over again and sooner or later face “what the hell am I doing with my life?” question.
Sure, fulltime job gives “stability” and “predictability” which is very important for a LOT of people, including myself, but just like everything in life, stability comes with the price.
It crushes your dreams.
If you are reading these lines there is a good chance you don’t want to continue living stable and let’s be honest, pretty boring life.
But what can we do?
Well, there are few things actually.
First, you have to realize that a lot of it has to do with the way The System conditions our minds. The process is so subtle that we don’t even notice how we switch from “what we want to do” to “what we should do” mode.
From the very early age we absorb the values instilled by the system and we rarely question if those values make sense or not.
We grow up, go to schools and then colleges and eventually join the rat race in order to amass physical things, where in fact those possessions are oftentimes the very thing that keeps us from realizing our dreams.
We focus on material because it’s much easier to live this way, it may even help us to silence the inner voice for a while but it always comes back…
In order to escape the life of limitation, boredom and unhappiness, the person must commit themselves to the pursuit of personal greatness.
As I was searching for the deeper meaning of my own life, absorbing vast amounts of information in the process, I finally came to a conclusion that it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you feel alive in the process.
We all longing for adventure and we always have been.
Don’t believe me? Here is the picture of the ad from one of the really old newpaper (likely around 1900), where Shackleton, a polar explorer, was looking for crew members for his new expedition:
According to the sources over 5000 men responded to the ad. While there are some debates going to whether the ad is real or not, I think it is real simply because I would respond to it myself.
You are not looking for the meaning of life, but the feeling to be alive.
There is no need to dwell on the meaning of life. There are many meanings or there is none at all. It doesn’t matter. What matters the most is how you feel every day.
If you feel alive and excited about the upcoming day then you are already in the great place, even if you don’t have a ton of money. Believe it or not, there are people who have hundreds of millions of dollars and still feel miserable.
At the same time, it’s almost a given that if you truly follow your passion then sooner or later the money will be right there by your side.
There is one problem though. In order to follow your bliss, you will have to confront The System and it will do everything it can to keep you at bay.
It will try to crush you. It will throw out every possible obstacle to make sure you stay in compliance and don’t rock the boat.
Luke Skywalker: I don’t believe it! Yoda: That’s why you fail – Star Wars
In order to escape The System, you will have to go an extra mile. Your best will not be good enough. You will have to set yourself higher standards. Remember, it’s likely that you will need to keep your current life afloat while making steps in the new unexplored territory. That will require extra commitment and extra effort.
Most important of all – YOU NEED TO BELIEVE that whatever you want to achieve is possible. Even if you are not exactly sure what you really want at the moment, you still need to believe there is another more interesting path waiting for you not so far away.
By the way, when I say “escape the system” I don’t mean that you have to leave your job, sell all your belongings and hide under a rock.
The system is life, believe it or not. It’s not something physical that you can touch or destroy. The System lives in your head. It’s the mentality and the attitude that will need to change.
You need to become the master of your mind. It’s a slow process that takes practice and discipline.
According to Tim Ferris, bestselling author (The 4-hour workweek, Tools of Titans, Tribe of Mentors and more), entrepreneur and public speaker, at least 80 percent of the people he interviewed have some type of daily mindfulness practice.
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
There is a lot of hard work behind every “overnight sensation”, even though it may seem otherwise from the outside.
There is luck of course, but it’s not something we can rely on. It’s much better to get into the habit of creating our own luck.
It took me a while (and over 30K just in the last year alone) to distill the important bits from the ocean of daily noise and I’m working hard to create my own “Hello World” mini e-book/checklist with most effective actionable steps that help me to stay focused, feel great and continue pushing forward no matter what.
I’ll send you the link once it’s done, but in the meanwhile I want you to remember one thing – you are not alone.
Slow down, zoom out and evaluate what you have and where you going.
Treat setbacks as stepping stones for your future success.
Enjoy the moment.
P.S. I always thought there will be the time when I finally get “where I want to be” (whatever that means), so I could simply sit down and do absolutely nothing. The time when I will actually download The Witcher 3 which I bought about a year ago and play it for a few hours.
Then I realized that I don’t have to wait for anything and just do it. Live it. Enjoy it. Not tomorrow, not a year from now, but NOW.
And that’s what I’m going to do, only this time I’m not going to feel bad about wasting my time.
I hope you got the idea, now get out and live!