Or watch the video I created around this blog post on my YouTube Channel:
You’ve been meticulously planning it all year. Two weeks of freedom to jet off somewhere exotic and sprawl on the beach so you can recover from another year of being overworked.
If you’re reading this and you work 40-, 50-, or even 60-hour weeks, I want you to answer me honestly: Are your two weeks paid holiday each year really enough? Maybe you’re fortunate to live in a country where you get more paid leave, but my question still stands.
According to Gallup’s World Poll, only about 15 percent of the world’s one billion full-time workers are engaged at work. In the USA, it is closer to 30 percent, and in Japan, it’s a shocking 6 percent.
Even if you are one of the lucky ones who’s actually engaged at work and somewhat enjoys their job, this post still applies to you. I’m going to show you, through some simple mathematics, why you have less time than you think.
What Do the Numbers Say
The average human spends around 79 years on this beautiful planet. A mind-blowing 26 years will be spent sleeping. If you go right through from preschool to college that’s another three years spent in classes.
Based on a 40-hour work week, over the course of 45 years you’ll spend 12 years on the job. If you retire at the average age of 63, you’ll spend 16 years in retirement.
You can expect to spend eight years of your life cooking, cleaning, and eating, and about two years looking after your kids and family.
This leaves you with just 12 years to live your life the way you want.
But wait, what about TV and smartphones? If you’re a typical young adult, you spend about five hours a day on your devices. That equates to 15 years of your life!
Shit! You’re out of time.
Let’s say you only watch TV or use your phone for half that amount of time. This still only leaves you with about five years. And, if you’re an adult, you’ve already eaten through quite a bit of that.
Even though these numbers are based on estimates and averages, it does help paint a reasonably accurate picture of how we spend our lives. More important, it highlights how valuable and precious our time is and how little we have left over after attending to our basic needs, like eating, sleeping, and working, to pursue our passions.
So, how do you feel about your two-week vacation now?
Your Wake Up Call
So, you’ll spend at least 12 years at work, not including the time for your morning and evening commute. If you’re like 70 percent of the Americans who are disengaged with their work, wouldn’t you rather do something with that time that you actually enjoy?
What if you didn’t have to “escape” for two weeks a year? What if you were able to do the work that you love and even travel while doing it? While it may seem like a pipe dream right now, with a little patience and persistence, it’s 100 percent possible. I did it, and so you can you.
You Were Not Born To Be a Cog in the Machine
I firmly believe that YOU, the person reading this right now, have some kind of hidden gift, talent, or dormant skill that you were born to contribute to the world. But through your early years of parental and societal conditioning, you were programmed to live a “normal” life: You must go to school, graduate college or university, find a good job, get married, have kids, and retire in your 60s.
Most of us know this is complete bullshit and is making people’s lives a misery.
You scroll through Facebook and Instagram wishing that you could live like that cool travel blogger who seems to visit an endless number of countries without a care in the world.
Or maybe you watch that video of an amazing guitar player on YouTube and dream of being able to play like that someday.
Just a few short years ago, that was ME! I had a dream of travelling and working from my laptop and being able to decide when and where I wanted to travel to next. I wanted to live a life of fun and adventure, exploring whatever extreme sports I could find.
Ever since I was a kid, I watched virtuoso guitar players with awe, hoping that someday I could just be half as good.
Now, I get to live this kind of lifestyle every day. I get to travel to any country I want. If there’s an adventure I want to go on, I set the dates and commit to it.
I recently took up paragliding and making the decision to find a school and book a course was easy for me. No permission needed, and no worries about money.
OK, so I’ve not achieved mastery of the guitar yet, but I’m on that journey, and I am confident that with enough time, patience, and practice, I’ll get there.
Your Call to Greatness
The first step to creating a life you can live on your own terms begins with recognising that you have a choice. If you’re clock-watching at work and daydreaming about what you would rather be doing, this is your time to stand up and be counted.
One day you’re going to die. We all are. Is your life really going to end if you take a massive risk and it backfires? Maybe you will lose all your money and end up having to live back at your parents’ place.
Is that really so bad? Wouldn’t you rather try and fail than not try at all? After all, you can always get more money, but your time is finite.
Fear of failure is the barrier everyone has to face on the path to freedom. But in the process, you will learn so much about yourself that you will never want to go back to the way things were.
So what’s the one thing you can do today to take that first step in the right direction?
Let me know in the comments below.