Exactly one year ago on this day, March 31st, I decided to quit my well-paying job at a large IT research & advisory firm. I remember it vividly because I felt like shit — stuck in a life that I never wanted.
Having a job is like having a relationship. There are two camps of people.
People who say that Mr. Right doesn’t exist — there’s only Mr. Right Now.
And then there are the romantics who believe in true and unconditional love. Love where there is no hate involved— ever.
I’m number 2. I wasn’t really in love with my job. It was okay — she had good looks, took care of me, and made sure I wasn’t alone. So I said: Let’s give it a try.
But that wasn’t a good idea. My real love is entrepreneurship, but we broke up. After years of struggling as an entrepreneur and never finding my stride, I finally gave up in 2014 and got me a corporate job.
But that didn’t come easy. All my life I’ve been an entrepreneur. It all started when I was 13 years and sold bootleg CDs to my classmates. And in the years after that, I always had something to sell or a way to provide value.
But because I went to university and got a master’s degree in business, I felt some sort of pressure to get a “real” job. Also, I tried lots of things and mostly, I failed over and over again. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur or freelancer.
Even though entrepreneurship gets a lot of attention these days, the large majority of people are still employees. Not everyone is an entrepreneur, and second, a lot of people don’t even try because of dogma.
You have your shit together when you have a real job so you can get a mortgage and buy a house—plus all the other shenanigans people believe in like owning a station wagon and a labrador. That’s the definition of ‘success’ in most cultures—not a struggling entrepreneur, freelancer, or artist.
If you are self-employed, you know this question: “Are you doing that full time?” Idiots.
But the truth is that most people have jobs—so that’s the standard. Research shows that in 2015, 310 out of 100,000 adults started a new business each month.
That’s 0.31%! Don’t believe the hype that everyone is starting a business, or should.
I like how Gary Vaynerchuk talks about entrepreneurship. He believes that it’s in your DNA.
If you’re an entrepreneur, working for someone else is out of the question— it feels like someone’s suffocating you.
And that’s exactly how I felt.
So I made a decision that I’m never going to work for someone else again.
I wanted to break up with my safe and warm relationship and go back to the uncertainty.
But this time, I was determined to make it work as an entrepreneur — I’d saved up enough money to pay for my living expenses for at least a full year. That was enough for me to take the plunge and never look back.
That’s the decision that shapes my life from now on. One year later I can say that it wasn’t easy and that it took me four months to make some money, but I’m glad I made the decision.
Before ‘the decision’ I was aimless, living on autopilot, listening to other people. But now I know I have only one thing to do.
“Screw school. I’m a businessman.” — Gary Vaynerchuk
What’s the decision that changed your life? There’s a chance that you know what you have to do, but you’re putting it off (like I did for years). Or, maybe you don’t know what that is yet.
Society tends to focus on larger than life characters and worships them—they become the heroes of society. Compare the normal person’s life to Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and you come to the conclusion that you’re a nobody. That’s bullshit. You don’t have to change the world as historical figures have done.
For us, mortals, it’s more important to decide what our life is about. That can be anything.
Recently I ran into a girl who I went to school with. She said that she dedicated her life to her religion as a missionary. She made a conscious decision to do that. And she understands that it comes with sacrifices.
My mother decided to become the best mother possible when she got pregnant. That decision also came with sacrifices. And from personal experience, I can tell that she is the best mother possible.
I come across many people who don’t get this concept. When they hear things like life’s mission, passion, or whatever term that people like to use, they start thinking about those ‘heroes of society.’
We compare ourselves to them, and say: “That’s not me.”
It’s either that, or some of us think all of this ‘life-talk’ is nonsense (if that’s you, go back to watching Game of Thrones).
Think whatever you want — here’s a question for you: What are you?
I’m not talking about your job title. What’s your life about?
That’s an answer that most of us don’t have. We overcomplicated things. But it’s actually very simple.
If you don’t know; decide what you are.
Will Smith put it best:
“Just decide what it’s going to be, who you’re going to be, how you’re going to do it.”
Decide. Go out. Do it. And don’t look back.