You don’t need to retire to do what you want – What is holding people back though?

by yiye

I had a lunch with a friend in the city last week. He is young, bright and doing extremely well at his job. But like many other city workers, he feels stuck and loves moaning.

“I can’t take this anymore, I really want to retire!!”

“What are you going to do once you are retired?” I was curious.

“So that I can enjoy my life properly”

“OK, talking about enjoyment. If you have say 1 hour freedom, what’s your ideal way to spend this hour?”

He was stunned, and his facial expression suggested that he wondered how I could ask such a stupid and irrelevant question. But the thing moaners won’t realise is that even if they have the world of time and resource, they still won’t be able to enjoy themselves. If one doesn’t know how to enjoy one hour, how could s/he enjoy one day, one week and possibly the rest of the life?

It is a lot easier for us to moan than find out what we want. But he thought that he knew what he wanted, “money, I just want a lot of money, why can’t I get a lot money?!’

I asked him to define “a lot” money. He couldn’t give me an answer.

I was still curious, “so assume you are retired now with “a lot” of money. What would you rather do now?’

After a few seconds he came up with an answer, “play golf”

“Great – is that what makes you happy?”


“Then perhaps you don’t have to wait until you are retired. How about now? This weekend?”

“Yeah but….”

He was not comfortable talking to me on this anymore. I respected that and decided to shut up. The decision of what he is going to do with himself has to come from within, no matter how much others nudge him. We are all a bit like that, and who am I to judge him.

I am still curious though. I am not a golfer, but it doesn’t take me to be a golfer to know that you don’t actually need a million to play golf. You don’t need to quit your job. You don’t need to go to the other side of the world either.

If he could convince himself to drive straight to the golf course, he’d be a lot happier and lighter that week. And that happiness will, for sure, accumulate as the time goes by.

We can all think and imagine however we want our lives to be, but if we take no actions, we will stuck in the same old pattern and be in the same old rat race.

So what is holding a lot people back? I don’t want to just say laziness – that will show how lazy my thinking is.

It can’t be fears, right? In particular, for taking a small hobby. It doesn’t require too much change in your daily life at all.

Is that due to the upbringing that only working is ethical and playing is bad?

Or is that because once you are in a mentality, it is almost impossible to stop or change direction, until something relatively big hits you? That was what used to hold me back. Several years ago I could make a long list of things that I wanted to do but never take any actions. I worked long hours, I didn’t like it, I moaned and moaned but never did anything about it. Until a restructuring was announced, it definitely served as a big kick in my butt – I eventually started to turn my life into the direction I always wanted. However, is it something “big” happening the only way for us to learn? I really hope not. We should all have the rights to take our lessons as steadily and cheerfully as we want to.(TBC)

Enjoy this post? Check out my e-course & learn how to remove your self-doubt.

yiye zhang, how to remove your self-doubt

Previous post:

Next post: