The Tortoise (who wants to be a Hare)
You’ve got a job that pays the bills, but you’re not passionate about it. You work 9 till 6, most of which is spent watching the clock waiting for the time when its culturally acceptable to pack up and head home. When that time comes, you hop on the train home, sandwiched between the train doors and a man who’s just been to the gym and didn’t bother to shower……
After an hours commute home, you cook yourself dinner, and catch up with your house mates. By this time it’s 9, which is when you can start studying what you’re really passionate about. Maybe it’s web development, knitting, interior design, freelance social media management, anything.
The problem is you’re exhausted. You’ve spent 11 hours living for someone else’s dream so you can live two hours of your own. You tell yourself that if you keep chipping away at your passion, one day you’ll have learnt enough to transition into a career that’ll make you excited to wake up in the morning.
Unfortunately progress is slow, some nights you’re just too exhausted to do anything, others you’ve got an event to attend, or a hot date. Before you know it, a week has past since you did anything productive. This is too hard. Maybe your job isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you’ll just join the 80% of people who don’t like their jobs, for the rest of your life. No one will blame you for that. No one.... except yourself.
You wish there was a way to fast track your learning without forking out the price of a car for a Masters’ degree to do it.
You’re a disciple of Tim Ferriss. You’ve read all his books and listen to every podcast. You follow Gary Vaynerchuk religiously, but he’s sick of you. Leave him alone. You think James Altucher is brilliant. You find his outlook on society and the future both familiar and scary.
You want more than anything to be the master of your own destiny. To do exactly what you want every day. Bob Dylan’s quote is your definition of success.
“A man is a success in life if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants” — Bob Dylan
You thought that playing by the rules was the key to that success. You achieved the best grades throughout your education. You worked hard and did as you were told because that’s what you’re supposed to do. You went into Investment Banking, Asset Management, or Management Consulting and you earn more than all of your friends from school and university. You’re great at your job and you’ve had a couple of promotions, but with these comes longer hours.
You’ve got an idea for a business and you’ve been trying to work on it in your spare time. Problem is in your industry spare time is a luxury that is in short supply. You’re usually working twelve hours a day and often have to go into the office on weekends.
So you sacrifice your social life to try and work on the idea. Gary told you to work in your evenings through to the small hours to make your dream a reality. You try it but you get depressed because you haven’t seen your friends for three weeks and now you can’t work effectively at your job or on your idea because you’re exhausted from having 4 hours sleep every night.
You don’t like Gary’s advice. This is not going to work. You keep making mistakes at the office because you’re so tired and your mind is elsewhere. You’re burning out. You need a break, some vitamin D and perhaps, if you’re feeling brave, you need to burn some boats to make your business idea a reality.
Gap Year (post-uni)
University is over! You’ve spent the last 3 months in utter disbelief and pure fear that supposedly your future success and happiness depends on your performance in this final set of exams.
But you made it, and now you don’t know what to do with yourself. You’re told to start applying for jobs but which ones? You chose a Sociology degree because it sounded interesting when you were sixteen and the entry requirements were lowest at your chosen university. After 4 years of study, as interesting as it was, you don’t think that a career as a sociologist is for you. You need to buy yourself some time to think about what it is that you really want to do for the rest of your life. You figure that taking the first job available is dangerous. First it’s just a job to earn some money for the weekends, next thing you know five years have flown by and you’re still there.
So what will you do? A lot of your friends are talking about travelling, they’ve all accumulated a little nest egg and they’re going to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia for three months. You’ve looked at some travel vloggers on YouTube and it looks like they’ll have more fun than you’ve ever had in your life, all packed into 3 months. You’ve also seen friends leave and return from such trips. The travel vlogs are right, they did have an amazing time. But are they any closer to knowing what they want to do with their lives? No they’re not. All they seem to have done is postpone the decision. They’ll take the first job available, because now they’ve run out of money. They said they’ll just earn enough money to go travelling again, next thing they know five years have flown by and they’re still there.
But travel does sound appealing, you just wish it could be more constructive to your future, rather than being that time when you spent three months getting drunk and kissing strangers on exotic beaches.
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