Welcome to the machine…..Great song by a great band – Pink Floyd!
I may be misinterpreting the true meaning of that song as intended by Pink Floyd, but my interpretation of the song is that we (everyone within this society) are part of a “machine”, which we are not in control of. The higher powers that be dictate our actions, namely what we do with the majority of our lives is what I am referring to. Another term for this “machine”, which we are all a part of is “the rat race”. The rat race is essentially a pattern that we all follow, one that we feel we must follow and have no other choice in the matter. The pattern is to get up every day, go to work, make money, use that money to pay bills, and repeat the process every single day for 40+ years until we retire.
I have not met many people who can honestly say that they enjoy playing their part in the rat race (aka. their job). I don’t know many people who honestly enjoy waking up extremely early in the morning while it is still dark out, waking to the obnoxious sound of an alarm clock, only to go spend 8+ hours at a job which they merely tolerate, let alone actually enjoy. However, the “machine” is set up so we almost have no other choice in the matter. If we don’t get up everyday and go to work, we will not make any money. If we don’t make any money than we will not be able to afford our rent/mortgage, electric, water, car payments, etc… Basically if we want to live comfortably, we must dedicate an extremely large portion of our lives to “working”. Sure, some people make more money than others, and therefore they can afford larger homes, nicer cars, and whatnot, but even just to have the BARE MINIMUM (having a roof over your head with functioning utilities), 40+ hours per week of service is required.
Unfortunately the required 40+ hour service is not just 40+ hours per week. It is actually much more than that. First of all, many full time jobs require more than just 40 hours per week. Some jobs require 50. Others require 60, and others even more than that! However, not only is it the amount of time which you are actually on-site at the job that must be considered. Travel time and prep time must also be taken into account. If you work one hour from your home, than that is an additional two hours per day that is dedicated to the machine (getting to and from work). You must go to bed at a certain time every night to ensure that you are well rested and prepared for the tasks that lie ahead the next day, which also is time dedicated to the machine. Essentially with all of those additional factors being considered, roughly 50% of your time that you are awake is dedicated to the machine. That’s assuming a job that is 40 hours per week and 6 hours of sleep per night. The number is skewed even more as you put more and more hours into your job. Some peoples’ lives are entirely consumed by their jobs.
This “machine” or “rat race” concept is generally accepted by almost everybody. Very rarely do people sway and do something else. It just doesn’t seem very plausible that there are any other options. The main reason for the apparent lack of options is because the rest of society blindly follows the machine as well. People tend to just do what everyone else is doing. I call it the “herd mentality”. It’s simply human nature to follow the pack under the assumption that “If the rest of the pack is doing it this way, it must be the correct way.”
I blindly followed the pack for almost my entire life. I went to school while working part time jobs on the side until I was 18 years old. After that, I went to college to become an engineer. Five years later, when I was 23 years old, I became an engineer. I had no real passion or deep desire to become an engineer, but I just chose that path because I was pretty good at math. Therefore, becoming an engineer seemed like something that I should do. I mean, I had to choose some sort of career path that I didn’t necessarily enjoy, but resulted in good money right? I couldn’t just spend my life doing things that I loved doing could I? No way! No one did that. So I gladly conformed and played my part in the machine, and I worked as an engineer for a mid-sized company for 7 years. Some may say that I was successful, but in my mind I was simply a glorified paper pusher with a flashy title. I can honestly say that the only part that I ever truly enjoyed was the fact that I got a guaranteed paycheck every week. There was absolutely nothing else about my job, or my “career path” for that matter that I was truly inspired by. I knew I needed a change, and I needed one badly.
It wasn’t until I turned 30 years old that I finally decided that I was going to spend the remainder of my life pursuing only what I love and waste no more time pursuing things that I had no interest in. Focusing my time and energy on the wrong things was killing me slowly inside. Each day I came one day closer to my final day of life where I would lay on my death bed thinking to myself, “Am I happy with the decisions that I made in life? Do I wish I would have taken some risks? If I could do it all over again, would I have done things differently?” Since I don’t know when my final day of life is going to be, I decided to live each day as if it were my last. I will tell you – If I knew that I only had one more day to live, I WOULD NOT use that last day sitting in an office pushing papers around for some company.
So what did I do? I quit my job and decided to focus the majority of my time and energy on my band.
That’s CRAZY though right? You can’t just quit a “real” job and go play in a rock band with your friends, and have all the free time in the world to do whatever else you want can you? I mean, this might work for a 16 year old living with Mommy and Daddy, but this would never work for a 30-year-old man with a mortgage and several other bills to pay would it?
Actually that is exactly the case! I am a 30-year-old man with a mortgage to pay (and the zillion other bills that come along with it), and I do play in a rock band with my friends a few times per week. I have no other real job anymore, and therefore I can spend my time focusing on doing things that I truly enjoy as opposed to spending the majority of my life servicing the machine. I don’t wake up to an alarm clock any more. Sometimes I wake up at 8:30 am. Other times I wake up at noon. When I wake up, I do what I feel like doing, and I do things at a very leisure and relaxed pace. I have no boss to tell me what to do, where to be, when to be there, how to dress, etc….I don’t have to worry about the fact that I have visible tattoos on my arms. I go on vacations whenever I want to (as long as I don’t have any gigs with my band of course 😉 ). My life is now based on doing things that I actually want to do rather than doing things that I feel that I’m supposed to be doing. I am my own boss, and I will be for the rest of my life. Life is so much better when it’s not spent servicing the machine.
THE BIG QUESTION: HOW TO AFFORD LIVING SUCH A LEISURE LIFE? OBVIOUSLY PLAYING IN A BAND CAN’T COVER ALL THE COSTS OF LIVING!
No, the band does not cover all of the costs of living for me. I do make decent money playing with my band, which is explained in-depth in one of my eBooks about exactly how I run my band business, but that alone does not cover all of my bills for me. However, in addition to the band, I rely on several other sources of income (none of which involve me getting up and going to work every day 😉 ). There’s no “rule” that says you need to have a real job, and that it must be your sole means of making a living.
My means of making a living are non-mainstream. I focus mainly on developing passive income streams, playing live gigs, and doing a few other freelance jobs here and there in my spare time. My “business endeavors”, if you want to call them that, are all pursued with one end goal in mind – Allow myself to live the way that I want to, doing the things that I want to do, pursuing only the things that I am passionate about.
We are intelligent people, and as intelligent people we are able to figure things out and solve problems. Well, the “problem” is – How can I structure my life such that I don’t have to work a full-time job which consumes my entire life and leaves me with very little time to really focus on the things that I love? Through the books and articles available through this site, I hope that I can help provide some solutions to that problem.
I personally don’t think that it’s very difficult to structure a lifestyle for yourself that allows you to eliminate your uninspiring job from your life and instead pursue your passions. It really just comes down to making a plan and executing it. The REAL difficulties come from the following:
* Drastically changing your thinking from what you are used to
* Being prepared to take some risks
* Becoming willing to try new things
* Thinking independently from your friends, family, peers, etc…
* Doing the things that make YOU happy, rather than doing the things that you feel that you should be doing
In my honesty opinion, the real hurdles all involve becoming an independent thinker and moving away from “the herd”. Sometimes, you just have to do some crazy things that no one would understand if you truly want to live the life that you want. If you are willing to try new things, take some chances, and think in some “non-mainstream” ways, than there is a very good chance that you will succeed. Hopefully the content on this site will help you along the way. Everything I talk about comes from personal experience, and I’m putting it out there for everyone who is interested. I’m currently living my life EXACTLY as I would like to, and I believe that it’s possible for anyone else to do the same as well.