A Wasted Life Is Not One Worth Living

July 6, 2015

Do you feel like there’s more to life than what you’re currently doing?

Do you feel like you’re wasting away at your current job?

In this article, I’m going to really push you to think outside the box and challenge the status quo.

I’m going to encourage you to take a leap of faith, so get ready to be uncomfortable.

The Lie

0706-Wasted-Life_PinterestGo to school, do well, get good grades, graduate, get a good job, make good money. That’s what we’re sold.

When I was younger, the key to success (as I was told) was to get a bachelor’s degree. Once you had one, you’d join the elite group of college graduates and find a great job.

Eventually, bachelor degrees became a dime-a-dozen, and true “success” required a  master’s degree. But then that wasn’t enough. To be really successful, you needed a Ph.D.

But then, you realized that the job hunting process wasn’t made easier with a PhD, so you worked on a few postdocs to gain more experience so that you could find that awesome job.

Many of us did find those great jobs; myself included.

In fact, I took an alternative route to becoming a University Professor. I started a biology blog, which really helped open the way for me. It was a dream job, and I loved it.

But then something happened. My eyes were opened.

I was working around the clock to keep up with my dream job and everything else that was going on in my life.

Multitasking-ManAs part of my job, I was offered a free Ph.D.; most people would consider this a tremendous opportunity. However, when you combine a PhD with a job as a professor and an online business, the result was that I was running around like a chicken without a head.

This became even more obvious when my son was born. I hardly had any time for my family, the same family I claimed to prioritize.

When would it end? When I got the Ph.D.? When I was so comfortable with the material I was teaching that I never had to review? When my business took off?

I had to be honest with myself. If I continued on the traditional path, I wouldn’t stray from it until my son grew up, and I would regret every moment of it.

Inspiring People

Passionate-BloggersThen I started to look around at some of the people I’ve met over the last 7 years, people like Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income;  Pat was fired from his job as an architect and went on to start his super successful business.

Then there’s Mitch Wilson, from Sports Chat Place, who ran a google search one day for “how to start a blog” and a few years later, has one of the most successful blogging businesses I’ve encountered. Mitch has built a business doing something that he is passionate about and is having a blast in the process.

Leah Fisch, who loves Organic Chemistry, started her blog at Leah4Sci and earns a  good full-time income helping students all over the world. She recently expanded to helping students pass the MCAT (the medical school entrance exam).

My own blog, Become a Blogger was actually co-founded by Gideon Shalwick and Yaro Starak, two individuals who have built massively successful businesses and who helped set the foundation for much of what I do today.

Cliff Ravenscraft left his job as an insurance agent to pursue his passion for podcasting. When I ask him how he’s doing, he says, “I’m doing well, and it gets better every day.” I believe him.

Lauren Gaggioli started Higher Scores Test Prep to help students pass the ACT and SAT exams.

Angela Davis started Frugal Living NW to help people in the Northwest USA save money and live more frugal lives.

Kate Ahl was fascinated with Pinterest and started an entire service-based business managing the Pinterest accounts of a number of businesses, including mine.

Liz and Doug Latham started Hoosier Homemade, a national baking and lifestyle website to helping the everyday Mom spend less time in the kitchen and more time with her family using simple, easy and creative recipes and projects.

Kim Sorgius started Not Consumed, a blog to help parents with practical parenting, real faith, and homeschooling.

I started to see that people were taking their passions and building businesses around them. I consider all of these individuals successful and can come up with AT LEAST 20 more of my friends who didn’t settle for the status quo, but rather, decided to take their success into their own hands.

What holds us back

Ever since I watched the TED Talk, by Sir Ken Robinson, on how schools kill creativity, I started to realize something – we go to school and get screwed up.

We are taught that there is one right way to do something. If we get something wrong, we are punished. We are graded based on a standard that’s set by someone else.

As a result, we learn to fear taking risks. We are afraid to fail, and that fear of failure holds us back.

Do you resonate with this?

What I want for my son

NoahMy son is two years old, and it’s fascinating to look at him. He’ll take all kinds of risks that I would never take at my age.

He’s constantly climbing objects and exploring new things, and because it’s all relatively new to him, since he’s only been alive for 2+ years, you can see his enthusiasm for exploring something new.

I find myself wondering how long that’s going to last. I find myself afraid to send him to school only to have him learn that he shouldn’t explore life to the fullest, that he should accept the standard.

I find myself afraid that he’ll be a product of an education system that discourages risk while rewarding the status quo.

Instead, I want him to grow up full of creative thoughts, willing to explore new things, and with an avid enthusiasm for life.

I want him to look at failure head on and fight through it, rather than avoid it out of fear.

But for that to happen, it needs to be modeled for him. I must NOT be afraid of failure. I CAN’T be afraid to take risks.

What I want for YOU

When I create the content on my blog, I hope to push you. I hope that you will be challenged to think that you can do something more than what you are doing right now.

It doesn’t matter if you work full-time and hate it or if you are a self-made billionaire. There’s always something we can do to take things to the next level.

However, if we don’t try, we won’t accomplish anything significant.

Are you satisfied with what you’re currently doing? If so, WAKE UP. You can do more. Think Bigger.

If you aren’t satisfied, it’s not too late unless you’re six feet under.

There are many individuals who begin their great accomplish later in life.

Harland Sanders was 65 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. After his fried chicken recipe was rejected 1009 times, he finally got one yes, which resulted in one of the largest franchises in the world.

You may not have fried chicken, but you have something that you’re passionate about. And if you’re not sure what that is, it’s time to begin exploring your passions.

Take that idea and start small. The key is to simply start.

Your Turn

I want you to commit to starting (or continuing) right now. What big thing are you going to accomplish?

Let me know in the comments below and I will be here to cheer you on.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

Infographic

A Wasted Life Is Not One Worth Living

A Wasted Life Is Not One Worth Living

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57 Comments

  • I can say that all signs applicable to me. all of this wasting time is because of my job which gives me an excellent salary but no social life.

  • Mohamed says:

    All of what you have said is nice but i have a problem. I cant do it on my own. I always have this idea for thought or passion that could be turned out into sth that is great but i always stop. My best effort would he talking one or two steps towards the goal but them i stop again completely and then look for a new direction. I admit that i am lost and i dono what to do to turn things around

  • beata says:

    Great article!!! I am originally from Poland.I came to this country without knowing English. I thought about going to college and earned my degree and all opportunities will open up. I’ve learned English, earned two bachelor’s degrees. I worked as a financial advisor but back in 2008.When the trouble arrived at the AIG’s door, nobody wanted to buy insurance anymore. I suddenly lost my job, and I had to take any job I could find. I have private and federal student loans and struggling to pay them off. I work approximately 60 hours a day. I started to create websites and earn some commissions. I don’t care how long it takes me to make money online. I will do my job, and be patient. I guess that consistency is a key to becoming a Successful Entrepreneur.

  • Kira says:

    Hi Leslie, Thanks for this article! It is something that my boyfriend and I have been talking about a lot lately. It is so important that whatever one does for work allows for enough time for family and life beyond the cubicle. In the end, that is what truly matters. 🙂

    It’s never too late to strive for your dreams and find a career that provides that time. Great post – thanks

    Kira

  • Cedric Earl says:

    I was told that same lie growing up and as a minority it’s a lot harder. Working for yourself is path to freedom.

  • Lori says:

    The advice I was given was to get on with a good company, move up the ladder and work for a good pension. I was also told, college isn’t a necessity. I worked at a ‘good’ company for 22 + years only to be downsized at the age of 42. A the age of 49, I am still trying to figure it out. Going back to the corporate world is not an option, there are too many other better opportunities out there.

    • There definitely are better opportunities out there Lori. Also, technology gives us the ability to do things we’ve never been able to do. It’s a beautiful (and challenging) thing.

  • Lucy says:

    Leslie,

    I have lived both lives you talk about. I grew up in a creative family, and always wanted to be an artist, but also loved children and teaching. I have been an elementary school teacher for almost thirty years, and just retired. I had 10 more years to go, but just couldn’t stand the environment in education any more.

    Most teachers want to instill creativity in their students, but we are not allowed to do things the way we want to. We are mandated to teach specific tasks that someone else decided were important.

    This change in education has come slowly, it was even apparent when I was growing up. But my parents taught us that true education comes from within. You can’t rely on society to mold you. You can’t rely on public education to raise your kids the way you want them to be.

    I want to help parents who value creativity. Creativity doesn’t mean being able to draw or something like that, it means confidence in yourself. That only comes from standing up for what you believe, and not following the path someone else tells you to go.

    Of course, you know I’m with you!

  • Marie says:

    I know my calling is to share what I know and have learned over the past 38 years to others through blogging, podcast, webinars, e-Books etc. I just have to let go and be about my business. I teach social media principles as a professor (created the course!!) at a university! I just need to get to the point where I am “sick & tired of being sick & tired” of teaching a small group of students to a “world” of students who want to know what I know and make money doing it! Thank you Leslie for the encouragement! This is my year and I feel better already about my future…I am glad I read this blog today, thanks!

  • Scarlet says:

    Wow Leslie! You really hit the nail on the head. I really needed this. I’m currently in school to obtain my BA so that I can get a better job. But even if I do, it won’t be anything I enjoy as much as I enjoy talking to teens and giving them advice and my opinion on things. I’ve been slacking a bit with my blog because of school but I never give up on it because I always think about it and what I can do to improve it. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to make money from my blog, let alone live off of it, but I do know that I’m passionate about helping teens. Hopefully the money will follow some day. Thank you Leslie for this post today. I NEEDED to read it.

  • Melissa Rosati says:

    Leslie:

    You’ve helped me so much through the Google Hangouts on the Social Media Marketing Society. This current article is great and speaks to me. I am making the commitment to be bold and go for it.

  • Ed says:

    I am convinced that there is a powerful reason for God to give us this chance to pursue our calling using the technological resources now available to almost all. Hence, we must feel compelled to start on the path that leads us where He wants us to be. He for sure has the most plausible reasons we could ever imagine.

  • Eva says:

    This particular topic has been on my mind for a while now and a good friend and I have been discussing it as well… Nearing “retirement” age and having no wealth to show for it other than our experiences in life…knowing that we need to share our knowledge and how better than blogs and ebooks…and hopefully to gain some income as well.

  • Sherri James says:

    Hi there,

    Let me encourage you. Whatever you imagine yourself doing you can and whatever you imagine yourself unable to do, you cannot. Start small. Take one simple idea and commit to carrying it through to fruition. Let go of needing to hit a home run and just get on base (I assume the baseball analogy will make sense to you; my apologies if it does not). The point is to simply get started. It’s not our job to know how it turns out. Just take the step you know to take right now and when you’ve completed, the next step will be given to you. It really does work like that.

    • Your comment reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

      Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. – W.H. Murray

  • Sherri James says:

    Yes, consistency is absolutely the key. I, too, am challenging myself to consistently show up and know that the full time income I am claiming will manifest.

  • Sherri James says:

    Hi Leslie,

    Thank you for this post. You’ve mentioned many people that I am also inspired by. I appreciate your example as I work to grow my blog to a full time income without sacrificing my family or my sanity in the process.

  • Doug Weir says:

    Thanks for the splendid post and all the excellent comments!
    YES! I am committed to becoming an online entrepreneur, and to keeping my blog-post-pipeline flowing consistently.
    After working 20 years a PhD research chemist, my latest position of 14 and a half years was eliminated. Abruptly.
    A GOOD THING, TOO!
    I now realize that I had no real control over, or security with, the single income that I had relied upon for so many years. I also realize that I can now create income streams that are not capped, but that can be scaled up. By me.

    • I’m glad to hear that you are responding to your situation so positively Doug. Wishing you all the best on this new journey, wherever it leads you.

  • cheryl wright says:

    Thanks Leslie.!! I’ve been watching you from afar for almost a decade and I’m more than proud! You are living your dream and motivating others to attempt and realize the same. I went to school with your in-laws and I’m grateful that God has blessed them with such an enterprising, God-fearing son ( in-law). Kudos to you & THANKS for igniting the flame in my own life. May success attend ALL your ventures!!!

  • Rohit Sharma says:

    Hi Leslie,

    Nicely done, man. You came up with a truly inspirational thing. You won’t believe how much I am cheered up after reading this.

    You have mentioned some very great people and their influence in the world. The struggle they faced was for real. The actual conclusion is that anything can be achieved even if the odds are against you, remember that an air plane flies opposite the wind. Wish you a greet week ahead, man.

    – Rohit

  • Emeraude says:

    Thank you for sharing! I too am a late bloomer (or will be) but my eyes are open and I’ve started taking steps in the direction of my dreams…

  • Kristen says:

    Thank you, Leslie! I so enjoy your podcasts and blog posts. I have a really difficult time letting go of the research phase and actually STARTING! I play it way too safe. I am so ready to actually start living the life I desire. Your words are always helpful and inspiring!

  • Hi Leslie,

    This article definitely hits home with me. I have a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, but recently changed my path in life after my father had a stroke in 2013. I currently have health and fitness website and recently released a free app on the google play store named MemZy that uses pictures from the user’s phone to create date quizzes. I find that playing the game at least once a day helps me to better remember the history of my own life. Ultimately I hope that the Lord will use my start up to further his plan of promoting health as true wealth.

    I look forward to mining your blog for ideas to help OnTierraHealth Technology get off the ground! As my father said towards the end of his life “If people only knew what is coming there are many things they would do differently.”

    • What a coincidence. I have a degree in Neurobiology and taught Neuroscience for 3 years before leaving my job. Sorry to hear about your father’s stroke.

      Wishing you all the best with your business Prestor.

  • Hello Leslie,

    Amazing article and I can really connect to it. As being in the entrepreneurship and blogging industry from the past 2 years. It is really important to stay motivated about your work and handle all other aspects of life. It does truly make sense to feel the urge to live an inspiring life. Otherwise its not worth it.

    Thanks for the enlightening piece of inspiring content.

  • Christian says:

    Hi Leslie

    I am from Nigeria, a country where people are motivated by inresponsible things.

    Eg, ask one why he/she is going to university and they will tell you is because others are going.

    I love your post, though is how I have craft my life.

    Christian
    Nowlookupto.com

  • Manish says:

    Hi Leslie, Love to read your exciting blog today. I’m Manish, and I’m 30 years of age from India. Well, I’ve had a really good education with a Master’s degree in Finance, thanks to my parents. Life was wonderful till my dad was alive. It so happened I joined my dad’s business after his death, which I then lost completely after running it for 3 years. This failure has brought me under great depression. Now, I work as a accountant in a which feeds me and my family. But, now I feel lost and confused at the events. Feel like I wanna give up my boring job and start a small business of my own. But I do not have the moral and financial support anymore. Fear of failure is making me hold back.

    • Sorry to hear about your family situation and the passing of your father Manish. I can imagine that this would be a tough situation to deal with. But all is not lost. My recommendation would not be to leave your job and start a business, but to start one on the side and build it until it’s where you have the option to leave.

      Wishing you all the best. Don’t let fear hold you back. Let it motivate you.

  • alice evans says:

    hi leslie,

    thank you so much for this article, I really enjoyed reading it. Simple and yet very encouraging. I was contemplating on quitting my job as a flight attendant for quite a while, and look for something that will make me happy.

    alice

    • Well, having a job is definitely a blessing, but if you aren’t happy with it, I would recommend to start working towards building something even while you are working. That’s what I did.

  • James Davis says:

    Thanks Leslie for such a motivational article.

  • Christiana says:

    I love your article Leslie, i have always believe that there are know limits to human achievements. It doesn’t matter how long it takes so long there’s a desire to do it. I have encounter a lot of youth with great potential like myself who give up easily after some trials partly because they lack the knowledge of speaking what i like to call “the right confession”. They contradict themselves and loose faith and this has blinded them to the opportunities surrounding them. Your blog has actually elevated me to higher level of courage, no age is definitely no limit.

  • Mathew says:

    Great article Leslie, it really encouraging. Am from a country where getting a job is mostly through man- know-man; if you know what i mean, i graduated two years ago and thought i could establish myself with my profession which is “fine and applied art” but i realize how little people value it in my country therefore it’s not taking me to the financial level i wish to attain. This profession has always been my passion since i was a kid and am beginning to wonder if i made the right choice in choosing such profession, since one have to earn for a living. Please what do you think?

    • I know exactly what you mean. I grew up in a country where the same is true. But I believe that the internet is a great equalizer and that we can use this technology to do awesome things today that were never possible before. Our only limit is ourselves.

  • Hi Leslie,

    This article is an eye opener for me. Really inspiring and encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing.

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