When your mum told you to study accounting/business/marketing/whatever at college, I’m sure she meant well. When your dad told you to take that entry level position at the local law firm/IT company/engineering contractor, I’m sure he was telling you what he thought you needed to hear.
They wanted you to be happy. They wanted you to be fulfilled. They wanted you to feel significant and valuable. The only problem was that they didn’t know how to give you everything they didn’t have. They gave you the life plan they followed. Sure, it didn’t work out AMAZINGLY well for them, but they’re happy enough. Surely, you just need to follow the same life plan as them and with a bit of luck, you’re going to be confident, strong, happy, fulfilled, and free. Right? Right?
Unfortunately, no. Happiness doesn’t work like that.
Living someone else’s life plan is the fastest and most consistent path to an unfulfilling, unrewarding, and frustrating existence. You only have to open your eyes and walk through the financial districts of any major city and watch the frustrated, robotic ways people struggle through their life or pay attention to the disappointed, sad, and angry guys trying to forget their pain in the bottom of a beer bottle every Friday night to see how well living someone else’s life plan works. I don’t know you and we’ve never spoken but if you’re reading this website, I’m confident that’s not the life you want.
But if seeing the pain and frustration that everyone else is going through isn’t enough to get you off that path and convince you to start walking your own journey, here are 11 reasons why you need to leave your parents life plan behind and start to forge your own destiny.
Reason 1. No-one will ever love, admire, or be inspired by you
If you’re walking the exact same path as 95% of people in your world, how is the partner of your dreams supposed to tell you apart from everyone else? What qualities will they see in you that they don’t see in the person in the cubicle across the hall? What characteristics will they fall for in you that she can’t see in most people drowning out their pain in bars across the city? What traits will they describe to their friends when she talks about this new person they’ve met?
“Yeah, he’s pretty much like every other guy I know. He goes to work, comes home, watches TV, goes out drinking on Friday and Saturday nights and complains about ‘a case of the Mondays’ when he’s hungover on Monday morning. He doesn’t like his life but he gets up every day and does it over and over again.”
Sure, you might be persistent, but is persistence enough to compensate for the lack of excitement, fulfilment, happiness, and freedom? I don’t think so.
If you follow your parent’s life plan, no one will ever love you because there will be nothing to love. No one will ever admire you because there’s nothing admirable about you. No one will ever be inspired by you because there’s nothing inspirational about you. You’re the same average Joe or Jane as the majority of the world’s population and the confident, interesting, in-demand people you want are going to treat you like that.
You will never end up in an exceptional relationship because there will be nothing exceptional about you. You will never end up with the partner of your dreams because you’re not the person of their dreams. Your relationships will be filled with mediocre people who’re
Does that sound like the kind of future you want? Is that part of your life vision?
Your parent’s life plan will guarantee that you will never truly be loved because there’s nothing to love about you. If you ever want to be loved, you need to drop it now.
Reason 2. Living a middle of the road life will give you a middle of the road life
I want you to imagine the kind of future that’s rewarding, fulfilling, and satisfying – what does it look like? Who’s in it? What are they doing? What kind of people are they? Where do you live? How do you start your day? Where do you work? When do you finish? What do you do in all your free time?
And does it look anything like the inevitable end point of your parents’ life plan?
If you’ve been following your parent’s life plan, you might have a hard time coming up with a complete picture of the future you really want, so let me make it easy for you:
Is your dream future one where you wake up every day to the sound of a screeching alarm clock, next to a person you don’t really love but are with because it’s better than being alone, signalling that it’s time to disguise yourself in the same uniform you’ve been wearing for the last 20 years and head to an office that you hate, so you have enough money to get drunk on the weekend and forget the pain and frustration you’ve experienced in earning that money?
No, I didn’t think so.
Following a mediocre life plan will at best, result in a mediocre life. You’ll stumble through your time following the rules set out by those
Reason 3. You will never be remembered
Very few people remember the name of the guy who came second in the 100m final at the 1988 Olympics. I can’t tell you exactly how many, but they’re not numbered in their thousands. One thing I can say for sure though is that no one remembers the name of the guy who sat on his couch at home, watching it alone before heading off to bed to start another work day that will be painfully close to the day he just completed.
If you follow your parent’s life plan, you will never be remembered because there will be nothing to remember about you. Trying to pick you out of a crowded memory of average people will be like trying to tell the 126 different shades of beige apart on the paint store colour palate. When there’s nothing memorable about you, no one will waste valuable memory space on you.
Living your parent’s life plan will mean no one will ever remember you. If you ever want to be memorable, you need to drop it now.
Reason 4. There’s far more competition for your parent’s goals and aspirations for you
The mediocre life is the path where you’ll face the greatest amount of competition. 95% of the university graduates are competing for that entry-level position in the accounting firm.
95% of new recruits have aspirations of making it to middle and upper management. 95% of bored and frustrated office staff try to take their 4 weeks annual leave over the summer period in a tropical paradise that they never see because they’re too busy sipping Mai Tai’s by the pool in their unnecessarily expensive hotel room.
But what percentage of people are building a life-changing smartphone app that will bring happiness and joy to thousands of people all around the world? What percentage of people are trying to play basketball with President of the United States? What percentage of people are really in touch with what makes them happy, fulfilled, and free and following that vision? What percentage of people are creating a passive and scalable income stream that allows them to travel the world, whenever they want, doing whatever they want, without ever having to think about where their next meal is going to come from?
The path to mediocrity has the greatest amount of competition. It’s where everyone’s walking. It’s what everyone is doing. It’s the path of MOST resistance. It’s the path of frustration. It’s the path of unnecessarily hard work. It’s the path of struggle.
But only a very small amount of people are shooting for the stars. Only a tiny group are bucking the trend and forging their own journey. Sure, there’s no roadmap and no guarantees, but at least you won’t be competing with 95% of the population for something you never really wanted in the first place.
Your parents’ life plan is the path with the most competition. If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life competing against huge amounts of people for something you didn’t want in the first place, you need to drop it now.
Reason 5. Your parents’ life plan will never be fulfilling
The specific activity you’re undertaking doesn’t determine whether it’s fulfilling and rewarding or painful and frustrating.
- Communicating with words and listening to a response is not inherently fulfilling
- Nailing two bits of wood together is not inherently fulfilling
- Giving an item to someone isn’t inherently fulfilling
Fulfilment comes from the meaning that those actions have for you based on how they impact your ability to get what you want from life.
If you’re communicating with a close friend about basic arithmetic then it’s probably not going to be fulfilling, but if you’re communicating with a close friend about the pain they’re going through after breaking up with their girlfriend and you’re able to find a solution that makes them feel happier, more confident, and more connected, then that will be fulfilling.
If you’re nailing two pieces of timber together because you had nothing else to do with your time and all you could find to occupy your mind was a hammer, a few nails, and two broken tree branches, then it’s probably not going to be fulfilling. But, if the two pieces of timber you’re nailing together form the apex of a new roof you’re just about to complete on the house you’re constructing for you and your family to live in, then it’s going to be rewarding.
If you’re handing a packet of gum to a cashier so you can buy it and get on your way then it’s probably not going to be fulfilling, but if you’re handing your resignation letter to your boss because your side-business is now earning three-times what you were making from your desk job then it’s probably going to be pretty fulfilling.
Actions themselves are never fulfilling. It’s the meaning and significance of an action that makes it fulfilling. This means that in order for anything to be fulfilling, you need to know what means a lot to you and what is of most significance and then follow through on it. This will never happen whilst you’re following your parents life plan.
Firstly, if you’re following your parent’s life plan, it means you either have no vision of what you want from life, or you’re so disconnected from it that it doesn’t impact your day-to-day decisions. This means that no action can ever feel rewarding and fulfilling because you can’t decide whether or not it takes you closer to the life you want to live. You have no framework to determine whether you’ve moved closer or further away from your vision and so every action will carry the same empty and meaningless feeling.
Secondly, even if you do find something that smells like it might be fulfilling and empowering path to take, do you really think the people who’ve spent your whole life making decisions for you are going to condone wasting the effort and dedication you’ve put in over the last 5/10/20 years while you run off on a completely different tangent? No, of
Following your parent’s life plan is the least rewarding and fulfilling way to live your life. If you don’t want to go through life empty and unfulfilled, you need to stop it now.
Reason 6. Your parents’ life plan will never make you feel in control
Whilst making your boss look stupid in front of your work colleagues or scoring the winning touchdown in your football grand final might give you a temporary sense of being in control, living your parents’ life plan will never give you a complete experience of being fully in control of your life.
This is because that experience of being the complete master of your reality can only come from knowing the kind of future you want to create and being able to take consistent action towards that future.
Your parents’ life plan doesn’t make room for that.
In the same way that your parents’ life plan with never be fulfilling, following someone else’s direction and only taking action that moves towards that direction doesn’t give you room to come up with your own endpoint or take action towards it.
Your parents’ life plan will never leave you feeling powerful or in control. If you ever want to feel like the master of your own destiny, you need to drop it.
Reason 7. Your parents’ life plan will never be exciting
The formula for excitement is simple: lean through fear in a safe way. When you challenge yourself in a safe, the adrenalin kick that comes with pushing through fear is coupled with dopamine and you feel excited. How much of your parents’ life plan involves leaning through fear?
Sure, you might get a small rush when you do your first presentation to the manager of the small marketing firm you’ve just joined. Sure, your man parts might get a little ticklish (you can get a cream for that) when you go on a blind date with a friend of the receptionist at your work.
But how long will that excitement last for? How exciting will your 14th presentation be? How exciting will the 40th be?
How exciting will your nights on the couch with Ms. Blind Date be when you’ve been together for the last 2 years because you’re both afraid of being alone to break up?
Your parents’ life plan only has a small amount of room for challenge and excitement and once you’ve gone through those small moments, it all dies away. How much excitement are you going to experience when you turn up to the same uninspiring job, day after day? How much excitement are you going to experience when you end up at the same pub, every Friday night because everyone else from your office can’t be bothered to try anything new? How much excitement are you going to experience by sitting on the sidelines, watching the women you crave hook up with the guys who have the balls to push through their fear and talk to them?
Your parents’ life plan will never be exciting. If you ever want to escape the boredom and frustration of mundane repetition, you need to drop it now.
Reason 8. You will never make a difference to someone else’s life
How can you ever hope to show someone how to break free from their self-imposed chains and express themselves completely and openly when you can’t do it yourself? How can you ever hope to teach someone how to have more excitement in their life if you can’t do it yourself? How can you ever hope to show someone how to forge deep, real, and powerful connections with other people if you can’t do it yourself?
Being able to make a difference to someone else’s life starts with being able to make a difference to your life. Sure, you might be able to talk the talk but you’ll never be able to walk the walk. And if you can’t walk the walk, you’ll never be able to show others how to do it.
Living your parents’ life plan means that you will never be able to make a real difference to someone else’s life because you won’t be able to make a difference to yours. You’ll be too busy doing what you’re supposed to do without ever being able to do what you really want to do.
Reason 9. Your connections will be superficial
The deepest and most real connections you will form with anyone is when you share something real and deep about yourself and they recognise and accept you with that and can share a similarly real and deep.
(NOTE: If you’re unsure of how to form real and deep connections with people and want to know the scientific formula for connection, check out this article)
If you waste your life on your parents’ life plan, this will not be an option.
Firstly, you won’t know what is real and deep for you because you never have to consider it. You’ll spend your time living to someone else’s moral code and following their goals and aspirations and never have any time or need to consider your own.
Secondly, even if you did know what was real and deep for you because you’ve conditioned yourself to play safely inside the lines of socially acceptable behaviour, you’d be too afraid to share them r fear of being labelled a pansy/freak/weird.
On top of that, the only people who’re going to want to hang out with you are other people who’re following their parents’ life plan and they’re not going to have anything real or deep to share back. Because of this, even if you were able to get in touch with what is real and deep for you and share it openly, you wouldn’t be able to find anyone else who you can connect with.
Following your parent’s life plan is the simplest and easiest way to never experience a deep and real connection with another person. If you want to know what it really feels like to connect so deeply with another person that you find it hard to distinguish between their experience and your experience, you need to drop it now.
Reason 10. You will leave a legacy of mediocrity for your children
If you do follow your parents’ life plan and are able to find an equally dependent partner to join you and breed with you on your mediocre life, the legacy you leave for your children will be one of mediocrity.
If you follow your parents’ life plan, your kids will grow up believing that the only way to live is by someone else’s rules.
Your children will grow up thinking that their future lies tied to
Is that the kind of legacy you want to live for your children? Is that the kind of father you want to be?
Living your parents’ life plan is the fastest and easiest way to convince your children that they can never be anything more than what societies tells them they can be. It’s the simplest way to convince them that their place in life is predetermined and they can never hope to rise above it.
If this isn’t something you want to do, you need to drop your parents’ life plan now.
Reason 11. You will regret it on your death bed
I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve never been close to death. I’ve never stepped towards the light or been in a situation with the possibility of death was right in my face. So, for me to tell you that you will regret this on your death bed and know it with any kind of certainty would be impossible. But other people have sat with the people as they drift further and further off the mortal coil and can tell you what they’ve said.
You can read all about it here: Top 5 Regrets of the Dying
The author of that article spent many years working with people in the final years of their life and has generously shared their stories and thoughts. Well worth the read.
And if you’re anything like them, as the last flutters of your heart are fading into nothingness, you be able to taste the resentment and frustration that living your parent’s life plan brings.
Finding your life vision
The alternative to living your parents’ life plan isn’t complicated or intricate. In fact, it’s simple: life your life plan. Don’t waste your life following someone else’s rules and ideas about what a good life looks like, find your vision of your ideal life and push towards that. Decide:
- Where you live
- Who you want to spend time with
- How you want to dress
- What you do with your free time
- What you eat
- The passions you pursue
You need to decide how you fill the precious years between your birth and death and start pursuing that vision.
If you’ve never done this and are a little intimidated by the process, I’ve written an article that will make it easier for you. You can read it here: The complete guide to creating your life vision
It breaks down the key challenges people face on this journey and gives you the tools you need to overcome them.
Whilst it won’t automatically transform your life, it’ll give you the foundations you need to start creating a rich, rewarding, and fulfilling reality.