Letter From An Elderly Person

charlesbukowski

“The kind of life that makes one feel empty and shallow and superficial, that makes one dread to read and dread to think, can’t be good for one, can it?” asked literary legend Willa Cather when pondering the trade aspiring creatives must so often make between pursuing their creative passions and working to pay the bills. It is a question that deserves attention, particularly so at a time when working hours are increasing and worker’s rights diminishing.a

It’s also one we perhaps don’t ask ourselves enough: for at its heart is a difficult subject to face – the matter of whether we are a) brave enough to quit our soul sucking day jobs to do what we really want, and b) actually destined to be writers and artists.

Indeed, we must recognise the sentiment of acclaimed poet Charles Bukowski famous poem, So, you want to be a writer (Don’t do it) – “if it doesn’t come bursting out of you, in spite of everything, don’t do it”. And we must question whether or not we really possess within ourselves the burning desire to write, to create art, and whether we actually find some solace in the excuse our jobs give us not to act on our creative impulses. As though there were some fear that, should we in fact have the freedom to do so, we would end up just sitting around all day watching TV and eating toast in our pants.

Bukowski, of course, understood better than most the crippling effects of capitalist working structures. He is, after all, the man who asked: “How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?”

It is the sort of question that can only ever be asked by someone who has lost years of his life to the mundanity, and creativity-stifling world of modern work. And before he became a full-time writer, Bukowski took a string of blue collar jobs, working as a fill-in mail man for the US Postal Service from his 30s right on into his 40s.

Like many creatives today, Bukowski also found himself stifled by working for the man. In 1969, the year before his 50th birthday, he was still working as a mail man, and pulling some gigs here and there on some small underground magazines. And it was from this position Bukowski found himself faced with the challenge we set out at the start of this article: to essentially “put up or shut up” – and quit his stifling job for the risky life of poet and writer.

Bukowski had caught the attention of Black Sparrow Press publisher John Martin, who offered the poet $100 a month to quit his job and dedicate himself solely to writing. While many creatives might dither here, adding up the costs of bills and thinking perhaps even of pensions; Bukowski was in no doubt about his decision. He took the chance gladly, and just two years later, Black Sparrow Press published his first novel, titled – appropriately – Post Office.

It was an opportunity Bukowski did not forget – although it did take him time to remember to thank his early champion; writing to Martin some 17 years later to express his gratitude. Belated the letter of thanks may be; but it nonetheless remains beautiful, and incredibly poignant today. The missive emanates Bukowski’s characteristic cynicism, but also his deep sensitivity, and a touch of self-conscious earnestness.

The letter is here below, in full;

“August 12, 1986

Hello John:

Thanks for the good letter. I don’t think it hurts, sometimes, to remember where you came from. You know the places where I came from. Even the people who try to write about that or make films about it, they don’t get it right. They call it “9 to 5.” It’s never 9 to 5, there’s no free lunch break at those places, in fact, at many of them in order to keep your job you don’t take lunch. Then there’sovertime and the books never seem to get the overtime right and if you complain about that, there’s another sucker to take your place.

You know my old saying, “Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.”

And what hurts is the steadily diminishing humanity of those fighting to hold jobs they don’t want but fear the alternative worse. People simply empty out. They are bodies with fearful and obedient minds. The color leaves the eye. The voice becomes ugly. And the body. The hair. The fingernails. The shoes. Everything does.

As a young man I could not believe that people could give their lives over to those conditions. As an old man, I still can’t believe it. What do they do it for? Sex? TV? An automobile on monthly payments? Or children? Children who are just going to do the same things that they did?

Early on, when I was quite young and going from job to job I was foolish enough to sometimes speak to my fellow workers: “Hey, the boss can come in here at any moment and lay all of us off, just like that, don’t you realize that?”

They would just look at me. I was posing something that they didn’t want to enter their minds.

Now in industry, there are vast layoffs (steel mills dead, technical changes in other factors of the work place). They are layed off by the hundreds of thousands and their faces are stunned:

“I put in 35 years…”

“It ain’t right…”

“I don’t know what to do…”

They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work. I could see all this. Why couldn’t they? I figured the park bench was just as good or being a barfly was just as good. Why not get there first before they put me there? Why wait?

I just wrote in disgust against it all, it was a relief to get the shit out of my system. And now that I’m here, a so-called professional writer, after giving the first 50 years away, I’ve found out that there are other disgusts beyond the system.

I remember once, working as a packer in this lighting fixture company, one of the packers suddenly said: “I’ll never be free!”

One of the bosses was walking by (his name was Morrie) and he let out this delicious cackle of a laugh, enjoying the fact that this fellow was trapped for life.

So, the luck I finally had in getting out of those places, no matter how long it took, has given me a kind of joy, the jolly joy of the miracle. I now write from an old mind and an old body, long beyond the time when most men would ever think of continuing such a thing, but since I started so late I owe it to myself to continue, and when the words begin to falter and I must be helped up stairways and I can no longer tell a bluebird from a paperclip, I still feel that something in me is going to remember (no matter how far I’m gone) how I’ve come through the murder and the mess and the moil, to at least a generous way to die.

To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.

yr boy,

Hank”

If Bukowski’s letter doesn’t convince you that it’s perhaps finally time to quit your soul sucking job and start working on that novel you’ve been working on; then perhaps try Neil Gaiman’s deceptively simple-sounding rules for writers. Consider, also, the way other aspects of our modern world may be affecting our creative urges – and how things like technology may be dampening our creativity.

Source:
One letter from Charles Bukowski will make you want to quit your job and become a writer

The 1000 Day Rule

From an article by Dan Andrews

Every so often I’ll stumble upon a blogger who is lamenting the impact of the lifestyle design trend. “Tim Ferriss makes it sound like it’s so easy to get started with your muse business and mini-retirements…”

Cry me a river.

home-office-deduction-2016

One thing the 4HWW doesn’t do is give a clear idea of how the ideas have been implemented by entrepreneurs, and what their experience looks like when they do.

There are some huge misconceptions out there about muse businesses.

Less than 1%* of lifestyle designers make their money by selling eBooks and courses on how to be lifestyle designers, travelers, mobile business owners, or similar.

I only know a small handful of muse business owners who make their money this way. Contrast that with the 100s of mobile entrepreneurs I’ve met in the past few years and interact with daily. Most lifestyle designers are too busy with their business to blog about it. Be sure to thank the ones who do! Off the top of my head, I’d say less than 1% of 4HWW inspired businesses are in the business of “selling the lifestyle.”

So How Do You Pay for Your Rockstar Lifestyle?

So how are 4HWWers making money? Here are the 5 most popular ways I’ve seen:

  1. Software developers. They own a web app, a popular forum, do freelance database management, or similar. Developers are highly represented in the muse business world, and there is no question they are the most successful freelancers.
  2. Old school marketers. Long form sales letters? Yes. Affiliate marketing? Yes! Porn? Sheebang! These folks have been on the trail way before 4HWW. These were some of the few sources of online income available before Skype changed the game and made mobility a possibility for freelancers and people with virtual teams.
  3. Classic entrepreneurs. These are the deal cutters, the folks who have built something scalable. They have teams, they have processes, they have crazy ambition. They cut deals and make hay. They own valuable stuff. They rarely blog about it.
  4. Online gambling and trading. I suppose you wouldn’t be surprised if I told you tons of people living the lifestyle are making money grinding at online poker tables, day trading, or something similar. A lot of the guys who got involved building muse businesses got their feet wet in poker or trading first. Me included… another story for another day.
  5. ‘New’ marketing. The emerging crowd of social media oriented freelancers, often focused on PPC, SEO, copywriting, niche blogs, you name it. This crowd is newish and generally operating at lower levels of income, but this income can come fast since these markets are developing and scattered.

1000 Days

I was chatting with my friend David from Greenback Tax Services the other day about these misconceptions. He said: “people don’t understand they need to be poor for 1000 days.”

Our basic hypothesis: you’ll be doing worse than you were at your job for 1000 days after you start your muse business.

I’ve seen it happen a bunch of times. For many of us it’s been almost exactly those 1000 days it took for us to get back to the level of income we enjoyed in our corporate days.

In my experience, here is what those 1000 days often looks like…

Before Your 1000 Days (the yearning**)

  • You are writing a blog about YOU. The reason you do it is “networking.”
  • You are hating your job.
  • You quit your job and travel on savings.
  • You are buying products from blogs that make a little money on how to make a little money with your blog.
  • You talk about this stuff with your family and friends.
  • You are failing at affiliate marketing.
  • You try to partner up with your best friend or girlfriend/boyfriend.
  • You are buying a bunch of domains, starting a bunch of projects, and stopping when competition shows up.
  • You love Zen Habits. You think you could probably do something similar.
  • You write bitter blog posts about 4HWW.

Day 1 to Day 333 (the great hope)

  • You stop playing around with your GoDaddy account and get to work on putting a buy now button on a website.
  • You start calling potential clients and customers.
  • You regularly use expressions like “margin pressure” and “QC.”
  • You stop talking to friends and family and start hanging with entrepreneurs and people who share your journey.
  • You work out some funky deal for cash runway. You start working during your lunch breaks.
  • You take on freelance work.
  • You negotiate a severance package.
  • You ask friends for money (like an idiot!)
  • You wonder what the FUCK you are doing.
  • Everyone thinks you should take a vacation and get back to your old self ASAP.
  • Most people quit here. You do not. You have the eye of the tiger.

Day 334 to Day 666 (the grind)

  • You have customers. You have clients.
  • You have too much work.
  • Your friends and family think you have gone mental.
  • You don’t visit your family even though you are “location independent.”
  • Your old friends think it’s a fraud. You are chasing a dream. “Get a real job!”
  • You have no money.
  • Your business gets written up in that thing you wanted to be mentioned in– no clients come from it.
  • Constant paranoia. What if my shit is hacked? My competition just made an update!? What did he say?!!?!
  • You get by with a lot of help and hustle. Stuff you could have never planned for starts working out.
  • Clothing and dinners on the town used to be your indulgences. Now you’d take an extra virtual assistant.
  • Your developers are totally fucking you over (you think, but you just don’t know about development yet).
  • You wasted a bunch of money on that one thing that you don’t want to talk about.
  • You are trying to cut some big deals. They’ll “think about your proposal.”

Day 664 to 1000 (the sunrise)

  • Your friends ask “so what does your business do again?”
  • Family is thankful for your extended vacation time.
  • Your VAs are doing good work, but still pulling the disappearing act.
  • You love to travel, but won’t spend 1 day away from your inbox. You don’t understand people who’d want to.
  • Meeting other entrepreneurs and learning from them becomes a huge priority.
  • You could make money, but instead you think you’ll hire somebody.
  • You have too many business ideas to act on.
  • You are thinking… this just might fucking work!
  • You are thankful.
  • You want more.
  • You’ve got a list of high quality problems.
  • Despite your intensity, you can still do all the Zen Habits stuff, if you so chose.

Source: http://www.tropicalmba.com/living-the-dream/

Useful Websites

Freedom

by bobsmithhome

I am an early retiree. I have been living that life for some time. Many years ago (before it became popular) my wife and I chose to live significantly below our means so we could achieved financial independence. I am now living what you are planning, so I think I can provide more of a sense of the big picture.

Here’s the piece you (and a few others in this thread) seem to be missing… Living below your means isn’t about postponing gratification. In other words, it’s not about giving up products and experiences when you’re young so you can have them when you’re old. That’s not it at all.

What it’s really about is freedom. Most people are, in many ways, slaves. I was a slave. Beginning at age five I was forced to get up in the morning and go somewhere I didn’t really want to go, and do things I didn’t really want to do. Elementary school. Then high school. Then college. Then work. And throughout all those years there was an undertone of fear. Fear that you’ll get in trouble with Mom and Dad if your grades suck. Fear that your performance in college won’t result in a decent job. Fear that you’ll lose your job, and that your family will suffer, if you don’t kiss up to the right people, or meet your quotas, or because some asshole above you decides to eliminate your job… always that nagging worry and fear in the background.

When it comes right down to it, usually you really don’t want to be there. And many of us really don’t want to be doing whatever they make us do. Maybe you’re even forced to do shiet you don’t feel right about, just to survive (cutting corners, speed over quality, turning a blind eye, not being totally honest…). Dealing with assholes. Dealing with office politics. Dragging your ass out of bed at 6 AM. Forcing yourself to go to bed at 10 PM so you don’t feel like shiet at 6 AM. Driving through horrendous traffic. Other people having the power to wreak economic harm on you, and your wife, and your kids (which is a very bad way to be harmed because it involves having decent food, safe shelter, safe transportation, etc.). Many people live just a few weeks, or months, away from financial ruin or homelessness. Always on the edge. Always needing to rely on others for access to a job, or for a loan, or so you can meet your job expectations, or ____ . This isn’t living a life that is free. Not really. It’s living a life in economic bondage. It can be a rather benign type of bondage, but it sure as hell isn’t freedom because your choices are limited, your time belongs to someone else, and there’s always that undertone of worry and fear. «What if?…». «How long can we survive?…». «Will I meet my quotas?….».

So this isn’t about postponing cool shiet from youth to old age. Not at all. It’s about escaping from the economic bondage of a wage slave. It’s about freedom. It’s about removing all that fear and worry from your life. It’s about removing all the bullshiet from your life. It’s about getting out from under those above you who have the power to harm you and your family by eliminating your job, or by tossing you to the curb because maybe they don’t like your attitude. It’s about realizing that nobody should have the power to harm you like that. It’s about wanting to get out from under somebody else’s thumb. You’re legally free to walk away from your job tomorrow, but if you don’t have the economic freedom to do that, you’re not free at all. It’s about being free to sleep as late as you want, stay up as late as you want, and spend your time doing whatever you want. It’s about realizing that there is no security unless you make it.

So it’s all about freedom – not «stuff». The sooner you start working toward untying those bonds, the sooner you will be free. The more you deny yourself now, the sooner you will be free. And you really need to do it when you have the opportunity, because there’s no guarantee that you will even have a job five years from now. And after you have attained your freedom, there’s nothing that will stop you from continuing to work if you’re lucky enough to have a job you look forward to going to (or have a job at all). But it will be YOUR choice.

That’s what it’s really about, or at least that’s what it was about for me. And I’ve got to tell you, achieving financial freedom was the best decision we ever made. I thank my lucky stars every day that we decided to go that route. Most of my peers will die at their desks without ever having experienced what it’s like to truly be free. Yet I live every day exactly as I choose, and with no economic worries, no stress, and no fear. We become so conditioned to the worries and fear that we think we are free when we’re really not. It isn’t until you truly experience this freedom that you realize what you have been missing. The relief and overall sense of peace and happiness is astounding. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t worth it.

Source:
http://cavemancircus.com/2014/04/24/middle-class-slavery-really-means-financially-free

Introduction and Disclaimer

Welcome to the blog!

This blog was created in 2018 to express my thoughts on the regular career paths that so many people end up finding themselves in as adults, also referred to as the «rat race».

In this blog I will adress certain topics like what the rat race is all about, why it might not be the best way to spend your life, how to eventually escape and my own experiences from the rat race. It also serves as a log for writing down thoughts during my grind of transitioning from an employee to an independent entrepreneur.

In my twenties I started understanding how most people are trained to become a part of the working world since they are kids, and I started accumulating knowledge about this. I also started gathering a lot of information about the rat race and why people were quitting it. This information was gathered mainly through books and podcasts.

I firmly believe that self-education is essential for personal development, and to achieve the best life possible for yourself and those around you. It is said that knowledge is power. This is true in some ways, if it is specialized knowledge within certain topics.
The problem is though, that the knowledge we`re taught (and tested) in since primary school up until we recieve a degree from a college or university, often has limited relevance to life as an adult. Memorizing general knowledge simply won`t prepare the individual for the real world outside schools.

However there are differences between school systems in countries worldwide, a lot of the knowledge we`re taught in school in general is quite unuseful and can simply be found through Google in the 21st century.
Basic knowledge like reading, writing, mathematics, learning a second language, P.E. and some history is necessary to acquire, but we don`t need 13 years of schooling to learn this.
What kind of knowledge do you think would`ve been more beneficial to teach kids to better prepare them for being an adult?
Which subjects should`ve been taught since an early age to build the foundation for a best life possible?
Why doesn`t schools teach us this knowledge?

Individuals are pushed into the school system involuntarily as kids, because «that`s just how it is», without not much questioning from the parents about if this system will create the most optimal life possible for the kids in the future or not.
Unfortunately, instead of creating great lives for each of the individuals, many end up with severe problems caused by being in this system that focuses on acquiring unuseful knowledge and being tested in this.
Problems occur when you try to fit a lot of different individuals with unique qualities into a simliar box.

The goal of the school system is that when students reach the highest level of the system and graduate, they`re ready to become a part of the rat race. Often students have to graduate indebted.
The plan is then to spend 40-50 years in this job trajectory, before retiring around age 65.
An essential question to ask before putting most of your limited time on this earth into the rat race is: is this the most optimal way to spend your life?
Is spending 40-50 years of your life working for someone else on their terms worth it?

Hopefully, when you`ve read through the posts in this blog, you will make up your own opinion on if you should join the rat race or if you should find other ways to spend most of your life.


Disclaimer:

This blog is for entertainment purposes only.

The content in this blog is not by any means financial advice. Most of the posts on this website is my based on my own personal opinions.

If you want financial advice, you should seek guidance from a financial counselor.

Advice On Starting An Online Business

Tim Ferriss’s advice on starting a business:

1. It’s easiest to create a category and own it rather than trying to dominate an existing category with something incrementally better. Category Killing or Category Creation. Create a new category that is easily differentiated. * Read: The Law of Category. Blue Ocean Strategy- 20-30% is very good.

2. Don’t obsess about becoming as big as possible. Don’t worry about winning «Best of iTunes» or having «100 million downloads». Just do great work in a category (whether product, service, offering, writing, whatever) that makes you new. «Scale» and «Scaling» are dangerous words. «I CERTAINLY don’t want a gigantic business with 100’s or 1,000’s of employees that I must account for or structure an ORG chart for or manage. Those are not my core strengths nor something I enjoy.» Build the best possible product and explain it simply. * Read: Small Giants

3. Scratch your own itch. Don’t make something for an imaginary, hypothetical audience. Particularly one that you don’t really understand. «As a 39 year old single male am I going to make a podcast for single mothers? Well, I could OR I can write a book that I want but doesn’t exist such as The 4 Hour Work Week or make something I want that I cant find such as an audio version of Letters to Seneca. I may not know if others want it but I know at least one person does, ME. And if I can get excited about it and I am excited about it then I bet I can get others excited about it too.» That’s about as sophisticated as planning goes. Scratch your own itch.

4. How big does your enterprise need to be? You really only need 1,000 True Fans to fuel your life. * Read: 1,000 True Fans- Very related to Small Giants

5. How do you make decisions based on your 1,000 true fans? Have clear, measurable objectives with check ins every week, month, quarter, or all of the above so you can track your performance in those key performance indicators, those key metrics. Be VERY precise in your thinking and objectives. There’s a German proverb that translates as «Everything with measurement and objective.» . Forget about time management. Focus on the few critical things (often the most uncomfortable). Effective over efficient whether in business or personal life. * Read: The Effective Executive- This is a gold mine. The 80/20 Principle- It can be 95/5 or whatever and it doesn’t have to add up to 100.

6. You now have 1,000 customers. You thought your business was going to save you from your 9-5 but now you’re working 18 hour days. What to do? 80/20 your business. One of the first steps could be doing an 80/20 analysis on your customers. Which 20% of customers are producing 80% of the revenue? Which 20% of customers are producing 80% of the headache? Replicate the good. Fire the bad. 80/20 can be applied in a million different ways. Stay focused. You’re crafting a life, not just a business. * Read: Vagabonding- It’s easy to loose sight of why you started. Vagabonding isn’t about travel, per se. It’s about philosophy, thinking about materialism, examining notions such as «more is more», utilizing time instead of money, building that currency, etc. It can act as a course correction and if you’re working to make your business bigger without much thought it can help with that too.

Summary: To succeed in business simply do these few things. This will put you ahead of 99% of the world who is trying to start businesses. If you actually do this prep work and training in advance you stand at least a 50/50 chance.

1. Build the best possible product, whatever that is.

2. Build an easily differentiated product.

3. Explain your product simply.

4. Scratch your own itch.

5. Focus on 1,000 true fans.

6. Have clear, measurable objectives with check ins. * Check in every week, month, quarter, or all the above to track your performance in those key metrics.

7. Stay focused. You’re crafting a life, not just a business.

* As a first time entrepreneur you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know what you’re good at. You don’t know what others like. You throw a bunch of stuff on the wall. You try a bunch of advertising. You try a bunch of explanatory messaging. Whatever it is you try a bunch through Split testing. Then you start figuring out what kind of works. The Effective Executive helps with this as does the other recommendations.

* Measure twice. Cut once – when starting a business. You don’t want to create a monster that you have to feed. That would be creating a prison for yourself instead of freedom. It’s much harder to fix this after the fact. This is why you must Measure twice. Cut once.

* Work hard. But only when it’s applied to the right things. «Everything with measurement and objective». Pick up these books. Read them as often as I do. Craft a life, not just a business.

Source:

Ways To Escape The Rat Race

There are both multiple ways to escape the rat race and multiple reasons to do it.

Here are some of the ways you can escape the rat race long term:

• FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)

• Online Business, location independent

• Entrepreneurship

• Moving to get a job some place you’ve dreamed about living

• Multiple income streams online

• Investments that generate a passive income

• Earning an income, so that you’re able to support yourself, on something that you’re passionate about like painting, music production, writing books, being a coach for a sports team, designing clothes, photographing, djing, dancing, creating a podcast, helping others improve their lives etc.

In this blog we will mainly focus on how to build a location independent online business and how to make enough money on that business, so that you`ll eventually have the freedom to spend life the way you prefer.

The way to do this is not to immediately quit your job or your studies to become an entrepreneur full-time, but to start with building a side hustle online while you`re working or studying, and aim to make that side hustle a full-time gig long term.

It is also smart to build multiple sources of income online, so that you won`t have to rely on only one stream of income, in case problems occur for one of your income streams.

We will later discuss different ways to build income streams online.

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