“Prioritize your life, or someone else will.” -Greg McKeown
You are replaceable.
According to your employer, that is.
If there is anything pandemics and technological advances have taught us in modern times, it’s that the above statement is truer than ever. And even if it weren’t true, you have to ask yourself why you are putting your future in someone else’s hands in the first place.
Despite the global slowdown due to COVID-19, our world is moving faster than ever. Many who haven’t adjusted to that fact, and worse, are not aware of that fact, will find themselves years behind the diligent and motivated minority when the dust settles.
This essay is your wake-up call. It is a call to action. From this point forth, your overwhelming goal, rather than holding a steady job or saving enough money for your next vacation, should be to become irreplaceable.
It all starts with a simple bet on yourself—a commitment to your future, a willingness to pursue what you love, an unyielding belief in your own abilities, and the discipline to stay focused and follow through. Your ability to bet on yourself will be the determining factor between a life of mediocrity and one of extraordinary potential.
The question is not if, but when your employer decides on your future, what is your plan? Are you going to become a helpless victim of external circumstances? Or will you have prepared yourself for a life where you have the power to decide your own future?
It’s only a matter of time before the choice is made for you. And the longer you wait, the less of a choice it becomes.
Which is all the more reason why you need to bet on yourself now, more than ever.
The secret weapon in your arsenal
A strategically placed bet on yourself can be one of the most useful tools available to you. You can go searching far and wide for tips and strategies on how to take your life to the next level, but none will work unless you recognize and act on your own capabilities.
You’ve seen me bet on myself in recent months, through writing regularly online, through building an online course and community, and by publicly declaring my intentions to do so. This process has allowed me to push myself further than I ever thought possible. It has taught me that if a bet on yourself is necessary for taking the next step towards success, then doing so publicly will virtually cement it.
It is not enough to bet on yourself just once, however. It is a muscle you must build, like a daily writing or meditation habit. You have to actively bet on yourself every single day—every single morning you feel like lying in bed for a little longer, get up. Every day you don’t feel like going to the gym, go. Every action you take, every decision you make is a bet for or against yourself. And only when you’ve built this muscle, this tool, this secret weapon, will you have the ability to build a career and a life of meaning and fulfillment.
Rather than clocking in and out, asking for permission to be you, and wasting the most capable years of your life doing work you dislike, try pursuing a life you don’t want to run from. Bet on yourself and see what happens.
The three ingredients for betting on yourself
You’ll first need to pursue that which is worth pursuing—your muse.
Your muse is your focus. It is your obsession. It is your purpose. It is what keeps you up late at night and what wakes you up early in the morning. It is where everything starts.
Living a life that inspires you every day is only possible when you have an unyielding purpose. It is one that allows you to live with courage, take risks, and show up even on your worst days. It is one that allows you to do interesting, meaningful, remarkable work, and display it to the world!
If you’re too busy chasing money and shiny objects, you will have nothing but a recipe for a stressful and difficult life. You’ll never have the impact on the world that you know you can have. Your muse will lay dormant in your mind, wasting away the gifts you’ve been given.
But by focusing on discovering your purpose, you’ll begin to develop the tools you need to inspire others, to empower others, and to create beauty in a world in desperate need of it.
A bet on yourself is, by definition, an unbreakable belief in yourself. Sure, you may have strong doubts from time to time. I certainly do. But a bet on yourself allows you to push through the negativity towards a vision of the future that only you can achieve.
Fair warning, the following will sound arrogant, but you will soon understand why. It takes a healthy amount of arrogance, boldness, and unapologetic stubbornness to bet on yourself. I think everyone should make a list of bold beliefs about themselves, as it can be useful in taking bold action.
I’m betting on myself because I know that:
- No one is coming to save me.
- No one has the vision I have.
- No one has the drive that I have.
- No one has the staying power that I have.
- No one has the unique blend of skills and talents that I have.
Whether those are all true or not, it is necessary for me to believe them. If I stop believing those things, then I stop believing in myself. And if I stop believing in myself, then I stop showing up every single day. And if I stop showing up every day, then I have lost all the bets I have made on myself.
Self-belief allows you to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. It keeps you from the daily slog of a 9-5 office job because you know you are capable of so much more in this one precious life.
Self-belief is a prerequisite for any successful outcome. By believing in yourself, you inspire others to believe in themselves. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
When you start doing things that matter to you, your discipline will cultivate itself. Notice when you hate your job, isn’t it so much harder to get out of bed in the morning? But when you love what you do and genuinely feel the meaning in your efforts, you hop out of bed, eager to get to work.
Play the long game. Instead of working 40 hours for a predetermined paycheck every week, start spending more time doing work that offers disproportionate outcomes. It takes discipline to do things that don’t give immediate returns. Building a website, building a reputation, building a sustainable and scalable online business that you are passionate about are examples that will not yield fruits overnight but slowly compound over time.
Great things take time, and your patience and discipline will be the mortar that holds together your brick road to success.
The future rewards the bold
The future, and the not-so-distant one, will reward those who are investing in themselves. Those who realize that no one is coming to save them, that no one is holding their hand, and that a safety net is among the least useful insurance policies.
Those taking steps now to build a self-sufficient future to navigate through the dense fog of uncertainty, those who prioritize themselves as the main character in their story, and those who boldly pursue meaning and purpose in their life will be well positioned for success in the coming years.
You can choose to stick to the safe path: doing a job you dislike, for just enough pay to keep you in that job you dislike. You can live a life of silent desperation, of ordinariness, and of mediocrity. With predictability comes momentary safety, but with that momentary safety comes the fact that your fate rests squarely in someone else’s hands.
Or, you can bet on yourself. You can believe in your abilities, your dreams, and your potential to do something greater in this world. A bet on yourself is opening the door to success that otherwise wouldn’t be available. You will encounter many zigs and zags, many stops and starts, and much uncertainty and doubt. But the rewards of such a path are immeasurable if you step outside your comfort zone and simply take the risk.
But you have to start by giving yourself a chance. Become irreplaceable before it’s too late.
You have to bet on yourself now, more than ever.