The Surprisingly Common ‘Addiction’ That Is Probably Killing Your Ambition
As you get older do you ever feel that the real world has killed your ambitions and dreams from your younger days?
Last year I had a “30-Year-Old Life Crisis,” quit my six-figure job, and changed everything in my life. I was tired of trading my dreams away for annual raises and bonuses.
One day, bored at work, I had a life-changing epiphany. I had lost my X-factor, my drive.
Let me explain…
Looking back, I had an entrepreneurial edge from an early age.
At 11 years old, I was burning CDs for my friends and selling them for $3-$5 at school (back in the Napster days). Are you proud Gary Vee?
By the time I was 14, I was buying Lacoste t-shirts from China in bulk and selling them individually on eBay.
By age 16, I was buying and selling golf clubs on eBay from garage sales and people who didn’t know how to use the Internet yet.
And in college I really hustled. I worked with a friend who was a nightclub promoter to run party bus and nightclub events. I made a few hundred bucks and got to party for free.
Then, I graduated college, got a great job, and lost my hustle!
How come? Where did my hustle and entrepreneurial skills go?
I hadn’t even realized I had lost my drive until I stumbled upon a quote from Nassim Nicholas Taleb (author of The Black Swan) who said,
The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.
The Comfort Zone of Death
Yes, I had lost my hustle because I was beyond comfortable. I made good money, got raises annually, and forgot to set new goals each year. I was living in the comfort zone.
As Neale Donald Walsch said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
Every two weeks I had a good chunk of money direct deposited in my bank account and didn’t have a huge “need” to really hustle anymore. I was content with the money from one single source of income.
But after getting bored at work around the four-year mark and starting a personal finance blog, I realized that being fully dependent on my employer was a risky bet.
I thought, “What if something happens to my job or the tech company I work for? How would I continue to live?
Then I asked myself a tough question, “Am I settling for a career I never intended to, to a live a life that society told me to live?”
The answer: 100% yes. I knew I needed to change so I began working on side projects and started getting my hustle back.
If you’re feeling too complacent and dependent on your monthly salary use these tips to start building momentum in your life.
1. Quit Settling
It’s really hard not to settle once you are making good (or even decent) money at a job you don’t hate.
While a monthly salary might not be as addictive as heroin, I 100% agree that letting a salary control your life can kill your dreams.
A monthly salary can kill your creativity, make you a zombie for eight hours a day, and leave you completely unfulfilled.
I know so many people who are “stuck” in life because of their salary. They’ve created a life based around it and can’t leave unless they go somewhere with similar pay.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not hating on having a job. A job or career provides money, insurance benefits, and a lot of security for most people.
But when was the last time you felt really challenged after being at a company for a few years?
2. Do You Work For Money, Passion or a Combination of Both?
According to Forbes, 13% of workers are engaged by their jobs, 63% are not engaged, and 24% are actively disengaged (meaning they pretty much hate their jobs)
The main point? Most people aren’t engaged with the work that takes up 8-10 hours of their day. Which category are you in?
In my previous life, it was all about money, money, money. I always thought if I made more money I would be happier, which was true, to a point.
But one fear kept popping up over and over again when I pulled in to the office every morning. Luckily, this fear made me wake up and look at life differently.
The fear was simple and I bet you’ve thought the same thing before: What if I ended up sitting at a desk doing something I didn’t care about for the rest of my life? What if I was too big of a coward to not go after my passions and dreams?
That fear, or nightmare at times, was the reason I ultimately quit the corporate world for the unknown of professional golf and entrepreneurship.
I was on track to make well over $100,000 but for the first time in my professional career but I made a choice to ignore the money. But as Tony Robbins said,
Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.
While my younger self would be appalled at walking away from that kind of money, I knew it was the only way to start creating a life I loved.
3. Explore Your Passions Before Making the Leap
If you’re fulfilled, like going to work, enjoy your co-workers and have your finances in order, well, congrats. I am super happy for you. Very few people do what they love or even like what they are doing.
While I’m not advocating quitting like I did, if you are feeling the fear, I recommend you start getting out of your comfort zone more frequently. Take advantage of your salary to spend time outside of work trying new ideas and heavily investing in yourself.
Whether it’s starting a podcast, building an online store, creating a YouTube channel, or publishing your first book. If you have a consistent salary you can afford to spend money and take some risks.
Once you decide what hustle, project, or investment in yourself you want to make I recommend setting a goal to stay consistent.
Simply put, don’t let your day job kill your dreams.
All of these new ideas will get you closer to finding work you actually love to do and probably increase your happiness dramatically.
If you’ve noticed your hustle, entrepreneurial edge or whatever you call it has faded it might be time to evaluate what you are doing. Don’t keep accepting raises to stay at a job you don’t love.
Life is too short to be miserable. Get comfortable in your own skin, make a plan, execute it, and make your life happen.
Don’t chase the paper, chase your dreams!