Note from Caleb: I recently received the below story from a reader and wanted to share it with you today. Here is what she said about her inspiration for writing it."I wrote it at work before I knew anything about blogging, twitter, Pocket Changed, Smart Passive Income, Think Traffic, etc. It was my breaking point. It just sort of hit me all at once and I just wrote.. .I don't regret leaving (my job) and I will never, ever do anything that makes me unhappy ever again. Then I wondered why I ever decided to do something that made me unhappy."
If you are drifting through life this might just be the wake-up call you need. It is a raw and eye-opening account of what people's lives have become.
This is a guest post by Elizabeth Seda of A Life on Your Terms.
The human being has been gaining more and more independence in body and mind since we figured that being bipedal would give us an advantage in the evolutionary hierarchy.
As a group of people we still have the same basic dependencies. As an individual we now have more choices about who, what, where, and how we want to be. These choices are only recently becoming clear to us, although they became available to us long ago.
Before the arrival of the big JC we functioned as a pack. In the same way that a pack of dogs would subconsciously set values and needs, our values and needs were set in relation to the pack. It’s important to realize that functioning in a pack does not necessarily mean that you mean goodwill to all of your species. Your actions are tied to your pack and only your pack. The survival of yourself and your family depended on your pack. Period.
When the big JC came and told us that all human packs were equal, we began to depend on each other, or ‘brother love’ for the maintenance of our life. Speaking in broadly general terms, we ceased being single nomadic packs and began forming the embryo of a civilization.
Empires were formed out of thousands of packs and pack leaders were weaned out based on the strength of their iron fist. In this way, civilizations began to depend on their emperor, directly or indirectly for the maintenance of their life.
We began working as a team, trading skill for skill, product for product (generally speaking). A boy born into a trade would not suddenly exclaim to his father “I don’t know dad. I don’t think being a blacksmith is for me.” If this were so, we would be living in a much different universe. In this stage, we began to depend directly on our neighbors for the maintenance of our life.
In More Recent Times
Fast forward a few dozen centuries of ideas, progress, and evolution, until we stumble upon the 1900’s. Opportunity and entrepreneurship became feats that anyone with the mind and will could reach.
Now fast forward to today, where anyone with an internet connection and a few hundred dollars in savings can create an empire using, as resources, the other empires that other penniless entrepreneurs developed. We have come close to full independence. We don't have to depend directly on anyone to sustain our life. Nearly anyone, from almost anywhere, can do just about anything they can think of with the right training and ½ the brain power of our predecessors.
Unfortunately, we have not made full use of our new opportunities. We've lived as pack and pack leader for so long that it has become instinctive to want to join an already well established pack.
We grow up surrounded by well-intentioned adults shepherding us into the path of the safe and certain. We aren’t forbidden to take the roads less traveled, but we are strongly advised against it. So, for fear of bankruptcy, homelessness, failure, and being disowned by our parents and society, we continue on the path of mediocrity.
We then spend the 8 years wasting our time studying and trying to find a 'good job', only to discover that, usually, working for someone is only marginally better than being homeless in Russia during the Red Revolution. In other words, we spend years fine tuning our skills so that we can offer them to the biggest and baddest pack that will take us. Rarely are we encouraged to form a pack of our own based on our own beliefs and live on our own terms.
In no time we find ourselves stripped of independence, questioning our basic principles, and denying ourselves any thoughts that stray from what seems to be reality and any actions that may be viewed upon as irresponsible, immature, or impractical.
Graduate to What?
Although we never allow ourselves to fully feel it, most of us know by the time we graduate college that we will eventually end up blissfully miserable. Our lives will consist of working mostly apathetically for a cause that we don’t believe in, for a boss we learn to hate, and expanding extraordinary amounts of energy trying to ‘beat the system.’ Yet for all the moaning we do about serving a corporate master, we let it happen. We gladly sold our soul for a place under the wing of a company guaranteeing safety, comfort, and an unlimited lifetime supply to worms (slimy yet satisfying!).
There are some of you fortunate enough to have gone through the vicious cycle and come out with a job you love. Good for you. You are the exception.
There are those of you who were able to escape the cycle. Again, good for you. This is me giving you a pat on the back. I admire your courage to take control and assume personal responsibility for your life.
Then there are those who will cry out in indignation ‘I am not a corporate Zombie! I am a realist. I have to put food on the table and I can’t afford to take risks! Everyone has to work for someone and no one likes it!’
I have a question for you: Do you really think it isn’t risky depending on the loyalty of your company for the livelihood of your family? What makes you think that you, as a human resource, are worth more than your salary, benefits, and perks when costs need cutting?
When it comes to comparing the risks between working for yourself, or working for someone else, they average out to be about equal. The risks in each situation are different, but the result is the same. Getting fired and failing at a business venture result in the same thing: unemployment. Why would you take such a risk by working at a job you hate?
Might as well take the same risk doing something you love.
There are those of you who recognize the feeling of living in the situation that seems like you are being pulled down into quicksand, and you find that escape only leads to a circle of fire. Paralyzed by the fear of being burned to death and the increasing force of the sand when you struggle, you stay still and complacent. You watch every inch of yourself disappear into the sand. Only when the sand reaches your chin do you question whether you’ve made the right choice.
By that time, it’s too late.
What are you waiting for?