This article is aimed at startup entrepreneurs / wannabes / employees, but the points extrapolate to anyone trying to do meaningful work.
When I was graduating ~4 years ago, I was the only student in my university to go straight into building a startup.
Everyone else was finance, law, consulting, etc. 😴
But now…everybody has their own sh*tty little startup.
Running a startup is “cool”.
Running two startups is even cooler.
And if you want to be really cool, stick one of them on stealth mode 😉
(Wouldn’t want someone stealing your unoriginal idea!)
All these sh*tty…
I make £50,000/year working literally 4 hours a week
I spend the rest of my time having fun: growing my business (yes, for fun), travelling, advising/investing, acroyoga, art, music, writing, etc.
Most people spend half their life working and the other half recovering.
Work eats up your most productive morning hours, and then you’re too tired to do anything interesting in the evening.
It’s a sad way to live…
I make £50,000/year working literally 4 hours a week.
I spend the rest of my time having fun: growing my business (yes, for fun — I take no salary & never will), travelling, advising/investing, acroyoga etc.
In this new series, Why Are You Working So Much? 🥱, I’ll teach you how to make more money by working less and having more fun 👇
I often ask my coaching clients:
“Why are you working so much?”
They bark back at me:
“Because I need to be successful!”
I get it. If you grow up insecure, your life becomes a neverending quest…
When I was 18 I rejected my Cambridge offer to study at LSE instead.
“Are you f*cking crazy?!”
…was the usual reaction.
Cambridge rang me up to see if I’d gone nuts, and Dr Sushil Wadwhani (CEO of a billion £ hedge fund + family friend of a rich Indian kid I was tutoring) spent an hour lecturing me against the decision.
But I just didn’t listen.
I’d dropped out of school at 16.
I’d self-studied my A Levels in bed, watching YouTube videos.
I’d grown up in a house with no hot water and a snail infestation, constantly on…
As an executive coach, this^ is the most common cognitive bias I find in the founders/CEOs I coach.
The deep-rooted belief that progress should be linear.
If I keep working hard, my results should keep increasing
Lol. If only…
But the linear progress fallacy is at the heart of so much frustration and failure.
And it’s something we pick up very early on in life, reinforced by society’s artificial “tick-box” systems:
Education: follow these steps to get right answer. Get 90 right answers for an A. Get this many As and go to university…
Corporate careers: do this repetitive task…
Gandhi is good. Sadam Hussein is bad.
But didn’t Gandhi run an Epstein-esque ring of naked child masseuses?
And didn’t Hussein promote free education for Iraqi women?
So perhaps some of Gandhi’s actions were good, and some were bad. And the same for Hus.
But what’s good and bad?
Child marriage is still the norm in Nepal.
Selling your underage daughter to a wealthier family is inhuman to us, but to many Nepalese, it’s a smart way to reduce family food shortages and gift your daughter a brighter future.
Perhaps we’re right and they’re wrong. …
I run a social enterprise called UniRise — we help disadvantaged students get into top universities. Mentors, personal statement reviews, course recommendation algorithm, etc.
Everything is 100% free and we’ve helped ~9000 students so far.
But this year we want to 10x to 100,000 users! And launch a bigger, better, more bad*ass tech platform.
No more Typeform, Zapier, Teachable. We want something custom-built.
But when we reached out to developers, the lowest quote we got back was £25,000…
So now I’m building it all myself on Bubble.
Today I mocked up the designs in Figma (the most intuitive but…
My mum is the most ruthless bad*ass I know.
When I was 10, we bought a laptop. I spilled hot chocolate on it — no insurance.
PC World politely told us to f*ck off. But she refused.
7 hours of arguing later we were on the phone with PC World’s UK Manager and a £1200 refund was issued + vouchers for our next purchase!
Amazing! But that’s just the start…
She’s sued everyone who’s ever screwed her over: from big corporations like BMJ to our dodgy Irish builders…and won every time.
I’m not a big fan of ruthlessness but there…
Risk is the probability of a bad thing happening.
Go skydiving, for example, and the risk is your 0.001% chance of death.
But jump back to real life, and we only think about financial risk.
Seems sensible: if you didn’t make enough money to feed your family in 1921, you would literally die or hit extreme poverty. Worrying exclusively about financial risk was smart.
But we’re not in 1921 anymore.
Things have moved on: social security, free healthcare, etc. …
Age 0 to 16 you make (almost) zero important life choices.
Except for what TV show you watch after school, it’s your parents or teachers telling you what to do.
Then you hit 16 and suddenly all you do is make important life choices…
What A Levels do I pick? Which universities do I apply to? Job or masters? Which job? Which masters? Which partner? Etc.
It’s a disaster 😵
You can’t expect kids who’ve never learned how to make important life choices to make good ones…
And asking adults doesn’t help either.
“So what should I do?” …