The life plan we follow is invisible to most of us.
This plan determines how we behave, what our goals are, who we spend time with, what work we’ll do, and how we’ll earn money.
So it’s pretty bloody important. The plan says we will make 6-figures and be ridiculously happy if we follow it. What you’re about to hear isn’t what you think. Let’s explore.
Go to college for 4 years
As you approach the end of high school, college becomes the focus. Career counselors hand you a shiny brochure. The campuses look gorgeous. They have a field track of dreams and plenty of basketball courts.
You’ve followed the rules all through high school. All the teachers who will give you pleasing references will now do so because you did what they said.
Now it’s time to study hard. Lock yourself in your dorm room and read all those books. Fill your mind with all of that information. Take detailed notes so you can recite them in exams.
Finish college with student debt
Congrats! You made it to the end of college. All those hours of study have been worth it. You can recite all sorts of quotes from academic books. College costs a lot of money but it’s no problem. All you need to do is get a job.
LinkedIn is the obvious choice to find one and start chipping away at the debt. The college degree gets you a few interviews, however, it doesn’t seem to impress the gatekeepers as much as you thought. The folks in the interview keep talking about experience. Internships don’t seem to hold much weight.
In each interview the company pitch you. They talk about nice offices, great coffee, cool projects, “innovation,” career development — all the good stuff.
Work 40+ hours per week in an office
Finally you are matched to a job. Yay! You start on Monday. The first few weeks are exciting. They go right through a detailed induction. The mission statement for the business is revealed. Customers and revenue are mentioned a lot. Doing good for the world appears to be a focus. Phewww.
Each day of the first few weeks starts out as 8-hours per day. All those job haters are wrong. It turns out you can work and have a life. Phewww.
After a month the hours slowly increase. More meetings are put in your diary. The number of emails from many different departments start to increase. You feel like you’re supposed to be everywhere at once. Thankfully when you’re busy, any disappointing thoughts about the job are forgotten.
After the first year at the job you’re exhausted. Holidays come around. Everyone asks you at Christmas how it’s going. “Ohhh fine.”
Deep in your stomach something feels unsettling.
Sit in traffic for 10+ hours per week
Now you’ve got some money coming in it’s time for a car. You borrow money to buy one to get to work.
The debt is added to your college debt. No problem though. You can always pay off debt. Everybody else seems to do it, don’t they?
The first few days driving to work are fine because you get up early. As the days progress you find yourself more tired and needing to sleep in. Leaving for work later means more traffic. Before you know it, you’re spending an hour getting to work a day and an hour coming home.
Achieve 6-figures and buy a house in the burbs
After many years in the workforce you finally achieve 6-figures. It’s a proud moment. You buy a nice watch or work bag to celebrate. Within a week the feeling passes. Everything has got more expensive. Your expenses have slowly risen over time. “That’s normal. Nothing to worry about.”
Now it’s time to get a house in the burbs to show family and friends, and everybody at work, that you’ve made it.
You go shopping and find a home. It’s not what you really want but it’s what you can afford. Nothing a few weekend renovations and hard work around the home can’t fix. You work during the week. Slowly your weekends turn into more work to maintain and repair the new home.
Now we know why the great resignation happened.
An upgrade for the out-of-date life plan
Society’s model for life is screwed.
We sign up to it unconsciously. I know I did. It’s not because we’re stupid. It’s just because we don’t know what’s coming. We have to live it to become convinced that it doesn’t work for us. Let’s rewrite the plan.
Avoid college debt at all costs
A college degree is supposed to have an ROI. For most it has none (with the obvious exception of doctors, lawyers, engineers, astronauts, etc).
Instead of giving 6-figures of money to a college business, we need to consider what else it can buy us.
- Paid access to niche experts who have “done the thing”
- Financial assets that generate a return
- Less stress due to less debt
A degree gets you access to play by someone else’s rules. What if you could make up the rules as you go along? You can. I present: WIFI.
Learn WIFI skills
The internet has changed the skillsets we need. WIFI skills help you earn money online. For some that can be a full-time living. For others it may not.
Regardless, WIFI skills become the seeds of new ideas that lead to new opportunities. Learn to code online. Learn marketing. Learn how to build a small audience around an idea. Understand how to leverage other people’s assets by becoming a partner or affiliate.
Make internet money
Maybe not enough to retire. But enough money to broaden your thinking.
A salary isn’t the only way to get paid.
The role of an employer is to pay you the lowest amount of money possible so they can maximize their profits and increase the value of their stock.
Once you understand this, your views on getting paid change. Again, it doesn’t mean you never earn a salary. It just means you consider multiple income sources where one of them is money from the internet.
Create an after hours project
Call it a side hustle. Call it a hobby. Whatever. An after hours project is simply an insurance policy or a Plan B in case, like me, you discover the 9–5 life is a nightmare that steals your precious time.
Search for autonomy
2020 showed us what we desperately want: autonomy.
We don’t want to work under watchful eyes. We’re happy to go to a central place to socialize, connect, and have necessary meetings. However, we don’t want to be stuck there all day. It’s too inconvenient. It doesn’t make sense anymore and there’s no going back to it. A hybrid model is inevitable.
It comes down to trust. We want to be trusted to do the work. We want to be measured based on outcomes in life, not simply showing up to sit in an office chair, leaving us sedentary and causing many health problems as a result.
Autonomy gives you time to think, time to be by yourself, time to focus.
Choose work that taps into your creativity
A lot of traditional work lacks creativity. There’s no purpose in it. This can be altered. The work we do can be linked to human outcomes when a little reorganizing occurs.
Without unlocking your creativity it’s easy to feel dead inside.
See luxury for what it is
The cost of all this luxury is devastating — you pay for it with your autonomy, creativity, drive, and yearning to grow. — Shivendra Misra
Luxuries are just a way to extract money from your wallet. This causes you to work longer and harder than required. Most of what you want to buy is bullsh*t. Businesses simply have a clever way of programming you to think you need all of this stuff. No matter how bulletproof from marketing you are, it’s hard to protect your mind.
Businesses even use your friends and family now to slowly plant their products and services into your mind. Until you reject luxury you’ll have a lot less money.
Less money equals less time.
Take your sweet ass time
Time is the ultimate reward life gives us. When you rethink the default life plan given to you, according to society, it all boils down to time.
There is no better life than one where you can take your sweet ass time, rather than be busy every day and completely unconscious of all earth offers us before we die and get buried in its soil. Quit the debt slave life.
Rig life in your favor. Find a way to get your time back.