(aka the most dangerous career article you’ll ever read. (the article banned by Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc.)
When it comes to the idea of “work” and “career”, it’s mind-fuckingly astonishing just how much we accept at face value.
The average man will spend more than half his waking life physically immersed in this container called “work” — and an even greater proportion of his life engaged mentally, emotionally and energetically devoted to his occupation.
If you’ve ever had insomnia while dreading the next ‘day” — or a 5 am shower trying to pierce through some lingering challenge, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Yet for the most part, our work lives go unexamined. Sure, we ask the questions:
“Is this really what I want to be doing?”
“Is this all I was built for… or am I selling myself short?”
“Am I settling for good enough? Or is this as good as it’s gonna get?”
Yet courage comes not in asking these questions but in daring to live their answers.
Answers that are often messy and disruptive. Seemingly opposing forces to the safe and sanitized. And until we ascribe more value to the inner sense of occupational or entrepreneurial adventure rather than predictability and control, these questions get reduced to impotently superficial inquiries.
At best, deathbed regrets that we’re at least somewhat aware of.
At worst, faint, torturous murmurs echoing through the inner sanctum of our souls.
Both avoidable through a bold confrontation with truth.
But instead of letting the sharp sword of truth slice through our bullshit — we butter our lives up with half-truths and far-reaching justifications that we barely buy into ourselves.
At the core, we forgot how to be wildly irrational.
When it comes to work and business, we’ve lost a pioneering spirit that lusts for creation itself — and revels in the post-orgasmic bliss with equal parts terror and awe.
We’ve traded the transcendent for the well-trodden path. We settle for work/life balance as if homeostasis is the highest calling man can aspire to.
But work life/balance isn’t the point. It never has been the point. How we approach work — how we engage it like a ravenous lover– and how we find deep alignment within this sacred tustle is.
It’s one that three weeks off, dental insurance, and state-mandated holidays can never replace.
And at the crux of man’s failed relationship with work and business are the undertones of powerlessness and defeat that plague the words we use everyday.
These constructs are ones that men opt into — knowingly or unknowingly — and reinforce every time they auction off their unlimited power for the severely limited pittance of reward they’re temporarily provided.
Let the destruction and reclamation begin:
The Construct of “Work”:
“I have to work.”
How many times have you said that to a lover, a friend, a child.
How many moments of joy, adventure, and flow have you auctioned off in the name of “work”.
How many friendships and relationships have been ruthlessly backburnered — not in the name of intense focus and devotion to craft or mission — but in a resigned whimper packaged into these four fucking words.
“I have to work”.
The phrase itself has been laced with the cyanide of resentment and victimhood. It carries within it the bloodless stain of your crippled dreams — the ghastly echoes of a billion deathbed regrets.
“I have to work”
I have to. I have to. I have to.
What about… “I get to?”
What do you GET to do today? What raw abilities, capacities and resources do you have the immeasurable privilege of alchemizing into your life’s work?
What skills and creative insights do you get to bridge into creation in powerful and meaningful ways?
YES, this is still going to require you to tell your partner, your wife, your kids that you can’t make that dinner — that ballgame — that brunch with the inlaws.
But at the very least, they deserve the response to come from a place of power and purpose. Not a place of withered dreams and wasted presence.
Your absence should never be in vain. It should be celebrated and honored. For your family doesn’t want a martyr — and the world won’t mourn one either.
They want a warrior. A lover. A king. One who knows the world he has a hand in creating — is madly in love with that vision — and powerfully focused on creating it with the skills and capacities he’s been uniquely blessed with.
Next time you catch yourself refusing a friend or family member’s invitation in the name of “work” or dragging your feet out the door like cattle marching to the goddamn slaughter. Stop. Just fucking stop. And ask yourself:
What do I get to do?
Before every work session, take five minutes to reflect on what you GET to do. What you’re honored to participate in. And most importantly, how that directly or indirectly contributes to the world you want to see for yourself and your family.
Retirement vs. Renewal of Mission:
“I can’t wait to retire” — why?
What are you retiring from?
What have you allowed yourself to stubbornly endure for so damn long that daytime TV and guided tours of crumbling monuments feels so fucking appealing?
It’s an honest question.
You want to know why men age 10 years in the 10 months post-retirement? Why the proverbial Rolex ticks 10 times faster than the clock hanging above his abode of creation and expression?
It’s cause he’s literally said “fuck you” to the mysterious, ethereal force that flows through him and animates him into existence.
So please, once again, ask yourself: what are you retiring from?
Are you retiring from challenge? From adversity? From resilience? From the fear of expressing your art? From the shame in having sold your life short? What are you retiring from!?
At no other time in human history did man long for the day where he can put an ass dent on a La-Z-Boy and flip through 800 channels while complaining about the weather.
Man wasn’t made to spend the day mulling between Scottsdale and Salt Lake for his next golf retreat. He wasn’t made to run a continuous circuit between flatlining leisure and existential liability to those around him. He wasn’t designed for the indignity of refreshing his stock portfolio every five minutes or the feigning of self-importance through his over-inflated accolades.
Retirement may look different than resignation on an HR or corporate by-law, but the energy is the same. It says “I’ve had enough”. “I’m done”. “I’m too old for this shit”… “too damn tired for the sacrifice that nobody asked me to make in the first place.”
It’s an inevitable conclusion to a life and career of numbing discontent,
One spent chained to self-imposed shackles while the key was hidden in a small crevice of your heart all along. A crevice coated in courage that could only be accessed with bravery in kind.
If you can’t wait to retire, you’re playing the wrong game. You’re mortgaging your presence and suppressing your spirit for a mere pittance.
Instead of desperately longing for your final cycle through the company turnstyle, find the courage right now to pivot into heightened purpose.
Done with traditional work and business life? Cool. Why not consciously devote yourself to being the best fucking husband — or lover — or father — or grandfather you can be? Shave your head and move to the Himalayas with a single-minded focus on self-realization if that’s more your jam. Or look around your community and find new, inspiring ways to be of service to the underserved. I promise you won’t have to look too hard to find someone to help.
But to retire from purpose altogether is nothing but a bitter refusal of life itself.
Instead, drum up the courage to choose renewal. Renewal of mission. Renewal of purpose. Renewal of spirit.
Human Resources vs. Appreciating Assets:
Perhaps the most damaging man-made construct plaguing our work lives is hidden in plain sight. It’s our first and last point of contact in any job we take on.
And from beginning to end, its mandate is simple: Extract as much value and productivity from you as it reasonably can — while coating your fears with just enough psychological sorbets to keep your from recognizing the bullshit you’ve been choking down on.
It’s a cunning system that’s perfected the art and science of dangling the right carrot at the right time. Token rewards to satisfy your need for significance. Annual pay raises that barely match inflation. Lunch and learns that promote further indoctrination and system dependence under the guise of “continue learning”.
If you’ve outsourced your growth and evolution to the department whose very namesake should give any and all indication to its true intent, you’ve in turn, become complicit in your own imprisonment.
For the sovereign man doesn’t see himself as a human resource. Something to be milked, mined, and drawn from until his supposed limited resources run dry.
He doesn’t see himself as a fixed and finite resource. Dehumanized. Separated from machinery and raw materials by a thin black line on a financial spreadsheet.
He sees himself as an appreciating asset.
One that expands his capacity to serve and create every day. Through greater skill, experience, strength, power, resilience and peace… he betters himself each day with focused intent.
Not because he’s unreasonably disciplined.
Not because he’s a “high achiever”.
It’s far simpler than that. It’s a matter of self-respect. Self reverence, even.
He appreciates what he is. An ever-evolving, ever-shifting manifestation of his highest
intent. Stagnation is his death sentence. Continual growth and aligned service, his birthright.
By all means, contribute to a company with an HR department if doing so feels aligned and purposeful. But fully recognize, and more importantly, begin investing in yourself as the ever-evolving, ever-appreciating asset you truly are.
Career Path / Rising the Ranks:
By the time I turned 30, I had already pivoted careers five times. In each, I achieved success in a fraction of the time it would normally take. When I decided to write screenplays for a living, I had my first agent within a year — and optioned my first script within 15 months.
When I broke into copywriting, I was working with multimillion dollar digital companies within six months — and training thousands of students within two years.
I’m not a genius or prodigy. I don’t work 80 hour weeks or swallow brain drugs by the handful. I’ve simply released myself from the lie of linearity. The insidious belief that any meaningful career of contribution and service must be achieved through some so-called ‘career path”. The paying of one’s dues. The rising of the ranks.
I recognized early on that those constructs and beliefs serve no one but the company or organization trying to keep you within their grasp. And for the most part, we buy into it without question. Willingly playing the unwinnable game.
We accumulate false merit based on where we land on an arbitrary scale of achievement — seniority and annual pay raises — rising the imagined ranks, and fearing the crash should we courageously let our grip slip off that rung.
We don’t want to “give up” what we’ve spent our lives “building”.
We don’t want to saw off the rusty hook of which we hang our existential hat.
In doing so, we build our lives and careers on that shaky ground of toxic, GMO’d soil — allowing circumstance to hold us hostage, and doing what we can to pacify the subterranean rumblings that compassionately yet unapologetically threaten to pull our fake empire out from under our feet.
In this fearful act of self-pacification, we fail to recognize the exponential speed in which a new life or career can be created.
We deny ourselves the power of irrevocable decision — and the immediate reconfiguration of our realities that support it.
We mute our own abundant, regenerative force — and deny our vast resourcefulness, creativity, and influence which would be even further empowered in the pursuit and expression of our authentic truth.
We mistrust our own power of creation — even when we HOLD the living heartbeat of human life that sprung from our very seed.
We misuse our vital energy — auctioning it off to the highest bidder rather than using it to better our inner kingdom — and from it — build a living empire of authentic expression.
Tragically speaking, we fear the sunk costs more than our sinking spirits.
The shame in potentially being struck back down in the field of battle — than the imagined safety in playing dead within the walls we built.
The shame in losing a rigged game more than the freedom of flipping the board and playing a better one of your design.
Here, we fail to recognize that strength and courage aren’t marked by one’s ability to endure continued hardship and suffering on a path that no longer serves — but in one’s capacity to unapologetically pursue the life they truly want in its place.
The 10,000 hours rule is a myth. We’re no longer in a time that demands general, overarching mastery of your craft. That worked back in 1705 when being named John Blacksmith earned you a lifetime in front of an oversized oven.
But as our roles as men evolve. As our dignity and self-reverence expands beyond that of the martyred workhorse or a “human resource” to be tapped dry. As we wholeheartedly lean into our roles as fathers, partners, and patrons of the future we wish to create — we must shed the illusion of slow, linear progress and embrace a paradigm of exponential growth in any area of our choosing.
For in 2019 and beyond, impact, growth and earning potential are no longer linear. With unprecedented access to information, tech, skill-enhancing tools and mentors, linearity is a choice — a reckless one that runs counter to who you truly are and who you strive to become.