When reality comes knocking
Today is my job anniversary, 22 years with the same company. Instead of getting a congratulatory letter, I got a P45 — the official document that states that my services are no longer required.
For those 22 years, I’ve been receiving a regular paycheck that allowed me to live without luxuries but comfortably.
Now all that is gone.
It’s scary. I see the situation around me, people are losing their jobs, the economy is in dire straits and big black clouds appear on the horizon.
I’ve even seen colleagues talking about suicide on social media. I’m pretty sure this crisis is going to kill more people than the virus.
I should be panicking.
But I’m not.
For most of my adult life I’ve had a cozy job in a big corporation and now that security net has been pulled out from under my feet. But, to my surprise:
I’m actually excited!
The thing is, although I enjoyed my job and was comfortable, deep down I knew it wasn’t my thing. I never felt passionate about it and, in the back of my mind, there was this nagging feeling that I was selling myself short, that I could do better.
So, why didn’t I leave before? Because…
A monthly salary is addictive
Once you get used to a regular paycheck, you get into the trappings of modern life: a mortgage, a car, credit cards, debt, etc…
All that, nice as it is, makes you numb, makes you scared, and makes you lazy.
The comfort zone
We are all aware of how the comfort zone is a golden prison. It’s bad for your body, for your mind but, especially, for your soul.
It lures you into a place where you are not challenged anymore. Not only you lose skills and your edge, but also it makes you scared.
Fear can be paralyzing. You start imagining that the world out there is a jungle and you retrieve deeper into your cage.
Also, you lose confidence. Like a Lyon that’s lived in the zoo for too long, you don’t want to escape…even if the door is open. You doubt in your ability to kill what you eat. Like long term prisoners, you become institutionalized.
You know, deep down, that all that fear is just a mental construct, a narrative, a fiction, but still. It’s hard to overcome that little voice in your head that keeps telling you :”don’t do it” .
It’s scary, you are not good enough, you will fail.
So, yes that’s the reason I didn’t quit before: I lacked cojones.
I didn’t want to have regrets, to make a bad decision, to be a failure, to be irresponsible, and to disappoint those who rely on me.
I didn’t want to admit that I was a coward so I constructed a narrative to justify all the reasons why I shoudn’t/couldn’t quit
But that was bullshit.
We are all experts in lying to ourselves. Our brains are the perfect bullshitting machine.
We can rationalize everything: why we don’t exercise, why we smoke, why we drink, why we don’t take risks, etc. We create entire narratives around our fears and addictions so we can perpetuate our state of paralysis.
Your ego is your enemy
That little voice in your head that makes all the excuses is your ego.
Your ego is there to stop you from being yourself and reaching your potential. It’s there to sabotage you and ruin your life.
Every time you hear that voice instilling fear on you, you should do the opposite.
Any happy and successful person has managed to control its fears and quiet that voice.
Do you think Elon Musk is not scared shitless every day of his life?
He is constantly making decisions that affect millions of people and even the future of humankind. Deep down, he knows he is not better than the next person to lead the world.
There are much more intelligent, better prepared, with more knowledge and more money.
He listens to that voice in his head every day and every day he replies: Fuck it! Let’s do it.
The guy is trying to go to Mars! FFS!
Despite what his Ego says, that’ not stupid at all and he will eventually manage to achieve his dreams because he doesn’t listen to that voice.
So, when I finally got the letter I didn’t feel depressed or scared, I felt excited. Like if a heavyweight has been lifted from my shoulders.
Now I’m free! Finally!
Now I can do whatever I want, I don’t have to follow a schedule, I don’t have to wear a tie and I don’t have to follow rules.
I’ve been released into the wild. The Zoo’s door is wide open.
Yes, it’s scary. Yes, I have to sort out the money situation, but, I’ll figure that out. How? I don’t know yet but I know I will.
We all have skills, experience, contacts, and the internet. Nowadays you can learn anything for free in a short period of time and monetize your skill straight away. There are no excuses.
Despite what your ego says there has never been a better time to be alive. All the knowledge of the world is at your fingertips and with that, not only you can make money, but you can also make a fortune.
The how is not important
Every time we have an idea or a project we stop and ask ourselves: but, how can I pull this off?
I want to make more money, have more freedom, more control over my life, but how? And then, we shrug our shoulders and carry on watching Netflix and eating Doritos.
Never ask yourself how, instead ask yourself why.
When you drive at night, you only see 50 meters ahead and yet you are able to reach your destination safely.
You don’t need to have everything figured out, you just need to know what to do next.
When you know what the first step is, you do it and repeat the process until you get momentum. You don’t even need a destination, life is a journey with no visible end.
A journey of a thousand mile begins with a step
But that step better be in the right direction.
So, figure out what direction you want to go and start taking steps. The rest is just improvisation and play by ear. Planning is overrated.
So, What now?
First, I’m going to decide what I don’t want in my life. I’m going to use the Via Negativa approach: what you remove is more important than what you add.
This is what I don’t want:
- I don’t want a job
- I don’t want to be a wage slave
- I don’t want to spend time on activities I detest
- I don’t want to be tied to a location or to a schedule
- I don’t want to sell my time for money
- I don’t want to retire
How can I achieve that?
I don’t know, the how is not important, what’s important is the why
To achieve any of your goals, the biggest obstacle is not the economy, the competition, or your lack of experience.
The biggest obstacle is your mindset.
You are not where you want to be in life because you’ve been sabotaging yourself all along. The moment you realize that and stop the script, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Do you think I’m deluded? That I’m talking bullshit? Maybe you are right, but how did things work out for you with your mindset? Don’t you think it’s time to change it?
I’ve been a loser all my life, a coward and a dilettante but I’ve had enough.
My ego is dead and I’m going to start living my life on my own terms: without fear.
One day at a time, one step after another, and being content in the here and now, as opposed to some distant future.
“One day I will…” is the biggest dream killer.
When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. If you don’t like lemonade you sell it, and then, buy oranges.
You are probably in a similar predicament: No job, no prospects, no money. Life feels uncertain and scary but, be sure, that if you change your mindset you can achieve anything you want in life. Anything.
This is not just some Self-help BS. Look around, find people that you admire, they all everywhere. What do they do differently? Get inspired by them. Take action.
I’m going to do just that and in a few years, I’ll be better off than I’ve ever been. This dismissal will be a blessing in disguise and I’m going to make the most of it.
It is wishful thinking but wishful thinking is all I need.
If you want to follow my journey, get inspired, and start your own thing, join my email list and we’ll help each other in this wonderful adventure.