Two Choices

“What you don’t want to do is… well, I call it ‘chasing the rabbit’. You don’t want to be doing that.”, he said calmly. His hands folded behind his head as he leaned back into his chair, waiting for my reaction. I stayed quiet.

“You want to stay focused on this business. This right here is going to be your best option.”, he continued.

“Absolutely, this is my primary concern.”, I replied. It wasn’t a lie. But it wasn’t the entire truth either.

There hasn’t been a shortage of people who want me to be a cog in the wheel of their life or business. And it’s not really their fault either. If done correctly it is a good way to get things done. I’m extremely grateful for the experience gained on most jobs I have had in the past and for the opportunities I am afforded today. But I’m not talking about today. Today everyone has to do the things they have to do. Get to work, change the diaper, take out the trash, call your mother. What I am talking about is giving yourself options in the near future. The people who want you to be cogs prefer for you not to have a choice. At my parent’s old business they would encourage the sales managers who were making good money to buy a bigger house, buy a boat, and have more kids. It was masked in the name of celebrating prosperous times but the real intent was to tie another gold-plated lead ball to their ankle. Reducing their choices made it easier for them to remain a cog. And if this sounds evil (and it is), is it really that different from the actions of my previous employers and the people I answer to today?

Another choice is to not be cog. To be afloat in a dangerous sea without a harbor for safety. Working a bunch of bullshit jobs while you ignore your wife and family to get your side business off of the ground. You won’t sleep and your world will be chaos. Is it really like that? That is certainly a picture that has been painted for me before. Even most entrepreneurs that post on the internet seem to love this idea. They work eighty hours a week and hurt themselves because they think that is just part of life outside of the wheel. The wheels will tell you this too “Just show up here for me. Do these things for me and you can go to bed knowing you are in a safe harbor… as long as you do what I say. Never mind that person I fired last week. We would never let you go. Look outside your window. Do you see those big waves? Do you see all those people working so hard and failing? You don’t want that to be you, do you? Is that what is best for your family? You should stop being selfish. You can either be here or be out there. Those are your only two choices.

Like I said, it’s not their fault. They need me to do things. And I will do those things… for now. But what if there is a hidden third choice? A choice where I can create options for myself and not fear the future. A prosperous future without the gold-plated ball and chains. I don’t want a mansion or a boat or an expensive sports car. Those are nice, don’t get me wrong. But what I really want are options and more time with my family. I want to create enough options so that any one person or business doesn’t determine my fate. I want to do Father-Daughter days as many times a month as I want. I want freedom. So when it comes down to picking between being a cog or being afraid, guess which one I choose.

You’re fucking right I will.

Aer – Floats My Boat

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