in life

Breaking Away from Generation “Now”

It’s 5:30 am and I’m already awake. You’re probably thinking, less then ten words into this post, that I’m absolutely insane. You’re right. But recently, the days are blurring together – having recently joined the “no longer dreads Monday morning” club – I’m quickly learning that the old “weekend” I used to know has all but flown out the window.

So, only a few weeks ago I ended my stint with the nine to five world – since then, I’ve done everything I can to make my business legitimate. Business is good, no complaints, and I’m doing what I love – but what I’m realizing more and more is that this “life” isn’t for everyone – being your own boss and starting your own business isn’t and shouldn’t be the end goal for every single one of us. Your passions shouldn’t lie in what anyone else is telling you or what anyone else is doing – and your goals shouldn’t be bench-marked on societies – at times – ridiculous expectations.

What the heck is Generation Y?

Generation Y is a pretty “loaded” term these days – one that means many different things to many different people. But above all, when I think of Generation Y, I think of “Generation Now”. We may be movers and shakers – we are no doubt the future of society and the world in general, but we’re also incredibly impatient – we’re inundated with stories of entrepreneurship, location independence, and “living the dream”…

  • You have to quit your job…now
  • You have to move across the world…now
  • You have to start your own business…now

I admire the heck out what many of my fellow Gen-Yers have accomplished, but this “now, now, now” attitude is brainwashing us to think that if you’re doing ANYTHING less than your most idealistic dream, you’re “settling”.

“Oh, you’re working a retail job to pay the bills while you pursue your dream of becoming a musician? You’re a sucker – just go be a musician.”

You get the point. The fact is there’s a REAL world out there with REAL people who are doing everything they can possibly think of to live the dream – and it isn’t glamorous – it’s not working from a beach in Europe – it’s living in a tiny one bedroom apartment eating Ramen while you work an hourly job to save up money for that coffee shop you want to open someday. It’s sacrifice – and a willingness to accept that it may not be “now” but it WILL BE the future.

“Settling” is an UGLY word that should be extracted from our vocabulary

It may not be what people are writing about and talking about because it’s not as “sexy”…but honestly, I admire the hell out of EVERYONE out there, regardless of what they’re doing, who is working toward improving their quality of life, and the quality of life for the people they love. Those location-independent entrepreneurs are great – I’m good friends with many and they are doing some amazing things – but we have to stop putting them on a pedestal, and honestly, stop measuring our own success against the one’s we’d say are “living the dream”. Yes they put in hard work to get where they are, yes they very well may be doing what you love. But so can you, so ARE you – and if you’re not. Do something about it, but stop worrying about them.

Find YOUR dream. Find passion in what YOU love – whatever that means to YOU. Stop listening to me. Stop listening to everyone else. Stop measuring yourself against other people’s accomplishments and please stop saying “I wish I could do what so-and-so is doing”. Just go do it – set your own goals and stop following.

Your world doesn’t, or shouldn’t revolve around your career

Your passion doesn’t have to revolve around your career, either – so stop thinking that. Your passion can be anything from learning how to climb a rope to marrying the woman you love and starting a family. There’s no limit. We often forget there are more important things in life than earning a paycheck…

Here’s the thing – by following – by riding on the coattails of everyone else – when will you ever be a leader? When will you ever be an innovator? The answer is never – you’ll never be where YOU want to be when your worrying about everyone else and measuring your own success against the success of others. Stop with the jealousy, eliminate the ill-will you may be feeling toward others – listen, collaborate, endure, learn, persevere, try harder, and kick your OWN ass to be at your best.

It starts and ends with *your* best…

“Your best” is when you’ve given something your absolute 100% best effort without any regrets or worrying about what anyone else thinks. Sometimes, I forget what that is – and odds are so do you. But it’s time that we step out of our bubble, step out of this tiny Gen Y niche which represents a TINY microcosm of society, and put ourselves out there in the real world and all of the opportunity it holds for us.

And for God sake, stop beating yourself up so much – Lord knows I’m guilty of this – I may be an enthusiastic, go-getter, suck-the-marrow-out-of-life kind of guy in the spotlight, but let’s be real. I doubt myself all the time. It’s part of being human. Just make sure you’re not dwelling on the doubt and lingering on the fear – Use both as fuel to succeed.

You don’t have to be a part of “Generation Now” - be a part of the hard-working, inspired, going to make the most out of today, tomorrow, and the next day generation. We all have a hell of a lot to be proud of.

(Image c/o dcdead)

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322 Comments

  1. Hey Matt,

    This is one of the most refreshing posts on Gen Y/lifestyle design/whatever since I’ve joined the community. In the pursuit of breaking the 9-5 mold and living a life less restricted, at times we’ve almost created a community that is judgmental unless you are doing something “bold” or location independent. This post made me smile- thank you.

    Take care,
    Ben

    • Ben –
      I couldn’t agree more. I read a lot of posts about living unconventional lives, but there are still some of us who just want to live conventional ones well. And, @matt – this is applicable to Gen X as well as Gen Y. =) but that’s just this old girl’s opinion. LOL!

      • Agreed. It’s against the sentiment of “do what makes you happy” to discredit the fact that some people just want to lead conventional lives. There’s nothing wrong with that.

        • Ben, Tiffany, & Kelsey – thank you all for the comments. I think it’s amazing what some people are doing with their lives, but also believe it’s silly to discount those who, as you put it Kelsey, actually WANT to lead more “conventional” lives. You can be passionate about either and both – and there’s NOTHING wrong with that at all…

  2. Hey Matt,

    This is one of the most refreshing posts on Gen Y/lifestyle design/whatever since I’ve joined the community. In the pursuit of breaking the 9-5 mold and living a life less restricted, at times we’ve almost created a community that is judgmental unless you are doing something “bold” or location independent. This post made me smile- thank you.

    Take care,
    Ben

    • Ben –
      I couldn’t agree more. I read a lot of posts about living unconventional lives, but there are still some of us who just want to live conventional ones well. And, @matt – this is applicable to Gen X as well as Gen Y. =) but that’s just this old girl’s opinion. LOL!

      • Agreed. It’s against the sentiment of “do what makes you happy” to discredit the fact that some people just want to lead conventional lives. There’s nothing wrong with that.

        • Ben, Tiffany, & Kelsey – thank you all for the comments. I think it’s amazing what some people are doing with their lives, but also believe it’s silly to discount those who, as you put it Kelsey, actually WANT to lead more “conventional” lives. You can be passionate about either and both – and there’s NOTHING wrong with that at all…

    • Agreed! Many in the lifestyle design arena have become just as judgmental of those leading more normal lives as those leading normal lives sometimes are of those being unconventional!

      • You bring up a good point Kelsey – and it does go both ways. I hope that this post doesn’t come across as me being jealous of the location independent lifestyle (quite the contrary – I COULD be in that position if my priorities were different and that’s what I wanted). We all just need to be on the same page that passion can lie in anything you do – as long as YOU love what you’re doing or are at least making an effort to better your situation (instead of complaining about it and doing nothing) – you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

    • Agreed! Many in the lifestyle design arena have become just as judgmental of those leading more normal lives as those leading normal lives sometimes are of those being unconventional!

      • You bring up a good point Kelsey – and it does go both ways. I hope that this post doesn’t come across as me being jealous of the location independent lifestyle (quite the contrary – I COULD be in that position if my priorities were different and that’s what I wanted). We all just need to be on the same page that passion can lie in anything you do – as long as YOU love what you’re doing or are at least making an effort to better your situation (instead of complaining about it and doing nothing) – you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

  3. Great post Matt. This is something I think about a lot. I used to really beat myself up over still living the cubicle life. Now though, with a little help from ol’ Eckhart Tolle, I’m trying to realize that while it’s necessary to dream and to have aspirations of this ideal life, I need to live in the present and if it’s worthwhile, I should be enjoying the steps it takes until Ellen calls me and invites me on her show.

    I was on the war path through books like “Four Hour Workweek” for a while. I think they’re great motivators and they get a lot of people to wake up and really go after their passion, but one thing I think that could be stressed more is that you need to follow your dream IN YOUR OWN WAY. I think maybe books like FHWW are represented too much as “this is what I did, you do it and the same will happen to you” rather than “this is how I followed my passion, take it as a motivator to now follow yours.. in your own way.”

    Either way. We’re Facebook friends, so I guess I can stop waking up early now.

    • YES! That’s my one word response to everything you said here. My good friend Sam (Davidson) and I were chatting about this last week and we both agree that it all comes down to following your passion in YOUR OWN way – something that seems so ridiculously obvious yet somehow we don’t think about it and no one’s talking about it. The goal of my writing or any other writing out there should never be, “follow exactly as I say and this will happen to you” – rather, it’s to tell a story, whatever that story may be, in hopes to connect with others so that THEIR path may become a little clearer. At the end of the day, your the only one who can define where you end up…

  4. Great post Matt. This is something I think about a lot. I used to really beat myself up over still living the cubicle life. Now though, with a little help from ol’ Eckhart Tolle, I’m trying to realize that while it’s necessary to dream and to have aspirations of this ideal life, I need to live in the present and if it’s worthwhile, I should be enjoying the steps it takes until Ellen calls me and invites me on her show.

    I was on the war path through books like “Four Hour Workweek” for a while. I think they’re great motivators and they get a lot of people to wake up and really go after their passion, but one thing I think that could be stressed more is that you need to follow your dream IN YOUR OWN WAY. I think maybe books like FHWW are represented too much as “this is what I did, you do it and the same will happen to you” rather than “this is how I followed my passion, take it as a motivator to now follow yours.. in your own way.”

    Either way. We’re Facebook friends, so I guess I can stop waking up early now.

    • YES! That’s my one word response to everything you said here. My good friend Sam (Davidson) and I were chatting about this last week and we both agree that it all comes down to following your passion in YOUR OWN way – something that seems so ridiculously obvious yet somehow we don’t think about it and no one’s talking about it. The goal of my writing or any other writing out there should never be, “follow exactly as I say and this will happen to you” – rather, it’s to tell a story, whatever that story may be, in hopes to connect with others so that THEIR path may become a little clearer. At the end of the day, your the only one who can define where you end up…

  5. Hey there,

    Nice post and nice site, too! ‘Gen Y’ came onto my radar less than a year ago and it’s sort of baffled me ever since. It’s strange for me to see an entire generation defined in the same way but I suppose it was done with Generation X as well, so why not carry on. It’s interested to see though how the net has brought you guys together and how you all boost each other up and help each other make use of the tools that previous generations didn’t have.

    It does feel like there’s sort of a stereotype of what a true Gen-Yer is and that was addressed in your post. I think what you brought up about finding your own way is a great point and remembering that a lot of these Gen-Yers that have supposedly broken free from the 9 to 5 have actually only just quit their job and moved to a cheaper location… until their savings run out. Building a legitimate business is something that many of these folks are in the process of doing, so instead of working the retail job to fund their dreams, they’re eating through their savings as they live somewhere cheap while working out a way to get some money flowing in.

    Thanks for the post, nice one!
    Kirsty

    • I hear you Kristy – there are MANY ways to achieve the goals we want in life – working a crummy job to fund our future passions, living in Mom’s basement while we work on the planning of our own business – there’s no right or wrong – and I respect everyone out there who is doing whatever it is they do to follow their dreams. That’s the point – that there isn’t a right or wrong, there isn’t a group of folks we should admire more. Yes, there are those successful out there who we can learn a lot from, but we need to stop using them as a benchmark for our own success – time to stop following and start leading (our own lives) you know?

      Thanks for the comment and for stopping by my neck of the woods. Cheers!

  6. Hey there,

    Nice post and nice site, too! ‘Gen Y’ came onto my radar less than a year ago and it’s sort of baffled me ever since. It’s strange for me to see an entire generation defined in the same way but I suppose it was done with Generation X as well, so why not carry on. It’s interested to see though how the net has brought you guys together and how you all boost each other up and help each other make use of the tools that previous generations didn’t have.

    It does feel like there’s sort of a stereotype of what a true Gen-Yer is and that was addressed in your post. I think what you brought up about finding your own way is a great point and remembering that a lot of these Gen-Yers that have supposedly broken free from the 9 to 5 have actually only just quit their job and moved to a cheaper location… until their savings run out. Building a legitimate business is something that many of these folks are in the process of doing, so instead of working the retail job to fund their dreams, they’re eating through their savings as they live somewhere cheap while working out a way to get some money flowing in.

    Thanks for the post, nice one!
    Kirsty

    • I hear you Kristy – there are MANY ways to achieve the goals we want in life – working a crummy job to fund our future passions, living in Mom’s basement while we work on the planning of our own business – there’s no right or wrong – and I respect everyone out there who is doing whatever it is they do to follow their dreams. That’s the point – that there isn’t a right or wrong, there isn’t a group of folks we should admire more. Yes, there are those successful out there who we can learn a lot from, but we need to stop using them as a benchmark for our own success – time to stop following and start leading (our own lives) you know?

      Thanks for the comment and for stopping by my neck of the woods. Cheers!

  7. Well, you already know how crazy I am for waking up just as early…. a.m. bff forever, right?

    I struggled a bit with your post because much of my passion is based around my career. When you spend 50 hours a week doing one thing, you can’t have it be just a job. I live life with passion every day. If a big part of it is work, so be it. It doesn’t affect how I look at the world. I travel when I want, go see those who I love and enjoy every minute. You never know when that life will be taken away from you. Instead of asking ‘Why?’ I always ask ‘Why Not?’

    I made a promise at 17 that I would live with no regrets. And as I got the news that a friend had passed away from a battle with cancer, I knew that to be true. Never look back. Never question. Life is only here for a short time.

    • ‘like’ to Lauren’s comment.

      I’ve been spending time thinking about this recently. Not so much the motivational, dream part, which you always articulate so well, but the entrepreneurship ideal that plagues some of Gen-Y. The way many of us were raised, we feel pressure to be location-independent and self-dependent.

      This isn’t a new thing. It’s the new middle-class American Dream. What was once “get a degree, get a steady job, have a 2.5 kid family” is now “do it on your own, go exploring, never settle down”.

      Hopefully I’ll have time this week to either post some expanded thoughts at my place or shoot them off to TNGG.

      Great post!

      • Hm, I see where you’re both coming from. But I don’t think the old American dream (the one our parents push on us regarding working for corporations and getting benefits and retirement) is the same as the new American dream, as you’re describing it (being self dependent and maybe location independent).

        Most of my parents generation HATES their jobs. In fact, they hate them SO MUCH they assume that everybody in the world hates their jobs. They literally think that anybody who works hates their jobs and it’s such a bad life and why can’t they just sit around all day doing nothing.

        To me, our generation isn’t so much concerned with being location independent or sticking it to the man. Instead, we’re obsessed with making a difference. With doing something worthwhile.

        To me, this isn’t about careers. As a society, we’re obsessed with the notion of working the rest of your life after college/high school.

        To me, this is about doing. Our society is built on money. To survive, to move around, to interact, you need money. Those are the rules of the game. So what does that mean? Simply that you need money to play.

        Our generation thinks that you should do what you enjoy doing and find a way to make money, and allow what you do to let you play the game.

        (Note: This whole idea assumes that you don’t have any extraordinary circumstances in the game. Sickness, personal problems, family issues, etc. dictate a totally different mindset.)

        • “Most of my parents generation HATES their jobs. In fact, they hate them SO MUCH they assume that everybody in the world hates their jobs. They literally think that anybody who works hates their jobs and it’s such a bad life and why can’t they just sit around all day doing nothing.”

          Yes.

    • Lauren – I hear what your saying – and it’s good that you bring up the idea of your career being so important to you – I completely agree that doing what you love from nine to five (or whatever hours we’re talking) directly relates to personal happiness and fulfillment. My point above is that your career isn’t the end all be all. You know as well as I that the people you love, family, friends – as well as your own personal well being come before your J.O.B. – Career is important, but isn’t priority number one – at least for me. Your philosophy on life is brilliant, and will serve you well over the long haul. No regrets. To second Colby, I’m also “liking” your comment. :)

  8. Well, you already know how crazy I am for waking up just as early…. a.m. bff forever, right?

    I struggled a bit with your post because much of my passion is based around my career. When you spend 50 hours a week doing one thing, you can’t have it be just a job. I live life with passion every day. If a big part of it is work, so be it. It doesn’t affect how I look at the world. I travel when I want, go see those who I love and enjoy every minute. You never know when that life will be taken away from you. Instead of asking ‘Why?’ I always ask ‘Why Not?’

    I made a promise at 17 that I would live with no regrets. And as I got the news that a friend had passed away from a battle with cancer, I knew that to be true. Never look back. Never question. Life is only here for a short time.

    • ‘like’ to Lauren’s comment.

      I’ve been spending time thinking about this recently. Not so much the motivational, dream part, which you always articulate so well, but the entrepreneurship ideal that plagues some of Gen-Y. The way many of us were raised, we feel pressure to be location-independent and self-dependent.

      This isn’t a new thing. It’s the new middle-class American Dream. What was once “get a degree, get a steady job, have a 2.5 kid family” is now “do it on your own, go exploring, never settle down”.

      Hopefully I’ll have time this week to either post some expanded thoughts at my place or shoot them off to TNGG.

      Great post!

      • Hm, I see where you’re both coming from. But I don’t think the old American dream (the one our parents push on us regarding working for corporations and getting benefits and retirement) is the same as the new American dream, as you’re describing it (being self dependent and maybe location independent).

        Most of my parents generation HATES their jobs. In fact, they hate them SO MUCH they assume that everybody in the world hates their jobs. They literally think that anybody who works hates their jobs and it’s such a bad life and why can’t they just sit around all day doing nothing.

        To me, our generation isn’t so much concerned with being location independent or sticking it to the man. Instead, we’re obsessed with making a difference. With doing something worthwhile.

        To me, this isn’t about careers. As a society, we’re obsessed with the notion of working the rest of your life after college/high school.

        To me, this is about doing. Our society is built on money. To survive, to move around, to interact, you need money. Those are the rules of the game. So what does that mean? Simply that you need money to play.

        Our generation thinks that you should do what you enjoy doing and find a way to make money, and allow what you do to let you play the game.

        (Note: This whole idea assumes that you don’t have any extraordinary circumstances in the game. Sickness, personal problems, family issues, etc. dictate a totally different mindset.)

        • “Most of my parents generation HATES their jobs. In fact, they hate them SO MUCH they assume that everybody in the world hates their jobs. They literally think that anybody who works hates their jobs and it’s such a bad life and why can’t they just sit around all day doing nothing.”

          Yes.

    • Lauren – I hear what your saying – and it’s good that you bring up the idea of your career being so important to you – I completely agree that doing what you love from nine to five (or whatever hours we’re talking) directly relates to personal happiness and fulfillment. My point above is that your career isn’t the end all be all. You know as well as I that the people you love, family, friends – as well as your own personal well being come before your J.O.B. – Career is important, but isn’t priority number one – at least for me. Your philosophy on life is brilliant, and will serve you well over the long haul. No regrets. To second Colby, I’m also “liking” your comment. :)

  9. this is so true for the majority of us. THANK YOU, Matt. for this post. and for emphasizing that all of our passions are just as important as the entrepreneurs’. we are all in this together, each of us just a piece. and it takes all of us, doing our separate passions to complete the puzzle. so refreshing, thanks again for the encouragement for ‘the rest of us’ :) you say it so well.

    • Right on – we don’t like to consider ourselves cogs in a system, but that’s exactly what we are – we are all functioning in this big system called life – and we all have a place to follow our own passions and dreams. Thanks for the comment Ben!

  10. this is so true for the majority of us. THANK YOU, Matt. for this post. and for emphasizing that all of our passions are just as important as the entrepreneurs’. we are all in this together, each of us just a piece. and it takes all of us, doing our separate passions to complete the puzzle. so refreshing, thanks again for the encouragement for ‘the rest of us’ :) you say it so well.

    • Right on – we don’t like to consider ourselves cogs in a system, but that’s exactly what we are – we are all functioning in this big system called life – and we all have a place to follow our own passions and dreams. Thanks for the comment Ben!

  11. Great post Matt and really well said. I think there is a cycle to life and a time for different events. Who are we to say there are one or two ways to live our lives? We all have our own paths and we need to (as Jonathan Mead would say) “reclaim our minds.” LIP etc isn’t for everyone and if we’re not careful it can be just another thing to follow.

    • Location Independence is great- starting your own business is amazing (as I can already attest to first hand) but like you said, it isn’t for everyone. That’s obvious, I know, I’m not reinventing the wheel with that statement – but rather imploring everyone reading this post to get out and do what they love, regardless of what other people think.

  12. Great post Matt and really well said. I think there is a cycle to life and a time for different events. Who are we to say there are one or two ways to live our lives? We all have our own paths and we need to (as Jonathan Mead would say) “reclaim our minds.” LIP etc isn’t for everyone and if we’re not careful it can be just another thing to follow.

    • Location Independence is great- starting your own business is amazing (as I can already attest to first hand) but like you said, it isn’t for everyone. That’s obvious, I know, I’m not reinventing the wheel with that statement – but rather imploring everyone reading this post to get out and do what they love, regardless of what other people think.

  13. I agree with this completely, Matt. Do you know how many Boomers and Gen X’ers I’ve met that have worked the 9-5, 7-3, 8-4 or whatever other flexible hour work weeks, that have absolutely enjoyed every year of their life working in corporate america for “the man”? Tons.

    I think people confuse the message that many Gen Y folks push onto others. Sure, you have people working/living in Thailand and some starting 2 or 3 companies at the same time, but in the end, their message is about doing what YOU love – whatever that is.

    Passion and Gen Y are terms used way too much in the same sentence. My passion is for living my life, and doing whatever I want in that life. My work should allow me the $$$ to make that passion happen. If my work is also my passion, then that is a huge bonus. As long as I love the people I work with, generally enjoy what I’m doing everyday, and make the $$$ needed to support my life, activities, and family members then I will be incredibly happy.

    We should talk again soon!

    • Totally agree with what Rich is saying here. No matter how you articulate it, it boils down to loving what you do and if that happens to be in a cubicle, so be it. It’s almost silly to over analyze it so much but as generation y-ers that’s what we do :) We over analyze something that should be so natural.

      • It is a little silly to over-analyze, isn’t it? And maybe I’m doing just that up above – but I am with both of you here. As long as I am living the life I want to live – with my to-be wife, future kids, family and friends – all I want is for my job to be something that I enjoy, and something that makes enough money for my family and I to live comfortably. I’ll never be one who is money-grubbing or who needs to make a ton of cash to feel happy – but I understand those who are after dollars and cents – to each his own. At the end of the day – we all have different dreams, different passions, different goals, and working WITH one another, learning FROM one another is really what it’s all about – just make sure your following your own path and not one that someone else or an entire generation is defining for you…

        • I don’t think you over-analyzed it. You gave a good counter-point to the message a lot of people are reading right now, which is that the unconventional life is the only way to be happy.

          Personally, I think it’s more important for us to have a lot of options, so we can choose which one makes us happy. It’s when I’ve had to choice at all, or felt like I had none, that I’ve been most unhappy in life. At work, I need to feel like I have some say in what I do and how I do it. In romance, my needs/feelings have to matter equally. In my friendships, sometimes it’s about them but sometimes it’s about me. I now use that as a checkpoint – if I’m unhappy, I ask myself if I have choices. If I do, I need to make them. If I don’t, then I know I need to get out of that situation. It’s a great checkpoint for determining when to look for a new job, end a relationship, or anything else.

  14. I agree with this completely, Matt. Do you know how many Boomers and Gen X’ers I’ve met that have worked the 9-5, 7-3, 8-4 or whatever other flexible hour work weeks, that have absolutely enjoyed every year of their life working in corporate america for “the man”? Tons.

    I think people confuse the message that many Gen Y folks push onto others. Sure, you have people working/living in Thailand and some starting 2 or 3 companies at the same time, but in the end, their message is about doing what YOU love – whatever that is.

    Passion and Gen Y are terms used way too much in the same sentence. My passion is for living my life, and doing whatever I want in that life. My work should allow me the $$$ to make that passion happen. If my work is also my passion, then that is a huge bonus. As long as I love the people I work with, generally enjoy what I’m doing everyday, and make the $$$ needed to support my life, activities, and family members then I will be incredibly happy.

    We should talk again soon!

    • Totally agree with what Rich is saying here. No matter how you articulate it, it boils down to loving what you do and if that happens to be in a cubicle, so be it. It’s almost silly to over analyze it so much but as generation y-ers that’s what we do :) We over analyze something that should be so natural.

      • It is a little silly to over-analyze, isn’t it? And maybe I’m doing just that up above – but I am with both of you here. As long as I am living the life I want to live – with my to-be wife, future kids, family and friends – all I want is for my job to be something that I enjoy, and something that makes enough money for my family and I to live comfortably. I’ll never be one who is money-grubbing or who needs to make a ton of cash to feel happy – but I understand those who are after dollars and cents – to each his own. At the end of the day – we all have different dreams, different passions, different goals, and working WITH one another, learning FROM one another is really what it’s all about – just make sure your following your own path and not one that someone else or an entire generation is defining for you…

        • I don’t think you over-analyzed it. You gave a good counter-point to the message a lot of people are reading right now, which is that the unconventional life is the only way to be happy.

          Personally, I think it’s more important for us to have a lot of options, so we can choose which one makes us happy. It’s when I’ve had to choice at all, or felt like I had none, that I’ve been most unhappy in life. At work, I need to feel like I have some say in what I do and how I do it. In romance, my needs/feelings have to matter equally. In my friendships, sometimes it’s about them but sometimes it’s about me. I now use that as a checkpoint – if I’m unhappy, I ask myself if I have choices. If I do, I need to make them. If I don’t, then I know I need to get out of that situation. It’s a great checkpoint for determining when to look for a new job, end a relationship, or anything else.

  15. “Your world doesn’t, or shouldn’t revolve around your career”

    Thank you!!!

    This is a lesson that I am unfortunately learning by experience. But fortunately, I am learning it. It is difficult to find work, business, and to find your passion. Once you’ve found any of those, it’s an incredible challenge to find a balance. Though I’m not considered Gen Y, this applies to us all. We often have the idea that if we aren’t living our work then it may disappear. While we are consuming ourselves with our careers, we are letting incredibly important life experiences pass us by.

    Having career goals are excellent and a necessity for professional success. But without personal goals, where is your life headed?

    Thanks for a great post Matt!

    • You and I just talked about this last week Veronica (or rather, I talked your ear off about it) – so we’re on the same page. My career is my life, or a VERY big part of it – at least right now. That’s part of owning your own business and being that I am just starting out in this “game” – I’m learning the ropes and may be overworking myself a bit…OK, I am.

      But you and I are both clearly doing what we love, it all comes down to managing our own expectations, knowing when to say no, and being comfortable with where we are professionally.

      At the end of the day – as you said, it’s the things that we want to accomplish in our personal lives that really drive us. Our jobs can go hand in hang because, like it or not, we’re going to need a little money along the way. But it’s important to never lose site of what really matters most.

      We. must. meet. for. coffee. soon. Capiche?

  16. “Your world doesn’t, or shouldn’t revolve around your career”

    Thank you!!!

    This is a lesson that I am unfortunately learning by experience. But fortunately, I am learning it. It is difficult to find work, business, and to find your passion. Once you’ve found any of those, it’s an incredible challenge to find a balance. Though I’m not considered Gen Y, this applies to us all. We often have the idea that if we aren’t living our work then it may disappear. While we are consuming ourselves with our careers, we are letting incredibly important life experiences pass us by.

    Having career goals are excellent and a necessity for professional success. But without personal goals, where is your life headed?

    Thanks for a great post Matt!

    • You and I just talked about this last week Veronica (or rather, I talked your ear off about it) – so we’re on the same page. My career is my life, or a VERY big part of it – at least right now. That’s part of owning your own business and being that I am just starting out in this “game” – I’m learning the ropes and may be overworking myself a bit…OK, I am.

      But you and I are both clearly doing what we love, it all comes down to managing our own expectations, knowing when to say no, and being comfortable with where we are professionally.

      At the end of the day – as you said, it’s the things that we want to accomplish in our personal lives that really drive us. Our jobs can go hand in hang because, like it or not, we’re going to need a little money along the way. But it’s important to never lose site of what really matters most.

      We. must. meet. for. coffee. soon. Capiche?

  17. Hey Matt, well done, nice piece of writing. I thank you particularly because I suffer from your penultimate point….a lot. Hell I beat myself up so much sometimes I can barely see through the black eyes I give myself to type! Thanks for reminding me of the….the frequency with which we doubt ourselves. I will use this reminder to help me create wider gaps between the beatings, and enjoy those gaps like they are supposed to be. Thanks – have a doubt free day, on me :)

    • Haha, you’re too hard on yourself my friend – you’re doing some “smashing” things out there, as am I. We’re both guilty of beating ourselves up but you know, it motivates us to try harder and be at our best, so it’s not always such a bad thing. Here’s to a little less doubt for both of us buddy!

      • Cool! Went to a very interesting seminar last night about employee and user ownership in the public sector (huh? trust me it was v interesting, useful and motivating). Carried that vibe on and had a good day today, productive and profitable, so sometimes this working for yourself in the service of others is v good, indeed smashing! Yay.

  18. Hey Matt, well done, nice piece of writing. I thank you particularly because I suffer from your penultimate point….a lot. Hell I beat myself up so much sometimes I can barely see through the black eyes I give myself to type! Thanks for reminding me of the….the frequency with which we doubt ourselves. I will use this reminder to help me create wider gaps between the beatings, and enjoy those gaps like they are supposed to be. Thanks – have a doubt free day, on me :)

    • Haha, you’re too hard on yourself my friend – you’re doing some “smashing” things out there, as am I. We’re both guilty of beating ourselves up but you know, it motivates us to try harder and be at our best, so it’s not always such a bad thing. Here’s to a little less doubt for both of us buddy!

      • Cool! Went to a very interesting seminar last night about employee and user ownership in the public sector (huh? trust me it was v interesting, useful and motivating). Carried that vibe on and had a good day today, productive and profitable, so sometimes this working for yourself in the service of others is v good, indeed smashing! Yay.

  19. Matt –

    This is a superb post!! I zeroed in on this quote as Veronica did: “Your world doesn’t, or shouldn’t revolve around your career.” Thank you for writing that. So many people’s lives revolve around their careers – and that’s OK if that’s how you want your life to be – but it’s also OK if your life DOESN’T revolve around your career. Personal goals and dreams are just as important – and I’m not saying personal and professional are mutually exclusive here – and people shouldn’t look down on others who don’t want to spend every waking moment doing work.

    We should make our lives what we want them to be and not measure our own success by the successes of others.

    Well done!

    Lindsey
    @LindsTR

    • EXACTLY. No one ever says “It’s OK to work a nine to five job”. Honestly – have you EVER heard someone our age utter those words? I never have – at least not in public – I can’t think of one time someone has written a blog post about how they love their nine to five. We’re brainwashed to believe that “structured” work is the devil and it means your settling. But it’s not, at all. I may want to run my own business and you may want to work at a big ad agency – and BOTH of those paths are perfectly fine. BOTH of us can be passionate about the work we do.

      And hey, this whole entrepreneur thing is great and all, but there’s something (a lot) to be said for being able to work “regular” hours and be able to come home and NOT think about work. I haven’t been in that place in a while now and…I miss it (sometimes).

      • Yes yes yes. My boyfriend is one of those folks who likes to be able to put in his 8 hours then come home and not think about work, while also not having to worry about variations in income from month to month or things like benefits. He was raised in a family where both members worked for the federal government, which is about as traditionally stable as you can get. I was raised by two self-employed artists, and so I can’t stand the idea of not being in control of my own time, days off, etc and would have as difficult a time living his life as he would living mine (I have like, 15 different streams of income, ranging in size from $50/mo to $800/mo, mostly on the smaller end). But, we recognize and respect our differences and in reality, they don’t affect our relationship or our day to day life all that much. Being with him has really taught me a lot about living a more “conventional” lifestyle, and I’ve become a lot more understanding as a result. I sometimes think that all the unconventional lifestyle design folks need to have at least one friend who is perfectly happy and content in their 9-5 desk job, so that they can have something different, but healthy, to compare to.

  20. Matt –

    This is a superb post!! I zeroed in on this quote as Veronica did: “Your world doesn’t, or shouldn’t revolve around your career.” Thank you for writing that. So many people’s lives revolve around their careers – and that’s OK if that’s how you want your life to be – but it’s also OK if your life DOESN’T revolve around your career. Personal goals and dreams are just as important – and I’m not saying personal and professional are mutually exclusive here – and people shouldn’t look down on others who don’t want to spend every waking moment doing work.

    We should make our lives what we want them to be and not measure our own success by the successes of others.

    Well done!

    Lindsey
    @LindsTR

    • EXACTLY. No one ever says “It’s OK to work a nine to five job”. Honestly – have you EVER heard someone our age utter those words? I never have – at least not in public – I can’t think of one time someone has written a blog post about how they love their nine to five. We’re brainwashed to believe that “structured” work is the devil and it means your settling. But it’s not, at all. I may want to run my own business and you may want to work at a big ad agency – and BOTH of those paths are perfectly fine. BOTH of us can be passionate about the work we do.

      And hey, this whole entrepreneur thing is great and all, but there’s something (a lot) to be said for being able to work “regular” hours and be able to come home and NOT think about work. I haven’t been in that place in a while now and…I miss it (sometimes).

      • Yes yes yes. My boyfriend is one of those folks who likes to be able to put in his 8 hours then come home and not think about work, while also not having to worry about variations in income from month to month or things like benefits. He was raised in a family where both members worked for the federal government, which is about as traditionally stable as you can get. I was raised by two self-employed artists, and so I can’t stand the idea of not being in control of my own time, days off, etc and would have as difficult a time living his life as he would living mine (I have like, 15 different streams of income, ranging in size from $50/mo to $800/mo, mostly on the smaller end). But, we recognize and respect our differences and in reality, they don’t affect our relationship or our day to day life all that much. Being with him has really taught me a lot about living a more “conventional” lifestyle, and I’ve become a lot more understanding as a result. I sometimes think that all the unconventional lifestyle design folks need to have at least one friend who is perfectly happy and content in their 9-5 desk job, so that they can have something different, but healthy, to compare to.

  21. I love this post, Matt. Thank you SO much for writing it! I totally agree that “settling” should be taken out of our vocabulary. Location independence and entrepreneurship are great for some people, I give total props to anyone who can pick up and leave everything to follow their dreams. But, I’m with you, if we don’t do those things, it doesn’t mean we suck or that we don’t deserve to be a member of Gen Y or something crazy like that. I have a job that I enjoy, and although it’s not my dream job, I’m happy where I am. My boyfriend is starting law school in the Fall, and so I’m hoping to stay in this “happy place” until he’s done with school. Then, we’ll see what happens. Some might say that I’m putting my dreams on hold for him…and I guess I am, but like you said, there is more to life than earning a paycheck. Just because I’m not going after my dreams right this second, doesn’t mean I don’t have goals.

    Showing love and appreciation to the important people in my life is what I’m passionate about right now, and that’s something I am so proud of. There’s nothing wrong with being content with where you are right now, even if you’re not in the most ideal or exciting place. We’re young, we have our whole lives ahead of us. Great post Matt!

    • So true Sam. I could be location independent right now if I want. I build websites and consult with people over the web – the work I do can be done from anywhere. I could be working from a castle in Ireland right now, but I’m not. Why? Because my priority is my fiance and my family. It’s starting our life together, it’s getting married in May. I’m not settling, I’m not putting my dreams on hold. This is my dream – this is what I want to be doing with my life – I’m living it every single day. And while I hope I can travel the world and work from castles in the future – right now, I’m where I want to be, and for me – for everyone – that’s the only thing that matters.

      -Matt

      • Exactly! I’ve had several people ask me why I am “putting off” my journalism project in Mongolia until 2011, when I could do it now. I’m waiting until 2011 because I want to be better prepared, so that the finished product will be more polished. I’m waiting because I have moved 28 times in 8 years and I really want to be in one place for more than a year. I’m waiting because my boyfriend waited very patiently for me while I left him behind here in DC so that I could go work in South Korea, and I feel that he deserves more quality time with me before I wander off again. I’m waiting because I feel like I haven’t gotten a chance to actually feel at home in a given place in years and I want a chance to indulge the side of me that enjoys setting up and organizing an apartment. I also have many hobbies that I *can’t* pursue while traveling, and I missed them and want a chance to do them.

        Just because you’re not doing cool things RIGHT NOW doesn’t mean you’re not happy, and I think many folks forget that. This was really a great post.

  22. I love this post, Matt. Thank you SO much for writing it! I totally agree that “settling” should be taken out of our vocabulary. Location independence and entrepreneurship are great for some people, I give total props to anyone who can pick up and leave everything to follow their dreams. But, I’m with you, if we don’t do those things, it doesn’t mean we suck or that we don’t deserve to be a member of Gen Y or something crazy like that. I have a job that I enjoy, and although it’s not my dream job, I’m happy where I am. My boyfriend is starting law school in the Fall, and so I’m hoping to stay in this “happy place” until he’s done with school. Then, we’ll see what happens. Some might say that I’m putting my dreams on hold for him…and I guess I am, but like you said, there is more to life than earning a paycheck. Just because I’m not going after my dreams right this second, doesn’t mean I don’t have goals.

    Showing love and appreciation to the important people in my life is what I’m passionate about right now, and that’s something I am so proud of. There’s nothing wrong with being content with where you are right now, even if you’re not in the most ideal or exciting place. We’re young, we have our whole lives ahead of us. Great post Matt!

    • So true Sam. I could be location independent right now if I want. I build websites and consult with people over the web – the work I do can be done from anywhere. I could be working from a castle in Ireland right now, but I’m not. Why? Because my priority is my fiance and my family. It’s starting our life together, it’s getting married in May. I’m not settling, I’m not putting my dreams on hold. This is my dream – this is what I want to be doing with my life – I’m living it every single day. And while I hope I can travel the world and work from castles in the future – right now, I’m where I want to be, and for me – for everyone – that’s the only thing that matters.

      -Matt

      • Exactly! I’ve had several people ask me why I am “putting off” my journalism project in Mongolia until 2011, when I could do it now. I’m waiting until 2011 because I want to be better prepared, so that the finished product will be more polished. I’m waiting because I have moved 28 times in 8 years and I really want to be in one place for more than a year. I’m waiting because my boyfriend waited very patiently for me while I left him behind here in DC so that I could go work in South Korea, and I feel that he deserves more quality time with me before I wander off again. I’m waiting because I feel like I haven’t gotten a chance to actually feel at home in a given place in years and I want a chance to indulge the side of me that enjoys setting up and organizing an apartment. I also have many hobbies that I *can’t* pursue while traveling, and I missed them and want a chance to do them.

        Just because you’re not doing cool things RIGHT NOW doesn’t mean you’re not happy, and I think many folks forget that. This was really a great post.

  23. YES – this is exactly why I started a new site last week about doing amazing work. Because it IS possible to do amazing work for a corporation. It IS possible to do it without quitting your job and traveling the world. Not everyone can travel or be self-employed, or even wants to do that. You can find something amazing in a job you don’t really like. I know because I did it – I turned a “real” job I didn’t love into one that I do. There are so many options. The only thing that’s NOT an option is settling, like you said.

    Thanks, Matt, for this post. It really resonated with me this morning. Now – back to work. ;-)

  24. YES – this is exactly why I started a new site last week about doing amazing work. Because it IS possible to do amazing work for a corporation. It IS possible to do it without quitting your job and traveling the world. Not everyone can travel or be self-employed, or even wants to do that. You can find something amazing in a job you don’t really like. I know because I did it – I turned a “real” job I didn’t love into one that I do. There are so many options. The only thing that’s NOT an option is settling, like you said.

    Thanks, Matt, for this post. It really resonated with me this morning. Now – back to work. ;-)

  25. I like this post.

    I mean, we can’t all work four hour work weeks, no matter how many books we read.

    Usually the people who are pushing their ideas about entrepreneurialism and self-starting upon us are the ones who have a big following through their blogs or Twitter feeds or whatever, so of course we will be privy to their “advice.” And since they’ve already done what they’re preaching, it’s easier for them to tell us how to do it.

    But there are a lot of people who are perfectly happy and make decent livings working for somebody else.

    Thanks for letting us know that is okay, too. :)

    • The ironic part of it all is that 9 times out of 10, “working for yourself” can only exist if somebody else chooses not to work for themselves. :)

    • My pleasure Brad – it’s important to have some voices of realism out there – I hope I can step in from time to time and say, “it’s OK to be doing whatever it is you’re doing – as long as you love doing it”…

  26. I like this post.

    I mean, we can’t all work four hour work weeks, no matter how many books we read.

    Usually the people who are pushing their ideas about entrepreneurialism and self-starting upon us are the ones who have a big following through their blogs or Twitter feeds or whatever, so of course we will be privy to their “advice.” And since they’ve already done what they’re preaching, it’s easier for them to tell us how to do it.

    But there are a lot of people who are perfectly happy and make decent livings working for somebody else.

    Thanks for letting us know that is okay, too. :)

    • The ironic part of it all is that 9 times out of 10, “working for yourself” can only exist if somebody else chooses not to work for themselves. :)

    • My pleasure Brad – it’s important to have some voices of realism out there – I hope I can step in from time to time and say, “it’s OK to be doing whatever it is you’re doing – as long as you love doing it”…

  27. Matt,
    Inspiring post to kick off Monday. You are right, it’s hard to not like the start of the week when you have something like this post to read.
    You’ve really touched on two things that I always try to keep in mind.. not settling and giving it YOUR best. I think at one point or another we have blogged about those two points (I have). Settling can be such a life-sucking experience. If you don’t like what you do, GET OUT! If you have a family, it may be easier said than done. But why make your family miserable too (believe me, my wife can attest to this). Don’t stay in the job because you have to..stay because you WANT to. Revel in your work, if you can’t.. find something else.

    When you give your best, you are at the top of your game. Matt, I am the same way (very hard on myself), BUT… it keeps up on our toes and sharp, I believe. Look at it like a baseball player. He may go oh-fer at the plate, but comes up in the big spot late in the game. He’s going all out and working hard. It pays off.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    • We’d all be a lot better off if we accepted there’s going to be obstacles, it’s going to be scary, we’re going to doubt ourself – but all of that can be turned into motivation to succeed and thrive. Thanks for the comment and let’s (really) set up that Skype call we had to raincheck a couple weeks ago…

  28. Matt,
    Inspiring post to kick off Monday. You are right, it’s hard to not like the start of the week when you have something like this post to read.
    You’ve really touched on two things that I always try to keep in mind.. not settling and giving it YOUR best. I think at one point or another we have blogged about those two points (I have). Settling can be such a life-sucking experience. If you don’t like what you do, GET OUT! If you have a family, it may be easier said than done. But why make your family miserable too (believe me, my wife can attest to this). Don’t stay in the job because you have to..stay because you WANT to. Revel in your work, if you can’t.. find something else.

    When you give your best, you are at the top of your game. Matt, I am the same way (very hard on myself), BUT… it keeps up on our toes and sharp, I believe. Look at it like a baseball player. He may go oh-fer at the plate, but comes up in the big spot late in the game. He’s going all out and working hard. It pays off.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    • We’d all be a lot better off if we accepted there’s going to be obstacles, it’s going to be scary, we’re going to doubt ourself – but all of that can be turned into motivation to succeed and thrive. Thanks for the comment and let’s (really) set up that Skype call we had to raincheck a couple weeks ago…

  29. I couldn’t agree more with this post.

    While on my site I am talking about pursuing your dreams, and instigating change, I also am fully aware that it doesn’t happen over night. It took me a year and a half of saving, planning and worrying before I finally quit my job to come to Thailand.

    There is something to be said for taking action, but just because you hate your job or have a dream of world travel doesn’t mean you are going to quit your job tomorrow. I think “preparing” is a better term than “settling”. Even if you aren’t in your ideal place in life, but know there is something better for you, preparing is a good way to frame it.

    However, I also think you have to be congniscant of the fact that it is very easy to get into a routine. If you stay in a certain routine for too long it can be very difficult to break. That is when preparing turns into settling, and I never want to see that happen with anyone.

    As always thanks for the great thoughts!

    • First of all – thanks so much for coming by Sean – I was going to call you out to come share your perspective because I find it really valuable, so kudos to beating me to the punch.

      Preparing – I like this A LOT. Also, I completely agree with your point on how easy it is to fall into a routine. This can really be dangerous to your well being – which is why settling and being OVERLY content are frowned upon. As long as you don’t fall into this state, you’re doing something right, and if you do find yourself simply “going with the motions” it’s time to re–evaluate and determine what’s missing and how you to fill that piece of the puzzle. Cheers my friend.

      P.S. Chat soon (forreal)?

  30. I couldn’t agree more with this post.

    While on my site I am talking about pursuing your dreams, and instigating change, I also am fully aware that it doesn’t happen over night. It took me a year and a half of saving, planning and worrying before I finally quit my job to come to Thailand.

    There is something to be said for taking action, but just because you hate your job or have a dream of world travel doesn’t mean you are going to quit your job tomorrow. I think “preparing” is a better term than “settling”. Even if you aren’t in your ideal place in life, but know there is something better for you, preparing is a good way to frame it.

    However, I also think you have to be congniscant of the fact that it is very easy to get into a routine. If you stay in a certain routine for too long it can be very difficult to break. That is when preparing turns into settling, and I never want to see that happen with anyone.

    As always thanks for the great thoughts!

    • First of all – thanks so much for coming by Sean – I was going to call you out to come share your perspective because I find it really valuable, so kudos to beating me to the punch.

      Preparing – I like this A LOT. Also, I completely agree with your point on how easy it is to fall into a routine. This can really be dangerous to your well being – which is why settling and being OVERLY content are frowned upon. As long as you don’t fall into this state, you’re doing something right, and if you do find yourself simply “going with the motions” it’s time to re–evaluate and determine what’s missing and how you to fill that piece of the puzzle. Cheers my friend.

      P.S. Chat soon (forreal)?

  31. Matt,

    I think this is the best I’ve seen here at Life Without Pants. I’m kind of on the tail end of Gen Y and it really is a different kind of mind set. IT’s funny because there’s so much written about all the things you mention and then people write about being independent, yet they tend to want to follow the pack. I’ve been down several paths: a sales career, grad school, and now this one. The fundamental difference between all three is the passion I currently have for everything I am working on.

    “you’ll never be where YOU want to be when your worrying about everyone else and measuring your own success against the success of others.” This is one of those things we really need to teach in school. Unfortunately the system is designed to teach the exact opposite. We have class rankings and things like that. Imagine if in school we stopped measuring and allowed people to learn what they are interested in learning.

    • Thanks Srini – and you raise a very interesting point. We’re RAISED from early childhood to yes, follow our dreams, but we’re told what those dreams are supposed to be – I didn’t learn anything in school about starting my own business – I learned some things that may apply, but for the most part, I was bred to go and work my nine to five and be content with that. While there’s nothing WRONG with the lifestyle, we have to force ourselves to truly think outside the box and set our own paths – yes – maybe easier said that done – but there is no right or wrong, there is no “supposed to do” – it’s all about what matters to YOU.

      • There’s a reason behind why schools teach what they teach and that’s to try and keep people to stay within the system of workers. It sure would be great to see this system abolished and create one where they teach us to actually be leaders rather than a flock of followers. This however seems to satisfy the majority and I think it’s great that you mention that it’s okay for the most part, but once someone starts whining about it that’s when they should just shut up and go and do what they’re passionate about. Sitting in the sun don’t pay so in order for things to happen, we really need to get things done ourselves, especially with all the great technology that’s available. Cheers, I praise you for this post, and I’m happy to say I finished my novel today which should be getting published sometime within the next few months! It’s finally complete :)

    • I struggle with this all the time as a teacher. In theory, it would be amazing if we could teach kids purely what they were interested in, but if we did that, then we would run into this problems:

      – you get kids who can’t read
      – you get kids who can’t do basic math
      – you get kids who don’t understand basic scientific principles that govern our bodies and nature
      – you get kids who can’t write a persuasive article to argue their point
      – you get kids who are not media literate

      And you run into these problems because simply put, some kids just aren’t interested in learning these things. Period. And the education system is standardized so that our students can at least have these basic skills in place.

      Now, I understand that even as we try to push these skills through the curriculum, we still have kids who are illiterate (math and literacy), we still have kids who don’t understand the water cycle, etc. The problem is multi-faceted, having to do with family support and socio-economics and blah blah blah.. I can go on.

      But one of the struggles of teaching isn’t so much teaching kids ONLY what their interested in, but to ignite the passion for learning ANYTHING, as well as to help our kids understand why they have to learn certain topics taught in school. A lot of teachers have the attitude that certain knowledge is “useless”, or like me struggle to show our kids why certain knowledge is important, so that feeds into our kids’ attitudes too.

      This is a huge digression, but my point is, there is a reason for standardizing our education system. A good reason. But with that comes the problem of inadvertently teaching kids to conform. The good thing with growing up though, is that we are able to recognize and discuss these topics, so that we can consciously work together and help each other build a life of passion that works for each of us. We can help each other unlearn what the system had not meant to teach us, but did anyway because of the way it works.

      Standard schooling can be seen as brainwashing, but we shouldn’t forget that it certainly does give us basic tools we can use to help us work to the inspired life we look for. It’s all in how you use what you’ve been given. Just look at us. We turned out alright, didn’t we? That’s gotta count for something.

  32. Matt,

    I think this is the best I’ve seen here at Life Without Pants. I’m kind of on the tail end of Gen Y and it really is a different kind of mind set. IT’s funny because there’s so much written about all the things you mention and then people write about being independent, yet they tend to want to follow the pack. I’ve been down several paths: a sales career, grad school, and now this one. The fundamental difference between all three is the passion I currently have for everything I am working on.

    “you’ll never be where YOU want to be when your worrying about everyone else and measuring your own success against the success of others.” This is one of those things we really need to teach in school. Unfortunately the system is designed to teach the exact opposite. We have class rankings and things like that. Imagine if in school we stopped measuring and allowed people to learn what they are interested in learning.

    • Thanks Srini – and you raise a very interesting point. We’re RAISED from early childhood to yes, follow our dreams, but we’re told what those dreams are supposed to be – I didn’t learn anything in school about starting my own business – I learned some things that may apply, but for the most part, I was bred to go and work my nine to five and be content with that. While there’s nothing WRONG with the lifestyle, we have to force ourselves to truly think outside the box and set our own paths – yes – maybe easier said that done – but there is no right or wrong, there is no “supposed to do” – it’s all about what matters to YOU.

      • There’s a reason behind why schools teach what they teach and that’s to try and keep people to stay within the system of workers. It sure would be great to see this system abolished and create one where they teach us to actually be leaders rather than a flock of followers. This however seems to satisfy the majority and I think it’s great that you mention that it’s okay for the most part, but once someone starts whining about it that’s when they should just shut up and go and do what they’re passionate about. Sitting in the sun don’t pay so in order for things to happen, we really need to get things done ourselves, especially with all the great technology that’s available. Cheers, I praise you for this post, and I’m happy to say I finished my novel today which should be getting published sometime within the next few months! It’s finally complete :)

    • I struggle with this all the time as a teacher. In theory, it would be amazing if we could teach kids purely what they were interested in, but if we did that, then we would run into this problems:

      – you get kids who can’t read
      – you get kids who can’t do basic math
      – you get kids who don’t understand basic scientific principles that govern our bodies and nature
      – you get kids who can’t write a persuasive article to argue their point
      – you get kids who are not media literate

      And you run into these problems because simply put, some kids just aren’t interested in learning these things. Period. And the education system is standardized so that our students can at least have these basic skills in place.

      Now, I understand that even as we try to push these skills through the curriculum, we still have kids who are illiterate (math and literacy), we still have kids who don’t understand the water cycle, etc. The problem is multi-faceted, having to do with family support and socio-economics and blah blah blah.. I can go on.

      But one of the struggles of teaching isn’t so much teaching kids ONLY what their interested in, but to ignite the passion for learning ANYTHING, as well as to help our kids understand why they have to learn certain topics taught in school. A lot of teachers have the attitude that certain knowledge is “useless”, or like me struggle to show our kids why certain knowledge is important, so that feeds into our kids’ attitudes too.

      This is a huge digression, but my point is, there is a reason for standardizing our education system. A good reason. But with that comes the problem of inadvertently teaching kids to conform. The good thing with growing up though, is that we are able to recognize and discuss these topics, so that we can consciously work together and help each other build a life of passion that works for each of us. We can help each other unlearn what the system had not meant to teach us, but did anyway because of the way it works.

      Standard schooling can be seen as brainwashing, but we shouldn’t forget that it certainly does give us basic tools we can use to help us work to the inspired life we look for. It’s all in how you use what you’ve been given. Just look at us. We turned out alright, didn’t we? That’s gotta count for something.

  33. Thank you thank you thank you for this post! This has been one of my major gripes with the lifestyle design/travel community lately. There seems to be a very pervasive attitude that the only way to live life is to be location independent, own your own business, and do work online. That’s great for some people, but not everyone wants that! It seems to me that the LD/travel community is becoming increasingly directed at a smaller and smaller group of people, which leaves a larger and larger percentage of the population out in the cold. There is no wrong way to live your life other than to be unhappy, and I think that many folks in the blogging world tend to forget that.

    • Hey Kelsey – this is good :)

      I just scrape into the old end of ye olde gen x. I’m rooted – at least until I can’t pay the bills any more, and I kinda like it where we are. Quiet street backing onto agricultural smallholdings. I’m 20 mins walk from the station and 35 mins train ride to London. Location? Hey – I’m dependent on mine. And the fact that I can be in the Surrey Hills in just over half an hour riding the trails, well that’s the icing on the location cake. Hey – did I say my Dad lives just a few miles away too.

    • Thanks so much for your comments here Kelsey – I completely agree – the ONLY wrong way to live is to be unhappy – as long as you ARE happy, you’re doing the right thing. Simple, but as you said, often forgotten…

  34. Thank you thank you thank you for this post! This has been one of my major gripes with the lifestyle design/travel community lately. There seems to be a very pervasive attitude that the only way to live life is to be location independent, own your own business, and do work online. That’s great for some people, but not everyone wants that! It seems to me that the LD/travel community is becoming increasingly directed at a smaller and smaller group of people, which leaves a larger and larger percentage of the population out in the cold. There is no wrong way to live your life other than to be unhappy, and I think that many folks in the blogging world tend to forget that.

    • Hey Kelsey – this is good :)

      I just scrape into the old end of ye olde gen x. I’m rooted – at least until I can’t pay the bills any more, and I kinda like it where we are. Quiet street backing onto agricultural smallholdings. I’m 20 mins walk from the station and 35 mins train ride to London. Location? Hey – I’m dependent on mine. And the fact that I can be in the Surrey Hills in just over half an hour riding the trails, well that’s the icing on the location cake. Hey – did I say my Dad lives just a few miles away too.

    • Thanks so much for your comments here Kelsey – I completely agree – the ONLY wrong way to live is to be unhappy – as long as you ARE happy, you’re doing the right thing. Simple, but as you said, often forgotten…

  35. As usual a post that raises a question which every Genyer should be asking him/herself, Matt you have clearly outlined that doing a 9 to 5 job does not means that you are doing nothing, This is the point of success as well, people who love their day time so called white collar jobs are happy doing it, some people who try to copy what others are doing never achieve what they really wanted.
    So it is definitely confusing, I got this text message from my friend today – think it says a lot about how confusing we all are sometimes, though its a bad joke but has a message — ” If money does not grows on trees then why do banks have branches? Why does a round pizza come in a square box? why does not glue stick to its own bottle? Why do you still call it a building when its completely built? If we are not supposed to drink n drive why do bars have parking?
    It concluded saying We are a funny bunch of people living in a seriously funny world.”

    Thanks for sharing your awesome thoughts…

    • Haha – good stuff Akash – so is the irony of life eh? I should have saved the other 850+ words and simply said, as long as YOU are happy, that’s all that matters. But you know me, always a little more long-winded than need be :)

  36. As usual a post that raises a question which every Genyer should be asking him/herself, Matt you have clearly outlined that doing a 9 to 5 job does not means that you are doing nothing, This is the point of success as well, people who love their day time so called white collar jobs are happy doing it, some people who try to copy what others are doing never achieve what they really wanted.
    So it is definitely confusing, I got this text message from my friend today – think it says a lot about how confusing we all are sometimes, though its a bad joke but has a message — ” If money does not grows on trees then why do banks have branches? Why does a round pizza come in a square box? why does not glue stick to its own bottle? Why do you still call it a building when its completely built? If we are not supposed to drink n drive why do bars have parking?
    It concluded saying We are a funny bunch of people living in a seriously funny world.”

    Thanks for sharing your awesome thoughts…

    • Haha – good stuff Akash – so is the irony of life eh? I should have saved the other 850+ words and simply said, as long as YOU are happy, that’s all that matters. But you know me, always a little more long-winded than need be :)

  37. Hey Matt,

    Glad to see a post about this come into fruition. I’m so happy I’m friends with someone who feels more than comfortable writing about something that others may shy away from for fear of disagreement – mad props to you!

    I feel like striving for YOUR personal best is something that I really connected with. We are surrounded by people who have made a successful name for themselves, yet that doesn’t mean that what they did to succeed is the EXACT blueprint that everyone needs to succeed.

    “‘I wish I could do what so-and-so is doing’. Just go do it!” THANK YOU FOR THIS.
    I really like what Tim Jahn said above as well – DOING is so important. Once you can combine that with your own genuine passion – NOT anyone else’s, like you said, I feel you can (or rather, should be) naturally unstoppable.

    The problem I experience the most as a college senior is that all of my friends are listening to what the news are telling us – There are no jobs for people our age, our first job is going to suck, etc. So I’ve found lots of my friends discouraged and losing their passion for what they want to do because they don’t think they’ll land a job. I’m a big believer in “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” if it’s your passion, then DOING things to land a great job (like applying, reaching out, asking questions) shouldn’t seem like a hassle.

    And while it’s important to be passionate about your career, I also feel like at times your world shouldn’t revolve around your career (although sometimes this cannot be helped). So if it does, even in the short run, you should probably at least really, really, like what you’re doing.

    Awesome, awesome job. I’ve read it maybe 5 times now. We definitely need to chat every week.

    • “The problem I experience the most as a college senior is that all of my friends are listening to what the news are telling us”

      I’m with you there. It irks me to no end sometimes at how easily people simply accept what others say as true.

      And I’m not discounting the current state economy. It exists for some. They’re cutting at my wife’s school (she’s a high school teacher) and that’s a very real reality.

      But a lot of what you do is what you make of it. You’re dead on when you say “I’m a big believer in “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” if it’s your passion, then DOING things to land a great job (like applying, reaching out, asking questions) shouldn’t seem like a hassle.”

      Here’s the dark reality. Most people want to sit on their asses their whole life and get paid a shitload of money to do absolutely nothing. And that includes most college seniors.

      Of course that’s not you. Which means you have a huge opportunity now. All those people don’t want to do anything. Which means all the stuff out there to do? The stuff you WANT to do? It’s YOURS! :)

    • In short Sam, you are WISE beyond your years and light-years ahead of where I was when I was graduating college WAY back when..ehem, two years ago. Your attitude and outlook will GUARANTEE you success and happiness – you get it – you get that whatever YOU love is all that matters – not what your teachers are telling you, not what your peers are talking about, and not what any bloggers out there are gospeling about. You’re spot on here, and I have no doubt that you will be doing some really incredible things once you’re OFFICIALLY out there in the “real world”.

  38. Hey Matt,

    Glad to see a post about this come into fruition. I’m so happy I’m friends with someone who feels more than comfortable writing about something that others may shy away from for fear of disagreement – mad props to you!

    I feel like striving for YOUR personal best is something that I really connected with. We are surrounded by people who have made a successful name for themselves, yet that doesn’t mean that what they did to succeed is the EXACT blueprint that everyone needs to succeed.

    “‘I wish I could do what so-and-so is doing’. Just go do it!” THANK YOU FOR THIS.
    I really like what Tim Jahn said above as well – DOING is so important. Once you can combine that with your own genuine passion – NOT anyone else’s, like you said, I feel you can (or rather, should be) naturally unstoppable.

    The problem I experience the most as a college senior is that all of my friends are listening to what the news are telling us – There are no jobs for people our age, our first job is going to suck, etc. So I’ve found lots of my friends discouraged and losing their passion for what they want to do because they don’t think they’ll land a job. I’m a big believer in “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” if it’s your passion, then DOING things to land a great job (like applying, reaching out, asking questions) shouldn’t seem like a hassle.

    And while it’s important to be passionate about your career, I also feel like at times your world shouldn’t revolve around your career (although sometimes this cannot be helped). So if it does, even in the short run, you should probably at least really, really, like what you’re doing.

    Awesome, awesome job. I’ve read it maybe 5 times now. We definitely need to chat every week.

    • “The problem I experience the most as a college senior is that all of my friends are listening to what the news are telling us”

      I’m with you there. It irks me to no end sometimes at how easily people simply accept what others say as true.

      And I’m not discounting the current state economy. It exists for some. They’re cutting at my wife’s school (she’s a high school teacher) and that’s a very real reality.

      But a lot of what you do is what you make of it. You’re dead on when you say “I’m a big believer in “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” if it’s your passion, then DOING things to land a great job (like applying, reaching out, asking questions) shouldn’t seem like a hassle.”

      Here’s the dark reality. Most people want to sit on their asses their whole life and get paid a shitload of money to do absolutely nothing. And that includes most college seniors.

      Of course that’s not you. Which means you have a huge opportunity now. All those people don’t want to do anything. Which means all the stuff out there to do? The stuff you WANT to do? It’s YOURS! :)

    • In short Sam, you are WISE beyond your years and light-years ahead of where I was when I was graduating college WAY back when..ehem, two years ago. Your attitude and outlook will GUARANTEE you success and happiness – you get it – you get that whatever YOU love is all that matters – not what your teachers are telling you, not what your peers are talking about, and not what any bloggers out there are gospeling about. You’re spot on here, and I have no doubt that you will be doing some really incredible things once you’re OFFICIALLY out there in the “real world”.

  39. This idea of a generation “now” is something that I have mulled over and struggled with at times. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t work a corporate job (been there, done that), but I don’t run my own business either. I work for a small company and I love every minute of it. I enjoy working at a place where I’m challenged daily, but don’t have to worry about making the business decisions.

    Do what I want to do my own thing and be able to be location independent and things of that nature? Sure someday I would like that, but right now I enjoy what I do for work and I also enjoy chasing the passions that I have outside of work and I am far from settling.

    I think that everyone should have their own idea of what it means to be apart of Gen Y and agree that you need to set your own goals for what this means and what you want to accomplish. Great post!

    • You’re doing what you love right now and have dreams/goals about what you want to accomplish in the future. That’s life Evan – you’re living the dream. So cheers to that!

  40. This idea of a generation “now” is something that I have mulled over and struggled with at times. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I feel like I’m somewhere in the middle. I don’t work a corporate job (been there, done that), but I don’t run my own business either. I work for a small company and I love every minute of it. I enjoy working at a place where I’m challenged daily, but don’t have to worry about making the business decisions.

    Do what I want to do my own thing and be able to be location independent and things of that nature? Sure someday I would like that, but right now I enjoy what I do for work and I also enjoy chasing the passions that I have outside of work and I am far from settling.

    I think that everyone should have their own idea of what it means to be apart of Gen Y and agree that you need to set your own goals for what this means and what you want to accomplish. Great post!

    • You’re doing what you love right now and have dreams/goals about what you want to accomplish in the future. That’s life Evan – you’re living the dream. So cheers to that!

  41. Matt-

    Great post with great points. As a fellow Gen-Yer I know what it is to want everything “now”. All my life there has never been a question about busting my ass to be “great” in whatever it was I chose. My problem is I want it all and I want it to start yesterday. I am also my own worst critic, so although some might think I am great – I won’t settle.

    I also forget that it takes some time to get to the top of whatever it is. I need to live in a small apartment, drink cheap wine and eat ramin noodles. We all do at some point and it is okay because I am doing my best.

    I like the way you talk about passion but like Lauren, work is often my passion. I think the most important thing is to be able to balance work and the rest of your life. You need to have passion for your work and what you do, but you also need to have passion for the other things you enjoy doing. It will keep you from burning the candle at both sides and get to “enjoy the roses” a bit.

    Well played sir. Cheers,

    T

    • Can I just say that I love that – even in your “broke living” comment, you included wine? Haha – nothing wrong with a cheap drunk I say ;)

      Also – you always are and always will be your biggest critic. I’m guilty of that – most of us are. And while you def. don’t want to settle, you also can’t spend your whole life beating yourself up…

  42. Matt-

    Great post with great points. As a fellow Gen-Yer I know what it is to want everything “now”. All my life there has never been a question about busting my ass to be “great” in whatever it was I chose. My problem is I want it all and I want it to start yesterday. I am also my own worst critic, so although some might think I am great – I won’t settle.

    I also forget that it takes some time to get to the top of whatever it is. I need to live in a small apartment, drink cheap wine and eat ramin noodles. We all do at some point and it is okay because I am doing my best.

    I like the way you talk about passion but like Lauren, work is often my passion. I think the most important thing is to be able to balance work and the rest of your life. You need to have passion for your work and what you do, but you also need to have passion for the other things you enjoy doing. It will keep you from burning the candle at both sides and get to “enjoy the roses” a bit.

    Well played sir. Cheers,

    T

    • Can I just say that I love that – even in your “broke living” comment, you included wine? Haha – nothing wrong with a cheap drunk I say ;)

      Also – you always are and always will be your biggest critic. I’m guilty of that – most of us are. And while you def. don’t want to settle, you also can’t spend your whole life beating yourself up…

  43. This is a really great post. I think it sums up what I haven’t been able to put into words. I’ve had this feeling about lifestyle design and Gen-Y that everything is just cookie cutter, like I’m expected to do things (which I consider boring things, like dropping everything and moving to Thailand) just to live up to what other people say lifestyle design is. I can really appreciate the people who think long term, who aren’t all about now. The people who work the hourly jobs with a goal in mind are the people I respect the most. This is a really great post. Thanks!

    • Thanks JD – and thanks for coming by. It’s important to have a voice of realism in the mix every now and then. I admire the heck of those who are working from beaches and mountaintops – but have the same respect for those who are working a nine to five and are passionate about the work they do. Both are on in the same, and can be equally happy and fulfilled. Cheers!

  44. This is a really great post. I think it sums up what I haven’t been able to put into words. I’ve had this feeling about lifestyle design and Gen-Y that everything is just cookie cutter, like I’m expected to do things (which I consider boring things, like dropping everything and moving to Thailand) just to live up to what other people say lifestyle design is. I can really appreciate the people who think long term, who aren’t all about now. The people who work the hourly jobs with a goal in mind are the people I respect the most. This is a really great post. Thanks!

    • Thanks JD – and thanks for coming by. It’s important to have a voice of realism in the mix every now and then. I admire the heck of those who are working from beaches and mountaintops – but have the same respect for those who are working a nine to five and are passionate about the work they do. Both are on in the same, and can be equally happy and fulfilled. Cheers!

  45. I love every post I read that says your career doesn’t have to be your passion, and life is more than a paycheck. I work to pay for my life, for my real passions; I enjoy it some days, but it is far from my everything. Thank you!

  46. I love every post I read that says your career doesn’t have to be your passion, and life is more than a paycheck. I work to pay for my life, for my real passions; I enjoy it some days, but it is far from my everything. Thank you!

  47. “Your passions shouldn’t lie in what anyone else is telling you or what anyone else is doing”

    If you’re doing something based on what someone else is telling you, rather than some intrinsic motivation – I don’t think you can call it passion ;)

    I saw an interesting panel at a conference recently for software developers. One point a presenter made was that passion is a finite resource – keep doing projects you don’t like, and you have to “spend” more passion. Work on projects you love, and you passion multiples. That was one of the things that really stuck with me. I’m sure doing things only because other people tell you to do them will eventually exhaust your passion, until it needs to be recharged ;)

    • Wow Sid – that’s a great way to put it. We don’t have an infinite amount of time on this Earth, so it’s important that we are living a passionate life, one without regrets, and at the end of the day – doing what makes us happy…Thanks for the comment.

  48. “Your passions shouldn’t lie in what anyone else is telling you or what anyone else is doing”

    If you’re doing something based on what someone else is telling you, rather than some intrinsic motivation – I don’t think you can call it passion ;)

    I saw an interesting panel at a conference recently for software developers. One point a presenter made was that passion is a finite resource – keep doing projects you don’t like, and you have to “spend” more passion. Work on projects you love, and you passion multiples. That was one of the things that really stuck with me. I’m sure doing things only because other people tell you to do them will eventually exhaust your passion, until it needs to be recharged ;)

    • Wow Sid – that’s a great way to put it. We don’t have an infinite amount of time on this Earth, so it’s important that we are living a passionate life, one without regrets, and at the end of the day – doing what makes us happy…Thanks for the comment.

  49. I’ve always adhered to the adage you either go big or you go home. This has caused me both extreme happiness at my achievements and debilitating sadness at my failures. I still adhere to a pretty hard-core work ethic and strive, but a couple years ago changed my measurements. Instead of measuring against everyone else, I started having very realistic and thoughtful discussions with myself (amazing what 10 hours a week in a car driving to sales appointments will do for you!) as to whether *I* was worthy of the success or failure. Did *I* give 100% of myself or did I take the easy way out? Did I work smarter instead of harder?

    It’s amazing how much MORE you accomplish when you focus on what you can do instead of focusing on what everyone else does. :)

    • Exactly – couldn’t have said it better. And to your point about time alone in the car – that’s REALLY good for the soul (depending where you’re driving of course). I did a LOT of traveling with my old gig – driving across half the frickin’ country, alone. And that time spent alone thinking about what you want most out of life can really serve you well…

  50. I’ve always adhered to the adage you either go big or you go home. This has caused me both extreme happiness at my achievements and debilitating sadness at my failures. I still adhere to a pretty hard-core work ethic and strive, but a couple years ago changed my measurements. Instead of measuring against everyone else, I started having very realistic and thoughtful discussions with myself (amazing what 10 hours a week in a car driving to sales appointments will do for you!) as to whether *I* was worthy of the success or failure. Did *I* give 100% of myself or did I take the easy way out? Did I work smarter instead of harder?

    It’s amazing how much MORE you accomplish when you focus on what you can do instead of focusing on what everyone else does. :)

    • Exactly – couldn’t have said it better. And to your point about time alone in the car – that’s REALLY good for the soul (depending where you’re driving of course). I did a LOT of traveling with my old gig – driving across half the frickin’ country, alone. And that time spent alone thinking about what you want most out of life can really serve you well…

  51. Your post provides a necessary dose of reality for generation now. As a boomer my generation started to break down the job-for-life concept that my parents enjoyed. Start-ups and working for small companies began to emerge as an option in the late 70’s and through the 80’s. During the 90’s this trend gained more steam and entering 2000 many young people made a lot of money just prior to the dot com bust.

    It was the perfect storm and it happened right at the time generation now was entering high school. Start a company, become a multi-millionaire, ride off into the sunset and set your own rules. It became the mantra of Gen-Y.

    But it isn’t reality. Reality is somewhere in between. The dynamics have since changed and the economy is different. Not everybody can or wants to start a business and people are driven by different factors. Those that are lucky will find their passion through their work. For others your passions lie elsewhere. There is no one common equation.

  52. Your post provides a necessary dose of reality for generation now. As a boomer my generation started to break down the job-for-life concept that my parents enjoyed. Start-ups and working for small companies began to emerge as an option in the late 70’s and through the 80’s. During the 90’s this trend gained more steam and entering 2000 many young people made a lot of money just prior to the dot com bust.

    It was the perfect storm and it happened right at the time generation now was entering high school. Start a company, become a multi-millionaire, ride off into the sunset and set your own rules. It became the mantra of Gen-Y.

    But it isn’t reality. Reality is somewhere in between. The dynamics have since changed and the economy is different. Not everybody can or wants to start a business and people are driven by different factors. Those that are lucky will find their passion through their work. For others your passions lie elsewhere. There is no one common equation.

  53. These are some amazing points Matt, but I have to disagree.

    1. Fear of settling is one of the reasons I get up every single day and work my ass off.

    It’s the reason that I decided to quit my 9-5. It’s the reason I write every single day. It’s the reason that I can survive outside the confines of the system that so many people are forced to exist within. It’s the reason I learned how to apply practical minimalism to live and work from anywhere.

    2. Doing one thing while you wait for the right opportunity to do what you really want to do is a trap.

    These people are still in retail, but want to be musicians or writers or whatever. They make way more money in retail than they will initially doing their dreams, and it’s enough for them to settle. They don’t have the incentive to work their asses off, because they’re safe.

    I offer this solution:

    If you’re stuck in a job you hate, you better be doing your damned best every single spare hour to work on what you love so you can leave that job. If you work from 8-5pm every day, there is always 6-2am to work on what you love doing. If you’re sitting in front of the TV during that time, you’re never going to accomplish anything.

    I imagine this is what you did Matt, in order to leave your day job.

    • I think you may be forgetting, Everett, that those writers, musicians, and artists that you’re putting down for working in retail have to pay the bills. When I graduated college, I had no financial support from anyone, and though I have a double major in documentary film production and photojournalism, I couldn’t find a job even remotely in my field. When you’re starting out from day one with bills to pay and no job, you don’t have the luxury of the time it takes to get a freelance business going. I took the first job I could get, and I spend an additional 8-10hrs a day trying to build my business, but I’ve had no luck yet. For some folks who need money to buy equipment to start their business, they have to spend even longer in retail or some other crap job, while raising money to work on their own. It’s not a trap and it’s not settling – it is a necessity for many to do what you propose.

      • Kelsey – another good post, nice hat by the way. I believe you will get there. The mroe you practice, the luckier you will get. Practice practice practice. It’s the key. I don’t give two hoots how talented someone is, if they don’t play it over and over and over, then they won’t develop. Your 8-10 hours a day is a lot of practice, and I expect a virtuoso performance will emerge (no pressure eh?).

        • Thanks. It’s from 1940s Switzerland and I wear it all the time. It’s a trademark of sorts. ;)

          In my case, those 8-10 hours a day are being largely spent trying to make a name for myself. Every professional photographer who has seen my work is baffled as to why I don’t have a job, and I’m currently trying to figure that out myself. I have the artistic stuff down quite well, but the business side eludes me. Both my parents are also self-employed artists, but they are in a different enough field that much of their advice isn’t all that applicable, unfortunately, and I went to a hippie school that felt teaching business strategy would lead to too many of their students working for “the man”. *sigh*

          I’m doing a personally funded, personally organized, and personally produced journalism project next year in Mongolia, and I’m hoping that that, with the contacts I have, will help to put me on the map a bit more. If nothing else, it’ll be an interesting trip and something impressive to go in my portfolio.

          • Hi Kelsey,

            Have you seen Ramit Sethi’s Earn1K program? It’s a course he’s developed after rigorous research that can help you hone your skills as an entrepreneur. A lot of the times, it’s not so much in what you have, but more so what you can offer to people who need your photography.

            To start, here’s his website if you haven’t seen it yet: http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com

            Matt, sorry for plugging someone else’s website on your blog, but I think Ramit’s material could be GREATLY beneficial to a lot of your readers.. especially entrepreneurs struggling to make ends meet!

            Cheers, Kelsey. Good luck.

    • Hi Everett – thanks for the comment. I think we all are actually more in agreement than we’re all saying here. I COMPLETELY agree with your final point – that if you’re doing something you hate – you better be doing something to make it better – working nights, weekends, etc. Don’t complain to me about it if you’re not trying to better your own situation, right? This is exactly what I did to set myself up for leaving my job (even though it happened a little sooner than expecting with getting fired). I busted my ass and now I’m doing well because I worked hard to be where I am right now.

      To everyone else, I don’t really think he is putting anyone down here – and Kelsey – I know what you mean about having very little support (financially and otherwise). I am where I am today because I worked hard. The end. There’s a lot to be said for making it with your own two hands…

  54. These are some amazing points Matt, but I have to disagree.

    1. Fear of settling is one of the reasons I get up every single day and work my ass off.

    It’s the reason that I decided to quit my 9-5. It’s the reason I write every single day. It’s the reason that I can survive outside the confines of the system that so many people are forced to exist within. It’s the reason I learned how to apply practical minimalism to live and work from anywhere.

    2. Doing one thing while you wait for the right opportunity to do what you really want to do is a trap.

    These people are still in retail, but want to be musicians or writers or whatever. They make way more money in retail than they will initially doing their dreams, and it’s enough for them to settle. They don’t have the incentive to work their asses off, because they’re safe.

    I offer this solution:

    If you’re stuck in a job you hate, you better be doing your damned best every single spare hour to work on what you love so you can leave that job. If you work from 8-5pm every day, there is always 6-2am to work on what you love doing. If you’re sitting in front of the TV during that time, you’re never going to accomplish anything.

    I imagine this is what you did Matt, in order to leave your day job.

    • I think you may be forgetting, Everett, that those writers, musicians, and artists that you’re putting down for working in retail have to pay the bills. When I graduated college, I had no financial support from anyone, and though I have a double major in documentary film production and photojournalism, I couldn’t find a job even remotely in my field. When you’re starting out from day one with bills to pay and no job, you don’t have the luxury of the time it takes to get a freelance business going. I took the first job I could get, and I spend an additional 8-10hrs a day trying to build my business, but I’ve had no luck yet. For some folks who need money to buy equipment to start their business, they have to spend even longer in retail or some other crap job, while raising money to work on their own. It’s not a trap and it’s not settling – it is a necessity for many to do what you propose.

      • Kelsey – another good post, nice hat by the way. I believe you will get there. The mroe you practice, the luckier you will get. Practice practice practice. It’s the key. I don’t give two hoots how talented someone is, if they don’t play it over and over and over, then they won’t develop. Your 8-10 hours a day is a lot of practice, and I expect a virtuoso performance will emerge (no pressure eh?).

        • Thanks. It’s from 1940s Switzerland and I wear it all the time. It’s a trademark of sorts. ;)

          In my case, those 8-10 hours a day are being largely spent trying to make a name for myself. Every professional photographer who has seen my work is baffled as to why I don’t have a job, and I’m currently trying to figure that out myself. I have the artistic stuff down quite well, but the business side eludes me. Both my parents are also self-employed artists, but they are in a different enough field that much of their advice isn’t all that applicable, unfortunately, and I went to a hippie school that felt teaching business strategy would lead to too many of their students working for “the man”. *sigh*

          I’m doing a personally funded, personally organized, and personally produced journalism project next year in Mongolia, and I’m hoping that that, with the contacts I have, will help to put me on the map a bit more. If nothing else, it’ll be an interesting trip and something impressive to go in my portfolio.

          • Hi Kelsey,

            Have you seen Ramit Sethi’s Earn1K program? It’s a course he’s developed after rigorous research that can help you hone your skills as an entrepreneur. A lot of the times, it’s not so much in what you have, but more so what you can offer to people who need your photography.

            To start, here’s his website if you haven’t seen it yet: http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com

            Matt, sorry for plugging someone else’s website on your blog, but I think Ramit’s material could be GREATLY beneficial to a lot of your readers.. especially entrepreneurs struggling to make ends meet!

            Cheers, Kelsey. Good luck.

    • Hi Everett – thanks for the comment. I think we all are actually more in agreement than we’re all saying here. I COMPLETELY agree with your final point – that if you’re doing something you hate – you better be doing something to make it better – working nights, weekends, etc. Don’t complain to me about it if you’re not trying to better your own situation, right? This is exactly what I did to set myself up for leaving my job (even though it happened a little sooner than expecting with getting fired). I busted my ass and now I’m doing well because I worked hard to be where I am right now.

      To everyone else, I don’t really think he is putting anyone down here – and Kelsey – I know what you mean about having very little support (financially and otherwise). I am where I am today because I worked hard. The end. There’s a lot to be said for making it with your own two hands…

  55. I like.

    I didn’t so much take away “your job is just a job” from this as much as I took away acknowledgment that a job or work is not everyone’s primary passion. I think that’s fine. We all must make decisions to prioritize. For awhile, I was salsa dancing *30* hours each week in addition to my full time job. At that point, I placed dancing as my primary passion, and it was worth working a job to support that passion. Now (as you know), grad school is my priority. And I’m working on building my life-work. My “life-work” will entail my passion–but I don’t presume that is true for everyone. “Doing your best” is different for each of us…but the common thread is that it entails active work on whatever our passion(s) may be.

    And moving past the Gen Now need for immediacy is so spot on, Matt. Thanks for saying so.

    • You’re a shining example of pursuing your passions, as varied as they may be – you’re doing what you love, and that, at the end of the day, is all that matters (starting to sound like a broken record here, I know). Thanks for coming by – me like that you like – and I like that we’re chatting tomorrow. Will be good to catch up – crossing my fingers for Skype to work.

  56. I like.

    I didn’t so much take away “your job is just a job” from this as much as I took away acknowledgment that a job or work is not everyone’s primary passion. I think that’s fine. We all must make decisions to prioritize. For awhile, I was salsa dancing *30* hours each week in addition to my full time job. At that point, I placed dancing as my primary passion, and it was worth working a job to support that passion. Now (as you know), grad school is my priority. And I’m working on building my life-work. My “life-work” will entail my passion–but I don’t presume that is true for everyone. “Doing your best” is different for each of us…but the common thread is that it entails active work on whatever our passion(s) may be.

    And moving past the Gen Now need for immediacy is so spot on, Matt. Thanks for saying so.

    • You’re a shining example of pursuing your passions, as varied as they may be – you’re doing what you love, and that, at the end of the day, is all that matters (starting to sound like a broken record here, I know). Thanks for coming by – me like that you like – and I like that we’re chatting tomorrow. Will be good to catch up – crossing my fingers for Skype to work.

  57. Hi Matt:

    This is a brilliant, insightful post! I’m not from Generation Now (I’m a Gen Xer), but I can really sense a movement toward following our passions. This is great because I’ve spent more than my share of “paying dues” and I don’t want to settle for less than that. That being said, it’s not realistic that everyone can quit their jobs in order to make money blogging or whatever. But we sure the heck can try…and if we don’t we can learn something in the process.

    After having been laid off 3 times in 6 years or so, I want to take greater control of my life and my career. I’m thinking more like an entrepreneur in hopes that one day I’ll start my own business. But I’m also still learning about myself…and one big thing is that I’m not keen working in isolation. I love to collaborate with others and being part of a team, as well. This might make the whole “I’m starting my own business” a tough thing.

    Whether we’re being fed information from big corporations or independent bloggers, we still must be able to figure out what’s right for us. We shouldn’t worry about the next big thing, the next hot industry, etc. We need to follow a career path that is right for us. Once again — great job with this post!!

    • Thanks Tim – this ideas surely doesn’t only apply to my generation – but it’s a theme I’ve been noticing more and more of – and through many conversations with a lot of folks – it’s clear to me that many are feeling discouraged because they’re not doing what so-and-so is doing. That kind of attitude has to cease to exist – you’ll never be completely happy if all you’re doing is comparing yourself with other people. Thanks as always for coming by!

  58. Hi Matt:

    This is a brilliant, insightful post! I’m not from Generation Now (I’m a Gen Xer), but I can really sense a movement toward following our passions. This is great because I’ve spent more than my share of “paying dues” and I don’t want to settle for less than that. That being said, it’s not realistic that everyone can quit their jobs in order to make money blogging or whatever. But we sure the heck can try…and if we don’t we can learn something in the process.

    After having been laid off 3 times in 6 years or so, I want to take greater control of my life and my career. I’m thinking more like an entrepreneur in hopes that one day I’ll start my own business. But I’m also still learning about myself…and one big thing is that I’m not keen working in isolation. I love to collaborate with others and being part of a team, as well. This might make the whole “I’m starting my own business” a tough thing.

    Whether we’re being fed information from big corporations or independent bloggers, we still must be able to figure out what’s right for us. We shouldn’t worry about the next big thing, the next hot industry, etc. We need to follow a career path that is right for us. Once again — great job with this post!!

    • Thanks Tim – this ideas surely doesn’t only apply to my generation – but it’s a theme I’ve been noticing more and more of – and through many conversations with a lot of folks – it’s clear to me that many are feeling discouraged because they’re not doing what so-and-so is doing. That kind of attitude has to cease to exist – you’ll never be completely happy if all you’re doing is comparing yourself with other people. Thanks as always for coming by!

  59. This immediately reminded me of something a friend of mine said to me a few years ago. She had been going to these “meetings” in which they “teach you how to succeed” and she told me: “You are riding a bike to reach your goals when you could be driving a Ferrari.” Her concept of success is being successful NOW.

    Needless to say, she has started and failed in 5 separate businesses within that time, and the business that I set out with is really starting to thrive – and I continue to love what I do.

    As long as you are doing what you love – what you have a passion for – nothing else really matters. You’ll be successful. And you hit the nail on the head: Success doesn’t have to have anything to do with a paycheck.

    • First – I love your website’s tagline – “Fall in LOVE With Your Design” – well said. And right on with your thoughts here – success doesn’t come down to $$$ and as long as you’re doing what you love, the rest tends to fall into place…

  60. This immediately reminded me of something a friend of mine said to me a few years ago. She had been going to these “meetings” in which they “teach you how to succeed” and she told me: “You are riding a bike to reach your goals when you could be driving a Ferrari.” Her concept of success is being successful NOW.

    Needless to say, she has started and failed in 5 separate businesses within that time, and the business that I set out with is really starting to thrive – and I continue to love what I do.

    As long as you are doing what you love – what you have a passion for – nothing else really matters. You’ll be successful. And you hit the nail on the head: Success doesn’t have to have anything to do with a paycheck.

    • First – I love your website’s tagline – “Fall in LOVE With Your Design” – well said. And right on with your thoughts here – success doesn’t come down to $$$ and as long as you’re doing what you love, the rest tends to fall into place…

  61. This is true.

    It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s definitely of success is different. People have different values and different goals and different approaches to achieving them.

    It would be horribly irrational of us to think just because we (the online Gen Y bang-the-drum-and-get-people-on-the-same-train-to-financial/location-freedom blogosphere crew) have found or are finding something that works for us that the other people in the world who are working the 9-to-5 and watching TV and putting up their white picket fences haven’t done the same.

    I think it’s important that people stay relativistic and are able to look at every different lifestyle choice as a viable option. Because you know what? The only constant is change, and if you think that your opinions and values and goals won’t change, you’re deluding yourself (or even worse, loving your relativism).

    • Great points here Colin – thank you for coming by to share. I think what you are doing is great and hope you don’t take this as a knock against you or your lifestyle in any way – what you are doing is amazing, my point is – the same can be said for the 9-to-5er who’s passionate about building up their 401k, supporting a family, etc. It all lies in what YOU are passionate about. Thanks again!

  62. This is true.

    It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s definitely of success is different. People have different values and different goals and different approaches to achieving them.

    It would be horribly irrational of us to think just because we (the online Gen Y bang-the-drum-and-get-people-on-the-same-train-to-financial/location-freedom blogosphere crew) have found or are finding something that works for us that the other people in the world who are working the 9-to-5 and watching TV and putting up their white picket fences haven’t done the same.

    I think it’s important that people stay relativistic and are able to look at every different lifestyle choice as a viable option. Because you know what? The only constant is change, and if you think that your opinions and values and goals won’t change, you’re deluding yourself (or even worse, loving your relativism).

    • Great points here Colin – thank you for coming by to share. I think what you are doing is great and hope you don’t take this as a knock against you or your lifestyle in any way – what you are doing is amazing, my point is – the same can be said for the 9-to-5er who’s passionate about building up their 401k, supporting a family, etc. It all lies in what YOU are passionate about. Thanks again!

  63. believe nothing,
    no matter where you read it
    or who has said it,
    not even if i have said it,
    unless it agrees with your own reason
    and your own common sense.
    – buddha

  64. believe nothing,
    no matter where you read it
    or who has said it,
    not even if i have said it,
    unless it agrees with your own reason
    and your own common sense.
    – buddha

  65. Matt – glad to see I rubbed off on you a little. When we were working together and you told me you got laid off, I was happy for you. It starts there, and you only move upwards!

    Keep climbing brother.

    Oh and doesn’t that first paycheck you make for yourself feel OH so good?

    Sam Diener

  66. Matt – glad to see I rubbed off on you a little. When we were working together and you told me you got laid off, I was happy for you. It starts there, and you only move upwards!

    Keep climbing brother.

    Oh and doesn’t that first paycheck you make for yourself feel OH so good?

    Sam Diener

  67. Wow… this is awesome. Great post and great comments. I don’t think I can add too much more here but I will try. As a Gen Xer, an entrepreneur and Recruiter let me just add a few things I have learned, I could go on an on, but I will keep this short to the top ten.
    #1 Nothing wrong with hard work and if you want to make $$, guess what, you need to work at it.
    #2 Nothing wrong with working for the “man”
    #3 Success is defined by one person, YOU
    #4 Life is short so you better enjoy it, but take the time to plan your life and develop your philosophy on life. Too many people just get sucked into the matrix and wake up at 40 and go Where did the time go?! Plan your life and set goals. Then work to make them happen
    #5 Only you can own your own life and take responsibility for your career path.
    #6 I stopped watching mainstream news a long time ago ( I read some things occasionally, but it is really bad) and that is the best decision I ever made.
    #7 Live in the moment
    #8 Do things you enjoy
    #9 Never stop learning EVER. Keep reading all the time. Your best education is self education NOT the degree on the wall
    #10 Have fun and Don’t just follow the herd, the herd will still be there. So take risks and try stuff, if you fail so what get up and try again.

    Keep this one going it is good!
    Marty

    “You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” Jim Rohn

    • Great points – especially about learning. You’re only truly living if you are learning, at least that’s my belief. I’ve never met anyone who knows it all – and odds are – neither have you. We all can learn a LOT from one another.

  68. Wow… this is awesome. Great post and great comments. I don’t think I can add too much more here but I will try. As a Gen Xer, an entrepreneur and Recruiter let me just add a few things I have learned, I could go on an on, but I will keep this short to the top ten.
    #1 Nothing wrong with hard work and if you want to make $$, guess what, you need to work at it.
    #2 Nothing wrong with working for the “man”
    #3 Success is defined by one person, YOU
    #4 Life is short so you better enjoy it, but take the time to plan your life and develop your philosophy on life. Too many people just get sucked into the matrix and wake up at 40 and go Where did the time go?! Plan your life and set goals. Then work to make them happen
    #5 Only you can own your own life and take responsibility for your career path.
    #6 I stopped watching mainstream news a long time ago ( I read some things occasionally, but it is really bad) and that is the best decision I ever made.
    #7 Live in the moment
    #8 Do things you enjoy
    #9 Never stop learning EVER. Keep reading all the time. Your best education is self education NOT the degree on the wall
    #10 Have fun and Don’t just follow the herd, the herd will still be there. So take risks and try stuff, if you fail so what get up and try again.

    Keep this one going it is good!
    Marty

    “You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” Jim Rohn

    • Great points – especially about learning. You’re only truly living if you are learning, at least that’s my belief. I’ve never met anyone who knows it all – and odds are – neither have you. We all can learn a LOT from one another.

  69. Wow what a great conversation. I have been struggling with this since I got out of college. Sh*t the only reason I went to college was to own a business-majored in Management with focus on Entrepreneurship…but these were just skills I learned not how to use my balls…bc that is what it takes to say screw the system and do something yourself. Stick your neck out and take a shot.

    Life as a late 20 or early 30 something is not easy…trying to find meaning, direction in life and wonder if its good enough. Trying to find what makes you happy but also makes you $. Fighting to keep up or fighting to be kept up with.

    I do believe you should love your career since you spend so much of your life doing “it”.

    The “safety” and “comfort” of working for someone else is very appealing until you realize your wasting time and energy making someone else happy or the fact you could be let go at any time.

    Entrepreneurship is something has been on our earth since day one. Why stop the trend. Its been a lifestyle of our ancestors for so long.

    Success to me is quality of life, loving your friends and family and enjoying what you do on a daily basis.

    So two weeks ago I quit my sales job…and am planning a Taqueria on the beach in Fl. Its a 1 year shortest and 2 year at the longest plan. Gulf Coast Taqueria. Watch the sun come up and go down every day. Plan is to expand around the Gulf in select locations where tourism is prevalent.

    Plan your work and work your plan….and go out and Hustle with a purpose.

    • Very well said my friend. “Success to me is quality of life, loving your friends and family and enjoying what you do on a daily basis.” – this speaks volumes – and says a lot about your character. Good luck to you in Taqueria – it sounds absolutely amazing!

  70. Wow what a great conversation. I have been struggling with this since I got out of college. Sh*t the only reason I went to college was to own a business-majored in Management with focus on Entrepreneurship…but these were just skills I learned not how to use my balls…bc that is what it takes to say screw the system and do something yourself. Stick your neck out and take a shot.

    Life as a late 20 or early 30 something is not easy…trying to find meaning, direction in life and wonder if its good enough. Trying to find what makes you happy but also makes you $. Fighting to keep up or fighting to be kept up with.

    I do believe you should love your career since you spend so much of your life doing “it”.

    The “safety” and “comfort” of working for someone else is very appealing until you realize your wasting time and energy making someone else happy or the fact you could be let go at any time.

    Entrepreneurship is something has been on our earth since day one. Why stop the trend. Its been a lifestyle of our ancestors for so long.

    Success to me is quality of life, loving your friends and family and enjoying what you do on a daily basis.

    So two weeks ago I quit my sales job…and am planning a Taqueria on the beach in Fl. Its a 1 year shortest and 2 year at the longest plan. Gulf Coast Taqueria. Watch the sun come up and go down every day. Plan is to expand around the Gulf in select locations where tourism is prevalent.

    Plan your work and work your plan….and go out and Hustle with a purpose.

    • Very well said my friend. “Success to me is quality of life, loving your friends and family and enjoying what you do on a daily basis.” – this speaks volumes – and says a lot about your character. Good luck to you in Taqueria – it sounds absolutely amazing!

  71. Matt —

    This is a really great, really well-written post and I’m so glad to see it comes from a place of your own passion. Very cool. :)

    I see two sides to this. On the one side, I want to say follow your passions and live your dreams. On the other side, there’s a realistic tendency that says you do what you have to do to get by, you figure out what’s really important in your life, and you have to understand that your dreams can change.

    Once upon a time, my dream was to work in publishing. Now I’m working at a bank and freelancing and I am actually really happy (I know, even I can’t quite believe it!) Did I settle? Quite possibly. But who’s to say you can’t achieve greatness and happiness by doing so? Why is there such a negative connotation? Settling doesn’t mean giving up; settling doesn’t even mean failure. Settling just means finding an alternative — a change of heart, a change of mind.

    I have a dream of living in France for a good part of the year. I’ve since gone and experienced this in part by staying there for three weeks, and I know I’ll be back again. But actually living there is a long-term goal and something I’m not ready for right now. Because those dreams have somewhat shifted. I want to be close to my family, I want to start a family. Does that mean I’ve given up on my dream? Absolutely not. But others have taken shape, and those are the ones I want to concentrate on.

    We are a part of Generation Now, and it’s almost a shame because in our race to do things right this minute, to be the first, the best, to accomplish all of our dreams tomorrow…we might forget what we’re working towards today. We might forget what’s important. In a sense, though we may feel liberated, we’re just as stuck…because we aren’t allowing ourselves to change our minds, to grow.

    And in all of this, we might forget why they’re dreams in the first place.

    • Well said Susan – especially your point on forgetting today. This is something that even I get caught up in – I think we probably all do. We’re so concerned with what’s next – we’re so worried about what is dues tomorrow, a week from now, a year from now, that we forget to live in the moment, we forget to enjoy ourselves along the way. That’s why goals are great, they’re a required part of life, but they can also control you and really take over your well being.

      You have not settled at all Susan – you decided what was best for YOU and you went with it – there is NO shame at all in that, and you clearly very happy with where you ended up…Thanks for coming by as always – let’s chat again soon!

  72. Matt —

    This is a really great, really well-written post and I’m so glad to see it comes from a place of your own passion. Very cool. :)

    I see two sides to this. On the one side, I want to say follow your passions and live your dreams. On the other side, there’s a realistic tendency that says you do what you have to do to get by, you figure out what’s really important in your life, and you have to understand that your dreams can change.

    Once upon a time, my dream was to work in publishing. Now I’m working at a bank and freelancing and I am actually really happy (I know, even I can’t quite believe it!) Did I settle? Quite possibly. But who’s to say you can’t achieve greatness and happiness by doing so? Why is there such a negative connotation? Settling doesn’t mean giving up; settling doesn’t even mean failure. Settling just means finding an alternative — a change of heart, a change of mind.

    I have a dream of living in France for a good part of the year. I’ve since gone and experienced this in part by staying there for three weeks, and I know I’ll be back again. But actually living there is a long-term goal and something I’m not ready for right now. Because those dreams have somewhat shifted. I want to be close to my family, I want to start a family. Does that mean I’ve given up on my dream? Absolutely not. But others have taken shape, and those are the ones I want to concentrate on.

    We are a part of Generation Now, and it’s almost a shame because in our race to do things right this minute, to be the first, the best, to accomplish all of our dreams tomorrow…we might forget what we’re working towards today. We might forget what’s important. In a sense, though we may feel liberated, we’re just as stuck…because we aren’t allowing ourselves to change our minds, to grow.

    And in all of this, we might forget why they’re dreams in the first place.

    • Well said Susan – especially your point on forgetting today. This is something that even I get caught up in – I think we probably all do. We’re so concerned with what’s next – we’re so worried about what is dues tomorrow, a week from now, a year from now, that we forget to live in the moment, we forget to enjoy ourselves along the way. That’s why goals are great, they’re a required part of life, but they can also control you and really take over your well being.

      You have not settled at all Susan – you decided what was best for YOU and you went with it – there is NO shame at all in that, and you clearly very happy with where you ended up…Thanks for coming by as always – let’s chat again soon!

  73. YES! Totally appreciated this post, Matt! I’ve noticed the same common themes which begun to be pushed down our throats even more we graduate college: Start your amazing career NOW, but also, travel and see the world NOW, but also, follow your passion NOW! As if there is no other time in our lives to do these things, and as if we could possibly do all at once even if we could only do them in our young age.

    Settling is definitely a dangerous word, but it means entirely different things for different folks. The focus should be “are YOU doing what makes you happy”, not are you doing what makes others happy/impressed, or are others doing what makes you happy/impressed… That’s so far from the actual goal of being in control of your career and life, and very simply, its subjective!

  74. YES! Totally appreciated this post, Matt! I’ve noticed the same common themes which begun to be pushed down our throats even more we graduate college: Start your amazing career NOW, but also, travel and see the world NOW, but also, follow your passion NOW! As if there is no other time in our lives to do these things, and as if we could possibly do all at once even if we could only do them in our young age.

    Settling is definitely a dangerous word, but it means entirely different things for different folks. The focus should be “are YOU doing what makes you happy”, not are you doing what makes others happy/impressed, or are others doing what makes you happy/impressed… That’s so far from the actual goal of being in control of your career and life, and very simply, its subjective!

  75. Honestly, I think you could have come out even stronger against this bullshit propaganda but I love that you have tackled it in a unique way.

    Most of my friends are Gen Y and none of them (save one) are living this lifestyle that is supposedly built for our generation. And guess what? Almost all of them are happy. Some of them work for the man. Some of them are old fashioned entrepreneurs (opened up brick and mortar businesses). Lawyers, doctors, teachers, public servants…

    And that’s why I call it propaganda. Because it is this inherent belief that you can’t be happy unless you’re living this type of lifestyle. You can’t be fulfilled unless you live this way. It is garbage. It might as well be a cult. My wife loves what she does at work and it has none of these characteristics. I love what I do and I have some of these characteristics. Our life is fulfilled in different ways too.

    Anyway, you are on the right track. Seriously, one of your best posts.

    • Right on man – it’s def. something that is a part of this whole “online” generation y movement – like you, almost all of my friends are working “9 to 5″ jobs and they don’t have any problem with it – my fiance is an accountant and she’s very happy with the work she does. Maybe I have this mentality and speak out so “boldly” about it because I witness two very different lifestyles (my fiance and I) on a daily basis. It further proves that people can be very happy doing whatever it is they do – and that there IS NO right or wrong.

      Thanks for the comment Lance – hope things have been going well lately for you.

  76. Honestly, I think you could have come out even stronger against this bullshit propaganda but I love that you have tackled it in a unique way.

    Most of my friends are Gen Y and none of them (save one) are living this lifestyle that is supposedly built for our generation. And guess what? Almost all of them are happy. Some of them work for the man. Some of them are old fashioned entrepreneurs (opened up brick and mortar businesses). Lawyers, doctors, teachers, public servants…

    And that’s why I call it propaganda. Because it is this inherent belief that you can’t be happy unless you’re living this type of lifestyle. You can’t be fulfilled unless you live this way. It is garbage. It might as well be a cult. My wife loves what she does at work and it has none of these characteristics. I love what I do and I have some of these characteristics. Our life is fulfilled in different ways too.

    Anyway, you are on the right track. Seriously, one of your best posts.

    • Right on man – it’s def. something that is a part of this whole “online” generation y movement – like you, almost all of my friends are working “9 to 5″ jobs and they don’t have any problem with it – my fiance is an accountant and she’s very happy with the work she does. Maybe I have this mentality and speak out so “boldly” about it because I witness two very different lifestyles (my fiance and I) on a daily basis. It further proves that people can be very happy doing whatever it is they do – and that there IS NO right or wrong.

      Thanks for the comment Lance – hope things have been going well lately for you.

  77. If you give 100% of YOU everyday, you have nothing to regret in life. Yes, somedays you might not be able to give 100% percent but if you keep that mentally everyday of your life your only going to keep attempting to make everyday 100% of YOU till its done. Live YOUR life, nobody else’s.

    Great post my friend, great post.

  78. If you give 100% of YOU everyday, you have nothing to regret in life. Yes, somedays you might not be able to give 100% percent but if you keep that mentally everyday of your life your only going to keep attempting to make everyday 100% of YOU till its done. Live YOUR life, nobody else’s.

    Great post my friend, great post.

  79. Before anything else Matt, thank you for writing about this. Gen-Y has gotten a bit of flak because of the “now” attitude. What I think most people fail to see is that most of Gen Y are just tuned into what they want and need.

    We’re all a bit reckless sometimes and we tend to want to do things NOW, which works for some of us–and I admit I have done my fair share of it too, but what we need to work on is to be smart about how we do things.

    I have no qualms about jumping onto the dream, most especially if the opportunity arises, but like you said, if it requires a bit more planning (always good) and more time then it doesn’t mean you’re settling. We definitely need to be less harsh to ourselves (I’m guilty of this) and just see that what matters is we’re doing something to get where we want to be no matter how grand or miniscule the steps we take may seem.

    • Thanks for the comment Niki. Somewhere down the line planning became synonymous with settling, which doesn’t make any sense to me. I have had face to face conversations with people who tried to convince met that I was settling and holding myself back from working a nine to five. Maybe so – maybe I wasn’t living up to my full potential – but I was also perfectly content because I knew I was working TOWARD something – saving money for my wedding, to move to Chicago, to start a business. While the actual day to day may not have been ideal, I was happy because I knew I was doing what I needed to do to make things happen!

  80. Before anything else Matt, thank you for writing about this. Gen-Y has gotten a bit of flak because of the “now” attitude. What I think most people fail to see is that most of Gen Y are just tuned into what they want and need.

    We’re all a bit reckless sometimes and we tend to want to do things NOW, which works for some of us–and I admit I have done my fair share of it too, but what we need to work on is to be smart about how we do things.

    I have no qualms about jumping onto the dream, most especially if the opportunity arises, but like you said, if it requires a bit more planning (always good) and more time then it doesn’t mean you’re settling. We definitely need to be less harsh to ourselves (I’m guilty of this) and just see that what matters is we’re doing something to get where we want to be no matter how grand or miniscule the steps we take may seem.

    • Thanks for the comment Niki. Somewhere down the line planning became synonymous with settling, which doesn’t make any sense to me. I have had face to face conversations with people who tried to convince met that I was settling and holding myself back from working a nine to five. Maybe so – maybe I wasn’t living up to my full potential – but I was also perfectly content because I knew I was working TOWARD something – saving money for my wedding, to move to Chicago, to start a business. While the actual day to day may not have been ideal, I was happy because I knew I was doing what I needed to do to make things happen!

  81. The grass is always greener on the other side, eh? :)

    I think Gen Y, as a whole, are doing some pretty kick ass things. We’re motivated, and we’re redefining success! I’m simply amazed by all the Gen Y people out there doing their own thing and I even get a little jealous sometimes!

    Even your new life/venture seems quite exciting!

    As a person who has moved across the world, is “living the dream” and location independent, I must say, it’s not ALL it’s cracked up to be. ;) I feel my time is mainly a vacation lightly funded by some part time work more than anything else. I’m not being all THAT much of a go getter in terms of my career but I know that with some hard work, I am capable of more.

    Actually, I just got a job offer practically placed on my lap to be a recruiter/headhunter.. I’m having some doubts because I’m not sure I’d want this as a career but it fits my lifestyle (work from anywhere) and I’m always up for trying new things; especially this year. Love how I can live life by the seat of my pants. Lets see where this will take me…

    • Nothing wrong with that either Floreta – I may have made an argument for the non-location-independent folks, but there’s nothing wrong with living that life and I admire the heck out of those people who are really following their dreams, whatever that means for them. We all have that unknown looming over us – I have no clue where I’ll end up in a month, six months, 5 years. But I’m OK with that – I don’t need it all mapped out – if the first 24 years are any indication, the next 24 should shape up pretty nicely :)

  82. The grass is always greener on the other side, eh? :)

    I think Gen Y, as a whole, are doing some pretty kick ass things. We’re motivated, and we’re redefining success! I’m simply amazed by all the Gen Y people out there doing their own thing and I even get a little jealous sometimes!

    Even your new life/venture seems quite exciting!

    As a person who has moved across the world, is “living the dream” and location independent, I must say, it’s not ALL it’s cracked up to be. ;) I feel my time is mainly a vacation lightly funded by some part time work more than anything else. I’m not being all THAT much of a go getter in terms of my career but I know that with some hard work, I am capable of more.

    Actually, I just got a job offer practically placed on my lap to be a recruiter/headhunter.. I’m having some doubts because I’m not sure I’d want this as a career but it fits my lifestyle (work from anywhere) and I’m always up for trying new things; especially this year. Love how I can live life by the seat of my pants. Lets see where this will take me…

    • Nothing wrong with that either Floreta – I may have made an argument for the non-location-independent folks, but there’s nothing wrong with living that life and I admire the heck out of those people who are really following their dreams, whatever that means for them. We all have that unknown looming over us – I have no clue where I’ll end up in a month, six months, 5 years. But I’m OK with that – I don’t need it all mapped out – if the first 24 years are any indication, the next 24 should shape up pretty nicely :)

  83. Matt —

    You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for someone to write THIS post. After reading several months worth of lifestyle design and personal development blogs, I quickly became overwhelmed. I thought to myself, “I need to become an entrepreneur NOW and/or find remote work NOW. I need to outsource my job to India NOW. I need to live cheaply in Thailand NOW. Gotta pursue my muse… (you guessed it!) NOW.” These thoughts finally burnt me out. I realized that although that may be THEE (stereotypical) Gen Y dream, it’s not MY dream. Time to follow my own agenda…

    • YES! Thanks for coming by Kaitlyn – I’m happy to provide a (rare) voice of reason here – I was starting to feel brainwashed as well – and while I may be in the process of starting my own business – I understand it’s not for everyone and will never encourage people to simply “follow in my footsteps”. Hope you’re having a great week!

  84. Matt —

    You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for someone to write THIS post. After reading several months worth of lifestyle design and personal development blogs, I quickly became overwhelmed. I thought to myself, “I need to become an entrepreneur NOW and/or find remote work NOW. I need to outsource my job to India NOW. I need to live cheaply in Thailand NOW. Gotta pursue my muse… (you guessed it!) NOW.” These thoughts finally burnt me out. I realized that although that may be THEE (stereotypical) Gen Y dream, it’s not MY dream. Time to follow my own agenda…

    • YES! Thanks for coming by Kaitlyn – I’m happy to provide a (rare) voice of reason here – I was starting to feel brainwashed as well – and while I may be in the process of starting my own business – I understand it’s not for everyone and will never encourage people to simply “follow in my footsteps”. Hope you’re having a great week!

  85. Just echoing what everyone else has pretty much said: that this is a very good post and comes at a point in my life where I really needed to hear what you said. I also thought so highly of it that I added it to stumbleupon where others can find and appreciate it.

  86. Just echoing what everyone else has pretty much said: that this is a very good post and comes at a point in my life where I really needed to hear what you said. I also thought so highly of it that I added it to stumbleupon where others can find and appreciate it.

  87. Great post, Matt.
    My grandmother used to talk about what she was going to do when her “ship comes in.” Each generation strives to make their children’s lives better than their own, and so each generation becomes a little more impatient that the last because we’ve been raised to expect more. I think that there has always been a certain contingent of people who weren’t willing to sit around and wait – there are just more ways to let more people know about it now. The important thing in chasing your dream is to enjoy the journey, no matter how fast or slow it may be.

    • GREAT point about becoming more and more impatient as generations come through – never thought of it that way but it really does make sense. I agree with you 100% – that as long as your enjoying the journey – the pace you walk down the path doesn’t matter…

  88. Great post, Matt.
    My grandmother used to talk about what she was going to do when her “ship comes in.” Each generation strives to make their children’s lives better than their own, and so each generation becomes a little more impatient that the last because we’ve been raised to expect more. I think that there has always been a certain contingent of people who weren’t willing to sit around and wait – there are just more ways to let more people know about it now. The important thing in chasing your dream is to enjoy the journey, no matter how fast or slow it may be.

    • GREAT point about becoming more and more impatient as generations come through – never thought of it that way but it really does make sense. I agree with you 100% – that as long as your enjoying the journey – the pace you walk down the path doesn’t matter…

  89. I fondly remember your contention that our generation is all about the idealistic “now” as one of the key things I took away from our chat on Friday. Well, that, and the fact that my digital presence is embarrassing. Just kidding! Incredibly inspiring and realistic post, and the quintessence of why Life Without Pants remains one of my favorite reads.

    • Haha…are you up to 45 yet? :) – Thanks for the comment Kellyn – our conversation last week was part of the inspiration with this post. It’s clear to me that you are wise beyond your years and by the time your ready to enter into the “real” world – you’ll be lightyears ahead of where I was. Hope to see you next week at the #NotAtSXSW tweetup!

  90. I fondly remember your contention that our generation is all about the idealistic “now” as one of the key things I took away from our chat on Friday. Well, that, and the fact that my digital presence is embarrassing. Just kidding! Incredibly inspiring and realistic post, and the quintessence of why Life Without Pants remains one of my favorite reads.

    • Haha…are you up to 45 yet? :) – Thanks for the comment Kellyn – our conversation last week was part of the inspiration with this post. It’s clear to me that you are wise beyond your years and by the time your ready to enter into the “real” world – you’ll be lightyears ahead of where I was. Hope to see you next week at the #NotAtSXSW tweetup!

  91. Hats off, Matt. Truly amazing post. As many have already vocalized above, bravo for touching on something that is rarely talked about. Our generation does lose focus of what they truly love, or what works for them and their lifestyle, while trying to one-up their peers. I literally used to pride myself on my “work-o-holic” tendencies. I wore my 11-hour work days like a badge of pride – ignoring the fact that I wasn’t truly happy with what I was doing. I couldn’t help but be driven by the other type-a personalities I was surrounded by, who were all working the same long hours. I felt like I was constantly in competition to “take on the biggest project” or “clock the most hours.” In the end, I brought it on myself and burned out – working hard for all the wrong reasons.

    That being said, as a new entrepreneur, I completely understand that owning your own business is not for everyone. Like you, I am true advocate of figuring out what you’re passionate about and making sure it is a part of your life. While I understand that not everyone feels their career needs to align with this passion, I believe there is an authenticity that shines through when it does. When you believe in a company, brand or project, you naturally exude more energy and dedication – and therefor are left with unparalleled pride and ownership. I am slowly training myself to focus on this feeling, and not compare myself to other people or projects. It is definitely not always easy, but has been a great way to refocus my energy!

    Keep up the great posts – they always get me thinking!

    • You have the right attitude Jill – and it’s why I’m so excited to talk with you soon – because instead of being competitive and feeling threatened by one another, I’d MUCH rather find ways to collaborate and learn from one another, you know? I know there is plenty of opportunity for all of us to be successful out there – and by having a positive attitude and being willing to share ideas – we ALL grow, learn, and get better at what we do.

      Thanks for the comment – can’t wait to (seriously) meet up soon!

  92. Hats off, Matt. Truly amazing post. As many have already vocalized above, bravo for touching on something that is rarely talked about. Our generation does lose focus of what they truly love, or what works for them and their lifestyle, while trying to one-up their peers. I literally used to pride myself on my “work-o-holic” tendencies. I wore my 11-hour work days like a badge of pride – ignoring the fact that I wasn’t truly happy with what I was doing. I couldn’t help but be driven by the other type-a personalities I was surrounded by, who were all working the same long hours. I felt like I was constantly in competition to “take on the biggest project” or “clock the most hours.” In the end, I brought it on myself and burned out – working hard for all the wrong reasons.

    That being said, as a new entrepreneur, I completely understand that owning your own business is not for everyone. Like you, I am true advocate of figuring out what you’re passionate about and making sure it is a part of your life. While I understand that not everyone feels their career needs to align with this passion, I believe there is an authenticity that shines through when it does. When you believe in a company, brand or project, you naturally exude more energy and dedication – and therefor are left with unparalleled pride and ownership. I am slowly training myself to focus on this feeling, and not compare myself to other people or projects. It is definitely not always easy, but has been a great way to refocus my energy!

    Keep up the great posts – they always get me thinking!

    • You have the right attitude Jill – and it’s why I’m so excited to talk with you soon – because instead of being competitive and feeling threatened by one another, I’d MUCH rather find ways to collaborate and learn from one another, you know? I know there is plenty of opportunity for all of us to be successful out there – and by having a positive attitude and being willing to share ideas – we ALL grow, learn, and get better at what we do.

      Thanks for the comment – can’t wait to (seriously) meet up soon!

  93. excellent post!!!!

    I’m living my dream, living in a basement, working 24/7 online and working as a bartender to get through the light days and to put food on the table.

    so passed needing things now! it just doesn’t happen that way, but a little bit every single day and love for it all sure keeps the journey rocking ;)

    plus if you love it enough you don’t need it now, it’s more important to love it everyday and get the practice of day in and day out, staying connected to the love vibes!

    not to mention life with no pants! = F R E E D O M

    wish you lived in reno, we are throwing no pants parties here and would love to invite you for some fun! let us know if you make it here ;)

    kisses
    georgette

  94. excellent post!!!!

    I’m living my dream, living in a basement, working 24/7 online and working as a bartender to get through the light days and to put food on the table.

    so passed needing things now! it just doesn’t happen that way, but a little bit every single day and love for it all sure keeps the journey rocking ;)

    plus if you love it enough you don’t need it now, it’s more important to love it everyday and get the practice of day in and day out, staying connected to the love vibes!

    not to mention life with no pants! = F R E E D O M

    wish you lived in reno, we are throwing no pants parties here and would love to invite you for some fun! let us know if you make it here ;)

    kisses
    georgette

  95. I’m going to also say, “Thank you”, for writing this post.

    I’ve come across that sentiment a lot lately – that if you’re not doing things “alternatively” or “extreme”, then you must be a loser.

    I reject that. Because my happiness isn’t found in those things. My happiness is found close to my family, in my hometown, with my house and my husband.

    This is a good reminder to everyone that my dream isn’t your dream, and we all get to have our own.

    • Yes! Thanks much for coming by Michelle – that point is what I was really trying to drive home here – that my dream isn’t your dream and that everyone needs to have their own path…Cheers!

  96. I’m going to also say, “Thank you”, for writing this post.

    I’ve come across that sentiment a lot lately – that if you’re not doing things “alternatively” or “extreme”, then you must be a loser.

    I reject that. Because my happiness isn’t found in those things. My happiness is found close to my family, in my hometown, with my house and my husband.

    This is a good reminder to everyone that my dream isn’t your dream, and we all get to have our own.

    • Yes! Thanks much for coming by Michelle – that point is what I was really trying to drive home here – that my dream isn’t your dream and that everyone needs to have their own path…Cheers!

  97. What a breath of fresh air… truly inspirational. Our generation is so focused on those around us and truly feeling lost if we don’t reach our dreams within a couple months of graduation. We’re riding the loser train if we work to pay the bills. I haven’t heard it said any better — thank you.

    • Thank YOU Megan – I’m two years out of college and still riding the loser-train I guess, haha (not at all). But It’s OK to now know exactly where you’re heading – I sure don’t, but I’m excited and plan to enjoy the ride!

  98. What a breath of fresh air… truly inspirational. Our generation is so focused on those around us and truly feeling lost if we don’t reach our dreams within a couple months of graduation. We’re riding the loser train if we work to pay the bills. I haven’t heard it said any better — thank you.

    • Thank YOU Megan – I’m two years out of college and still riding the loser-train I guess, haha (not at all). But It’s OK to now know exactly where you’re heading – I sure don’t, but I’m excited and plan to enjoy the ride!

  99. THANK YOU! This is soooo true. I try to remind my readers of the same thing- that each persons career path is SUCH an individual decision.

    This now now now attitude is a serious problem among our generation.

    This sparks lots of ideas for me to write about- thanks for facing the topic!

  100. THANK YOU! This is soooo true. I try to remind my readers of the same thing- that each persons career path is SUCH an individual decision.

    This now now now attitude is a serious problem among our generation.

    This sparks lots of ideas for me to write about- thanks for facing the topic!

  101. Phew, check out all these comments already =) I couldn’t respond fast enough!

    My favourite post by far, Matt. Gen Y is a generation constantly yelling at each other to break out of the mould, to do something bold, to do something that isn’t quite so restricting.

    I would challenge our generation to do the same, except in the form of trying to break out of the yelling from our very own generation.

    There is an alternative to the 9-5, but not everyone WANTS the alternative. It’s all about doing what lights us up inside, and if the 9-5 structure is required for it, then SO BE IT!! Let’s celebrate each other’s choices and be done with it!

    <3

    • Calling this your favorite post means A LOT Karen – so thank you – you’ve been around these parts for a long time and I really appreciate your support though it all. We really do need to stop bickering, stop competing, and start collaborating and celebrating each other’s successes. You ready to start a revolution? :)

      • Hellz yea! A revolution to enlighten the Gen Y revolution! At least I think that’s what we’re getting at here. In any case, I’M IN.

  102. Phew, check out all these comments already =) I couldn’t respond fast enough!

    My favourite post by far, Matt. Gen Y is a generation constantly yelling at each other to break out of the mould, to do something bold, to do something that isn’t quite so restricting.

    I would challenge our generation to do the same, except in the form of trying to break out of the yelling from our very own generation.

    There is an alternative to the 9-5, but not everyone WANTS the alternative. It’s all about doing what lights us up inside, and if the 9-5 structure is required for it, then SO BE IT!! Let’s celebrate each other’s choices and be done with it!

    <3

    • Calling this your favorite post means A LOT Karen – so thank you – you’ve been around these parts for a long time and I really appreciate your support though it all. We really do need to stop bickering, stop competing, and start collaborating and celebrating each other’s successes. You ready to start a revolution? :)

      • Hellz yea! A revolution to enlighten the Gen Y revolution! At least I think that’s what we’re getting at here. In any case, I’M IN.

  103. I wonder how you come up with wonderful ideas to blog about and then put in wonderful point of view and inspire everyone to the core (me included obv!).

    You really made a point with me – stop following the herd about ‘not following the herd’ coz following the not following herd is following a herd too. In fact, stop thinking about the herd all together – do what you love, do what you are passionate about even if it’s polishing shoes.

    You’ve made it such a point that I can’t help but blog about it myself, throwing my 2 cents in. Will link to your awesome ‘no-pants, no-nonsense’ post – that goes without saying.

    Thanks

    • Haha, I wonder that myself sometimes buddy – usually inspiration comes on a whim, and I just kind of black out and get everything down on paper – haha – something like that at least. Looking forward to your follow-up post!

  104. I wonder how you come up with wonderful ideas to blog about and then put in wonderful point of view and inspire everyone to the core (me included obv!).

    You really made a point with me – stop following the herd about ‘not following the herd’ coz following the not following herd is following a herd too. In fact, stop thinking about the herd all together – do what you love, do what you are passionate about even if it’s polishing shoes.

    You’ve made it such a point that I can’t help but blog about it myself, throwing my 2 cents in. Will link to your awesome ‘no-pants, no-nonsense’ post – that goes without saying.

    Thanks

    • Haha, I wonder that myself sometimes buddy – usually inspiration comes on a whim, and I just kind of black out and get everything down on paper – haha – something like that at least. Looking forward to your follow-up post!

  105. Great post, Matt. I’ve written many-an-email that says much the same thing. See, I did exactly what you’re talking about. I grew up in Colorado, decided I wanted to move to San Francisco, NOW. Got a dream job, NOW. Moved two weeks later. This drastic life-change was a “right place, right time, right qualifications” kind of moment. And I am so incredibly thankful for it all. I, too, base a lot of my passion on my career – it’s what I moved out here for and I love it more and more each day!

    While I know that my experience is unique, I didn’t expect to get some of the reactions I’ve received. I get emails all the time from classmates, friends, old colleagues, saying things like “Oh my God! I wish I were you! I wish I had those opportunities! I wish I had the guts! I wish I could do what you do! etc. etc.” While this is flattering, I tell them the same thing that you write – DO IT. DO IT YOURSELF. You don’t have to be me to land your dream job, find a passion, move to a big city. YOU can do it on your OWN! We’re all capable and I will always and forever be a believer that you create your own realities.

    Thanks for the post :)

    • Wow – thanks Lauren – I am in a very similar place – we’re not tooting our horns here but I get those emails too – they are extremely flattering and humbling but, at the end of the day, I tell those people who “want to do what I’m doing” to just go do it. Seriously. I’m not some almighty person who can accomplish what you can’t – you’re just as good, just as smart, just as capable as I am – you just have to have the desire, the passion – to make it happen. Really love your way of thinking – just subscribed to your blog as well – looking forward to keeping in touch!

  106. Great post, Matt. I’ve written many-an-email that says much the same thing. See, I did exactly what you’re talking about. I grew up in Colorado, decided I wanted to move to San Francisco, NOW. Got a dream job, NOW. Moved two weeks later. This drastic life-change was a “right place, right time, right qualifications” kind of moment. And I am so incredibly thankful for it all. I, too, base a lot of my passion on my career – it’s what I moved out here for and I love it more and more each day!

    While I know that my experience is unique, I didn’t expect to get some of the reactions I’ve received. I get emails all the time from classmates, friends, old colleagues, saying things like “Oh my God! I wish I were you! I wish I had those opportunities! I wish I had the guts! I wish I could do what you do! etc. etc.” While this is flattering, I tell them the same thing that you write – DO IT. DO IT YOURSELF. You don’t have to be me to land your dream job, find a passion, move to a big city. YOU can do it on your OWN! We’re all capable and I will always and forever be a believer that you create your own realities.

    Thanks for the post :)

    • Wow – thanks Lauren – I am in a very similar place – we’re not tooting our horns here but I get those emails too – they are extremely flattering and humbling but, at the end of the day, I tell those people who “want to do what I’m doing” to just go do it. Seriously. I’m not some almighty person who can accomplish what you can’t – you’re just as good, just as smart, just as capable as I am – you just have to have the desire, the passion – to make it happen. Really love your way of thinking – just subscribed to your blog as well – looking forward to keeping in touch!

  107. this is a great post, and i’m going to share it with my friends on facebook. it’s encouraging to know that someone who seems to have only been out of school for two years has already “got it” – that the impatience, the beating yourself up are the real obstacles towards achieving personal success – and is so keen on sharing it with lots of people via the interwebs. it’s taken me twice as long to recognize these roadblocks! kudos, my friend, i like what you are doing.

    • Thank you Hope – I don’t know how much I “get” at my ripe old age of 24 – but I’m def. learning a lot along the way and taking things in stride. Thanks so much for coming by! Hope to see you around more often…

      • :0) Definitely! Stop by my blog in the future -blameitonaim.wordpress.com (I’m still getting it started). I publish under a pseudonym because of work reasons.
        Have a great Friday!

  108. this is a great post, and i’m going to share it with my friends on facebook. it’s encouraging to know that someone who seems to have only been out of school for two years has already “got it” – that the impatience, the beating yourself up are the real obstacles towards achieving personal success – and is so keen on sharing it with lots of people via the interwebs. it’s taken me twice as long to recognize these roadblocks! kudos, my friend, i like what you are doing.

    • Thank you Hope – I don’t know how much I “get” at my ripe old age of 24 – but I’m def. learning a lot along the way and taking things in stride. Thanks so much for coming by! Hope to see you around more often…

      • :0) Definitely! Stop by my blog in the future -blameitonaim.wordpress.com (I’m still getting it started). I publish under a pseudonym because of work reasons.
        Have a great Friday!

  109. You’re freakin’ awesome, Matt. I’ve really come to respect you over the few short months that I’ve known you, and followed your blog.

    THANK YOU for this post!! Here’s my “Gen Y” dilemma – I have a seven year old son. So here I am, at a mere 28 years of age, struggling every day with whether I’m “settling” for my current situation, but having to balance someone else’s needs with my own. I am NOT bitter about this. I have a fantastic child, who brings me joy every moment of the day. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without him. However, as a young, single mother, who likes to think that she’s got some talent, drive and ambition, it pains me sometimes to think of the limits I have in terms of relocation, work hours, etc. I know that my career could look very different (ie. I could be pursuing a more fulfilling role) if I was able to move to a larger city, but I have to ask what the price my son would pay would be.

    I had a conversation with a great friend the other day, but I know he thinks I’m “settling” for my current state. Maybe he’s right, but not being a parent, I don’t think he really gets where I’m coming from. The problem is, that it really IS a struggle for me. I know where I want to be right now. But what I want, and what’s good for my child, are very different.

    I never want to live with regrets, but at this point, I have to sacrifice some of my dream for raising him around family, a strong community and support system. It’s not “settling” in the way that many of your readers may have come up against, but I can guarantee that many of them will.

    And that’s why I think this post is so important. There are times when we’re not in control of our circumstances. There are times when we have to “settle”. I am coming to realize that it’s our attitude and perspective that really affect the outcome of these moments.

    Sometimes I just have to take a deep breathe, and realize this is just a season of my life. My son is getting older, and things will change. I’m making the best out of my situation, but it’s definitely hard sometimes. I guess that’s the point of sacrifice. Maybe we just don’t value it enough in a society based so much on the individual pursuit of happiness.

    • A great point here – and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re settling by raising a child – family comes first, above all. Bottom line. But you do raise an interesting point – something I’ve talked about in the past – that there is a lot out of our control – change doesn’t always come with a warning – and at times, you have to put your “dreams” on hold to take care of the NOW.

      It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over the past year Bryna. Thanks so much for always being a big supporter around here.

  110. You’re freakin’ awesome, Matt. I’ve really come to respect you over the few short months that I’ve known you, and followed your blog.

    THANK YOU for this post!! Here’s my “Gen Y” dilemma – I have a seven year old son. So here I am, at a mere 28 years of age, struggling every day with whether I’m “settling” for my current situation, but having to balance someone else’s needs with my own. I am NOT bitter about this. I have a fantastic child, who brings me joy every moment of the day. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without him. However, as a young, single mother, who likes to think that she’s got some talent, drive and ambition, it pains me sometimes to think of the limits I have in terms of relocation, work hours, etc. I know that my career could look very different (ie. I could be pursuing a more fulfilling role) if I was able to move to a larger city, but I have to ask what the price my son would pay would be.

    I had a conversation with a great friend the other day, but I know he thinks I’m “settling” for my current state. Maybe he’s right, but not being a parent, I don’t think he really gets where I’m coming from. The problem is, that it really IS a struggle for me. I know where I want to be right now. But what I want, and what’s good for my child, are very different.

    I never want to live with regrets, but at this point, I have to sacrifice some of my dream for raising him around family, a strong community and support system. It’s not “settling” in the way that many of your readers may have come up against, but I can guarantee that many of them will.

    And that’s why I think this post is so important. There are times when we’re not in control of our circumstances. There are times when we have to “settle”. I am coming to realize that it’s our attitude and perspective that really affect the outcome of these moments.

    Sometimes I just have to take a deep breathe, and realize this is just a season of my life. My son is getting older, and things will change. I’m making the best out of my situation, but it’s definitely hard sometimes. I guess that’s the point of sacrifice. Maybe we just don’t value it enough in a society based so much on the individual pursuit of happiness.

    • A great point here – and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you’re settling by raising a child – family comes first, above all. Bottom line. But you do raise an interesting point – something I’ve talked about in the past – that there is a lot out of our control – change doesn’t always come with a warning – and at times, you have to put your “dreams” on hold to take care of the NOW.

      It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you over the past year Bryna. Thanks so much for always being a big supporter around here.

  111. I was having this problem too. I am getting better now and I am trying to be more patient. I see all these nomads out there living this great awesome life in these foreign countries and I keep beating myself saying “why can that be me?”. I just hope with all the hard work I am putting everyday on my blog I can be there soon.

    I hope that everything comes at the right time. I will be waiting.

  112. I was having this problem too. I am getting better now and I am trying to be more patient. I see all these nomads out there living this great awesome life in these foreign countries and I keep beating myself saying “why can that be me?”. I just hope with all the hard work I am putting everyday on my blog I can be there soon.

    I hope that everything comes at the right time. I will be waiting.

  113. Inspiring, Matt- and very true. How important it is to focus on our own real goals, and not try to stack ourselves up against “the others.” Thanks for the reminder!

  114. Inspiring, Matt- and very true. How important it is to focus on our own real goals, and not try to stack ourselves up against “the others.” Thanks for the reminder!

  115. Perfect timing Matt. I think that people are getting self-absorbed but are also in the process of idealizing people that are doing some pretty awesome things solo. It’s not bad that they are, heck- that’s how I have a few freelance ops now. But when it all makes you feel like an underachiever, that’s when you need to look in the mirror and see what you have. If you enjoy stamp collecting and spending time with your kids, awesome. Do it. I think they’ll love you more for it than spending 80 hours a week working.

    Happiness revolving around your career can be a very dangerous thing. If you lose a job or don’t get the one you anticipated, then you can feel a loss of identity. That’s dangerous, especially in a recession. Trust me, I fall into that category and it’s difficult.

    I recently wrote a post: 5 reasons why I don’t want to start my own business… yet. It’s all about my current priorities. I think people lose perspective sometimes. It’s the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ conundrum.

    • Well put Kristina – while I’m sure we can both agree that it’s important to us to be doing work that we’re passionate about – I also know that in the very grand scheme of things, my job will never come first – even though right now, it sort of seems like it’s at the forefront. To be as consumed in your career is it would seem many folks are out there it a path I’d be extremely weary to walk down…

  116. Perfect timing Matt. I think that people are getting self-absorbed but are also in the process of idealizing people that are doing some pretty awesome things solo. It’s not bad that they are, heck- that’s how I have a few freelance ops now. But when it all makes you feel like an underachiever, that’s when you need to look in the mirror and see what you have. If you enjoy stamp collecting and spending time with your kids, awesome. Do it. I think they’ll love you more for it than spending 80 hours a week working.

    Happiness revolving around your career can be a very dangerous thing. If you lose a job or don’t get the one you anticipated, then you can feel a loss of identity. That’s dangerous, especially in a recession. Trust me, I fall into that category and it’s difficult.

    I recently wrote a post: 5 reasons why I don’t want to start my own business… yet. It’s all about my current priorities. I think people lose perspective sometimes. It’s the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ conundrum.

    • Well put Kristina – while I’m sure we can both agree that it’s important to us to be doing work that we’re passionate about – I also know that in the very grand scheme of things, my job will never come first – even though right now, it sort of seems like it’s at the forefront. To be as consumed in your career is it would seem many folks are out there it a path I’d be extremely weary to walk down…

  117. Let me start by thanking you for writing a great article Matt (as per usual…duh).

    Here’s something I learned a little while ago – you learn nothing from success and everything from failure…so I don’t get why we are so afraid of it? We’re the little generation that could so because we aren’t right now (for whatever reason) why are people nagging on us?

    Self-doubt falls in the same vein as failure – it teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves. I wouldn’t be a writer if it wasn’t for self-doubt. Sometimes that self-doubt pushes you to do more research, put in more time, practice, practice and practice some more. Self-doubt is human and it’s there for a reason – to push you. :)

    Waldo didn’t just walk out and get lost – he worried about it, practiced getting lost in the crowd, talked to people who’ve done it before he went out and became the grand daddy of his craft. So can we. :)

    Just because things aren’t happening doesn’t mean they aren’t meant to happen – just means they aren’t meant to happen now.

    • Nice job referencing Waldo back to this article :) I agree 100% with your last point – we get so focused on the now and we forget that we have a lifetime of opportunity ahead of us. Sometimes, NOW isn’t met to be, but a time will come for us to seize every opportunity we’re faced with. Thanks for the comment – can’t wait to chat soon Alisaan!

  118. Let me start by thanking you for writing a great article Matt (as per usual…duh).

    Here’s something I learned a little while ago – you learn nothing from success and everything from failure…so I don’t get why we are so afraid of it? We’re the little generation that could so because we aren’t right now (for whatever reason) why are people nagging on us?

    Self-doubt falls in the same vein as failure – it teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves. I wouldn’t be a writer if it wasn’t for self-doubt. Sometimes that self-doubt pushes you to do more research, put in more time, practice, practice and practice some more. Self-doubt is human and it’s there for a reason – to push you. :)

    Waldo didn’t just walk out and get lost – he worried about it, practiced getting lost in the crowd, talked to people who’ve done it before he went out and became the grand daddy of his craft. So can we. :)

    Just because things aren’t happening doesn’t mean they aren’t meant to happen – just means they aren’t meant to happen now.

    • Nice job referencing Waldo back to this article :) I agree 100% with your last point – we get so focused on the now and we forget that we have a lifetime of opportunity ahead of us. Sometimes, NOW isn’t met to be, but a time will come for us to seize every opportunity we’re faced with. Thanks for the comment – can’t wait to chat soon Alisaan!

  119. I like this. What hit home for me is when you said a passion could be marrying the woman of your dreams and starting a family. I really feel like careers have taken over the dream of “settling down” and raising kids.

    I think that all the Tim Ferriss / Gary Vaynerchuk / Darren Rowse stories out there are partially to blame. I wrote a little article about this back a few weeks ago: http://gyjoe.com/advice/dont-let-celebrities-ruin-your-life/

    Keep it up man, I admire the community you’ve built around your blog.

  120. I like this. What hit home for me is when you said a passion could be marrying the woman of your dreams and starting a family. I really feel like careers have taken over the dream of “settling down” and raising kids.

    I think that all the Tim Ferriss / Gary Vaynerchuk / Darren Rowse stories out there are partially to blame. I wrote a little article about this back a few weeks ago: http://gyjoe.com/advice/dont-let-celebrities-ruin-your-life/

    Keep it up man, I admire the community you’ve built around your blog.

  121. Thanks again Matt… you always know what to say to get me to “snap out of it”. I have the bad habit of comparing myself to others, in particular those in my graduating class. The thing that is stupid is that I know that I’m different from those people. I know that I march to my own beat and I like it. But every now and then I find myself thinking that I’m not as successful as someone else simply because I haven’t climbed the corporate ladder, or gotten a Masters degree or travelled the globe or started my own business. But the truth of the matter is I don’t give a flying fig about those things so how could any of them equal success to me? And I’m not settling (as a matter of fact, I hate settling), I know what I want, and I’m working toward getting it, it just so happens that what I want isn’t as grandiose as what everyone else wants. Everyone has to come up with their own definition of success and figure out what they want to accomplish in life. And just a hint, success in the view of the world, does not always produce happiness.

    • Right on Jen – and YOUR version of success is grandiose to YOU. Everyone has a different definition of success and there isn’t one model to go after replicate for our own lives. As long as you’re doing what you love – that’s all that matters. The end. Bottom line. End of discussion. It sounds like you’re doing just that – so keep doing what you do!

  122. Thanks again Matt… you always know what to say to get me to “snap out of it”. I have the bad habit of comparing myself to others, in particular those in my graduating class. The thing that is stupid is that I know that I’m different from those people. I know that I march to my own beat and I like it. But every now and then I find myself thinking that I’m not as successful as someone else simply because I haven’t climbed the corporate ladder, or gotten a Masters degree or travelled the globe or started my own business. But the truth of the matter is I don’t give a flying fig about those things so how could any of them equal success to me? And I’m not settling (as a matter of fact, I hate settling), I know what I want, and I’m working toward getting it, it just so happens that what I want isn’t as grandiose as what everyone else wants. Everyone has to come up with their own definition of success and figure out what they want to accomplish in life. And just a hint, success in the view of the world, does not always produce happiness.

    • Right on Jen – and YOUR version of success is grandiose to YOU. Everyone has a different definition of success and there isn’t one model to go after replicate for our own lives. As long as you’re doing what you love – that’s all that matters. The end. Bottom line. End of discussion. It sounds like you’re doing just that – so keep doing what you do!

  123. Fantastic post. All those NOW, NOW, NOW commercials and personal development books have made way too many people unsatisfied with their current day/life. Good to see you recognize and talk about it.

  124. Thanks man. Important to splash a little realism into the idealistic conversation every now and then. Nothing wrong with dreaming, but we have to understand that everyone's dreams can be different and, well, that's OK. Cheers!

  125. What exactly is Generation “Y”, and why do we need to separate generations? Sounds like a marketing strategy to brainwash an entire generation in to buying “stuff” , and not focus on what's really important.

  126. Thanks, Matt. I live in (limited) fear of hearing the first block quote while I work a practical job to keep money coming in long enough to build up my band. That's *band,* not *brand.* Though there's plenty of consideration given to the latter. Maybe a little too much, but that's another post, right?

    I happen to love the straight, office job I've landed, though. Hm. I agree there are far worse things to “settle” for.

  127. Matt,

    Great post. I think you are a trailblazer for alot of fellow GenYers whom you inspire with blending your passion and professional success. I think one thing many GenYers could benefit from is FOCUS. It's not settling if you know where you want to go. Its OK to work in the coffee shop now as long as its part of the plan for your future. Keep up the great work!

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