Work shouldn’t be a means to earn money

A lot of people currently have jobs that they never thought they would have. Often, money is the reason you take a job you are not passionate about (I’ve done this as well). For example, a lot of graduates take jobs in sales because it pays well. With many growing tech companies, you can earn six figures as a sales person. 25 year-olds are making that type of money right now.

While money is wonderful, and will make you happier when you go from zero to 50K, it will not bring you lasting happiness. Studies have shown that money and happiness do not go hand in hand. When you make 10 million dollars instead of 1 million dollars, you are not happier.

This is not new information. So why do people keep chasing money? When you earn money, you go on holidays, you buy nice stuff, a car, a house. Also, when you have kids, you want to send them to the right schools.

Before you know, that job you took to make money years earlier, has turned into a career that you didn’t want. And because you need the money, you’re afraid to take risks. You choose the safe thing—you stick with it. You give up.

If you’re thinking about taking a job just because of money, I’m not saying you shouldn’t. You will learn at every job, so you don’t have much to lose. But after a while, when you’re not learning anymore, you should pack your bags and leave. The only reason people stick to jobs where they don’t learn anything is money. Or they stay because of a promise that they will earn a promotion in the next year. The truth is the promotion might never come, and you will end up wasting your time.

You might not be able to plan your whole career, but when you start something, you should know where it goes. Your career is like a sailboat. Instead of always setting sail and going with the direction of the wind, you should be selective when you set sail.

Decide what you think is most important in your life. There is no shame in earning money—we all have to provide for our family and ourselves. But do not be a slave to money. Live below your means, and stay in control of your life.

Learning vs Money

I think everyone should choose learning over money. You’ll earn more money in the long term when you focus on developing your skills and knowledge. But when money is the decisive factor in taking a job, and you’re not passionate about the work, you will become indifferent to the work. You’ll think, why should spend time improving my skills? You just don’t care about the work. No one blames you; it’s entirely natural to be disinterested about things you don’t like.

It should be the other way around; you should take a job that involves work that makes you excited. Above that, you should do something you’re good at so you can add value. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths—improving something you’re already good at will get you further than developing your weak skills. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on your weaknesses. Developing weak skills are an essential part of growing, as a person and a professional.

But there is a difference in being good at something and doing what you love. Work is about adding value to people and businesses. You don’t get paid just by doing something you love—you have to be good at what you do. This is true for everything, from playing video games, to cooking, to selling, to coding. Being mediocre, doesn’t bring you anywhere.

Finally, rethink the concept of work. We separate life and work too often. Work is considered a way to earn money so that you can live the life you want. But the truth is that you spend a lot of your time at work. So what do you value more, your time or money?

Think of life and work as one. Find work you’re good at, and passionate about—so that you want to improve your work and skills. When you add value to other people’s life, you will earn the money you deserve. Zig Ziglar put it best: “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

How Do You Make Important Life Decisions?

Throughout the years, we have to make important decisions in life. But instead of choosing consciously, we just pick the things that are convenient or seem like the logical thing to do. You take a job you don’t like because you need the money, and before you know, that will be your career. The same thing happens with choosing your partner—many people decide to marry because they are together for so long. Instead of making decisions based on their beliefs or standards, they go for what is convenient and don’t require much effort. Often, people mistake easy decisions with gut feeling. Convenient decisions usually go against your gut feeling—deep down you know it’s not the right decision.

How do you make decisions?

  • Do you imitate others?
  • Pick classes and degrees that your friends choose?
  • Do you take a job because of the pay?
  • Do you marry because you’ve been together for so long?
  • Do you buy a house because that is what normal people do?

Most people just ‘do’. The result is that they live the life of others. So when you make important decisions in life—think about what you want. Know yourself. And have a system for making important life decisions. Have standards. For example: if you value your health and mental well-being above all, you shouldn’t make decisions that bring that in danger.

That means you won’t take a job that you are not passionate about because a job you hate impacts your mental wellbeing. Similarly, if you value your health, that means you can’t be in a relationship with someone who hates exercise and loves to drink alcohol and eat unhealthy. The reason is that people influence each other’s behavior—you probably take over the unhealthy standards of your partner.

Decide consciously. Set standards. And live up to them. You will save yourself a lot of time, money, and hurt. It’s better to take some time to figure out what it is you want from life. Discover what you value in life and make your decisions accordingly.

The Art Of Saying No: 4 Ways To Reclaim Your Time

We believe that we always have to say yes to opportunities. We fear that saying no leads us to miss out on money, fun, and other experiences. However, by always saying yes, we do not value our time. Blindly, we say yes to everything that comes our way. We often do not look at saying “no” as a skill or something that is essential to success and happiness.

If we are at work and our manager asks us to hand in a report before the end of the day, we say, “sure thing.” It interrupts our work, and often forces us to push other things aside.

We say yes in our personal lives all the time. When friends ask us to go out while we have other things to do, we say yes. We do friends or acquaintances a favor, without thinking about it. We even say yes to bigger things that we do not want. For instance, we take jobs we do not like or start relationships with people we do not love.

Why do we do this? We are afraid to say no, to let people down and ultimately, to avoid confrontation. The stress of saying no often makes us say yes automatically. When we say yes reluctantly, we complain or blame ourselves, “why couldn’t I just say no?”

On of the reasons we find it difficult to say no is because we want to conform to other people’s expectations. Sometimes we have to make decisions that will influence our life’s outcome. In those cases, you cannot be afraid to say no. When parents expect their children to go to university, the children often give into the pressure. We are all unique and have things we want from life, so asking people to do something they do not like is not fair (no matter how badly you want it). If you do not wish to go to university because of a good reason, then do not enroll. We have to follow our passion and make our path.

Ways To Say No

It is not a crime to say no. Your friends and family will understand, they will still care about you, even when you cannot make certain social engagements. And if your friends do not get it, it is probably time to find new friends. When we truly care about someone we will still care about them if they miss an activity.
Besides, when it comes to a job, say no to everything that is not essential to your work. People will respect you for doing your job and not wasting time on meetings and coffee breaks.

1. The indirect “No.”

Starting to say no can be awkward. Most people prefer to start with an indirect approach. In your personal life, you can say, “look, I want to join you for drinks, but I have to work on this project because it is important to me.” When you start saying no more often, it is fine to make excuses so that you avoid saying yes. That is the primary goal when you start saying no. You do not want to do something, so find a way to say no without feeling uncomfortable.

2. The “Let me get back to you.”

We are often caught off guard with invitations or requests from people. We feel the pressure to answer those requests immediately. Next time when you are caught off guard, often by phone or in person, tell them, “I just have to look at my calendar, let me get back to you about that.” Alternatively, we can say that we have to discuss it with our spouse or family first before we can answer.

3. The conditional “Yes.”

You do not always have to say no. When your boss asks you to collect information before the end of the day, you cannot say no to that. What we can do is to force our boss to prioritize. If you work in sales, for example, you can say, “I can give you the information, but that means that I cannot make the ten calls we agreed on today. Is that all right?” With this conditional yes, we force people to prioritize. It shows that you have other things on your plate.

4. The direct “No.”

Once you are comfortable with saying no more often, you can take the ultimate step in mastering saying no. We give people excuses of why we cannot do something. We say that we cannot have lunch because of a “doctor’s appointment”. We feel socially awkward just to say, “I cannot make lunch this week.” When you have mastered saying no, you stop giving excuses and start to say no firmly. Practice makes perfect.

Improve your productivity by eliminating mindless browsing

We all have days we feel unproductive or that we did not do anything. When you feel you are not productive, the chances are that it is because interruptions and multitasking drain your energy. When you juggle multiple things simultaneously, like; sending an email, text a friend and checking your Facebook while you are in a meeting, you engage in context switching. In a research done by Gloria Mark of the University of California, Irvine, it showed that it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. Since we are interrupted more than once, this adds up quickly and before you know it you feel like you have done nothing that day.

Clifford Nass, a sociologist from Stanford University, has researched the impact of multitasking and found that people who engage in multitasking are “suckers for irrelevancy.” We engage in multitasking because we are distracted by notifications, which are addictive. We cannot control ourselves; we must look at the notification to see who or what wants our attention. Every time a notification pops up on our screen, we get a rush that releases dopamine.

Dopamine is one of the body’s happy chemicals; it controls the “pleasure” systems of the brain and makes you feel joy. This joyous feeling is addictive and makes us seek out behaviors that stimulate dopamine. You can think about food, sex, drugs and the notifications you receive on your screen. While dopamine may cause a rush, it also exhausts us. That is why you still feel tired at the end of the day while you have not been productive. This is a harmful process, and we need to stop this pattern.

The Fix: Eliminate Browsing

Being productive can be as simple as taking control over your day. What harms your productivity the most is browsing. It absolutely kills it. We’ve all experienced a distortion in time when we are browsing. “What?! I just did NOTHING for 2 hours.” Yes, we even do this at work. Set daily priorities, book your calendar full, etc, the point is; do something.