Popular ideas are only useful if you want only to be normal. If you want only to live an average life, conventional wisdom is all you need. If you want an exceptional life, you need to innovate and think differently.
Back when I graduated from Business School and went to work in the corporate world, I was young enough, foolish enough, and brainwashed enough to live according to all of the popular ideas. I hated the 9 to 5 but thought it was inevitable. I watched TV at night. I had no real hobbies. As painful and unnatural as it was for me, I tried so hard to fit-in. I tried to believe what I was told and any deviation of thought or action only went so far as being still appropriate. I failed on that path.
Somehow radical ideas never leave me alone. The problem I've always had is that, when an idea makes sense, when it is true, or when it works to achieve a desired result; I would always toss out what was popular in order to embrace what was better.
I'm not just talking about political ideas or opinions. I'm talking about ideas for life. I know that it is supposed to be cool not to care about money, but I think that's foolish. Everybody knows that life is hard when you're worried about money. Furthermore, lack of resources is the most common obstacle that intelligent, brilliant people have in reaching their fullest potential.
I've done Sales for a living for my whole career. I sell very expensive software solutions to large corporations. But I don't sell in the way that everybody else sells. Over the years, I came up with a specific process that allows me to get 10X the result of my colleagues in something like 2 hours per day. In the early days, I even told my colleagues about it. But they didn't do it because my approach wasn't normal. So I just shut up about it and did it my way. Then, during the other 6 hours of the workday, I would sit in my corporate prison and browse the web.
In 2005 I decided that I could no longer tolerate wasting my days in the cube. I told my boss I would be working remotely and that, if he didn't agree, we could part ways. Oh, and by "working remotely" I mean moving from Seattle to Slovakia. My boss agreed because they needed to continue getting the results I was getting. Huge life lesson: deliver value to people and they will pay you even as you get what you want out of the situation.
It isn't unusual to dream of traveling the world or living abroad. To do it, most people teach languages, work in bars or restaurants, and do whatever it takes to scrape by because it is normal to believe that this is the trade-off one must make. That's one way to do it and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. But there are others ways. Other people believe that they have to first have a million dollars in the savings account before they can take such a risk (in other words, they never do it at all). What I figured out is that all I needed was a modest amount in savings (a year's income) and, more importantly, cash-flow.
Cash-flow is what made it possible for me to live for a month in Cannes, Barcelona, and Paris. I've travelled to dozens of European countries, and gone back to the US at least once a year. More importantly; rather than wasting my time in the cube and in the commute, I've spent 8 years with enough free time to chase my passions. When I moved to Europe, I had never written a song, had never performed live...actually I wasn't a musician. What made all of it possible was the unconventional, highly-effective approach I took to my career.
Aside from traveling, writing, and recording and performing music, I've met so many amazing people. I get to spend each day with my wife, we own a home in Europe, and now we are proud parents of a 3-year-old daughter.
But actually there's nothing special or unique about me. Anything you want can be done. But you have to let go of popular ideas. Popular ideas about health will make you sick. Popular ideas about nutrition will make you fat. Popular ideas about marriage will bore you to the point of divorce. Popular ideas about art will make you boring. Popular ideas about work will make you a miserable slave.
Anybody can have or do whatever they want in life. But you're not going to do it with popular ideas. There are other ideas -- better ideas that are more effective and more true -- which I want to start to start sharing with you in an honest, open way. Whenever I find the time, I will get very specific and post ideas that I know will help you.