If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. -Thomas Alva Edison
Welcome back to the third, and final, installment of Beyond the Career Trap: A Guide to Reclaiming Your Life. In Part I, I explained why a career is a trap, and why we continue to fall into that trap. In Part II, I explored the opportunities that are available to you outside of your typical career choices. Hopefully you’ve found some of these alternatives viable for yourself, or are on your way to brainstorming ideas on how to break free of the shackles of the 9-5.
In this part, we will look at overcoming those psychological barriers that we’ve built up over the course of our lives, especially when it comes to making big changes against what is considered “the norm.” Barriers like risk aversion, a fear of change, low-self esteem and low self-confidence. Finally, to finish things off, I’ve compiled a fairly extensive list of resources for you to continue to do research on this subject, and hopefully find what you need to start your new life.
Breaking through the psychological barriers
Even when we are aware of the alternatives, psychological barriers can still prevent us from breaking free of the career trap.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. -Anaïs Nin
Risk aversion is probably the main reason that so many of us choose standard career paths. The main thing to understand is that by doing so, you are still taking a risk. Having a normal job puts you at a constant risk of being fired or laid off. Your life is not really yours when you are subject to the whims of others.
Those of us who are risk averse exert a lot of effort to ensure job security. We work over-time. We don’t argue with our boss. We do our work to the very best of our abilities. We don’t ask for extra pay or promotions for fear of aggravating our superiors. There is nothing better than fear for keeping us in line.
But even when it comes to risk, you could be using your energy better. You are actually taking a huge risk by putting all of your eggs in one basket, worst still, someone else’s basket. If you get fired, you are on your own with nothing but your savings. But if you work for yourself, establish streams of passive income, and diversify your revenue streams, you actually become a lot safer. Moving outside of the standard career mindset can even give you some protection from the ups and downs of the economy. Passive income and diversified income streams can give you a living well after your compensation package has dried up.
But at the very least, breaking out of the career trap gives you a lot more control. You don’t depend on whether someone can recognize your potential from a twenty-minute interview. You are no longer at the mercy of your employer. When you are your own boss, or at least a real manager of your talents and income, you are the one in control of your life.
Fear of change
Fear of change can prevent us from moving a muscle even after we already know that we can reap enormous if we could only find the courage. We want to do something, but we feel paralyzed.
Pause to think for a minute about all the greatest moments in your life. Were they moments where nothing changed, or did they happen precisely because you took a chance, and found the courage to make a change? Great moments are often moments of great movement and change.
If fear of change is the main thing standing in your way, consider the risks involved in not making a change. We sometimes don’t realize that not changing anything is still a choice. Years down the road, you may wonder what would have happened if you had the courage to explore another path, and finally that sense of excitement and curiously may overcome your fear of change. But by then it might be even more difficult to make a change. You might find yourself even deeper into the career trap, with even more years of your life invested in the servitude of others, and even more obligations tying you down. Or worse, you might only come to the realization that you should have made a change towards the end of your life, when it would simply be too late.
So go for it! Take a chance on yourself! Don’t wait for the fear to subside. Do it despite your fear.
Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right. -Henry Ford
Do you feel as if business, contracting, and passive income – or anything at all outside a standard career – is for other people who have something special that you don’t have? You may not realize this, but no matter who you are, this simply cannot be a realistic assessment of yourself.
Humans have an incredible capacity for growth and greatness. Most of us vastly underestimate our abilities. There is so much in you, if you would only take a chance on yourself.
Maybe you remember what it was like as a child when you felt that you could do anything. Children don’t limit themselves the way that adults do. When they want to do something, they don’t pause to think whether they can do it. They simply go for it. That’s how they master the incredibly difficult task of speech. That’s how they go from being unable to turn over to walking. Imagine what would happen if a small baby would feel that she may not have what it takes to learn to walk. If you’ve ever watched a small child learning to walk, you would know that it takes an incredible amount of persistence. If she had doubted her abilities, she might have given up.
The fact that small children rarely doubt themselves is also the reason that children are often considered better at picking up more complex skills, such as playing an instrument or playing chess. We are taught that starting young is the only way to go to achieve any real success.
This is a myth. Lately we have become aware that adults are better than children at picking up new skills. We have a lot more experience to draw on, and our refined learning skills can get us a lot further a lot faster – if we apply ourselves. Most adults simply won’t try to learn a musical instrument if they haven’t played one before. Most adults hardly ever really apply themselves to anything new. Most adults don’t believe that they can do anything new of worth after some pre-determined age they’ve made up in their minds.
But we can. Of course we can do at least as much as children! Do something new at this point in your life. It is not too late. You do have what it takes. Take a chance on yourself, and you may be surprised at the results.
We do not reach our peak at adolescence. We can continue to grow and change. We can continue to do things that we’ve never tried before. But, first, we must remove the self-imposed road-blocks. Yes, you can!
May you have the courage to try, the will power to persevere, and the joy of success.
Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.
— General George S. Patton, Jr
More reasons to avoid the career trap
- 10 Reasons You Should Never Get A Job
- New World vs. Old World – Are you being left behind?
- Why Being Fired Was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me
- A Fixed Income is a Sucker Bet
- Life on Purpose: 15 Questions to Discover Your Personal Mission
- Stop Doing Meaningless Work
- Love Your Work or Don’t Work At All
- Dream to Reality – How I Quit My Day Job
- Financial Freedom Defintion
- Definition – Never Work Again
- How to Make Money without a Job (podcast)
- 10 Stupid Mistakes Made by the Newly Self-Employed
- 15 Tips to Boost Your Creativity
- The Book of Brilliance – 3 Ways to Awaken your Inner Genius (find brilliant ideas for business)
Money saving tips
- Save Money and Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
- 30 Easy Ways to Save Money
- The Science of Happiness – has ways of spending money meaningfully for your happiness
- 10 Ways to Simplify Your Budget
Time saving tips
- 20 Tips for Simplifying Your Life
- Creating more Time
- How to Wake Up Early
- Reclaim Your Time: 20 Great Ways to Find More Free Time
Passive income advice
- Passive Income Series – What it is, and how to do it
- Five Ways to Create Passive Income with Little or No Money
- The 4-Hour Work Week
- Automate Your Income to Simplify your Life
Advice on Business
- Developing a healthy attitude towards business: The Millioner Fastlane
- Small Online Business
- How To Craft a Killer Elevator Pitch
- The Get Started Now Guide to Becoming Self-Employed
- Think and Grow Rich
Taking risks and embracing change
- How to Overcome Risk Aversion
- 5 Tips For How To Embrace Change
- The Unpredictable Freedom and Sweetness of Chaos
- 7 Ways to Overcome the Fear of Failure
Pursuing your passion
- Pursue Your Passion
- Why you will fail to have a great career
- 5 Shortcuts to Finding Your Passion (webinar)
- 3 Simple Steps to Making Money from Any Passion
Tips on Success
- How to Succeed in Life
- 11 Essential Habits for Success
- Do You Know What Success Means For You?
- How to Achieve Any Goal
- 10 Secrets to Success