Those realities hit me hard when I turned 30.
One reason was because I saw others my age with similar skills getting rich.
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The message: Anyone who isn’t a millionaire by 30 is either lazy or stupid.
I’ve never been the smartest, but I’m definitely not stupid.
So was I lazy in my 20s?
Nope, I actually worked really hard.
I went from a tier-1 IT help desk attendant (”Have you tried restarting it?”) to a senior software engineer. During my free-time, I created 3 apps, 1 book, 4 communities, a blog, a YouTube channel, a newsletter, and a podcast.
Damn, so I wasted my intellect and hard work for a whole decade?
If my bank account is a sufficient reflection of my work’s value, then yes.
Of course, there are other benefits from work other than money.
But I couldn’t remember all of those things as easily, so I looked at every one of free-time projects and extracted the non-financial benefits I got from them.
You can read all the details about my projects here, but the TL;DR is that while all my hard work didn’t make me wealthy, it did give me skills, relationships, confidence, and knowledge about what makes me happy. Money is cool, but so are those things.
If you’re not a 20-year-old millionaire, here’s your reminder:
Wealth isn’t the only meaningful output of hard work. Don’t discredit the other ways your ambition has helped you.