We're told regularly that going to school, getting a job, and clocking in at 9 then out at 5 is just "the way to do things." But what if it weren't? What if there were a better way to work, to live to play? What if by ditching the 9-5, we would work better, live stronger, and have more happiness in all areas of our lives?
These three entrepreneurs below tell us their story of giving up a regular job.
Two generations and a few decades later, much has changed [from my grandparent's time]. I hate simple and predictable; I dislike offices; I don't want to stay under the radar; and I love being outside my comfort zone.
He's also learned a thing or two about happiness:
People are much happier when they're living where they want and spending their time doing things they're passionate about. As a digital nomad, you can architect the life you want. If you like to surf, you can move to a surf town; if you're into motorbiking long distances, you can go on a six-week-long trip through Vietnam.
And of course, he's learned to live in the now:
If you've ever dreamed of exploring the world, this is the time to do it. It won't require sacrificing your career. There are thousands of us ready to help you, tons of ways to make a living, and countless things to experience and places to see.
I think what led me to make a lifestyle change was the dawning realisation that unless I did something about it, I was never going to become an artist. I couldn't let fear of failure keep me from a life of fulfillment. So last October I simply decided that I was going to be an artist. That was the hardest part, making that commitment.
He also found that his success was something he had to reach out and grab:
I think success is something you have to define for yourself. Nobody else can tell you whether you are successful or not. You need to decide how you want your life to be, and take steps towards making it happen.
While being in a 9-5 might be a comfortable place, Dan found benefits to stepping out of his comfort zone:
I constantly work on building my confidence by venturing out of my comfort zone. Try a new medium you've never used before, take your paintings into a local gallery and ask if they want to display your work, ask for feedback from an artist you consider more accomplished than you. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more confident you will feel about doing these things again.
I didn't realize it until the lines were no longer there, but this type of subservient arrangement trains a person to need others for direction. When I woke up that first Monday, free for the first time to build a life on my own terms, I began to realize that I have exactly zero experience doing that.
He gives some great structure and advice to why leaving that 9-5 is ultimately good for our souls:
I'm convinced now that nobody gets away with settling on work they don't care about. The nagging banality of having to do irrelevant work five-sevenths of your days is not something that will eventually leave you alone. Nobody ever makes peace with with the ringing of their alarm clock. We either make a calculated escape, or resign to becoming cynical, bored--and worst--dependent on constant entertainment for relief, because our work does little but drain us.
David also has some ideas about how Western culture is fairly inundated with the idea of the 9-5 (and not just in the workplace):
I wish somebody had pulled me aside and told me that the education system and working culture I'm going to be marched into are places that are ultimately going to need escaping from, because otherwise I'd never quite get a chance to run my life. These institutions may be useful for learning the fundamentals of language and human interaction, but they're generally inhospitable for the finding and doing of the work that's most important to you.
Are you ready to leave the world of the "9-5? behind? Have you done so already? Let me know what your biggest challenges were, and how you've coped!