The world we live in right now is pretty bloody awesome if you look at it from the right angle. We’ve got so much technology, so many amazing tools, apps, platforms and more resources freely accessible than any generation before. There’s a wealth of exciting and innovative platforms available to be utilised – at often little to no cost – that enable us to take the thoughts, ideas and interests in our heads and do more than ever with them.
We live in a world that if you’ve got an idea, a message you want to tell people or you’re just something you’re passionate about, or maybe a product or service concept that you’re interested to do something with, these days is amazingly possible to go do something. Social media, the Internet, mobile technology and modern IT has made this wonderful planet we live on, amazingly small and connected in many ways.
Platforms like Shopify can help you turn that product concept into a scalable drop shipped offering in next to no time, turning that idea in your head into reality much easier than you’d think. Amazon, Etsy and Ebay are just a few of the big names that offer massive ecommerce platforms to help you create a storefront for you offerings with huge reach and efficient transactions. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat offer you enormously powerful ways to promote and engage an audience with next to no cost. And that’s just the tip of the technological iceberg!
The barriers to start a business, create a resource or a group, build a community, develop a website or whatever you’re passionate about and have the ability to share it with the entire world are surprisingly small – particularly if you compare them to 10, 20 or 50 years ago. Yet the vast majority of us won’t do any of that.
Despite having so many options available to us, so many different tools and mechanisms we can leverage, the overwhelming majority choose not to explore any of those things. Most of the population will enjoy a life of normality, of the 9-5, of a life of routine and regimented execution with a stifled ability to truly be ourselves or embrace what’s truly important to us.
When we’re little many of us are taught to go to school, work hard and revise our lesson content in order to get good grades. You then aim to get grades good enough to continue learning and spending time in formal education, pushing to get more trained in order to be able to apply for a job and work for a company of some kind, hopefully with the security of knowing you’ll get a regular salary each week or month.
We’re taught that if we work hard, spend tons of hours and dedicate ourselves enough in that job or role, we can get promoted or perhaps then be able to apply for a job somewhere else that might pay more money or give more benefits in return. If we keep going down this path for 50 years and of course have been able to save some of our pay check each month, we can “relax” and enjoy the rest of our lives as we want… but of course with 20% of the money we used to have when we were working 60 or 80 hour weeks.
Now I’m not for one minute saying that you shouldn’t dedicate part of your life to getting an education, nor that it lacks value. Although these days there are numerous other ways of accessing information, skills and development outside of conventional routes or traditional educational institutions that can return huge amounts of value and expertise… and can come at way lower financial cost.
I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t take a great job, work hard in it and strive to do the best you can and enjoy a long career if that’s what you want to do. To keep developing your skills and delivery and grow your career and role, earn more money and/ or get more rewards from it. All of that can create an awesome life if that’s what you want. However, dedicating a lifetime of work and graft to supporting someone else’s goals and aspirations isn’t the only route that’s open to you and even if you take that path, it doesn’t mean that all others are closed or that you should shut off other ideas or dreams.
And lastly, I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t save and account for retirement at the end of the day and that you shouldn’t plan for what comes down the road. But surely it’s worth thinking that perhaps life doesn’t have to be a mad race to save and cut things short along the way in order to purely get by at the end of it. Quite the opposite in fact – but you can potentially enjoy both the journey as well as the destination you’re travelling towards if you don’t blindly walk down the road and hope to bump into it at the end.
But if there’s even a little bit of you that wants to get just a bit more out of life or likes the idea of doing something just because it’s important to you – not necessarily to anyone else – then we’re truly lucky to live in a world full of tools that can help you explore that! You owe it to yourself to give it some time and attention, even on top of the job, family, social life and cat.
If you can create an extra stream of income, even something relatively small, you’ll be amazed at what it can add up to over time. Find another £200 a month; throw that into a stocks & shares ISA and earning 5% with the job of compound interest, that’ll give you back another £100,000+ in 25 years…. Not bad just for a small side hustle right?
I truly believe that life doesn’t have to be purely linear journey or built on a predetermined route that we all follow continuously without options; often to the detriment of what’s important to us or what we’re truly passionate about. Whilst there are of course barriers that get in the way of some of the things we might to do, or the ideas we want to explore, that absolutely shouldn’t mean we don’t find a way to try.
If someone told you that you had 2 options to drive to a destination that both take the same time and the same fuel consumption to reach, which would you choose? Option 1: The motorway… the straight road that allows you to stare straight ahead until you reach your destination at the end. Or option 2: the country road… the road that winds gently through beautiful fields and valleys, past stunning views and exhilarating landscapes. Which would you want?
On average most people spend anywhere between 90,000 and 100,000 hours during our lifetime “working”. Now that’s a seriously long time if you’re doing it purely for the purposes of trying to earn enough just exist or support a family along the way and then retire at the end of it. That’s a whole lot of time and investment done if only a portion of those hours are invested into something you really care about, that motivates you and drives you. Even if you’re earning a great income, how much of that life have you been lucky enough to spend on tasks you care about or that really motivate and pump you up?
18 months ago I came across a book – Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki – and something in the content got me to look at the world just a fraction differently. Quite simply put, for some reason or another, it got me excited about parts of life and ways of looking at it there were outside of the more traditional perspective I’d always had. I went from reading that book (3 times in a couple of weeks) to reading and listening to another 50 or so other books on a ton of different subjects – and loving every bit of them. Admittedly I think I may have now turned myself into an Audible junkie.
I went from purely looking at this 1 dimensional view of how life was going to be, how it was all a straight road ahead with bumps along the way. Now not only have I started to see that there’s a bunch of routes that can be taken but there’s actually a number of different destinations/ goals to work towards – and that’s seriously exciting!
Now the point of this post wasn’t to infer for even one minute that any way of living life that you might have taken is wrong or that I’ve found the best way to approach things – I certainly haven’t, although I’m seriously loving exploring the other options out there, on top of the awesome corporate job I do and still love doing for the 9-5. But what I can absolutely confirm is that the world becomes really interesting when you start to think (sorry for the choice of phrasing) a little more outside the box.
I started with a few projects and ended up turning that into writing an entire full length book on marketing advice and strategy for small businesses (no plug I promise!) and I definitely didn’t think I had that in me. What changed? Well, I just sort of tried! No it’s not perfect I’m sure, but I was amazed by what could get done when I just starting to look at the world outside of the box that we all sometimes exist in.
Even if you don’t have aspirations to setup your own business, write a book go and create your own venture, or whatever else, there’s so many ways of evolving your life outside of the linear routes so many of us take. Just go and dip your toe in the water of whatever metaphorical pond that gets you excited or interested. Go do something with that bit of you that lights a spark inside you when you think about it. Quite honestly, what have you got to lose by trying and there’s so very much to gain by just trying.
We’ve all got at least 1 thing that when we think or talk about it, or when we are able to spend time doing it, makes us feel pumped up or enthused and excited. So go do something with that – whether it’s for 10 minutes, an hour or a dozen hours each week, just go and try something. Find that thing beyond the routine 9-5 and explore what you can do to make it a bigger part of your life – who knows, you may find that passion or interest can change your life for the better!
If you love dogs, then why not setup a blog talking about all things dog related. Maybe add a Facebook group or a video blog. Perhaps you’ve got an idea for a t-shirt or clothing design = you’d be amazed how easy it can be to have it produced and drop shipped straight from a simple e-commerce page that takes little time to setup as a start. Or perhaps you’re passionate about a specific charitable area or supporting a community… then start a website, a coffee morning or whatever you feel works.
It really doesn’t matter if you’ve figured out each and every detail or the end goal from it all, but what does is the desire and mindset of taking a chance and having a go. You may find that after you’ve started on one thing, that it spirals off into something completely different (which I know it did for me) and personally, I think that’s pretty exciting.
The bottom line is just have a go. Find what truly excites you or interests you and use the amazing wealth of technology, connectivity and media we’ve got access to these days and put the passion to work. Don’t be afraid to fail or get it wrong the first time as the chances are you’re probably pretty likely to not get it quite right.
Failing can be a great way of finding the right way to do things or the one that really makes a difference the next time around. Whatever it is, in the paraphrased words of Nike, just do it.