Nowadays, passivity is all the rage on the internet. Passive income, passive work, passive this, passive that. It’s all a lie. A grand marketing ploy to cater to our laziness and dreams of a life built on profit and, well, passivity. We’ve been sold a dream, that all we need to do is just “chill” and let the universe bring us our coconut juice. That’s why books like The Secret were so successful because for the hour or so that we’re reading them, it feels like that idyllic dream of just imagining success will bring it closer into being. That we don’t need to actually suffer through the process of building a life and God forbid having an active role in it. The issue is, that hour passes and life goes on not caring about your daydreams.
There is no such thing as truly passive income or work. For one it takes an immense amount of effort to get anything to the point where it can function quasi-independently. That goes for an online business, raising a child, automating your work…etc. It would be heavenly if we just needed to see our dream to make it happen. I bought into that idea once, the whole Law of Attraction rigmarole. I think what makes more sense is the Life Principle idea in Robert Collier’s book Secret of the Ages. One of the original books that first attempted to explain this mysterious pattern in existence, where every living being seems to be attracting events that are most congruent to its nature and desires to evolve. I believe this made much more sense than simply visualising and having happy feelings does. This involves a measure of pain. Transcending or evolving is not idle work. You need to get active, to keep pushing your limits until you eventually emerge from your current chrysalis as a more refined version of yourself, hopefully.
If you want to build a passive business, forget about it. That’s a myth that the internet clickbait culture made up to keep you, well, clicking on content that simplifies thing. What you see is the seemingly overnight success, not the 2 years of work that took place before things became more automated and a little hands-free. You don’t see the hours seeking funding, working jobs to raise enough capital or persevering through agonisingly boring days. If that sounds passive to you then I shudder to find out what your “active” state looks like. Unless you were born with a silver spoon and can hire people to do all that work for you. For the rest of us, it’ll take hard work to get to a point where it may seem like we don’t work anymore. To be frank, calling the kind of money such people make passive is plain ignorant and dismissive of all the work they put into their dream.
Even billionaires like Richard Branson, a serial entrepreneur, don’t really work passively. It takes them less time and they perhaps play less active roles, at a certain point. But try to imagine all the years it took to get to this point. How many betrayals, failures and hard lessons they had to endure before they could refine their process enough to remove themselves partly from it.
That’s the story you never hear about, except for a few rare cases. Perhaps, it is because hardship and hard work doesn’t sell books. I don’t know. For a book I recently published The Success Roadmap, which is currently free, I passed free copies around to some friends and I got this review, “It’s just too serious for me”. Suffice it to say that I was startled. It was a book about overcoming failure and mapping a clear path towards success. It was a serious book, about a serious matter. Unless I’m just being ignorant and dreams and success recently became a joke. It got me to think about the mentality of most people who talk about building their dreams.
The friend who gave me the above comment, read books like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and called it his bible. A book which I feel capitalised on what people wanted to hear, rather than what they needed to hear and yet is marketed as the opposite. I read the book and while I occasionally enjoy Mark Manson’s blog, I do not agree with certain points of his book. Especially, that people should simply stop caring about their dreams because there’s always going to be someone better. That’s the type of copout which many seek to validate, with pseudo-spiritual and philosophical docility like “No point doing anything, since we all die and we’re specks of dust in the universe”. Yes, for certain kinds of people that is perhaps the perfect approach to life. But for those who’ve got drive and potential, not pursuing their dreams will bring far more disappointment and pain than having tried and failed.
But I digress, my point is that your dreams will require hard work. This is one of the main reasons why many never make any headway on their vision. You should expect it to be hard. Any other attitude would indicate that you’re either dreaming too small or grossly underestimating the work ahead of you.
For those who dream of a “4 hour work week” or “passive income million dollar business”, I’d like to disabuse you of that notion. Even those very books that promise a future of coasting on your laurels, or whatever, all implicitly offer methods that would take consistent work to achieve anything significant. Yes, at some point after X number of hours, and who knows how much effort, failures and pain. You might find yourself at a point where everything is automated or others carry a good chunk of the burden but if you could get yourself to that point, I doubt you’ll feel quite comfortable leaving your hard-earned achievements wholly in the hands of others. So the work never ends.
At the highest strata of business, art or sport success, you will find that those who made it there, never really remain lax for too long. They are working a lot harder than the majority of people and dreaming bigger. They make a ton of mistakes and learn from them. They aren’t content with what they’ve achieved. While to some, never feeling content is the antithesis of Nirvana, to others it is the fire that drives them to keep pushing their own boundaries. Those are the people who inspire us to look for hidden depths and facets in ourselves. Such people would never forgive themselves for having chosen the easy path.
I have yet to be inspired by someone telling people to quit their dreams and get a reasonable job. But each time I hear a story of someone who fought against all odds and made it, a fire lights up in my belly.
To wrap up this post, I want you to walk away with confidence and a clear understanding that it won’t be easy to get to the life you envision. Your dreams are worth the effort. If you’re willing to see things this way, then make them your life. Don’t see it as strictly work. Make it who you are and those actions you take will just be part of your life the same way, eating and breathing is. Not dreaming and acting on those dreams should feel alien to you. At the end, we all return to dust, but the stories which led us there will hold far different value and importance. You will be adding to the tally of dreamers, helping the world believe that they we can build heaven on earth. And over time,
What else is there? Giving up and convincing yourself that not trying is the smart decision? Passing on a story of mediocrity and false-quitter-wisdom to your children? If either of those options sound appealing to you then perhaps your dream was never a worthwhile one to begin with.
Hey, speaking of dreams, being a writer has been a dream I’ve had since I was 11. I’ve taken one hell of a crazy ride to get to the point where I get to do this. If you’ve enjoyed this post please consider making a donation below, so I can keep making content that uplifts and inspires others.
Make a one-time donation
Make a monthly donation
Make a yearly donation
Choose an amount
Or enter a custom amount
Your contribution truly is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.
Your contribution is appreciated.DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly