I recently read a little book in the hopes that it would provide some useful advice to boost my professional career. The book was called "Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity", by Hugh MacLeod. I hadn't heard from the author nor the book before, and I found it out of mere chance. It looked like an easy book to read, so I started reading it mostly out of curiosity, and not expecting to get too much out of it. However, I found one of the most insightful and simple theories, one that finally allowed me to peacefully accept the life I am presently living and finally pushed me to start this blog. The theory was called "The Sex and Cash Theory".
The millennial mindset
Social media has convinced us all that the only way to be happy is to "do what you love" all the time. Because all we see when we look around is people living "perfect" lives, we are led to believe that any other way of living than that which we see from our peers online is invalid, and will inevitably lead to sadness. The millennial way of living is one that is characterized by a lack of stability, a lack of responsibility and a lack of commitment, as natural consequences of the pursuit of absolute freedom. I found myself believing that anything other than writing for a living, making massive amounts of money and travelling freely to write wherever and whenever I pleased would be a failure and would make me unhappy. You can extrapolate this to your own life, and I'm certain that you have thought something along those lines at one point or another. It's good to have goals, and it's good to imagine the life that you want to live, but this becomes a negative thing when it comes as a result of empty commparisons fueled by social media and by a culture that never tells us that it's okay to live a traditional way of life, in which you have a regular job, a regular family and a normal amount of money. As Tyler Durden, from the classic novel Fight Club says: "We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off." Yeah, we´re pissed off, because we have been convinced by empty promises, we've been convinced that we are all outliers and should be living a perfect life, where we do what we want all the time, and we are told that if we don't, we won't be truly happy and fulfilled. That's a lie, and it's a dangerous one, and I am certain that the rates of depression in young people have something to do with that fact.
"We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off."
There's another option, and one that the so-called sex and cash theory makes possible. The theory states that, in order to be truly creative and to be able to have an honest and successful creative project, the optimal thing is to not depend on it financially. The reason why it's called the Sex and Cash theory is because it suggests that one should have two jobs: one that gives you cash, pays the bills and isn't too exciting, and one that is "sexy" and fun (I recommend that you read the book for a more detailed explanation). What this means is that, you can engage in fulfilling creative projects (writing, painting, photography, music) while maintaining a traditional job to pay your bills and finance your creative work. Only then will you truly create from the heart, as you won't be limited by the commercial aspect of your creative project. For example, I have this blog, and I want it to grow and reach more people, but I don't depend on it. For that reason I can be truly honest and open. I don't "need" this blog to survive. If I depended on it, I probably wouldn't love writing on it as much as I do right now and I would be forced to be more politically correct and write about things that sell, not about the things that I truly want to write about.
This theory is amazing for 2 reasons: one, it allows anyone to be truly creative and honest by not depending financially on their creative endeavor, and two, it helps us realize that a regular life with a regular job can also be a fulfilling life, one that allows for the creation of beauty through any art that you choose.
For example, I have this blog, and I want it to grow and reach more people, but I don't depend on it. For that reason I can be truly honest and open. I don't "need" this blog to survive.
Forget about all those financial gurus, IG influencers and fake "life-coaches". You CAN be perfectly happy while living a regular life, having a regular job and working 9 to 5. Trust me on that. It IS acceptable to work a normal job and then go home and work on your creative project. The freedom that you will feel while creating without having to worry about it paying the bills will be mind blowing. The difference between engaging in something because you like it and believe in it and engaging in something because you are convinced that the only acceptable path is to "do what you love" for a living are night and day. If you have a regular job, keep it. It will finance your creative projects and keep your feet on the earth, while also providing you opportunities to grow, know people and experience different things. And then go home and create freely!