Published on April 3rd, 2013 | by Daniel


Going Against the Grain

You want to stand out? Make a difference? Be successful?

Then start to think for yourself. One of the most liberating thoughts you can have is that you are free no matter what happens. You always have a choice. Here I do not just mean “free” in the literal political sense. But also free as a person in social context. Once you detach yourself about what other people think of you, and you do what you want to do, you will start to feel really free. And then you can undertake those things that you really what to do. You can follow your passion. This can only be the case if you start to have ideas on your own. Thinking for yourself is what makes you different. It is what drives your creativity, and ultimately, it is what makes you add value to the world either through your thoughts, your company and your actions.

Starting to be location independent and starting your own business can be difficult out of social reasons. 80 to 90% of all people work in companies (for other people) and do work that is practically interchangeable. They work from 9 to 5 (at least), have regular routines, laid out work mechanics, and think inside the box. To be clear, I am glad those people exist. They make society work. And if you ask them, these people can be quite content with their jobs. Often these jobs are sheltered and safe and provide regular income. Nothing wrong with that per se.

But this means that most people around you, as your family and friends, work normal jobs, 9 to 5, and are often happy with their lives (or so they say so at least). When you will do something different than them, like starting your own company, living in another country, travel a lot, this can be difficult for them to understand. You are doing something different then 90% of the people out there, and most likely, the majority of your social circle. You will have a different mindset than them, and you will experience different things. One of the most striking things is that when you travel a lot, you will also encounter a lot of adventures and various experiences. But your friends back home seemingly do not experience these things. Their lives basically stay the same during this period. So it can happen that you will feel yourself alienated after a while. Do not be put off by this and keep following your own path.

I am convinced that if you have a passion and pursue it actively, you will not only be happy, but will be financially successful as well. There are two reasons for this. One, when you are active in your passion you are (or soon will be) an expert in it. This sells. Second, when you like what you do, have passion, then you are willing to put in a lot of work into it. This puts you ahead of others who only do things for the money they get. Put more time and effort in something you love and are an expert in. This means almost always financial success and independence.

However, when you follow your passion, and other do not, they will have a different mindset and opinions than you. So you will have to be prepared to go against the grain constantly in order to be free, to live passionately. Do not let the opinions of other thwart what you really want to do. They may be scared that you fail and want to protect you. They may not understand what you do and try to convince you otherwise. They may be (secretly) jealous and hope that you fail. But in all cases, keep going your own way.

Ultimately, going against the grain will be the best thing you have ever done. You never know before you done it. And always, you will look back and say “I did the right thing”. Even when it does not work out. Your social circle, if they really like you, will accept you and the choices you make. If not, you have to ask yourself, are they real friends after all? You should choose your own path and not a path that other persons want you to be in. That is guaranteed unhappiness.

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