Do you follow the masses or do you choose your own path?
Article by Wendy McCance
What if I was to tell you that you could be your own boss, make the amount of money that you wanted to make and work the hours, days and times you prefer? What if I was to tell you that you would never have to worry about someone firing you, laying you off or phasing out your job? What if you could work for as many years as you would like, doing what you love without fear of what growing older would do to your career?
Habits are formed and ways of looking at the world are established beginning from the age when you are first able to communicate. Family, friends, teachers, counselors, they all promote the same way of looking at adult life. Advice like, do well in school to succeed in life or it doesn’t matter if you like your job, hell that’s an added bonus if you are one of the lucky few. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if you like what you do, who you work with or the way a company treats their employees or customers. Your job is to get a paycheck so that you can support yourself. Your job is not to question anything else. Just do your job well, get a paycheck and pay your bills. That’s all you need to know. Looking for more is just a waste of your time.
You are taught to believe that dreams won’t make you any money and that it is just a worthless and time-consuming pursuit that will end with you in a worse spot than where you began. People who take chances and step outside of the norm are considered unreliable, dreamers, immature and reckless.
Times are changing, and it has taken companies who are laying off, outsourcing or phasing out jobs and cutting wages to an amount a person can’t live off of for many people to wake up out of this zombie state of mind. It is no harder to work for yourself, doing what you love as it is to drag yourself to that low-paying job you dread. Honestly, when you think about it, the effort each requires is somewhat equal. It’s the payoff in doing what interests you that is so unbalanced.
All of those years of voices telling you what you can and can’t do. All of that time spent hearing how outrageous it would be to actually pursue a dream. More people than ever before are no longer as frightened to tap into the unknown. I believe it is because we we found ourselves in some terrifying situations of lost jobs, lost homes and crumbling families that we can now look toward something we wish to do and feel more excitement than nervousness about the unknown we wish to embark on. Going after something you chose is so empowering. You are in control of your fate instead of outsiders.
If you want it, go get it. I would like nothing more than for each of my kids to shun college and embrace experience. Travel around, pick up jobs that are of interest, find out who you are before making the financial commitment of school. Life experiences are much more advantageous anyway. If my children all decide to be their own boss, go after the things in life that inspire and drive them to succeed, then I will feel that I contributed a great deal of healthy knowledge to their way of thinking and being.
I read an article recently that summed it all up in my mind. A man in his early 60’s worked at a job that didn’t pay a huge sum of money, but enough for him to live decently while young. He didn’t make enough to sock much money away for retirement and now that he was older had fears about how long the company would keep him and how his health would hold out if he needed to keep his job. This man didn’t really like his job, but instead felt grateful just to have a job…any job and years ago, just settled.
All I could think about was all the years this man wasted without much money, joy for what he did or any feelings of long term security. There was so very little reason for him to have stayed at the job he picked. He stayed because the unknown was too scary. He stayed because he lowered his expectations and settled.
What is it about people settling? You get one life. That’s it! Why not do all you can to make it the most thrilling life you will ever have? People settle when it comes to how much of an income they will make. They settle by giving up on a dream, staying with a person they don’t love, keeping friends that don’t make them happy. People settle and it’s sad. I would rather try and fail with an amazing story to tell and some incredible memories than to never have tried at all. Of course, I say this now after I spent over 30 years as someone who settled in almost every area of my life. It was the knowledge that I followed the rules of society but was still struck down by a bad marriage, toxic friends, loss of an unsatisfying job, loss of a home and so on. I followed the rules and then realized that in between all of that heartache I hadn’t lived much of a life. It was then that my world began to evolve. When I recognized that there was so much more and life could be so much better just by taking the reins and guiding the path you wished to be on.
These days I recognize that the naysayers are the ones who fear. They would never attempt to take a chance and can not understand when others go that route. It is too scary of a proposition and so they see people who don’t follow the traditional route as those who aren’t stable. Personally I see it as those who take a chance as highly intelligent, creative people who have a passion for leading the best life possible and who will risk it all financially, emotionally and at the risk of people turning away from them. As for the people who don’t get it, don’t worry about mourning them. They will be back around as you start to show signs of success. They are the ones who can’t support you emotionally while you do the hard work, but will be first in line when they see the payout from the blood, sweat and tears.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]
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I think many of us settle even though we don’t think we will
You could be right.
Hi Wendy -
Great post (as always). What caught my eye was when you mentioned how people are always telling us “your dreams won’t make you any money”. I had to smile. Back in 1996 I had a dream to write a book about how people could get frogs to come into their garden. People said “You’re actually expecting to sell a book about FROGS??” But I knew a guy who took spectacular frog photos, and lots of people (who I interviewed for the book) who were active in ‘frogscaping’, the art of encouraging native frog species to populate your garden (and breed in the carefully constructed frog pond you’d built there). Well, fast forward a year after the publication of my book “Attracting Frogs to Your Garden”, and it had sold over 20,000 copies, made me over $60,000 (net) in the first year (which I put toward paying off my mortgage), and I even got 15 minutes of fame on Australia’s main midday talk show to promote and talk about the book. I knew it would do well, but nobody else thought it would. So yes, ignoring the naysayers is, I have found, one of the crucial secrets to success in life - financial or otherwise.
Thanks for another insightful post!
author of The Freelance Writer’s Guide to Making Money on Constant-Content.com
Hi Kevin, loved your comment. You always have the best stories. Just think how different things could have been if you hadn’t believed in yourself. It’s like they say, “if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to?” It has to come from yourself and no one else.
Answer = Never