I’ll turn 30 this year and had to move back in with my mom. It’s been more than a year now that I don’t have a “proper” job anymore. Everything that’s usually left at the end of the month is a glimpse at a bank statement that shows less and less.
While my friends go on vacation all the time, buy new cars and spend money like crazy, I just sit in front of my laptop and work for approximately 70+ hours a week. All by myself.
Adding the countless hours that my projects keep my head busy thinking (consciously or unconsciously) it might be around 100+ hours. I never can get away from it all. It’s always there. It doesn’t matter where I’m at. It won’t go away.
Just a few weeks ago I was crunching the numbers on how much I made since I quit my job and stopped receiving paychecks at the end of the month. The result wasn’t very encouraging I have to admit.
The before tax amount I earned was less than 1/10 of the amount I would have earned if I stayed at my job. So I guess I could have worked for minimum vague, which would probably not have eaten me alive as much as the stuff that I do right now.
Just a few months ago I also lost my last tower of power. You would be right, if you’d say that I arrived at the other end of society, at least according to society’s conventions, not my conventions.
And all of this in spite of two university diplomas, countless internships and two longer stays abroad and so on and so forth.
But how did all of this happen? How could someone that had it all including a perfect CV struggle so much? The answer is actually quite simple.
I have chosen this path of my own free will. I quit my job and am ever since following my passion, or at least trying to find my true passion (blogging, writing, speaking, testing startup ideas, etc.). So I’m not complaining about my situation here.
Nevertheless, most of the things didn’t quite work out as I expected, or as I secretly hoped they would turn out. I was probably as much blinded by all the bling bling in the media as you were.
Stories and people talking about following your passion and so on. In the end everything will turn out just fine. That’s at least what I thought or imagined.
While writing this I had to think back at my favorite quote that I had posted on my Facebook profile round about 5 years ago. Back in the days it made me chuckle. It went something like this:
“We were all raised by the media making us want to believe that at some point in time we will all either be millionaires, moviestars or rockstars. But we won’t. That’s what we start to realize little by little. And then we are about to snap and go completely crazy.”
I guess it’s from the movie Fight Club. Astonishingly enough, I fell into the exact same trap that I was chuckling about and making fun of a few years ago. A trap I thought I would never ever walk into. I walked just right into it.
I was talking myself into becoming a rockstar. I was sure that one day I’ll magically become a rockstar. Others that are a lot less skilled and passionate than I am, have also done it somehow.
Unfortunately, reality will punch you right in your face when you start to realize that it’s not going to happen within the next few years or maybe never. The stuff you see on TV, read in the newspapers or on blogs usually looks like a total piece of cake.
But in reality it all comes down to rock-hard work, many years of struggling (in one way or the other) and it’s nothing for quitters. Crawling under your sheets back home and wait it all out is not going to work, buddy.
Since I started following my passion or at least trying to find it, I had to deal with failure more often than I had to within the last 29 years of my life. Whenever I thought “that’s it, the downward spiral is over”, another low came across. Quitting? Giving up? Not an option. You have to go on.
But why the hell am I telling you all of this? Because I’m a big fan of being honest about things. Not only to others but also to myself. I like telling the truth and I hate sugarcoating things. And that’s what most people out there will do.
Taking the decision to work on your own projects and following your passion and trying to make a living with it is probably the worst decision that young and inexperienced people can make.
You’ll have to go through a lot of shit, things you don’t want to be doing. Things you absolutely hate doing. And in a worst case scenario you’ll have to wait many years until you’re successful. You need to be ready to sacrifice a lot and you need to be able to get your damn ass out of your comfort zone all the time.
In a nutshell: you need to be aware of the fact that you’re going to trade your secure life against a life in insecurity, constant doubts and existential angst. And that’s something most of us would not feel very comfortable with.
I would probably have quit quite a while ago if I haven’t been through a similar situation in life already.
The time when I had to go to school and university.
I absolutely hated it. It didn’t make any sense to me and I thought that it was just plane annoying. But I didn’t quit, even though it was hard, sucking all the creativity out of me and it sometimes seemed totally pointless.
Ironically it was this experience that taught me how to get over a massive period of draught, doubts and countless ups and downs. It’s exactly this experience that now helps me not to quit, that keeps my engines running and makes me optimistic about the future.
To me it seems that university taught me probably some of the most important features in life, especially when you decided to take the rocky and exhausting path of following your passion. It taught me a hell lot about persistence, how to do stuff you don’t like, how to go through countless doubts and how to keep your inner engines running through numerous ups and downs.
It taught me all of these things that I would probably not have learned elsewhere, especially not if I would have started off following my passion right away and only did things that I love.
I would probably already have quit quite a while ago...
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