As you might imagine, I didn’t start my “professional career” by helping people creating businesses. As so many others, I had a pretty standard life path until recently.
I have studied to be a good student, to enter a good university and, naturally, to find a good job – what I usually call the 3G-path.
So, I believe that if I had followed a standard life plan, in 10 or so years I could probably be a director at a multinational corporation, and, perhaps, at 65 I would be able to retire after some sound 40 years doing absolutely nothing for the whole society. I can also tell you that I’m pretty sure I’d feel miserable and empty for having wasted all my time just entertaining myself, as so many of us do every day.
But, fortunately, I had the help of some great authors who taught me that we shouldn’t easily accept to spend our time on earth as the society forces us to.
So, it all started back in 2013, when I began reading a lot of self-development materials and following guys like Simon Sinek, Jordan Belford, and Victor Cheng – curiously the latter advises people on corporate career strategy, but some of his best posts can be directed towards entrepreneurship as well.
These were virtually the first folks that had a major impact in my life in a personal growth perspective. They greatly helped me developing the following reasoning that I’m happy to share with you:
Look, let’s imagine you decide to take on a corporate career for your entire professional life, ok? Now, imagine that you, as so many others, at a certain point, become comfortable with the life you have – which is perfectly OK – and you start accepting as normal and standard spending 8 up to 10 hours per day in a job that doesn’t bring you any accomplishment. After all, 80% of people hate their job, why would you be any different, right?
Then, think about the fact that we’re always so anxious to get to Fridays! Oh, Fridays… Friday’s evening is definitely the best period of the week, am I wrong? And then Saturday is also great! But, after Sunday’s lunch, don’t we all begin feeling a little bit depressed?
Why does it happen?
Well, obviously, because you’re already anticipating the inevitable return to your job in the next morning!
I don’t want to scare you, but when you think carefully, this is what might happen to the vast majority of us:
For 40 years, you’ll feel miserable every Monday to Thursday because you’re working on something that doesn’t bring you any fulfillment. Secondly, after a certain point, if you have children, all your time will be spent taking care of them, attending to their needs and to their wants. There will definitely come the time in which all your “personal time” is spent on a wonderful Sunday’s afternoon nap. 😉
And, don’t get me wrong, I treasure a lot of things in life just like having children, but you must never forget that life’s really short and time flies! – I know how cliché this sounds, but we must start realizing that just because something sounds trivial, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a tremendous truth.
Besides, who knows if when we’re 65 years old we’ll still have a retirement plan? What we know is that each passing day, on the developed countries all around the world, there are more people dependent on the fewer that work and discount. So, imagine that you’ve been investing 50% of your time for 40 years in a retirement plan, and when you finally retire, the government cannot afford to sustain you anymore. What about that for a hardworking career?
In fact, I truly believe it is reasonable to estimate that we’ll need to continue working after retiring, in case we don’t build the systems during our professional life that will allow us to generate passive income.
Do you see where I’m going?
In this humble wake-up call, I’d like to wrap up just by sharing with you one of my dearest theories.
First of all, I definitely agree with Seth Godin. From the industrial revolution and the principles of scientific management that our whole society and education systems have been developing people to serve “the brains” of our society. Instead of training people to be creative, innovative and to build solutions, our education system, our parents and the whole society teach us, every day, the 3G-path. It’s like we’re all part of a sheep flock and we live on autopilot.
But times are changing. Today, given the globalization, the internet, and the technology evolution, the youngest generations already know that the same deferred life plan is coming to an end. There’s simply no reason for accepting a miserable and empty lifestyle for 40 years when people have access to the real stories of so many successful guys who managed to build a great life for themselves. And, besides, we used to depend on “gatekeepers” to authorize us to do certain things – like publishing a book, recording a soundtrack, starting a business, etc. – but even that is not the reality anymore. There are no more gatekeepers! Today, anyone of us can start his dream business in a matter of days and with virtually no investment.
While until 20 years ago it was still reasonably doubtful how to live a rich life – whatever this concept means to you – the fact is that nowadays we’ve all the information accessible, we can and we know absolutely everything! There are no more secrets, no more mystery hacks, no more miraculous shortcuts, we know them all!
At this stage of the human evolution, we aren’t looking for information anymore. We have all the information we need. Today, the big and most fundamental question is:
What will I do with the information that I have?
Because, you see, the difference now lies in those who take action versus those who remain unflappable. The ones that will make a difference and drive a better life will be those who are brave enough to go against the old and outdated life-plan, and that realize the biggest risk nowadays is precisely trying to avoid all risk.