Julien wrote a post a few weeks ago that breaks down the essential elements of any success story: Cultural Transparency ÷ Risk = Upward Mobility.
Hopefully this guest post can help expand on the idea and enable you pursue what’s important to you.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking since reading that post: it’s a lot easier to take risks if you have less to lose.
It doesn’t matter if your goal is to spend a few months gatejumping, or you’re putting all of your effort into achieving escape velocity. If you have a lot to lose, you’ll inevitably sabotage yourself, leading to failure and an inevitable return to the status-quo.
Alright, so how do you position your life so you have less to lose?
It’s almost deceptively simple: eliminate life overhead to enable success.
Most people get out of college, get a day job that pays a little more than they need to survive and then proceed to accumulate as much as possible as quickly as they can. The house with too many rooms, the new car every two years, new gadgets every three weeks, and an entertainment system the size of their living room wall.
There’s nothing wrong with this picture for most people. This is what they’ve been told they want, so they buy into that system.
The thing is, maintaining a life like that becomes expensive quite quickly. All too soon you have the be making $6,000 a month in order to keep all of your expensive plates spinning.
Being required to spend that much is a 100% guarantee that you’ll never take risks again, and thus will stay comfortably stuck in your current place in society with no upward mobility.
In order to escape this reality, you need to opt-out (maybe even temporarily) in order to be able to take the risks you need to take in order to build a better life.
How do I know this? Because I did it. One year ago I was trapped in a job that bored me, in a city I was tired of, working 40-50 hours per week for a paycheck that barely covered my expenses. So, naturally I quit in order to pursue living a location independent life. One year later I live and work from anywhere and I’ve doubled my income.
Obviously you might not care much for living and working from anywhere, that’s just one goal. You might want to write a book, train to be a yoga teacher, or make time to go to the beach more often.
So many people fail at it for one simple reason: when they quit the job they don’t eliminate their life overhead. This makes it impossible to take risks.
If your life costs $6,000 a month, and you suddenly quit your job to pursue what’s important to you, you’ll quickly drown. If your life costs $1,000 a month, you’ll be able to risk it all in order to build a better life.
It all comes down to flexibility in lifestyle choices in order to study cultural transparency and take risks. If you aren’t flexible, you can’t make the changes you need to adapt to a new world.
How to reduce your life overhead in order to succeed at risk taking.
1. Track and then eliminate all unessential spending. Everything needs to go. Sell your house, your car, move to a walkable city with public transportation (yes, these places exist.) Stop shopping for stuff you don’t need, buying things won’t make you happy anyway.
2. Eliminate all obligations. Time is your number one asset, and you can’t risk it if you’re constantly busy doing things you don’t care about. Tell everyone that you have too much going on and you need to stop doing so much, repeat for everything until you have an open schedule.
3. Start dedicating your time to achieving what’s important to you. Learn about harnessing success systems by studying the cultural transparency that’s becoming more accessible to everyone because of the Internet. Then, start investing your 100% free time to taking the risks necessary to move to the next level.
Once you do these things the question becomes so much easier. Why not take risks? You have nothing to lose.