... was my first day of being unemployed.
I haven't had a job since then.
So it's been exactly four years now.
When I realized it's my fourth anniversary a few days ago it was already too late.
Too late to write something great.
I wanted this post to be something special.
A really great post.
I wanted it to be such a great post that next time we meet you'll give me a pat on the back telling me what a great post this was.
Maybe I'll even expand it and turn it into an entire book.
So today is finally the day.
Today is the day where I write it all down.
And it only took me a week or so to get going.
Which already brings me to my first point...
# BIG THINGS TAKE TIME
Everything I started in the past four years took me a lot longer than I initially expected.
It started in the micro and then in the macro.
I don't even know what that means.
But a lot of smart people say this kind of stuff.
Getting started takes so much time.
But finishing takes even longer.
But that's another story.
When you want to get started every fiber of your body has to be ready for it.
If that's not the case you'll never be able to do great work.
And when I say you, I'm really talking about myself.
That's why I usually procrastinate a hell lot until I get going.
Which is also some sort of natural filter.
People ask me how I'm able to distinguish between the things worth doing and the things not worth doing.
So here's my secret...
If the thing I'm thinking about doing is still on my mind after a week, a month or even years then I know that I absolutely have to do it.
That I just can't escape it...
So if your mind, your body, your gut, everything is not 100% ready, you won't be able to make it.
Maybe you'll be able to get started.
But then you'll stop.
Sooner or later.
Because you weren't ready for it.
And most of the time, getting ready for that big thing, whatever your big thing is takes time.
A lot of time.
Maybe a month.
Maybe a year.
Maybe even a lifetime.
The only thing I know now is that big things take time.
So what are big things?
Things you really care about.
I've now been writing stuff online for more than four years.
And it took me four years of writing to be able to write this post right here.
When I started out I thought it would maybe take me a year or so until I would be financially stable.
It took me three years.
The same thing with my very first book.
I thought it would take me three months to write it.
In the end it took me more than 10 months.
Or my first online course.
I thought it would take me a month to do it.
In the end it took me more than four months...
If I think about it, this might be the multiplier.
If you really realistically with your best thinking believe that it's going to take a year, it'll probably take 3 years.
Maybe even four years.
And when you're not realistic, let's say you believe something really big like a book is only going to take 3 months, then it'll probably take 3 years...
Right now I believe it'll take me another five years to get to the point where I want to be.
So it'll probably take me 15 more years.
Or maybe I'll never get there.
But at least I'm getting closer.
Every single day.
One tiny step at a time...
# SMALL THINGS TAKE EVEN MORE TIME
Everybody focuses on the big things.
That's why most people get the big things right.
But no one pays attention to the small things.
To the details.
No one gets the details right.
So the things that really make a difference these days are the small things.
And not the big things.
# STARTING ISN'T HARD
Once you've started doing things on your own, without anyone giving you a paycheck at the end of the month you'll soon realize that the really, really hard part isn't about getting started.
Its about not giving up.
About not giving up hope.
About showing up.
Over and over again.
No matter what.
That'S the really hard part.
It's all about finishing.
And finishing is probably the hardest thing out there.
Sure, when a client pays you to finish that project, when you're hired for a specific job and will only see the cash once it's done, then you'll finish it. For sure...
But when you're creating things on your own, when you're putting your work out there and there's no deadline and no guarantee that you'll ever get paid, then it's so easy to give into fear.
To give into the fear that no one will even care.
That no one really needs this.
That no one is going to read this.
That no one is going to buy this.
That's why starting isn't the really hard part.
Starting is just the first step.
Not giving up and finishing is the really hard part.
I don't really know how many books I've started writing during those four years.
I've finished 8. Or 9. I don't really remember.
And I've probably started more than twenty.
I've also started more than fifteen websites or so.
And none of them exists anymore.
Even this post right here.
I already stopped writing more than three times to check all sorts of other things.
Emails. Facebook. Twitter. Everything...
I even thought about writing something else.
As a matter of fact I even started writing this post yesterday.
But I couldn't finish it.
So I had to continue today.
Why is it so important to finish things?
Because if you don't finish one thing, you won't finish everything...
# MOST PEOPLE ARE EMPLOYEES
This isn't good or bad.
Being an employee has many advantages.
Just like it has many disadvantages.
But the problem is that there will be less and less jobs for more and more people.
So only the best of the best will be able to keep their jobs.
Again, I'm not saying this is good or bad.
This is just the way it is.
But what's bad about this is the fact that most people out there were trained to be employees.
They were trained to follow orders.
To do what they're told to do.
And it's really, really hard to unlearn this.
It took me a few years...
So over time people lose the drive to do things on their own.
To create things when they're not told what to do.
We were trained to live in a system where self starters are punished.
Where doing things you're not told to will always make everyone suspicious.
Your colleagues will think that you're not “on their side”.
Yous boss will think you want to take over her spot.
So we lose that intrinsic motivation.
To put out stuff on our own.
And it's hard to unlearn this.
It took me more than two years.
But that's the only way to survive in the 21st century.
That's the only way how you get people to notice you.
To put out stuff.
That's how you get people to realize that you even exist.
This puts you on people's radars.
This is what puts you on the map.
And when I say you, that's what put me on the map.
When you have some work to show.
Work that you've created.
All by yourself.
Work that you've created not because you got paid doing it.
But because you're passionate about it.
Because you love doing it.
That's how you go from employee to whatever it is that you want to be.
Whatever it is that we have to do in the near future to be able to pay the bills.
But you need more than that.
This is not enough anymore...
# SALES, MARKETING, BRANDING
If you want to thrive in the 21st century you've gotta be a jack of all trades.
But not because that's what corporations want.
Corporations don't need jack of all trades.
They need experts.
The best of the best in very specific fields.
So why do you have to be jack of all trades?
You've gotta be ready and get going right away when the shit hits the fan.
When you're out there on your own trying to make a living without anyone paying you to do work for them.
Alright. So let's change topics here real quick...
If you'd lose your job today what would you do if you couldn't apply for another job?
Think about it for a minute or two.
I know it's a tricky question.
And most people wouldn't be able to answer that question.
Most people don't have a plan for that scenario.
But it's a very likely scenario.
For all of us...
Alright. So here's another truth...
You won't be able to pay dozens of people (e.g. experts) to do stuff for you.
Simply because they're too expensive.
And unless you just got a million dollar funding or got a big chunk of money sitting on your bank account then you just won't be able to afford hiring people.
You just can't pay someone to do marketing for you.
Or whatever it is that you need help with.
You need to be able to do all of these things yourself.
No matter what it is that you want to put out there into the world.
When you want to build something out of nothing you just can't afford to hire anyone.
Also, it's very likely that your friends have the exact same skill set like you.
Or they have a different skill set and aren't flexible enough.
But flexibility is THE most important skill in the 21st century.
You need to know how to do all of these things yourself.
So here's why you have to become a jack of all trades (unless, of course you're among the best of the best in your field already)...
You have to become a hunter again.
You have to learn how to hunt in the wild again.
Instead of waiting for that delicious steak you got served every single day just for showing up...
# IF YOU THINK YOU KNOW, YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW
It's easy to believe that you know what's going to happen.
Or what you're going to do.
But at the end of the day it's very likely that you're going to do something else entirely.
Simply because most of the things don't work out the way we thought they would work out.
And that's fine.
That's just the way it is.
If anyone told me four years ago I'd be doing what I'm doing now, living the lifestyle I'm living right now I'd probably thought they'd be crazy.
When I started four years ago I had no clue.
I had no clue about what I'd be doing in four years.
I just thought I'd be writing books.
And that I'd either be successful or not.
And when it wouldn't work out I'd just try something else.
I'd just try things until some things would work out.
No matter how long it would take.
No matter what I'd have to do to be able to get there.
To get where?
Where I want to be.
I was ready to sacrifice it all.
A good job with a great salary.
A possible future family.
But why would anyone sacrifice all of these things?
Why would I be willing to sacrifice all of these things?
I'm glad you asked...
No matter what you do, there's gotta be a purpose.
Something that's bigger than you.
Something that's really, really hard to describe.
I can't even describe it properly myself.
Something like you want to help other people.
Or you want to have an impact.
You know all of this new agey kind of stuff.
But it's true what they say.
If you get up in the morning and the only answer you can give to the question “why am I even getting up?” is money, then it's just really, really hard to make sense of it all...
Then it's just really, really hard to keep pushing.
To not give up.
To get back up again.
And it doesn't really matter how you get there.
As long as you always have a proper why.
As long as you know why you're doing all of this.
Why you're going through all of that pain.
And the misery.
And the failure.
And the constant ups and downs.
If you don't have a proper why, then you'll give up sooner or later.
Or you'll go crazy.
Or get depressed.
Or what not...
Putting yourself and your work out there, creating things, creating your art or whatever it is you're doing without a purpose will always feel meaningless.
Especially when no one seems to care.
When no one seems to even notice.
When you feel like giving up.
When it feels like you can't possibly keep doing it.
That's why you need to have a why.
A why that will help you to go through the tough times.
The numerous doubts.
The ups and the downs.
Something that helps you to get you up in the morning.
Something that's bigger than you.
Something you're willing to fight for.
No matter how big or small the progress.
No matter how big or small the steps.
And again when I say you, I'm basically talking about myself.
# UNLEASHING YOUR POTENTIAL
Here's something I realized early on in my “career”.
Maybe I'm wrong about this.
Maybe I'm right.
I don't know.
No one is ever going to unleash your potential.
No one is ever going to realize how talented you are.
Or how special you are.
Not your boss.
Or your friends.
Or your kids.
Or your spouse.
Or a mentor.
The only person who will ever be able to unleash your potential is you.
And no one else.
No one can or will help you with this...
If you keep waiting for people to realize how talented you are, how gifted you are and how special you are, you'll probably be waiting your life away.
And if you think you have what it takes, if you think you deserve more than this, if you think you can change the world, then I challenge you to prove it.
And if you don't prove it, if you never do anything, well then you're probably not that special after all...
# THE LONG GAME
You gotta have patience.
If you don't have patience then nothing is ever going to work out.
Want to become a successful author?
Want to become a successful entrepreneur?
Want to become a successful musician?
Then study the past.
Study how long it took the people who are now on top to get there.
Read everything you can find about people who have achieved what you want to achieve.
Read their biographies.
Learn everything about their lives.
About their failures.
About their struggles.
About their successes.
Read about what they did when they felt like giving up.
But most importantly, figure out how long it took them to get to a place of success.
And if you don't have that much time, if you're not patient enough, then don't even get started...
So how much time do you have?
How much time do I have?
# IT'S OK TO HAVE NO CLUE
When I started out I had no clue about what my vision was.
I had no clue what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I didn't have any clue about anything.
And that's ok.
Some people have more clarity.
Some people have less clarity.
I didn't have any clarity at all.
I still don't have 100% clarity.
Or know what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Simply because the rest of my life is a pretty damn long time...
And you're going to change over time anyway.
We all change over time.
And if we don't, well then that means that we're not growing anymore.
That we're not moving forward anymore.
That we're standing still.
So the only way to figure out what your vision is, the only way to get more clarity, the only way to figure yourself out is to do things.
Over and over again.
There really is no other way...
# COMBINE THINGS
So here's the thing...
The only people who will ever be able to make a living doing what they love, what they're good at and what they're passionate about are the best of the best. The top 0.1%.
So what about the rest?
What about you, me, all of us?
Well, we don't really stand a chance.
Unless we're able to find our own niche.
And the only way to find your own niche is by combining all of the things you're really good at.
The things you're passionate about.
And then you'd be the best of the best, the top 0.1% in your own field.
Simply because there won't be any other people out there who are doing what you're doing.
Who love the exact same things that you love.
You'll be unique.
You'll be the one and only...
# DON'T QUIT YOUR JOB
But whatever you do, don't quit your day job.
Keep it for as long as you can.
Keep it until you've gained enough momentum so whatever it is that you're doing completely replaces your income.
Or put enough cash in the bank until you have two or three years of expenses in the bank.
And then go ahead and quit your job.
And then four years from that day you can write down what you've learned being unemployed for four years...
I guess that's enough for today.
I'll save the rest for the book.
Will I really write a book about it?
I don't know.
Big things take time.
A lot of time...