Why You’re So Damn Afraid To Follow Your Passion

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Notice: This post will be highly philosophical. Hopefully I can inspire someone.

Do you make a difference to the world?

Why do most people spend decades in careers they don’t like?

You have to wake up to an alarm clock every day and meet up in your cubicle between 9 – 5, or you’ll risk losing your job. You have to perform meaningless tasks every single day. I mean, would you make that report for the boss if you didn’t get paid for it?

Let me ask you something. How much difference do you feel like you contribute to the world every day?

I’ll answer for myself. I feel like I don’t do the slightest difference to the world. If I quit today, anyone could’ve replaced me within a month. So, I work as a project manager and try to operate my projects smoothly. The things we build will improve someones life, but I can’t see it. I can’t feel it. I want my work to get remembered.

My biggest passion in life

I want the word to be my greatest power. Words is not a new invention. They’ve existed for a long time. But what I find meaningful is to create new meanings and overtones to totally normal words. Put together words and combine them so you get a feeling of harmony when you read those words. The order of the words is not a coincidence.

I myself, as I’m writing, don’t know where this blog post will end. Actually I don’t even know the conclusion of this post yet. I sit down with a theme in mind that I want to write about, and I just type in something. If both I and the readers knew the conclusion to the post from the very start, it would be a boring post.

I write to find out.

First one word, then two, a sentence, a paragraph. And the most important thing is to show up every day. I learned this technique from my favorite author, Haruki Murakami. And it’s never too late. Murakami started to write seriously when he was 31 years old. He discovered his passion in the middle of a baseball match.

The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium that day in 1978. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.

And then he started. He worked on the novel every day until it was finished. He enjoyed this kind of work so much that after he finished he just had to write one more novel. Today he is a world famous author. But remember that he started with a single word. If he can do it, both you and I can.

I am not an experienced writer. Actually I didn’t start to write before I comitted to share this blog online. For a long time I was really afraid that others might not like what I had to share. And I still am. But I share it anyway.

It’s getting clearer and clearer for me for everyday, that my destiny is to become a writer. And the reason I pursue FI, is so I can write full time. Wow, now I’ve shared it online as well.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really seeing things so differently than everyone else. Most of my friends doesn’t want to quit their jobs.

I started to listen to THE INFJ Personality Show, and the podcast confirmed my view. That INFJ’s often feel insecure no matter how good they are at their jobs. I really started to learn who I am thanks to this podcast (and yes, I’m an INFJ-introvert).

For INFJ’s, writing is basically the only way we have of truly explaining ourselves.  My highly sensitive nervous system is flooded with stress chemicals in conversation with people I don’t trust, and the brain is overwhelmed by too much information. And the people introverts trusts is not so many…

Why I’m so damn afraid to follow my passion

Think about it, both you and me have somewhere else we’d rather be in life. So why do we stay where we are? Why do we continue to work 9 – 5 for 50 weeks a year when we don’t love it?

I will tell you something (and this is to myself as well).

Your’e actually free to leave. You can give that two weeks notice whenever you like.

But we stay. After some decompression in the weekend, we show up on Monday.

We stay because we’re too afraid to see what’s out there. The 9 – 5 is so safe, so that we can live our lives on autopilot.

We owe ourselves something better. All these other things we want to do – we owe it to ourselves to at least try.

Maybe you biggest dream is to explore some of your business ideas. Just do it. Take a year off from work to pursue your dreams. Will you fail? Probably, but at least you tried. And I’m sure you had fun all along while trying.

And isn’t failing a part of life? You will never know if you will have success unless you try. As long as you tried your best there is nothing you can fail.

What is the worst thing that can happen?

For me I think that the worst case scenario is that I have to return to prison (work). But I’m already working, so actually my worst case scenario is a scenario without any downsides.

Of course, I will lose up on my savings goal for the index funds. But with a year off from work I can explore my dreams, and even make some small bucks out of it too. And if I don’t, there is no shame in returning back to my job.

Do you remember as a kid when you were told in school to try your best?

That still applies as an adult: Try your best. Staying in the job you don’t like because you’re scared, that’s not trying your best. Is it?

Starting that business idea you’ve dreamt about, that’s much closer to trying your best than sitting in your cubicle thinking about it.

Think about how many billions of dollars that are out there. You don’t need billions. With 1 million invested I would say you’re set for life.

But I don’t think you need that much to live your dream life either. My investing target is 600k $ invested in index funds. If I use the 4 % Safe Withdrawal Rate, this means that I can withdraw 2000 $ per month for the rest of my life.

But what if you instead made 500 $ for some random jobs you did every month? Then you would only need a portfolio of 450 k $.You could start a business that you loved working on, even if you earn way less than your current day job. Then you don’t have to invest so heavily anymore, because you’re already living your dream life.

Visualize your success, not your failures

Then people worry about jobs. All the time. What if I can’t get another job? Do you know many jobs that are out there? I’ll tell you exactly how many. A lot. You don’t need a lot. You just need one.

In a world of abundance, quitting your job isn’t scary. It’s only scary because you focus on the negative. You focus on the scarcity. What if you focused on the positive? Instead of visualising yourself building a bad blog, envision yourself building a good one. The blog might even turn into a profit.

There’s a lot of bloggers that manages to earn a lot from their blog. For example, when you reach 25.000 sessions daily, you can sign up on Mediavine for ads. They will pay you for placing ads on your side because you got a popular blog.

That’s win-win for both parts. You could also write an e-book that potentially could sell really good! There is a lot of upsides by trying to pursue your dreams, and if you think about it there is actually very few downsides.

Suddenly your profit gets bigger, and maybe you need to hire employees. Then you hire someone to manage your blog for a month while you go on holiday. While you’re on a holiday you get a new business idea. Maybe you want to open a web shop for a special kind of lamps they sell cheap in Asia, and you know there is no one selling those at home.

You expand. Build. Explore. New ideas arise and you feel inspired everyday because you devote your best energy everyday to those projects. Not those grumpy “after-9-5-hours” where you only have energy left to watch Netflix.

Why can’t you envision that? Why is that impossible? In a world of abundance, quitting your job is not scary. Not giving yourself the chance to get let yourself try out your business ideas? That’s scary.

Sitting at your senior home at 80 thinking, man, what if I had just tried to follow my dreams when I was young? That’s terrifying. We’re all going to die anyway, why not take a chance?

Don’t be afraid of sucess

Maybe your business idea do miserably and you go begging for your job back. I agree, that doesn’t sound like fun. But is that really what you’re afraid of? You’re staying in your cubicle because you’re afraid you might fail and end up in a cubicle?

But that’s where you already are!

Maybe what you’re afraid of is the success. Maybe you’re scared of being more successful than you ever imagined.

People often say they’re afraid of failure. That’s why they stay in the cubicle. But what they’re really afraid of is the success. That’s why they stay in the cubicle.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

Marianne Deborah Williamson

There is nothing to fear out here. At least, nothing scarier than the things you already face every day. Stop being afraid.
My fear goes like this:

-If I quit I will “lose” potentially 76 k $ every year + salary raises. I also fall behind at the “Compounding Effect” for my 140.000 $ that is invested in my index funds. In addition to that I have to withdraw aprox. 2k $ from my index funds every month in order to quit my corporate job. The problem is that my monthly FI-money is aprox. 500 $, and if I liquidate 2000 $ every month, I will deplet my account totally in 5-10 years!

Did you see what I just did? I visualized the worst case scenario. I assumed that if I quit my job, I wasn’t going to earn a dime ever again! That’s wrong!

I’m not going to chill around. I want to try to build this blog, and I have some business ideas that I want to try out as well. I think that I might manage to earn 500 – 1000 $ from some kind of work if I really wanted to in the start period. Because I got 50 hours (40 for my job + 10 commuting) extra per week that I can spend on work I find meaningful if I escape.

50 hours! Wow, how much time do I actually spend on this blog for instance in a normal week? 10? It’s not weird I don’t have a lot of followers. Because they expect quality content. And without time it’s impossible to make quality material.

Everything you’ve ever wanted is out here. In abundance. You want a million dollars? It’s here. Just floating around. Come and get it. If you stay in your corporate job you can only get it by saving lots over several decades. But if you start something for yourself there is an unlimited upside. You can earn so much more. And at the same time you can do work that you love.

You see, when you think of the bad things, that creates fear. That’s why you’re afraid. Instead, think of the good things that could happen. Imagine yourself succeeding. Imagine yourself happy. That creates excitement, energy and motivation.

And that’s how you should always be thinking, because if you pursue something real, nothing bad is going to happen. Life is not going to get worse. It only gets better.

It’s safe to stay in your job. It’s easy. You can’t fail there. Rather can you succeed there. Not ultimate success at least. Life goes by and everything stays the same. You complain a lot, but that’s life you say to yourself.

But one day, and I can guarantee you this day will come that you have regrets about playing it safe. For some this time will come in their 20’s, others in their 30/40’s and even some in their 50/60’s.

You will wonder why you didn’t reach for the sky. You will wonder why you didn’t write your story when you had the chance.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

Feel free to contact me at: post@route2FI.com or comment something below.

Until next time!

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28 Replies to “Why You’re So Damn Afraid To Follow Your Passion”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. You have explored some big ideas and you are clearly recognising your negative thought processes.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m really glad you liked it ?

  2. Hi there,
    So did you already prepare your letter to your employer?
    You can be glad that you know your passion (I don’t).

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      No, because we are expecting a child later this year/start of next year. And if I work fulltime, I will get 20 weeks paid vacation to take care of the child. So I delay some more ?
      You should keep searching for it! Do you have some clue at all about what your passion could be?

  3. This is so scarily the same as me right now!! I’m also taking a “year out” in September and I also invest in index funds. Do you invest in property (real estate)?

    Also have you read financial freedom by Grant Sabatier the 4% rule you’re using is described amazingly in this book.

    Awesome read, thanks so much for sharing!!


  4. route2fi says: Reply

    Thanks, Mike 😀 Really appreciate it!
    What are you going to do in your year out?
    I only invest in index funds. What is your FIRE-number? And how far are you on your journey? Please send me some posts from your blog, would love to check out some good posts 😀

    I haven’t read Sabatiers new book, but will definitely check it out soon!

    Route 2 FI

  5. Brandi Parsons says: Reply

    I’ve never had a substantial income, as I have been a public employee for 15 years; however, when my interim director at my former place of employment called me an “under-utilized resource” I am pretty sure that she didn’t realize how underpaid I was. I no longer am committed to a 9-5 and I have a new job on the table and am close to finishing my debut novel. It’s super scary to be the CEO of your own life, but it will bring anyone who tries it so much more joy.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Wow! Inspiring!
      Congratulations with your debut novel as well 😀 Where can I read it?
      And what is your new job oppurtunity? 😀

  6. Wow! This is inspiring and such an amazing read. I can relate so much to it (except I don’t have that much saved up). But like you said, the worst that can happen is already happening. I really loved this!
    You are an amazing writer by the way! Had me glued from start to finish!

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you for the kind words! 😀

  7. Mike@mikesmoneytree says: Reply

    This seems to be the internal fight that most FI followers face. Do what you dislike to reach FI sooner and allow you to do what you want or take the jump and do what you love but delay FI. I think the second option is better, if you can make a living doing what you like who cares if you have to work a few more years.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks, Mike! And you are absolutely correct! Do you work with something that you like? Where are you on your FI journey?

  8. Abigail @ipickuppennies.net says: Reply

    Well, you’re clearly passionate. As long as your wife has okay health insurance that can cover you and the baby (congratulations, by the way) and you can handle the blow to the finances… I can see why you’d want to take the leap.

    It’s definitely a brave thing to do. I personally don’t have a passion. I love my blog, but I wouldn’t want to do it full-time. Too stressful to have my entire pay riding on its success. I prefer having the stability of a day job and blogging on the side. Then again, I have a lot more free time than it sounds like you do. So it’s apples and oranges.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you, Abigail!
      Well, how much free time do you got?
      I don’t know if I should switch to part time in about a year, or if I should work 9 – 5 for severeal years, and then quit for good.

      Maybe 3 work days a week is the perfect plan?

  9. I think about this all the time while auto piloting through the week at my 9-5. The weeks, months and years pass like I am in a time machine. It is becoming more and more apparent that the time is coming soon to put that notice in and enjoy that fleeting time for what it is and not just let it fly by.

    Not so much afraid of failure, afraid of financial failure so I continue to obsessively run the numbers 🙂

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      I totally understand you, and I do feel the same! This is what I love about the FI community, we all understand each others, because everybodt experience the same things according to work-life stress! How many years left do you got in the race?

  10. My son has a day off of school, so he and my wife are spending the day walking around in a field of millions of tulips. I am sitting at my desk looking for a short distraction by reading some blogs. Is there some place that i’d rather be? Yeah, I guess there is.

    Thanks for the article. I definitely have a lot of these same thoughts. It is helpful to see how you put them in order and make sense of them, as I try to do the same. I liked what you said about whether I can be successful in my job. I think I have know for years that I will not be successful here. Luckily I am good with personal finances. I’m not sure whether I am using that as a crutch to stay in my job. Should I be leveraging it instead to do something great?

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Well, I’m glad you are aware of this.
      If I were in your position, I would sit down for some days and really think about what is important to you in life. Do you have any hobbies that you want to pursue?
      Or what about teaching people about what you’ve done? As I remember you had 2 mill $ at age 43? That’s quite unique. What if you could teach others to do that? Wouldn’t you love to do that?
      You don’t have to quit your job. If you feel that you have enough time to do what you like, there is no point in quitting. But if you feel that the world has way more to offer, and that you could make a difference in another way than workin, then why don’t go for it? Life is short!
      To put it in perspective. I am aiming for quitting with 600k $, you got way more mate. I think you will be safe for life!
      Whatever you decide to do, keep writing about it. Our community need more voices, my friend 😀

  11. […] Why You’re So Damn Afraid To Follow Your Passion @ Route 2 FI — “The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium that day in 1978. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.” […]

  12. […] Why You’re So Damn Afraid To Follow Your Passion @ Route 2 FI — “The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium that day in 1978. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.” […]

  13. Hello! Thanks so much for the shoutout. Our threshold is 25K sessions within a 30 day period (you mentioned daily), and we want to make sure you always have the most up to date information. We are always here to chat about joining Mediavine at publishers@mediavine.com.

  14. This article really spoke some truth to me. I’m now thinking, duh why have I never thought of life like this before? Found this article through Budgets are Sexy. Will be reading more of your older articles now. Thanks!

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks! Don’t be afraid to shoot me questions if you wonder anything 🙂

  15. Great insight. But here is a challenge: there is something called a neutral happiness set-point, something that returns back to where it is no matter whether one wins a superbowl or a lottery or had a baby, etc. This theory could go against what you are saying. Eventually the new pursuit would run out of steam and we are looking to wonder what is next. How do you respond to that. Looking for happiness is not external I guess.

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thanks for your input, mate!

  16. Delaney McGuire says: Reply

    From my experience with coaching I’ve found it’s SO important to assess our mindset, and the fears that lie under the surface about failure, instability, and being judged among other things. Once we can identify these things it makes it so much easier to realize these fears are not FACTUAL and that we can replace them with other modes of thinking that empower us to push forward.

    I think the experience of starting a business is outlined extremely well in this podcast episode, for anyone interested: https://forgeyourpath.co/starting-a-business-cultivating-confidence/

    1. route2fi says: Reply

      Thank you so much for the link, mate ??

  17. Shawn B. (Not the same Shawn in earlier comments smh...) says: Reply

    Bro you wrote this too yourself, and what’s funny is I’m writing as well lately, and this concept of a song I want to write….. Well it’s hard to tell, cause it’s what you did here, it would be the actual steps to existence the essence of first steps as too becoming an artist in your case a writer, it’s hard to take the very first steps and admit that your calling is, writing, for me an artist….. But to do it when your still unsure though you here the calling every day, and yet you still question it, and here you were writing everything I’ve been waiting to hear that to already knew…. Thank you very much for this leap of faith in your self it now helped me as well

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