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How To Stop Being A Sheep

Let’s start with an disclaimer for my hatersI am still a sheep.

My Sheep Morning

Every Monday through Friday at 8:30am sharp, I step out my front door and begin the 1.2 mile walk to work. Once I arrive at work at 9:00am sharp, I sit down in my cubicle. This cubicle is just one of thousands in my building – plus the offices of the higher-ups that are considered a “privilege”. In reality, the managers who possess these offices are simply those who have been in jail longer, and have therefore earned the right to a premium cell.

At 9:15, I get up and pour my first cup of coffee. This will be one of two, or perhaps three cups that I will consume on the day – depending on how rough it is. I answer any important emails, and then turn my attention to far more important items. These items include browsing multiple sports, car, and travel websites, and sending instant messages to my buddy down the hall, who is equally desperate to pass the time.

Depending on how my morning is, I might have to actually take care of a few small tasks, or ward off the advances of a particularly annoying project manager, who sees me as little more than someone he can pawn work off to. He probably wants to maximize his time on ESPN, the cunning bastard. Too bad I can’t ever walk by and catch him doing so, as he’s one of the longer-ranking jail prisoners and has an office.

At 1:30pm, I grab my gym back and jog over to the local 24 Hour Fitness, where I power through supersets so that I can return to my prison cell within my allotted hour. Though lately, I’ve realized that nobody really cares enough to leave their own cell and check up on me.

My Sheep Afternoon

I return from my allotted lunch time, check email, and repeat the schedule from that morning. Respond to emails, browse time-wasting websites, hide from managers the best I can, and wait for the day to end. Rinse and repeat.

Starting at 4:00, I begin taking a different path back from refilling my water bottle or going to the bathroom. This is so I can walk by my direct boss’ office. If his door is closed and the light off, he’s gone for the day. If it’s open, he’s still around. It becomes a waiting game – will he break? He gets in at 6:00am every day of the week, after leaving his house at 4:30am to endure his commute through Los Angeles traffic. It’ll take him two hours to get home, too – so at the end of the day his time card really should say 4:30am-6:00pm.

sheep

If I’m lucky and he leaves at time on 4:00, I’ll pack up my bag and sneak out the back door at 5:15, or forty five hours before I’m really supposed to. I’ll keep this up as long as the aforementioned project manager doesn’t catch me and rat me out. Unfortunately, unlike a real prison, I can’t smash his face in to earn the respect of my peers.

So, I’m a sheep five days a week, for eight hours on those five days.

But, I’m taking every step to make sure that’s not always the case. I recently penned a new book which I hope will bring me a solid enough revenue stream to up and leave my job. But, I’m not kidding myself. I want to be filthy rich one day. Selling a book about how to get laid on OKCupid isn’t going to make me a millionaire. It’s not going to buy my Ferrari, allow me to fly in first class, or provide me any of the other items I want so that I can feel superior to the sheep I left behind. Yes, I’m kidding about that last part.

You see, most people want to break free of the sheep race, but there’s an easy mindset that causes even the most determined person to stop and rethink their situation. What’s that mindset?

It’s the “I need to pay my bills” mindset. And…yeah, most people have that. Can’t really blame them on that one.

What people don’t realize is that you have to start somewhere, and if you don’t have the capitol to up and quit your job, then you’re going to have to put in more work hours after work if you want to break free. You can do it before work, too, depending on your schedule. Most people are probably better off getting ahead in the morning, whereas my creative juices flow in the wee of the night.

Then, once you’re truly free from the sheep cell, you’re free to continue creating. And creating is where the true money is. Just look at these entrepreneurs.

In reality, most people won’t be able to quit their job to pursue a side business. It’s not in the cards due to obligations. Most people don’t realize, or aren’t willing, to put in the work. I went into detail in regards to this post here, too. In Los Angeles, you won’t break into “the industry” without a hell of a lot of work. The same applies to breaking free of the sheep grind.

So while I don’t kid myself that I’m going to live comfortably off of this blog for the rest of my life, I do realize the value in freeing up my time so that I can create more income-generating revenues. These won’t be blogs – I realize that my true skills lie in technology, and that’s where my real wealth potential comes in. How I plan to do this will be discussed in due time, but are beyond the scope of this particular post.

If Cracking OKCupid brings me a thousand or two dollars a month, then I can entertain the idea of moving somewhere cheap and producing more with my newfound time. One thought that has particularly crossed my mind has been moving to a nice, but cheap, European city such as Prague or Budapest. I would teach English for twenty hours a week to supplement my income, and have tons of new adventures to write about. This of course would be while I continue building on my tech projects that will be my true income providers someday.

We’ll see how it all pans out, but I’m looking forward to sharing the adventure with all of you loyal readers. Now that I’ve discussed my own story…

How To Stop Being A Sheep

Again, this post is titled “how to stop being a sheep”, not “I’m not a sheep, you are, lol @ you”.

Understand that once you understand the steps to stop being a sheep, you’re still going to be a sheep for some time. Miracles aren’t produced overnight, but hard work will result in progress towards leaving your cubicle jail cell and spending more time in the fresh air.

Step 1.) Admit to being a sheep.

This is probably the hardest part of the whole process. Denial is a dangerous thing; with girls, business, and more. Most of you reading this were taught the lessons that I discussed in this article, namely…

  1. Was nice and quiet in my youth, didn’t disturb people and didn’t cause chaos
  2. Didn’t pull girls pigtails
  3. Did what everyone told me to do
  4. Listened to others when I was *supposedly* in the wrong, which was nearly every time. After all, I was “young and foolish”
  5. Got good grades
  6. Got a car and a job when I turned 16
  7. Went to college
  8. Got a degree, and in a good field
  9. Got a good job
  10. Worked hard
  11. Bought a nice car to show my status
  12. Moved into a nice apartment and filled it with expensive shit
  13. “Paying my dues” and I know they’ll never be paid

Yeah, don’t get me wrong – it really blows to do everything you’re told to do throughout your life, reach your well-paying career goals, and then someone bends you over and rapes you. Repeatedly.

So take your time to be pissed at the world. Blame whoever you want, because you’ll have a hard time accepting any blame at first. Sooner or later though, you need to pick yourself back up, forgive those you think wronged you, and start making a plan of action.

Step 2.) Make your first sheep plan of action.

How can YOU make money?

  • Do you have a particular skill? How can it be utilized?
  • Are you good at automating tasks? Check out Fiverr or ELance gigs.
  • Can you write? Try your hand at blogging – but don’t kid yourself into thinking it’ll turn you into a millionaire in six months.
  • Got some junk you can flip on eBay? Get rid of it.
  • Finally, you can “make” some of your income back by cutting costs – car, rent, eating out, etc.

Step 3.) Accept your first failure.

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but the path out of the sheep world isn’t a walk in the park, or everyone would do it. However, I believe anyone can do it. My example of this would be my first eBook – the San Diego Nightlife Guide. That idea resulted in a project with a niche market I could never hope to reach. To date, almost a year later, I think I’ve sold all of five copies.

Yeah, it sucked to pour hours into a book that never sold. Yeah, I called myself an idiot plenty of times.

But here I am now with a far superior product that I’m very confident will do well. I accepted my first failure for what it was and channeled that knowledge into doing better the next time around.

Step 4.) Try again.

…and here I am today.

Where are you on your path to achieving your freedom? Sound off in the comments below. 

** The best submission (based off of writing and motivation, not “where you are” on your path) gets a free copy of Cracking OKCupid.

  • February 23, 2015
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