I spent years working with an incomplete view of success. Scaling the corporate ladder and building the next $1 billion business was the game plan. Over time, I got closer to achieving my goals, and that was the problem.
For years, I optimised my income without respect to my lifestyle. My work accommodated my life as opposed to the inverse:
I was juggling permanent work, startup life and 101 personal commitments. I was burning out, sacrificing too much - and it wasn’t worth it.
I'm 28, immensely well paid, but burnt out to the point of health implications. I knew I wasn’t satisfied with my current trajectory anymore, but I couldn’t put my finger on the source of my frustration. Reading books like The 4-Hour Workweek and Built To Sell helped me to ask better questions:
The freedom available via a lifestyle first approach is more holistic than work-life balance. You define your priorities and schedule - then you figure out how how to monetise it with minimal effort.
I decided to change tomorrow’s course by reassessing my priorities now - instead of riding yesterday’s momentum in the wrong direction. The design differs by person, but it optimises the process alongside the results. (Share this on Twitter)
The Japanese have a helpful concept called Ikigai ("a reason for being").
It argues that the most purposeful actions are enjoyable, helpful, skilful, and something we can monetise. Ikigai enhances our framework for assessing what we pursue.
Here are some objections that may make inaction attractive and the responses:
“I’m already too far down another path.”
This is sunk cost fallacy.
“If the recipe sucks, it doesn’t matter how good a cook you are… The consequences of bad decisions, do not get better with age." - Tim Ferriss
“This sounds way too risky.”
Most people will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. However, we can mitigate most risks once we’ve clearly defined them.
Additionally, they are usually less scary once you take them.
If we define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome,” inaction is the greatest risk of all. - Tim Ferriss
"Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action." Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
“If it were this easy, everyone would do it.”
The real problem isn’t the difficulty executing. The challenge is rejecting conventional wisdom and being different.
“Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn the respect and approval of our peers.” - James Clear
Even social media incentives the perception of success and happiness more than the reality itself. Fitting in is more important to us than we often care to admit.
“This is only good for those who can code.”
Not at all - this can work for anyone. If you need to build a product, validate the idea for free, then outsource the build or use solutions that don’t require any code (I will write on this soon).
Alternatively, I’ve seen plenty of successful information products (e.g. newsletters and ebooks) making in 6-7 figures in annual revenue.
I’ll aim to do Jack’s challenge over the next two weeks with a new product and get back to you with the progress. If you’re interested, join me - and let me know how you get on! You can also follow along my journey on Twitter!
Thanks for reading!