“Why can’t you just relax and enjoy life, man? Why always push yourself to the limits? You are good!”
Autumn is in the full swing here in New York. That means beautiful yellow, orange and red trees, pumpkins, ghosts, hot apple cider, cold weather and of course “Russian Bath” on Neck Road 🙂
This year my brother Andrei and I opened our banya season a bit early and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. We try to go there every other Sunday during the cold months and I look forward to each and every one of those visits, not only because it’s a great place to relax, but also to be able to re-connect with my brother and have a quality time without cell-phones and other annoying distractions.
As usual, we discussed a bunch of stuff ranging from the recent Real Madrid El Classico fiasco to business, investments and latest sales funnels and marketing strategies. Yeah, we have diverse interests! )
Anyway, as we were dressing up in the changing room and getting ready for the well-deserved dinner, Andrei mentioned that he read some of my latest posts and felt like I was spreading myself too thin with all of the “wake up early / exercises / cold showers / eat healthy / read a lot” stuff.
He had a hard time understanding what exactly pushed me over the edge and sent me to the path of change and why did I decide to torture myself, instead of simply continuing on my “successful” and “stable” software engineering path?
I had to actually dive back to my past and re-live those feelings in order to explain my thinking.
See, a lot of us focus on having a successful career, the one that ultimately brings enough money to realize the American dream which usually boils down to a house with a green lawn and a white (plastic?) fence and a (German?) luxury car with the ventilated leather seats.
But what if I tell you it’s just a clever fabrication with one goal in mind – to load you with a bunch of liabilities so you have to shut up and maintain your job in order to get by?
When you chase “The Dream”, you are motivated to get there, so you work hard, very hard. It’s like a light in the tunnel that keeps you going during the hard times. By design, it takes a lot of time and effort to get there but when you do (usually around mid-forties) you start to realize it’s nothing more than a beautiful lie.
I figured it’s there to “protect us” from thinking too much because when you start to think independently you start asking questions… You become a dangerous element, a weirdo that needs to be put back in place. Even your friends and relatives might stop treating you the same way because they are still running the race…
How do I know this?
See, through a combination of luck and hard work I was able to acquire both, a house and a luxury German car by the age of 30 and you know what I learned? Nobody cares, life still goes on, only now you have more bills to pay… and worst of all – you have to come up with the new dream!
That was part of the reason why a few years back I found myself completely de-motivated to do the work that I used to love. It just didn’t make sense any longer. I couldn’t wait till 5pm so I could escape, only that didn’t really help.
My American dream had a real price tag now and I had to keep trading my time for money in order to maintain my new status. I’m just glad that I didn’t bite something that I couldn’t chew, unlike one of my friends who bought a million dollar house in Brooklyn, leased a brand new luxury car and later sprinkled all of that with yet another acquisition – a vacation house few hours drive away.
Total success story on paper and a lot of stress and bills behind the scenes. Every day I see a lot of success stories like that, quietly hiding in their cubicles, playing corporate games in order to survive and unwilling to take any risks.
It seems like most people these days forget that the American dream is not only about possession and accumulation, but also about freedom and the pursuit of happiness.
That’s a new dream that keeps me going, that pushes me to the new heights. That’s why I dropped my old job, changed my lifestyle and adopted a new mindset.
I just knew that if I were simply to continue doing what the system wants me to do I, just like so many people out there, would become a slave unable (and unwilling) to stand up for what’s right.
All I really want is to take full control of my life, be financially free, be healthy and have a lot of energy every day, have a strong loving family, find like-minded people who share similar ideas, work on meaningful and impactful projects of my own choice and learn how to enjoy the life to the fullest.
Is that too much to ask?
That was the answer I gave to my brother and it’s the same one I share with you. Hope it makes sense. If it does, then feel free to Sign up to my newsletter (below) and stay tuned for more updates from my journey.