The other day I found an email my father sent to a friend who works in a big company, which said somewhere “anytime my son visits me, instead of bringing the good news that he finally has a job, he brings a new girlfriend instead”.
When I read this, I had a mixture of different feelings. But there was one that hit more than all the others: and that was a certain kind of anger and rage which suddenly grew within me.
First of all, it is important to highlight that the gap between our and our parents’ generation is huge and that their limiting beliefs are staggering — still, who can blame them? If going to the university, to degree with excellence and to find a stable job for life was all they ever experienced, then that is the only reality they have ever known.
But the world has changed. And also the number of people studying, going to the university and finding that “dream job”. And what before was almost an absolute truth, is nowadays an uncertainty, where millions put their life-finances in risk to guarantee a future that may never come.
That’s why there are so many minds aimlessly wondering what hell they want from life, since they end up usually in jobs they really despise and being paid way below what their degree promised many years before.
It is also the reason why some (many?) millennials are becoming aware of this fact and trying their own way of achieving things. To become self-made, the writers of their own story.
Most of them fail, but the ones who succeed don’t hesitate in announce it out loud, filling their social media with pictures of super cars and paradise-like beaches while keeping the other “failures” dreaming about reaching that same status one day.
And so the world is nowadays a strange mixture, where older generations see a job as the only sustainable solution, and the newer ones the online hustling as the only possible (and also fun and adventurous) way to reach freedom.
Well, like everything in life, the reality is not so black and white.
On one hand, I cannot lie: to have a job is still the safest and fastest way to secure your income. You may be lucky, very active or very good at what you do, and therefore make money on your own very easily but chances are, for most humans, this is everything but true.
So yes, sometimes to work for someone else is the only choice, at least until you guarantee that you have enough money — by working on your “side hustle” or becoming a professional in your extra activity — to pay your bills without having to put up with your boss every single day.
But there is a problem of following this path — and “what is supposed to be” in general. First, it sucks most of your time and energy. When you wake up early and come back home in the late afternoon, after working for someone else, you have basically wasted most of your day.
Sure, you may still hit the gym or attend your language course but, in case you want really want to work on something else, you will probably have neither the time nor the energy to do it properly (not an excuse, just stating facts).
More important, to have a job occupying about 2/3 (considering that you need to commute and also to have meals there) of your awake time basically limits, even hinders, your creativity, closing your brain to the possibility that there are alternative paths.
In the end, we are animals, and if we receive a certain type of stimulus for most of our day, then these thoughts will logically occupy most of our mind.
Furthermore, to follow rules, guidelines and orders, doing what others tell you to do (that’s basically what most of the jobs consist of) will make you much number and lazier than you think. And not only physically, but especially mentally.
So what to do?
As I have written in many of my articles, a man can only be truly fulfilled if he is the captain of his own ship. Sure, to have your own business or to be your own boss will also give you lots of headaches and problems, and suck up most of your time, but at least you will be doing because YOU believe in something which is YOURS.
To make and follow your own rules (ok, also the market and customers’ rules) is the ultimate sign of freedom. It is to choose a path of “uncertainty”, even when everybody else tells you otherwise. It is to defy the current state of things, to go against conventions and against what is supposed to be.
If we look at the big picture, it has never been easier to start something on your own. However, that also means that there is more competition than ever, which also makes success more difficult than ever to achieve.
Because everyone is trying that ultimate breath of freedom.
That’s also why, for our parents, it keeps making perfect sense to work for someone else, so that you can secure your bank account, your life and your future. Since they hear so many stories and read about so many cases of the ones who failed, in the end to have a job is the only viable option, right?
And not just in regard to business. The term and the act of failure is quite ingrained in our subconscious minds since the day we were born. When we see all those TV contests, being for singing, dancing or performing an art in general, and most people are sent home.
Either because they suck — most likely scenario — or simply because they haven’t become that good yet. And perhaps they never will, as they give up too easily and too early, also because nobody in their families support them (“come on, ditch that stupid idea of becoming a ballet dancer and just find a real job”).
In the end, everything they ever wanted slowly fades away, being put in some sort of back drawer inside their minds, which will sooner or later become forgotten and dusty.
So in case you want to pursue a path which, according to society, includes a lot of risk, then get ready to start a lonely journey. A journey where all the others will look at you and will, admittedly or not, expect you to fail.
Even if some are nice, support you and tell you to “just do it”, deep down they don’t actually believe you will ever be able to do it. Not because they are bad people, but because such a risky path has never worked for them, so the only reality they know as successful is the one of following other people’s rules.
So you will be left alone.
You will be put at stake on a game where everyone will be betting against your success.
Where everyone is waiting for you to fail, so that they can throw right on your face “See? I told you that crazy idea of yours would never work”.
But if you listen to them, you will prove them right.
That your dream to become a professional ballet dancer was just ridiculous.
That you could never earn a stable income working as a photographer freelancer.
That your idea of starting an online business was just totally out of touch with reality.
Look, you should never use what others tell you neither as a motivator to start nor as an excuse to stop. If there is something within you that is screaming to get out and, whatever you try, after months or even years, it keeps telling you the same, then go for it.
Forget what others say you and just trust your gut.
However, and because we are humans, sometimes our ego gets affected. Sometimes, what others tell us we can’t do may hit us like a ton of bricks.
Because if it is already too difficult to travel a path where most people fail and where our self-doubts and uncertainties show up at every corner, then to be constantly dragged down and discouraged by people close to us can be the last straw.
However, instead of entering into a negative spiral that will eventually make you giving up, just use that force.
Instead of ignoring their comments, magnify them in your head and imagine a future where you would be shutting up everybody by showing them how right you were.
Yes, I know, you should not bring your ego to the surface but hey, who cares? Now it is the time to use that for your own good.
So whenever they criticize you, convert that criticism into productive energy.
Anytime someone tells you to get real, just use that comment to imagine yourself already as an “independent” and that this reality is closer than everyone else thinks.
When somebody tells you that you don’t have what it takes, just go find the skills and the tools you need to get the job done.
Just give your best everyday, produce, work hard, believe in yourself and, above all, never lose that faith in you.
And even if you need to find a job again, simply because you could not pay your bills anymore, don’t see that as a defeat.
As long as you keep your goal well present in your mind and you work hard on it whenever you have “free time”, then there will be one day in the future where you will show them how they were all wrong — and how you had always been right from the beginning.
Yes, that point in time when you will JUST PROVE THEM WRONG.