Do you work or achieve?

I’m a thinker and most of my best thinking happens in the shower (must be the lather).

This morning, after waking up early and spending a couple of hours catching up with some reading links I’d saved for later, I found myself in the shower at about 9:30am. That’s not uncommon on an average day for me.

My friends often rib me about getting up late because I don’t have a ‘proper job’ which is fair enough, ’cause most of them are slaves to the 9-5 routine. However, I do often continue working well into the evening, often finishing around 8 or 9pm at night (mainly when I force myself to stop!)

It’s another part of my life that invites well mannered ridicule.

But this morning it made me think about ‘work’. Most people think of work as that thing they have to do every day. The job that wakes them up at an hour they’d rather not see, forces them to don a suit and tie, make sandwiches for lunch (possibly to be eaten while still chained to their desk) and trawl through the hell of the commuter traffic.

That’s all very negative, I know, but so often people moan about having to go to work, having to go in on a Monday or shouting about how glad they are about the weekend, or even home time, arriving.

Now I know I’m very lucky – I love my job and quickly obtained my (then) ideal job aged 18 and have spent the last 7 years moving onwards and upwards all the time. I’ve taken the plunge to work for myself and as I approach the end of my third full year I’m realising just how different my approach to ‘work’ is.

See, in the shower this morning I thought about how most people look at work – that drain on their life, a necessary evil. And then I thought about how I look at work – an opportunity, a chance to achieve my goals in life, to better myself and become all that I ever want to be.

Recently, I went to Tenerife. I went there to stay with a friend who’s just moved out there for a while. He’s someone who, as well as being a good friend, I look up to. He spent nearly three years working his arse off earning very little to reach the point he is now at. He’s working for himself, earning a six-figure salary and living on the Canary Islands. He’s thinking of going to Argentina next.

On my second day there I updated my Facebook to;

Philip John is already having an amazing time…I’ve only just been here 24 hours! Now sitting pool side in shorts wearing my “Armani” sunglasses that I got for €5, thinking you ‘suits’ doin 9-5 sayin’ “wish I could live somewhere hot & sunny” should get your finger out & JFDI ’cause cost of living is ridiculous here & you don’t need to know Spanish, it’s hot and amazing and [my friend] has got it bang on.

It was a pretty spur of the moment update but the sentiment is still true. All too often we say “I wish…” or “if only…” but the thing about that is the only barrier, the only thing holding us back, are ourselves.

I’d decided by the time I hit puberty that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. At 23 I considered myself just that. Sure, I’d had lucky breaks but then again, all I’d done was carried on doing what made me happy and remained determined that I could one day achieve my aim. I didn’t make excuses as to why I couldn’t, or shouldn’t do it, I just fucking did it.

You may be wondering why this sounds a bit like a 25-year old telling you to get off your arse and chase your dreams and I can see why (especially if you’re older than 25) but I find it so disappointing when I see or hear people miserable about their lives, especially work.

I have a motto;

If it ain’t right, fix it. If you can’t fix it, get rid of it.

Now I’ve not always applied that very well to my own life (as some who know me will gladly testify) but I still stick by it as a good rule of thumb. If you’re not satisfied in an area of your life, figure out what you can do to make it better and JFDI! If you run out of ideas/options/whatever then get rid. Quick disclaimer here: don’t take that as meaning you can do anything stupid (read: illegal, immoral) – use your common sense.

If you sit on your backside and complain then you only have yourself to blame for your level of happiness (or lack of it).

So, do you work or do you achieve? Do you stick to the status quo or go out there and do something? Do you wear a suit or sit by the pool with your laptop topping up your tan?

I know which I’d rather do…





3 responses to “Do you work or achieve?”

  1. Ed Walker Avatar

    Great post dude. Agree completely. Sometimes got to up sticks, do something different. New things, new experiences and new challenges are always good. Too easy to get stuck in the status quo and miss your chance…

  2. Dan Slee Avatar

    I like this post. A lot.

    I’ve got two children and a Mrs Slee and quite happy, but I’ve always been a believer in listening to gut instrinct.

    If you back yourself you won’t go wrong.

    If you listen to other people or just block out that voice completely you are sunk.

    I’ve seen it time and time again.

    Where ever Philip John goes he will do a brilliant job. I’m convinced of that.

  3. Philip John Avatar

    Thanks both for your comments. Good to know it resonates with others.

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