Are You Selling Yourself Short? I Think I Am.
I live in a beautiful house surrounded by trees. It’s peaceful here. I wake up and go to sleep when I want. I feel full and alive. I can feel myself expanding in ways that I never would have imagined.
I thought this was going to be enough. That building a quiet life where I can do whatever I want would be enough. That having millions of dollars in the bank would be enough. That teaching others about money and writing an international bestselling book would be enough.
But lately, I’m starting to wonder for the first time if I’m selling myself short. If I’m settling. I wonder if I’m wasting my gift. Or worse: wasting my time.
I’m only 36 years old and I’ve accomplished all of my goals. Every single one. I feel like I’ve already done everything I’ve ever wanted to do or ever could imagine doing. This makes me both grateful and scared. It’s a shaky place to be.
One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that it’s forced many of us to question whether the life we’ve been living is the one we want to keep living. Like so many others, I’m questioning my own life. As a society, we’re not only waking up, we’re taking action. Just look at the data.
In April over 4 million people quit their jobs and in May over 3.6 million people quit, no longer willing to settle for a mediocre life. This doesn’t surprise me since most jobs are bullshit jobs. Bullshit jobs are jobs you don’t care about, jobs you just do for a paycheck. The jobs where you hope the day passes as quickly as possible. The jobs where you live for the weekend.
Bullshit jobs have consequences. They make people sad. They’re easy to get, but once you’ve got one you’ll spend most of your time trying not to lose it. It’s easy in life to tread water and coast. It’s even easier in a large company where layers and layers of people are simply there to support layers and layers of people.
If you love your job and your life, then you’re one of the lucky ones. Most people don’t. According to Gallup’s State of The Workplace Report, 85% of Americans are extremely disengaged at work and 81% are actively looking for new jobs. Most people have bullshit jobs.
But thankfully, people are quitting to find a job that fulfills them (one that makes more money, or has more flexibility) or to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Over 5 million new companies were created last year. Five million. It’s never been easier in history to launch your own business and make money on your own terms.
It’s easy to hide in your life. I see this over and over. Someone reaches out to me and says they feel stuck. I write back and let them know that they need to trust their intuition—that if they feel stuck, then they probably are. That they’re probably overthinking things. That they have an irrational level of fear.
I can say this because I used to be there. I’ve been stuck many times. It took me a long time to move beyond my thinking and start trusting my intuition. The more I’ve trusted it, the more it’s grown. The more it’s given me. Now it’s telling me that I’m thinking too small. I’m trying to pay attention. Trying to figure it out.
I’ve found that the tighter I try to hold onto who I used to be, the more unhappy I get. The more interviews I do as “Grant, the millennial millionaire,” the harder this is to do. Sure, I can wade in and out of that guy. I know all the phrases that make journalists go, “Oh wow, tell me more!” I can perform. But I’m no longer that guy in my heart. I haven’t been for a while.
I don’t even recognize the guy who wrote Financial Freedom. He feels like a distant memory. Last week someone sent me an article I’d written three years ago and I didn’t recognize my words. The reason’s simple: it’s no longer me. This is a good thing. It means I’m growing. It means I’m letting go.
But I too, feel the beat of uncertainty that measures all of our lives. The fragility of being. The oneness of everything. Many afternoons I fade into my backyard. I lose track of the days. I used to laugh when I didn’t know what day it was, but lately, the days have been passing a little too fast. I wonder if I’m letting the wind carry me aimlessly. If instead of trusting my intuition, I wonder if I’m drifting.
Drift is the status quo. Drift is a bullshit job. It’s when low expectations turn into no expectations. It’s when you settle because you don’t really know what else you want to do. It’s when it’s easier to do nothing than to think of something to do. It’s when you coast on your early successes or your investments because they keep compounding.
When you’re successful, people tell you to keep doing what you’re doing. Capitalism runs on efficiency—of thought, of action, and creating expected results. Build a model and repeat. Get more profit out of it. Get more profit out of people. Repeat. Grow.
This is how businesses get ahead of themselves and start moving slowly. It’s how lives get jam-packed and people get stuck. It’s how life gets boring real quick. It’s how a job you once loved becomes a bullshit job.
I’ve never wanted to be a billionaire. I’ve never wanted to run a big company. I’ve never wanted to travel to all the countries in the world, climb Mt. Everest, or run a marathon. I’ve never wanted to be a great chef or drummer or poker player.
I just wanted to be free. That was it.
Somehow, financial independence became a bullshit job. I’m starting to feel like it’s not enough. Like I’m thinking too small. Like I should double down on my strengths. Like I should take more risks. Like I should stop wasting time. Like I should be making a bigger impact. Like I should expand my definition of “enough.” Like I should quit my bullshit job.
Are you selling yourself short? I think I am.
What I’m Reading:
“The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns by Mohnish Pabrai”
“A Still Forest Pool: Insight Meditation of Achaan Chah” This is a wonderful book I read a few months ago but keep returning to often. There are short meditations on life and the mind.
“Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber” This book will make you sad and hopefully inspire you at the same time.
What I’m Listening To:
“Perspective EP by Rezident. I’m loving this meditative German music. I put it on when I write.
Quote I’m Thinking About:
Forget the rules.
– Lao Tzu