You have to pay your dues.
It’s the dreaded cliché that we all hate hearing, but even more so for Millennial creatives with highly ambitious goals and authentic values. It seems like older generations (along with some fellow Millennials who share the same mindset) are always looking criticize ambitious yet unconventional people for being “ungrateful,” even though starting at the bottom of the ladder in any career path can be tedious at best and demoralizing at worst. Although it’s important to gain experience from at least one service job to witness the sobering reality of how millions of Americans live and work, no one has the right to guilt-trip you into staying there for prolonged periods of time, especially when you can identify what you want out of life, and you’re highly motivated to build your own empire instead of wasting your life away at the bottom of someone else’s. Because the truth is, there’s nothing worse for you than externalizing your own power.
If you’re an extremely ambitious person, here are the common struggles you’re probably familiar with when your day-to-day life revolves around paying your dues:
1. You don’t feel valued for who you really are.
You hate having to put up an overly enthusiastic front when performing menial tasks, even when you feel like you’re dying inside and wasting your life away doing something that really has no impact on the future, in contrast to all the ambitious things that you have the potential to do.
2. You resent those in authority.
Especially those who are Baby Boomers and never seem to recognize the hard work you put into something you could care less about. Yes, there are some Millennial slackers who live up to the “lazy, entitled Millennial” stereotype, but as a highly ambitious person, you aren’t one of them – still, you’re criticized for not meeting their ridiculously high expectations for duties that ultimately don’t add any significance to people’s lives.
3. The longer you keep paying your dues, the more constrained you feel.
You’d rather do so much more than just the same trivial things. Repeatedly doing monotonous tasks can make you feel extremely constrained and doubting your own abilities because you’re not able to utilize your full potential or do more of what you care about. The more time you spend trying to meet others’ expectations, the less time you have to meet your own.
4. You keep losing faith in your own power.
When you’re feeling stuck in a lowly position, you start to believe that there isn’t much hope for you, and you’ll have to keep working hard to prove that you are a hard worker, but this sends you into a downward spiral of neglect and self-sabotage because you’re working hard at the things that are wrong for you, which in turn makes you constantly doubt your power to turn your life around. You always worry that what you do is “never enough,” and you fear that you could never prove yourself worthy to those who have power over you.
5. You feel so envious of those who are “ahead of you.”
You don’t despise how others are living their dream lives without having to pay their dues. You don’t even think life is supposed to be about “being better” or “ahead” of others because you know your life is not a competition. Rather, you hate how you keep caving into the external pressure to let your own important things fall by the wayside, and you’re resentful of how much you put up with the daily grind without gaining anything that would set you up for long-term success. Your issue isn’t about other people having more, it’s about you not allowing yourself to go after what you know is a better fit for you.
6. You constantly feel guilty and believe in all the lies about your character.
Whenever you express any form of dissatisfaction, no matter how subtle, you’re chronically worried about how others would take it – that they might judge you for being lazy, entitled, or ungrateful. You feel guilty for wanting more in life than just scraping by, and this deep-rooted guilt causes you to believe that you’re lacking in character and that nothing you do will ever be enough to prove that you deserve a life driven by your own inner power.
7. You see your life as pointless drudgery.
You aren’t at all against hard work or putting in your 10,000 hours to develop a skill you really want to get better at without anyone applauding you for it. However, when you do work that has absolutely nothing to do with your long-term goals and isn’t in alignment with your true values, you see your life as pointless drudgery. You can’t wrap your mind around why people keep telling you that you need to put yourself through all this just because they think you’re “not old or wise enough” to pursue what’s best for you. This is because your beliefs are different – you know that maturity doesn’t correlate with age, that intense suffering doesn’t automatically translate into better character, and that you don’t need to fill your life with pointless activities to prove your value to someone who’s going to keep looking down on your efforts anyway.
You’d rather work smart than work super hard without gaining any results. You want relevant experiences and not waste your time on anything else. You believe that being ingenious is far better than being mindlessly obedient. You want nothing more than to prove to yourself that you can be ambitious in your own right, not by anybody else’s rules.