Next time you’re at your job, ask yourself: do you want to be there? Did you choose to go to a murky office every day and sit still for 8 hours? Did you choose to spend your whole day being yelled at by customers or your boss? Did you simply choose to trade the majority of your time on this planet for a little bit of pay at the end of every month? Or did you do it because it just kind of happened? Did you see that job ad and think “hey, at least I won’t be a garbage man”. Have you ever asked why it has to be like this? Have you wondered why you need that money in the first place?

These are questions most people never ask. People stay in jobs they hate for many reasons, but for most part it’s because they’ve trapped themselves in a consumer-debt-job-dependence cycle. That is when we let our consumer cravings control us, and we take on debt to get what we want. To keep repaying debt, just enough so that we can take on more when we want something new, we become dependent on jobs that we don’t like. And when we spend our day at a place we hate, we feel we need more things to fill the void.

And so the cycle goes on.

There are many books written on this topic. I recommend starting with the classic Your Money or Your Life by Vicky Robin, to get perspective on the role of money in our lives.

But I’m surfing away on a tangent here. What this post is about is not how to get out of the hamster wheel. It’s about doing what you want more often.

The consumer-debt cycle is just an example of getting stuck in a pattern long enough to start taking it for granted. As time goes by you stop thinking that there are other options. The same goes for relationships. Our friends that we’ve kept around since high-school that we keep hanging out with even though we have nothing in common with anymore, and who make us do stupid shit every time we see them.

How to get out

Go through your day. When are you waking up? What is the first thing you do then? What do you eat for breakfast? Do you eat breakfast? Do you shower? Do you have a job? How are you getting there? When are you getting there? What do you do there? And so on.

When you have all the intricate details of your typical work day, go through everything again, and at every activity, ask yourself three questions:

  1. What purpose is this activity fulfilling?
  2. Do I enjoy doing this activity/do I want to keep doing this?
  3. Can the purpose of the activity be fulfilled in another way?


Let’s say you wake up at six every day. The purpose of that is to get to work on time (question 1). But when you think about it, you hate waking up at six. You feel slower and more unproductive in the morning, and you love sleeping. You’d prefer being able to sleep to at least eight every day (question 2). You realize that there are millions of ways to change the original purpose of getting to work on time (question 3). These include:

  • Taking a shower in the evening the day before (20 minutes)
  • Skipping breakfast (20 minutes)
  • Going to sleep earlier (hours)
  • Asking your boss to start and finish your job later
  • Saving up money to quit your job long enough to find something better and more suited to your sleep requirements

After doing this for every activity, you quickly realize that most of the activities you take for granted every day are not necessary. There is always an option. And in most cases, that other option is better suited and more enjoyable for you. That is because you have now actively designed how to spend your day. Before you just kept on with routines you’ve fallen into most likely by accident. But now, after taking a closer look at every detail of your life, you are doing what you want.

There are aspects of your life that are hard to change. It’d hard to quit your job when you are in debt and have four kids. But you can always change something. Here’s a great way to start no matter what situation you’re in:


The key is to keep asking yourself: Do I want this?

This article was originally posted on

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