I’ve said this phrase so many times in my life (and shared it with others) that I’m shocked that I haven’t actually every written it down here on my blog.
Well, today’s the day I suppose.
The reason that I do what I do is because I simply want to have full discretion of my time, my schedule, and ultimately my life.
I, like you, want to be as much in control of the scarce resources that I have so that I can have the most purpose-driven, value-filled existence imaginable.
It is the ability to say “no” at-will and the ability to decide what I can and won’t do. This extends throughout everything in life from my relationships to my relaxation to my professional decisions and to my vocation.
This is why entrepreneurship and building my own projects and companies is really the only lifestyle that could possibly make me happy because it maximizes my discretionary bandwidth.
But don’t get it twisted… if there was any other way to achieve full professional discretion I would not be an entrepreneur and I would not be in the business of early-stage company building.
Why? Because it’s so fucking hard. The physical requirements are the “easiest” to manage and appreciate but it’s the psychological and emotional cost that have literally taken people’s lives.
I know because a previous startup almost took my own. I didn’t share it then as candidly as I share it now, but, that period of my life was one of the darkest and it was almost the end of me, quite literally.
So if there was any other legitimate way to gain full discretion of my time, at least professionally, then I’d do it. But, there just isn’t.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t have guardrails or systems that govern my decision making. Clearly, being a father and husband require me to “obey the law” more often than not and to sacrifice my own desires for the greater good.
But I still have the power and free decision and latitude to decide and that makes my submission to those systems even more sweeter and more profound.
A similar system is in place for my spiritual life and my faith. There is an over-arching governance that allows tension to be managed and overall health to be fully achieved.
Finally, when one has full discretion of his or her time it radically simplifies their life. Why? Because for most decisions, both great and significant as well as the more small and potentially superficial… all you need to do is answer a very simple question:
Does this reduce discretion or increase it?
If the answer is the former then it’s a hard (and easy) pass. If it’s the latter then you can greenlight it without looking back (as long as time, energy, and interest allows it).
My decision-making matrix is pathetically simple and yet masterfully designed. Speed of decision making is a direct and positive outcause as well, mind you.
I have spent my entire adult life working towards having full discretion of my time and once I achieved it and have tasted it’s glorious nectar I simply cannot go back – it would be a prison of the mind and shackles on my heart and soul.
I want to be able to work with who I want to work with, love and relate to those who I want to relate to, and pursue the curiosities that I have about this world unfettered.
I think my best work is yet to come.
Also published on Medium.