When you’re at a crossroads in your career – when your heart tells you to go in one direction, but your family and friends are trying to convince you to take a more practical path – what do you do?
In his very good book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss says that when it comes to deciding how you want to spend your life, the two most important things to remember are (1) The timing is never right and (2) Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
1. The timing is never right.
“For all the most important things, the timing always sucks,” says Ferriss. “Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up all the pins either. Conditions are never perfect.”
2. Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
“If it isn’t going to devastate those around you, try it and then justify it,” says Ferriss. “People – whether parents, partners, or bosses – deny things on an emotional basis that they can learn to accept after the fact. If the potential damage is moderate or in any way reversible, don’t give people the chance to say no.”
So if you’re torn between pursuing a wild dream and following the common sense advice of people who care about you, what do you do?
I say… go for it! When I have followed my heart on career decisions and ignored the well-meaning advice of others, I have done very well.
Make your decision and then “sell” your loved ones on the value of being supportive of your new venture. As an ETR reader, you know how to do that: Make an honest, enthusiastic sales pitch highlighting the many ways that following your passion will benefit them… not you. Make promises. And keep them!
“Someday is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you,” says Timothy Ferriss. To that I would add this: The only thing worse than “someday” is “later.”[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]