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Do you know what I think is crazy?

“People look at me like I’m an insane person. Do you know what I think is crazy? Waking up at 6am, eating breakfast, getting in a car and sitting in traffic for an hour on your way to work, sitting in a box for eight hours, sitting in traffic on your way home, eating dinner in front of the TV and then going to sleep. Then repeating that process for the next 60 years of your life until you retire and then die.
I think that’s completely and utterly insane.” – Jebb Corliss

Discuss…

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Comments

  1. Hi Al – I’m sad to say that I spent 13 years doing exactly that after Uni before I escaped last year for the author-entrepreneur life.

    When I look back and question how it happened, I can trace it to a couple of things:
    * Being the eldest child and always rewarded for doing the ‘good’ thing by parents whose idea of life was safe job, safe income – therefore, it was always an expectation that I unquestioningly fulfilled
    * Having student loan debt I wanted to pay off fast – so I took a consulting job as that was so well paid
    * Then being trapped into the golden handcuffs of being well-paid – a cycle that’s hard to break
    * I did leave consulting multiple times to travel and contract – but I always went back to pay the bills.

    After a number of years, you think that is normal. That’s reality. For a few months after I left the day job I suffered anxiety at losing the safety of it. Now I know I couldn’t go back.

    So maybe spare a little thought for those who are trapped in that way of life. It’s easy to end up that way and does take some courage to leave it 🙂
    Your adventures give us a vicarious escape!

    Reply
    • nicely said +1!
      I once was trapped in the golden handcuffs of a consultant, too! and I was so proud of having money in my younger age. Almost 10 years ago I escaped, went back to university, did smaller jobs which are easier to quit, and the most important: learned to live on (much) less money – so I’m free. 🙂

      Reply
      • Downsizing was definitely part of my route out. We moved from a 4 bed house, car and all the trappings to 1 bed flat, no car and practically no furniture or belongings. It’s amazing how much lowering your costs can totally free your mind and creativity.

        I think the trap comes from falling into the expectations of others that become what you think you have to do. Another example is having children. It is one of the expectations of society for everyone – i would say especially women 🙂 Deciding not to have them for freedom of lifestyle reasons goes against what society expects. But it sure helps for the downsizing!

        Reply
        • .. reminds me of double contingency or expectations of expectations (“Erwartungserwartung” in german) 😉

          Reply
  2. Waking up at 6am – GOOD
    Eating breakfast – GOOD
    Getting in a car and sitting in traffic for an hour on your way to work – BAD
    Sitting in a box for eight hours – whether this is good or bad all depends on the content of that 8 hours. Does it consist of something personally and socially worthwhile? Is it making others’ lives better, while giving you satisfaction in the long run?
    Sitting in traffic on your way home – BAD
    Eating dinner in front of the TV – BAD
    Going to sleep – GOOD

    Swap out the driving to work and the spending one’s time in front of a TV, and you’ve actually got a perfectly fulfilling life.

    Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more Rob, fulfilment is the key and if one is happy and fulfilled in one’s work, brilliant! It doesn’t matter what that work is. Better though that that work contributes something to society: I do happen to think BASE jumpers are crazy but they are contributing to humanity’s overall experience. And technology, those flying suits have come on enormously over the last few years.

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  3. I get his point though.

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  4. Rob – completely agree! Its all about what happens in that 8 hours. Its all about fulfillment

    Reply
  5. Angela Posted

    Yep, I agree with Rob. It’s not an all-or-nothing matter, but Jeb makes it seem so (probably for the sake of hyperbole). There are many possible variations and modifications of the 9-to-5 lifestyle. Some people may blindly fall into it, but many others choose it with eyes open, for valid reasons and with a good bit of life-work balance built in to keep them grounded and vital.

    Reply
  6. Graeme Posted

    I also don’t think it’s the routine itself that’s the issue. With enough motivation you can find ways to deal with that (run at lunch, cycle to work, read on the train etc.). The problem is when the job stops being fulfilling, you start to really notice the routine, but it’s not the real problem.

    Not much different from a bike tour. You only notice the routine on hard or rainy days or when you need a rest. A fulfilling job/purpose is a sunny day with a tailwind.

    Reply
  7. I completely and wholeheartedly agree with this statement, thus the reason I’ve decided to forgo any odd sort of career and focus on traveling forever.

    In all honesty, I’ve tried to encourage my friends to do the same. I’ve told them tie and again that life isn’t worth living unless you are doing something you enjoy, and as a result I’ve got a few to reconsider the choices they’ve made.

    Reply
  8. All humans have the same set of feelings and needs. I think its a case of which ones you listen to most and act upon. Theres always a battle between comfort/new experiences, routine/spontaneity and long term/short term needs.

    As animals we have natural instincts to stay safe, eat, sleep, reproduce and everything is about survival…On the other hand we have wondering minds that crave experiences, knowledge, beautiful sights sounds tastes etc etc.

    I think Jeb hilights the importance of making decisions and taking control over your own life. All decisions have an opportunity cost but i think Jeb is quite rightly saying be honest with yourself and listen to your needs and desires; dont be afraid to forge the life you want and be the person you want yourself to be!

    Reply
  9. Jebb jumps out of planes, oh wow, what a contribution to the world, what a guy!

    Reply
  10. But, on the other hand, it doesn’t often happen that on your way to work you basically destroy half of your body as he did while flying a bit too low on the table top mountain above Capetown…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB6TuHwLg0w

    Reply
  11. Jamie Posted

    Have the wisdom to see your lack of wisdom, the open mindedness to see your narrow mindedness. My thoughts are that neither 9 to 5 nor mountain jumping is itrinsically better one than the other and no-one who does one should absolutely condemn the other.

    The “grinding the crack” (is that innuendo a way of saying he is showing off what a man he is for doing this) video is very cool and nicely shot. Although of course for 1 minute of flight you probably had days or weeks of preparation. That is the problem with this kind of thing. In the future I can see this kind of thing steadily becoming cheaper, easier and more common place.

    Reply
  12. Great post. I feel that the most important thing is that you feel fulfilled by what you are doing. Anybody who is doing something they love and finds it purposeful/meaningful, even if it is a 1 min wing suit flight, is contributing value to the world. Whilst I don’t get too elated by what Jeb is doing, I respect it and feel that he is contributing to a common pool of encouraging a self-actualised life and following your heart. I wouldn’t have the inspiration or motivation to be doing/planning things if it weren’t for others around me and those in past history who have also done the same.

    I’ve personally found that doing something you don’t enjoy or don’t find meaningful can have a big knock-on effect to your psyche, which then spirals out poisoning close relationships and making poor decisions, all because you’re bitter and angry at your self. It’s a harsh and maybe overly personal example, but the lesson I’ve learned is ‘within reason (and without hurting others) do your damned best to do exactly what you want/need to do in your life because you’ll be a better/healthier person for it’. Right… end of the rambling here!

    Reply
  13. matty p Posted

    love the sentiments here and agree to an extent. like many ‘free’ ideas of this ilk though, there’s one situation that is strangely never mentioned : having nippers! like prob a lot of readers of this site, i’m in my 30s, and now have 2 little kids, which in its own way is as great an adventure as walking naked thru columbia. it would be easy to glibly say, take ’em with you, but get real, that’s not gonna happen! so for some people, a more ‘routine’ existence is a necessity, although think i’m lucky to achieve a good life/work balance. also see this as more of an opportunity to get to know all the nooks and crannies of great britain etc
    ….. great site and great work tho’!

    Reply
  14. Charles Lindbergh wrote that he would find it acceptable if he got ten good years of flying in before dying in a crash, and went on to make quite an impact on the world (though never without controversy).

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  15. Daphne Posted

    “How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so? ”
    ― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

    Reply

 
 

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