Whenever I write about age, people lose their minds.
It’s a touchy subject. None of us want to admit we’re getting old. Yet here I am with a severely damaged left angle, an injured calf, and arms that can’t lift the same anymore.
When I get out of bed my body resembles more and more a rusty old 1992 Toyota Camry. Things are breaking, and this is the time I need my body most to raise my daughter.
Recently I wrote on LinkedIn that you’re never too old to change careers.
It went semi-viral and sparked a great debate. A comment stuck out that I absolutely loved and it came from Al Anany. He said there’s a point in life where we become so old that we say “ahhh screw it” to most things.
Here’s what it means. It’ll help you live a better life and take risks.
It’s the mindset we can act despite fear
I’m always fearful.
Business is scary. Managing a 9 month old baby is scary. Getting married is scary. Facing a cancer diagnosis is scary. Doing job interviews is scary.
Heck, even boxer Mike Tyson says he used to cry before his amateur boxing matches because he was so damn nervous.
Fear is normal. It’s to be expected.
At age 32, I said to myself, “Screw it. Fear isn’t gonna run my life anymore.” Because, for the years prior, all fear did was stop me taking action. Eventually, once you dance with fear for long enough, you realize that most of what it tells you is bullsh*t.
Fears are delusions. Fears are worst-case scenarios that mostly never happen. And when the worst does occur, it’s often a blessing you needed more than anything.
I’ve learned fear is growth.
How much you progress in life comes down to how much you’re willing to feel fear and still take action anyway. Stop fearing fear so much. One day you won’t be alive to have the luxury of fear anymore.
Use fear or it will use you.
It’s the mindset that people will criticize us
People are going to hate you.
I have a few haters. They can’t even explain clearly why they hate me. They just don’t like me, likely, because some part of what I do agitates an insecurity they have that they’re not willing to face yet.
As I’ve got older I’ve realized I’m not doing anything important if I don’t rustle some feathers and piss a few people off.
You’re supposed to piss some people off. It’s normal so embrace it.
It’s the mindset that our comfort zone is a prison
Imposter syndrome is how we know we’re outside our comfort zone.
Whenever I’ve started a new job, I’ve always had a huge dose of imposter syndrome. When I transitioned from banking to technology, I felt it the most. Every week before the sales meeting I found myself sitting on the toilet 30 minutes before.
I felt like I couldn’t sell anything because I couldn’t code or explain “The Cloud” in any meaningful detail.
Oddly, I felt free.
Banking was piss-easy to me. I got bored. I knew too much. I could answer a customer’s question before they finished their sentence. I didn’t leave my career comfort zone because recruiters told me they didn’t want people to move from one industry to another.
It confused their recruitment software. The AI didn’t get it.
You can’t live your life based on someone else’s rules, though. At some point you’ve got to say screw it and make up new rules. So I did. I moved industries, worked a 4-day week, and started a side business when everyone told me it was a bad idea.
But screw it, I had nothing to lose.
You can either leave your comfort zone or drown in painful what-ifs. No one knows what will happen. If you escape your comfort zone you’ll likely become a different person. No one can predict the path you’ll take or what will happen — and that’s the whole point.
The unpredictable path is the way. It’s the one you least regret.
The screw-it way of life is one where you hope to have fewer regrets and lots of new experiences that create stories worth sharing and make you interesting.
It’s the mindset you’ll let people down
Yesterday I pissed off my SEO guy.
I kept him awake until after midnight to wait for me to send the 2-factor authentication code to him. I let down a customer today, too. I made them a promise and then forgot about it.
They got angry.
They publicly ridiculed me. What I did was an accident. I was in a remote location trying to switch off. No matter how smart or productive you are, if you’re doing things, stuff will blow up.
I expect blow-ups. You can’t deliver 100% on every promise no matter how hard you try. If you’re trying to help more and more people, then more and more things will break.
The solution is to say “screw it” and just fix the problem. Most people are forgiving, and those who aren’t should be deleted from your network.
Stop being afraid to let people down. You’re supposed to.
How to reach the “screw it” age faster
If you like to say screw it a lot like I do, one thing lets you say it more, faster. That thing is financial freedom.
When you don’t need money as bad as most people, you’re less afraid to make mistakes or upset others. You also have fewer people you have to keep happy and whose rules you must obey.
The main benefit of financial freedom: you can avoid people you don’t want to deal with. So much stress comes from just a few people — orangebook_
Figuring out financial freedom sooner is a must if you want to live a life of screw-its and build an F-off fund to bankroll your freedom.
The sooner we reach this “screw it” age, the better.
Life is too short to worry about every detail or to live in a cubicle and hide away from your potential. Experiment with the screw-it way of life today. You’ll be surprised how much life gets better when you do.
Mantra: “Screw it. Let’s f**k around and see what happens.”