Why Dreams Die Young

 

I remember back in the day when I was a 22 year old child and had all the answers to life.

I had never worked a day in my life but I excelled at everything I did at the point, which wasn’t much but still.

I thought I knew everything and I would preach to others what they should do. Looking back I was like 95% right about everything but 5% wrong is still 5% wrong.

Now that I’m much older and working a job that I don’t excel at. A job which destroys my confidence and self esteem on a daily basis, I don’t feel like I’m in any place to advise people on what to do anymore.

All this means is my essays are no longer how to do things, but rather just reflection pieces.

Going back to my school days, all my peers used to talk about their big dreams and how they were going to take over the world one day. Like typical and naive university students would.

I was no different at the time. I told everyone close to me about my goals and ambitions. Just like everyone else.

But here’s the thing that got me. We were probably no different than all others who graduated before us. Thousands of alumni who graduated with the same goals and aspirations but 10 years weren’t doing jack shit.

I’d be foolish to think that I was going to be different just because.

Obviously there had to be a trap somewhere that people overlooked which prevented them from reaching their goals and ambitions while the ones who avoided the trap got what they wanted from life.

Being the resourceful man that I am, I did my research to find out what these traps could potentially be and wrote about it.

I already knew that working 9 – 5 would literally mean an early death for me so I knew couldn’t go down that pathway so in retrospect the choice was easy for me.

I literally had no choice but to figure it out.

I went to my first job knowing that I wouldn’t be working this job for long. It was painfully obvious that I wasn’t a company man and I was dead set on leaving that job as soon as I started it.

I was constantly looking for other options and reading and learning about all the possible obstacles that I’ll encounter.

It was way too easy to get stuck in a routine. I was making too much money doing way too little work and my life looked completely planned out.

The way things are designed, it’s so easy to lose your drive.

At this time I saw my peers (I don’t consider them peers anymore obviously), all those bright eyed bushy tailed “Future CEOs” with big dreams, slowly getting comfortable in their grown up roles in life.

As the years went by, their dreams got smaller.

Before we talked about how we were going usurp our respective companies executives or start our own companies to talking about trivial perks like who get’s more vacation time.

Year by year, I could see everyone becoming more and more comfortable and content with their jobs and salaries.

Celebrating buying their first 1750 square foot prepackaged and basic house that was indistinguishable from every other house on the street.

Or talking about how they bought a Toyota fucking Yaris and what a prudent financial decision it was.

Now the bar has been set so low that people are just happy to have a job.

Honestly, at the same time I don’t really blame them. It’s just so easy to get trapped and to do what you think are all the right moves because that’s “just the way it’s done.”

It’s turned the biggest talkers from my university into a bunch of mutes.

In reality though I’m not really surprised anyways.

I don’t want to understate how alluring these trappings of life are. It’s really, really easy to fall into a rut.

The story almost exclusively goes like this:

  1. You graduate from school all excited to take on the world.
  2. Get your first job at big corporation with a relatively fat paycheck, great benefits and shares.
  3. Everything is new and exciting at the start and you want to start moving up in the company.
  4. You’re feeling rich with all the money you’re making which is a lot more than the $0 an hour you made during school
  5. You have a career path planned out and start working on it
  6. You buy your first car. You’ve got student loans so you take out a car loan.
  7. You buy your first house; usually a downtown condo or a house in a plain suburban neighbourhood
  8. Your job now becomes more routine and you’re getting bored
  9. You start looking elsewhere but at the same time you realize you’re trapped because the bills aren’t going to pay themselves
  10. You start to learn that this is a pretty boring and mundane life but you try rationalize to yourself that it’s fine. It’ll all be okay so you do nothing about it
  11. Time flies and before you know it you have 3 – 4 years under your belt in a job you’re starting to kinda hate your job and your coworkers are actually boring AF.
  12. You keep rationalizing to yourself that it’s fine and you’ll eventually figure it out. Plus having money to buy drinks on weekends is awesome
  13. You find a new love interest in the mean time to keep you busy and distracted from your shitty job
  14. You get overlooked for a promotion
  15. Now you’re like enough is enough, I have to make a change. But now the economy just hit the shitter so times are tough. Plus the bills aren’t going to pay themselves so you stay at this soul destroying job
  16. Your love interest that was distracting you before is now just a normal part of your life. You got lazy there too.
  17. Now you have kids and now you’re fucked and it’s over.

All in all, I’m willing to bet that story plays out 95% of the time and it’s pretty easy to see why people lose their drive and big dreams. There’s a few that get lucky enough to make a change before it’s too late but the odds are against you.

I remember my boss once told me that he was surprised that 3 years into my job I still had the same energy and tenacity that I had when I first started working there and told everyone about my big ideas.

That partially has something to do with my personality traits of stupid persistence, unfounded confidence and immunity to rejection combined with a little bit of resiliency. These are all genetic traits mostly so I don’t take much credit for it.

On the other hand, the things I can take credit for is generally avoiding most of the traps I mentioned above.

  1. My ability to budget my money is unparalleled.
  2. I didn’t fall into the trap of moving out and start being independent right away. I live the same life right now that I did when I was 16 years old.
  3. I didn’t put up with that 40 hour a week office job. This is partially luck though, but when I did get my job where I worked less than half the year, I didn’t waste time either.
  4. I learned to speak the language of money. I taught myself how money works and how to invest it. I also learned the power of self investment and spent tens of thousands of dollars on education outside of school.
  5. I don’t have anything holding me down. I don’t have bills to pay or much debt (I pay $110 a month for my car because I got a 0.99% credit card transfer). 
  6. I’ve also done a good job avoiding unhealthy and draining relationships which usually distract you or the very least slow you down.

All in all, the above can be boiled down to understanding the value of time and how short life is.

And the people who lose their zeal and ambition don’t understand that.

I understood when I graduated that life is short and you have to be able to make decisions quickly. I started with “entrepreneurship” part-time when I was 21 so I had somewhat of a real company by 26.

By staying put and get comfortable by letting life and others make decisions for you, it becomes that much harder to change

Now I’m not saying that I’m successful or doing anything right. I have a long way to go before I reach anything meaningful in life and on paper I have nothing to show.

All I’m saying is that I have nothing holding me back.

Remember – inertia is one hell of a drug.

Listen – it’s easy for me to write here and the point out the obvious.

It’s one thing to know that you have to get out of this cycle but it’s another to learn exactly how.

You’ve been doing this for so long it’s not exactly reasonable to expect to know how – someone has to teach you.

It’s why I started Arctic Venture – so you can learn exactly how to get out of this cycle before you’re stuck with 4 kids and a crazy spouse.

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