During my absence, I have not stopped in my pursuit on learning and understanding of the financial troubles which enslave those who fall victim to the business model of banks. As of today I have finished an amazing book titled “Start” by Jon Acuff. Although this book is not about increasing your financial status, it is about increasing your personal status. I felt this book was important for those who wish to be financial independent as it is insightful about moving yourself from average to awesome. Awesome is a place where everyone should aspire to be. After reading the book, Acuff illustrates that there is no financial status of awesome. It is not measured on the size of your house, the manufacture of your car, or where you buy your cloths. Rather, awesome is living the life you want to live because you chose it. I wanted to share with you a story of my life several years ago where I made my first move from average to awesome and for me, launching into a better life.
Nearly 15 years ago, while I was a junior in high school, I was offered a job by a man name Nick. Nick was a friend and counselor at Christian youth club that I attended. He had gotten to know me and offered me a job at the company he worked for to be his assistant. I had never been offered a job before in my life and was honored by the proposition given to me. I gladly took Nick up on the offer and began working there. The job was working for a civil engineering firm that performed testing on soil to determine the strength of structures to be built. For a high school kid I felt like I blasted past the average of working at a fast food restaurant and landed in what Jon Acuff would describe as awesome. For the summer between my Junior and Senior year, it was awesome. I was making money and doing what felt like work that mattered. During my Senior year of high school the head gasket of my 1979 Diesel Volkswagen Rabbit went out leaving me without a vehicle. I purchased, with assistance of a loan, a new (the definition of new was relative to a senior in high school) 1986 Toyota Cressida. Although understanding math and sciences was easy to me, my calling was not to civil engineering but rather computer engineering. I quickly realized I was no longer living in awesome, as testing soil was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My enjoyment and desire to work quickly diminished as my employment went from a status of “career” to a status of “job”. I wanted to quit so badly, but I couldn’t. What kept me leashed to this job was the loan, my obligation to provide money to a bank. Being a young man of my word, I honor that word to the bank and lived a life of average working for a company I grew to resent.
Just prior to my graduation from high school I had my car paid in full. I was free, free to do whatever I wanted to do. My parents took me on a vacation to Canada for a month to celebrate my graduation. Upon my return I continued with my job. After just one day of work I realized quickly I was employed by a “job” and not a “career”. I no longer felt tethered to the job as my financial obligation was completed when the car loan was paid. The fear which kept me enslaved by a job I did not want was no longer present. I was also blessed to have not informed my employer I would be working full time as it was now the summer time. The very next day I drove my paid for vehicle to the local college and applied for a computer technician job, since it was my new awesome. The college hired me on the spot and I actually started working immediately after the interview. That afternoon, when I was scheduled to work for my “job”, I gave them my two weeks’ notice. I had escaped from average to awesome for the first time in my life.
I have learned two valuable lessons during this experience. The first was having an auto loan. The fear of not being able to pay off the loan kept me enslaved at a job I did not enjoy. The lesson learned here was to not owe anything to anyone. If you have debts, be it student loans, auto loans, credit cards, payday advances, ect., pay them off. Be free from debt. Debt is nothing more than modern day slavery placed in a friendly package. I worked a job not because I wanted to, but rather I had to. I currently do not have any debt other than a mortgage. Becoming free from debt made it easier for me to “punch fear in the face” and move my life to a better place called awesome.
The second lesson was not staying with a job when I could be in a career. I learned to “escape average, do work that matters” when I moved from one employer to another. As I have grown and matured, the definition of awesome has changed significantly. With the change of the definition so too have I changed my life. If you told me 15 years ago I would be living awesome in Kandahar, I would have asked you, “where?” Don’t ever settle for the average, pursue your own awesome. If you are having trouble with your own awesome, please read “Start” by Jon Acuff.