In the T.E. Lawrence translation of Homer’s Odyssey, there is a passage that contains:
..to destroy for meat the oxen of the most exalted Sun.
I’ll admit this is one of the few passages I actually understand, but I also needed Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art to help me. He explained what that phrase means:
That’s the felony that calls down soul-destruction: the employment of the sacred for profane means. Prostitution. Selling out.
I believe that selling out can be a major source of unhappiness in your life, or as Homer put it, soul destroying.
In my twenties I had a job as a technical team leader for an ASX listed software company. I was learning a lot, was very good at what I did, was paid well, and respected by my peers.
I just couldn’t shake that nagging feeling of unhappiness though, no matter how much I immersed myself in work. I knew that I was selling out, but didn’t have the courage to make that first baby step on my own entrepreneurial path. The decision to make a change was also made more difficult because my boss and the company chairman were also very supportive of my work and encouraged my further development in the company.
Once I started my first venture – RamCity, then that feeling of selling out just melted away. It didn’t matter to me if I went broke trying. What mattered was that I had started down the road of being self-employed and creating my own enterprise.
If you can relate, then consider that it’s never too late to make a major change in your life or career, no matter how much you’ve invested so far.
Harrison Ford worked as a carpenter for 15 years before landing his first major acting role in American Graffiti.
Martha Stewart was a full time model until age 25, then spent 5 years working as a stockbroker before turning her love of gourmet cooking into what she is now.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her prolific painting career in earnest at the ripe old age of 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million. She lived a large part of her life as a housekeeper and farm labourer, but produced an astounding 1500 canvasses in her final thirty years.
We all know the story of Colonel Sanders who first franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 62.
The point is, it’s never too late to make a change.
Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken, sums it up for me:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.