A few years back, when I was still working on my own startup, a friend asked me to hear her out. She wanted to offer some advice.
“Why don’t you get a stable job instead?” she asked. “You’ve been struggling with your career since your breakup, working at medium-sized companies for mediocre pay and now at a startup that can’t even guarantee any paychecks. If you work for a bigger company, you’ll be able to get so much more.”
She was pretty well-off at the age of 25, being able to make 6 figures a year at a company she enjoyed working at, being able to afford a brand new sports car and other indulgences like fancy meals, new golf equipment and expensive cosmetic products.
I, on the other hand, had been struggling to pay for basic living expenses, bootstrapped and working at a startup that couldn’t yet stand on its feet. The only thing I could afford were the occasional cups of coffee.
And the truth was, I did want a stable job. I still do. But to do so would mean sacrificing my freedom to travel, sacrificing the opportunity to do the things I’m passionate about, on my own terms, all for the sake of having more money and financial security.
As much as I understood her good intentions, it wasn’t what I had wanted and it’s made me realize something:
Many people will try to advise you on what you should do, without understanding what you really want, what you truly value and how you want to lead your life. They’ll tell you what’s best for you based on their own success, from their own experiences. And while their advice may work for your best interest, financially, it might not be the solution towards where you want to be.
Everyone has different desires in life. The choices they make is based on what they value most: money, freedom, passion, security — for me, I choose freedom and passion because I don’t want to live the life I once did, a life that was financially secure, but passionless and heartbreaking. I’d rather choose freedom and make money on my own terms than to live jailed with lots of money.
Remember, your life is yours to build, not for others to steer.
If you want a life you’ll be happy with, you need to understand what you value most and stick with it, and understand that other people’s advice might not apply.