I was with several people and one young man was telling the other older men what his plans were. He was finishing up college, getting a good degree, and had a good path set for his life.
One man asked, “What’s your goal?”The younger man answered in a thoughtful fashion. He listed out his job plans, how he would get promotions, and climb the corporate ladder. He listed out exactly what kind of job and position he wanted in 5 and 10 years. He was really smart and had clearly put a lot of effort into these goals. I interjected,
So your goal is to work?
Everyone stopped and looked at me silently. I could tell I lost everyone, so, I continued, “You’re really smart and motivated, I know you will achieve anything you set your mind to. But, my goal is to not work… You’re telling me that your goal is to have a job.”
I could tell no one really understood what I was getting at, so I just kind of let it go.
The conversation continued in earnest, but I hardly remember that now. I got to thinking and totally got lost in thought like I sometimes do. As I thought through this, a picture starts to become more clear and by the end of the day, I had an epiphany. I realized that for most people the problem isn’t their job, income, debt, life circumstances, or whatever else.
So, What is The Problem?
While there are some people with some really difficult circumstances and situations, most people are fairly average. Even people who have great 6-figure jobs are still doing the same thing as everyone else.
You might think they are different, but really they are just the same. They may have a nicer car or house, but every day they get up and go slave at a job somewhere just like you do.
Let me illustrate the point.
I bought a house in one of the nicest parts of one of the best cities in America to raise a family. It has some of the best public schools in the state, lowest crime, highest salaries, etc. I did this because I wanted my kids to go to the best school I could afford.
We went to the orientation the week prior to my eldest daughter attending kindergarten. It was nice – the parents were all well dressed, the teachers were intelligent and professional, the school was modern and clean. It was everything we wanted! I was feeling satisfied.
We were all ushered into the auditorium and sat down to hear the typical introductions and pleasantries.
Good principal? Check.
Knowledgeable and experienced teachers? Check.
Solid curriculum? Check.
Then they played a short video explaining the philosophy of the school and school district. The man came on saying what you’d expect it to say.
“We teach the children to work together…”
“The children will learn how to control their emotions around other children…”
“We are focused on teaching them to be good workers in our society…”
The video continued, but I pulled out my phone and texted my wife (who was sitting right next to me)
“Jun, did they just say they are training our kids to be good workers?” But I didn’t get to send it because she messaged this first.
“That’s the thing we don’t want our kids to be. In the workforce”
I deleted my text and instead responded with, “I was thinking the same thing. Entrepreneurs don’t follow the rules. They create them”
She agreed with me, then we both agreed that we’re clearly some crazy parents.
The orientation and we left, but subconsciously we both had already decided this school wasn’t right for her. The next day we were shopping for private schools.
Defined By Your Job
I only tell this story to illustrate the point – we are taught from birth to be workers.
We are always asked what we want to be as if our identity is somehow defined by our career or job. It reminds me of the time when people took names based on their professions, like Mason, Thatcher, or Smith.
Which brings me back to my first story about the guy on the bus.
He didn’t even realize that his goals, life, and entire identity were based around the jobs he wanted.
It’s better to think about what you want to do not what you want to be.
I want to travel. I want to help people. I want to DO a lot of things.
I believe that I am defined by the things I do in life.
Real estate is just the way I choose to achieve those things.
The fundamental difference is understanding that a job, career, or investments more are all ways to help you accomplish something. They are not goals.
In philosophy, they distinguish between means and ends. Most people are familiar with this concept – an “end” is an end goal while a “means” is a way to accomplish this.
We have all been taught that our career is an “end” but that’s simply not true. The career is a way of getting to a point where you can accomplish your real goals.
If your job is your end goal, then you’ll be stuck doing that forever.
Instead, focus on setting goals that are beyond work. You’ll find yourself accomplishing a lot more.
What Do You Want To Do?
Tell me in the comment section below – What do you want to do and how does your job or real estate help you to achieve that?