What is success? In the words of yesteryear, success was the result of working one’s way up the corporate ladder, and enjoying retirement on one’s savings. Most workers stayed at the same company, in the same industry, throughout their careers. They attended meetings and worked within a pyramid hierarchy of power. The work may not have been inspiring, but it was satisfying enough and paid the bills. Workers did not look to their career for mental and emotional stimulation.
Today’s young workers have a different approach: Rather than spending years in school, many digital natives are simply learning on the job. (In today’s Internet-based culture, that isn’t hard to do.) And even older workers – Gen X – are starting fresh in new careers with relative ease. These workers expect their work to be engaging, and have little patience for protocols and hierarchy. The younger people are, the greater their sense of Unlimited New Beginnings.
Because, at the end of the day, that’s what Internet culture is all about. Constant stimulation with the tandem ability to turn it all off. That’s options for connection at all times, plus ultimate control. The minds of people who grew up with Internet technology mirror these stimuli. At any time, one can open a new window (in a browser or in life) and start anew.
What does that mean for the worker? He or she is accustomed to being in the driver’s seat. Traditional 9-5 hours (or more, for many professions) are a dying breed. Young workers have little sense of weekends, enjoy telecommuting, and can work as easily from a café at midnight as from a home desk on Saturday morning. The sense of adventure and ownership of the vocation practice is astounding.
Because these workers have more flexible boundaries between work and play, in some sense, any moment could be earning money or furthering a career – but the whole point of this freedom is not to work excessively from pure need. This leads to exploration in the culture of how to make downtime – and all time – more lucrative.
In his bestseller hit The Four Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, digital native businessman Tim Ferriss lays out his foundation for success.
The book is aimed at workers in traditional corporate positions who wish to live differently. Top points include:
- Finding a way to live and work “digital native style” despite industry expectations, and in rejection of in-person meetings and 9-5 hours
- “Getting to the point” in communication – wasting no time
- Freeing up time for travel and other recreational pursuits
- The joy of telecommuting – and how to make it happen
No matter what your career is, if you feel there is a life you’d rather be living, consider these questions:
- What do you love to do?
- What are you good at?
- What is your ideal life?
- What steps can you take to achieve your ideal life?
Starting with what one sees as possible, and trying to develop from there, may be practical – but will never yield the drastic life changes that many people need and desire. Instead of looking at what’s possible, first Dream Big. What is that star you’d like to reach for? From there, one can make changes to get closer to that goal.
A note to the wise: While Ferriss’s book has a great deal of helpful information for working smarter and working less while earning more money, it does not address the sustainability and activism causes that many of us champion. Ultimately, true success is closer to your dream life than your least desired one, and allows you to live in harmony with your own values. There is no book necessary to guide people in this second venture; what feels like the right way to live, probably is.