Category: Good Living

Everybody has a dream

Photo by: Adam Rifkin

My friend Christian once said: “entrepreneurship is about taking control of your own life”.

Of course there are many definitions of entrepreneurship but for the individual actually doing the work, taking the step, rolling the dice – and not studying entrepreneurship on an academic level – it is close to the truth.

I talk to a lot of people about entrepreneurship. I have started a few companies, had some minor successes and some failures, I’m not playing the big leagues in any kind of way as an entrepreneur but I have more experience in entrepreneurship than most people (even studied it on a master level). At the very least I have a strong passion for it and for what it can do to individuals and society at large (one reason we launched the Startup Dojo and why I’ve been doing various startup events).

So I often end up talking to people about their dreams.

What they really want to do if they didn’t do what they do now.

Most people have this dream of an alternative life. A different life. A better life.

It’s almost never about money or luxury, it’s more about a different lifestyle or being able to have an income doing what your passionate about.

But it almost always remains a dream.

This is what Christian referred to in the quote above. Taking control. Making the dream a reality.

Here’s the thing: entrepreneurship is about introducing (making) change and that always starts with yourself.

Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it requires hard work. Yes, you may have to take a financial risk.

But the way I see it, living your entire life without trying to fulfil your dream is the biggest risk of all.

What’s your SQL-index? [Sustainable Quality of Life]

Fishing at Sunset - Pacific Ocean , Californiaphoto © 2005 moonjazz | more info

No, I’m not talking about databases (SQL is a language used by programmers to fetch data.) I’m talking about Sustainable Quality of Life and how much of your income is coming from a meaningful, fun and qualitatively sustainable income. That’s the SQL-index.

Sustainable – as in, I can do this until I’m way past my retirement age. I can do this because it’s rewarding, meaningful and fun. Not work because I have to – work because I want to.

Sustainable – as in balanced. I have time to spend with my family and friends. With people who matter.

But also sustainable in an ethical sense. I’m adding value to society. I’m making the world a better place.

Listen to this TED-talk by Jane McConigal. At about 10 minutes in there’s a great quote. She says:

“We are optimized as human beings to do hard, meaningful work.”

Think about that for a second. It’s true – isn’t it? Hard work is the most rewarding activity you can do – if it’s meaningful! If it brings true value to yourself, your family, friends and society at large. Why spend your life doing anything else?

Making money is (relatively) easy. If you’re reasonably bright, strong or talented it’s basically just a question of quantity. Work a lot – make a lot of money.

The truly difficult part is doing it and keeping your SQL-index high at the same time. Making money and having fun and making meaning at the same time.

There’s actually a shortcut to achieve this: passive income – making money while you’re sleeping. But still, you have to produce something that generates the passive income and the optimal way to do this is while keeping the SQL-index high (because then you can produce a lot of it).

Don’t measure your life in the number of gadgets you have or the size of your bank account or the fanciness of the brand of your car. Those are just external attributes. Measure your SQL. That’s what matters.

Update: someone who decided to raise their SQL-index:

“I concluded that I’d rather live poor and hungry than work in a large, bureaucratic and political environment where I personally couldn’t see how my efforts created value.” – Bryan Johnson