It’s all self inflicted.
Trust me I know.
After forcing startup idea, after startup idea, following every trend on Techcrunch, attending every douchey networking event, and living in a city where just trying to cross the street makes you think about how many different ways you could kill someone, I had enough.
It’s really unsettling how many people we call idiots or assholes just because we are behind the wheel of a car, or trying to catch a train.
But while it’s all self inflicted–we’re not to blame.
You graduate with your fancy degree and you want to make it big… where does society tell you to go?
New York, obvi.
You know. Nothing says success like a 39th floor apartment you can’t afford.
My building even had a tagline: “Landmark Status”.
Now, don’t get me wrong. That sh*t was fun. But talk about being sucked in quick. Blah blah blah, you know how it goes $12 cocktails, bars that don’t close till 4am, and of course, getting ranked by your doormen by how hot the girls are that you are pulling in comparison to the rest of the guys in the building…
Wtf. Needless to say that got old quick. My superficial days came to an end and my journey took a whole new turn…
Northern lights, melting glaciers, volcanoes, vikings… okay, f*ck it, I want to start a travel company.
… and 2.5 years later, I write to you coming off of one of the best trips of my life.
So, as you might imagine, I have very few personal possessions now. My life fits into (1) Burton Daypack and (1) Mammut climbing pack. I’ve traded my Unlimited Metrocard for unlimited amounts of fun.
And the best part is, most of this fun is free.
I’ve written before about how it’s cheaper for me to live on the beach in Costa Rica, than it is to live just about anywhere in the United States… or as Phil the bartender at Whiskey Tavern in Chinatown said, “your flight to Costa Rica was cheaper than my train to DC”.
Yes, the things I like to do are generally very low cost ie: surfing, yoga, climbing mountains, working out, talking to people who have interesting perspectives, etc… But even more importantly is that my life is now way more care-free.
Now don’t get me wrong. Running a business comes with stress, but it’s no longer compounded by the people around me behaving like savages on the subway. I no longer find myself comparing myself to others, because I’m not in the high pressure NYC scene where so many people thinking they are way more important than they really are.
I mean, come on man, if your app launch fails, nobody is going to die.
But, when you have to sit next to that kid in your co-working space, whose self-worth is completely based upon how much money his startup raised, you are going to get sucked in.
You see, the problem is that everyone is busy looking at everyone else around them, instead of taking a deep look inside themselves.
We all know the guy building an app that is just a copy of someone else’s app… Is his work actually fulfilling? Does that app actually solve a problem? Is that what he actually wants to be doing with their life?
Don’t get me wrong, we all have to pay the bills.
All I’m suggesting is that we look at what fulfills us.
I won’t even be cliché and tell you to “do what you love”. But the world would be a much better place if we stopped doing what the people around us wanted us to do and started listening to ourselves.
True creativity, innovation, or art does not come from what the world around us already knows. Inspiration comes from exploring our own boundaries.
It can also be said, true happiness comes from exploring and pursuing our own boundaries as well.
Sorry if this post was a little harsh 🙂
Take control of your life. Look inside.
Matt Wilson is the co-founder of Under30CEO and Adventurer in Residence at the travel company Under30Experiences. Join him in locations like Costa Rica, Bali, or Brazil.