Let’s follow a traditional path, shall we? If we were to follow the basic guidelines set out by modern society, the idea is that you’re supposed to go to school and get good grades. (Let’s ignore the challenges of student loan debt for the purposes of this mental journey.) When you graduate with that precious piece of paper in hand, you’re supposed to get yourself an entry-level position somewhere that’s somewhat related to your schooling.
The exact job itself and the responsibilities you take on might not be exactly what you wanted, but this is a stepping stone. It’s the first rung on that corporate latter and, if you put your nose to the grindstone and demonstrate your dedication, you’ll move up the ranks into middle management. You’ll put in those hours, earn a paycheck, and look forward to the weekend when you can unwind in front of the television and watch some football.
After years of this (or maybe even sooner), you’ll come to dislike your job. You might even hate it or resent it. It’s such a common narrative in today’s popular culture to talk about how much your job “sucks” and how you “can’t wait” for the weekend. Mondays are terrible and Friday afternoons are the best, right? But it’s “just a job” and it pays the bills, right? You hate the work, but you keep doing it because it feels like something you have to do.
The Dot Com Lifestyle
If you’re reading this blog, then you obviously know that there has to be a better way. Perhaps you’ve come to understand that the most valuable aspect of making money online is not the money. Instead, it’s the dot com lifestyle and the associated freedoms that it can afford you.
It means you can work on what you want, when you want, where you want. Like on a laptop on a tropical beach somewhere.
That sounds incredibly appealing and rightfully so. After all, even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat. If you’re looking to escape the shackles of the 9-to-5, it makes sense that you would want to enjoy that kind of freedom. And it’s even better if it’s by doing something you already love doing, like blogging, making videos, or engaging with people on social media.
But there’s a whole other side to this too.
Finite Resources, Infinite Possibilities
I recently finished reading “Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living” by Shauna Niequist. In it, she writes:
“Loving one’s work is a gift. And loving one’s work makes it easy to neglect other aspects of your life.”
Most people aren’t so fortunate as to have not only the opportunity to love the work that they do, but actually get to the point where the work is surprisingly lucrative. And if you find yourself in such a fortunate position, you might feel bad complaining about the downsides of such a lifestyle. Don’t. Everyone has their challenges.
And one of the challenges that you’ll face when you work for yourself — as would be the case as a professional blogger — is that you have not set work schedule. Because you can work at any time, you’ll feel compelled to work all the time. And if it’s work that you love to do, it’s easy to get fully consumed and engulfed by this work. You get into a productive groove and the endorphins rush through your brain.
Meanwhile, other aspects of your life can start to suffer, because you are only one person and you only have so many resources to go around. You can lose sight of why you’re doing this in the first place. You might forget to look up from your laptop and actually enjoy that gorgeous beach view with your significant other.
Do What You Hate?
It’s terribly misleading when people say that if you do what you love, the money will follow. It won’t, at least not automatically. You still have to put up with the tasks that aren’t so enjoyable, that aren’t so pleasurable, so that you can have the opportunity to do the thing that you love to do.
But just remember not to neglect the other areas of your life too. Don’t forget about your own mental and physical well-being, as well as the key relationships in your life. Chase the dream. Be ambitious. Reach for the stars. Just remember to come back down to Earth and appreciate those around you too.