Screw You, I Quit!

Screw You, I Quit!

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Joshua Millburn.

Pay close attention, this story might be about you.

Once upon a time, there was a guy. This guy had it made. He was in his late twenties, he had a six-figure corporate job, he was well respected by his peers and subordinates and bosses at work, and he seemed passionate and friendly and outgoing and successful. He was living the corporate dream.

People saw his nice house with more bedrooms than inhabitants, his luxury car, his new gadgets, and his life of opulence and thought, I want to be like that guy. They saw all of those things—all of that superfluous stuff—and they just knew he was successful.

But he wasn’t successful at all. Maybe he was ostensibly successful—displaying his status symbols as if they were trophies—but he wasn’t actually successful. The people who envied his life didn’t see the other side, they didn’t see the life behind the curtain. He did a good job of masking his fear, his debt, his anxiety, his stress, his loneliness, his guilt, his depression. He displayed a impressive facade, revealing only what he thought the world wanted him to reveal.

A Life Without Happiness

Worst of all, he wasn’t happy with his life.

I know this story because I am that guy. Or at least I was that guy: Joshua Millburn, the unhappy young executive. And this is my story about why I quit my job to pursue my passions and live a meaningful life, and I’m going to show you how and why you should pursue your passions too, why you must live a meaningful life if you want to be happy.

This journey started because I was tired of not being happy, plain and simple. Yes, I had a “great” job by cultural standards. But working 70 to 80 hours per week for a corporation was not cutting it for me. Not that working for a company is inherently bad or evil or wrong, it’s not. In fact, I had a lot of mixed emotions about leaving my job. I love a lot of the people there, and there were a ton of things I enjoyed about the job itself: I enjoyed leading people, I enjoyed developing people and helping them see their true potential, and I got used to the comforts that the big salary afforded me.

But I was empty inside. I was not living a meaningful life, I was not fulfilled or satisfied, and I certainly was not free. That’s because I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do. I wasn’t pursuing my passions. I wasn’t living my mission.

Instead, I made six figures per year but got further into debt every time I got a pay raise. I was trying to buy happiness. I was trying to fill the void with things, attempting to give meaning to that which has no meaning.

And over the course of a year—in late 2009 and early 2010—my life came crashing down in front of me. It was as if I had no power over my life as it collapsed before my eyes. In 2009 my mother fell victim to cancer and I watched her die slowly and painfully as she battled it. Shortly thereafter, my marriage crumbled and it was completely my fault. During that time, my job became mundane and what I once thought was my mission in life became void of any meaning. And to top it off, my fiction writing—my true passion—halted. It was around that time that I stopped caring about life, and my mental and physical health deteriorated. I was flying in ever-diminishing circles.

It’s sad that it took that series of life-altering events to wake me up, to make me take massive action to become more free, to find meaning in my life.

In 2010 I stumbled across the concepts minimalism and simplicity and unstoppable passion. More specifically, I stumbled across a handful of blogs that opened a door in my mind and changed my life and led me to today (N.B. prior to discovering these blogs, I never even read blogs and thought they were generally a waste of time). I first discovered Paid to Exist as well as Everett Bogue’s, Joshua Becker’s, and Leo Babauta’s blogs via Twitter; I was intrigued by their stories, which lead me to other interesting sites.

All of these people had different stories and different perspectives on living a more meaningful life, and yet their fundamental message was the same: the stuff in your life is not going to make you happy, and there is another way to live your life, a way in which you can grow as a person and contribute to others in a meaningful way, a way in which you can be happy and fulfilled and passionate and free.

The life that these people were living was the life that I wanted to live—not that I wanted their lives, but I wanted the freedom that their lifestyles afforded them—so I adopted the principals of minimalism and applied them to my life. I got rid of unnecessary things so I could focus on what’s important in my life, so I could focus on relationships and pursuing my passions and living a meaningful life.

So, What Can You Do?

Great question. I’m so glad you asked.

First, you must identify your passions. This one is easy for some people, and you might already know the answer. If you do, that’s great.

Me? My Passion? I would write fiction. Hell, I would write fiction until my eyes fell out and my fingers were bleeding on my keyboard. Sound passionate enough?

What about you? What is your passion? Do you want to start a business? Do you want to teach children? Do you want to start a blog? Do you want to write a novel? Do you want to become a scientist? Do you want to travel the world?

Second, you must identify your mission in life. This one’s a little more tricky and even a bit philosophical. Sometimes, if you’re very lucky, your mission is the same thing as your passion, but it’s OK if it’s different too (it’s different for me).

Another way to look at this is to ask yourself, “What is the meaning of my life?” OK, I’ll admit, this is an extremely complex and abstruse question. The good news is that I’ve spent years thinking about it and helping other people with this same question (I led a large group of people for a long time and helped them understand their goals; I have a decade leadership under by belt).

So let’s remove the complexities of this question. Regardless of the answer’s specificity, the answer always revolves around two things:

  • Personal Growth
  • Contributing to Other People.

In other words, the meaning of my life is to grow as an individual and to contribute to other people in a meaningful way. And the good news is that you get to decide how you’re going to do both.

Growth. I grow in several ways, most notably:

  • Writing & Reading (mostly literary fiction) strengthens my mind and my craftsmanship, and it also strengthens my relationships because we have interesting topics to discuss.
  • Exercise (daily) strengthens my overall physical and mental health.
  • Relationships allow me to connect with others to get new ideas and learn more about myself through conversation.

Contribution. I contribute to others in several ways too:

  • Charity & Community Outreach. I donate my time to charitable organizations, I also organize larger teams to participate at local community outreach events.
  • Coaching and Mentoring. I help others when they are looking for direction.
  • Writing. Great writing contributes to readers in a special way. Great writing can connect with another person on a level that other forms of entertainment are incapable of doing.

How about you? In what ways do you grow? In what ways do you contribute? How would you like to grow and contribute? Make a list and pick your top three in each category. Focus on those, they are your mission.

Liberating Yet Terrifying

Once you do this—once you discover your passion and mission—it’s eye opening. It’s liberating, but it’s also terrifying.

It’s liberating because everything changes for you. You feel new and excited and free. Now you have something to focus on, and your life has a purpose, it has a meaning.

It’s terrifying because you realize that the life you’ve been living has been total bullshit, you realize that you must change, because if you don’t change then you’re essentially dead.

This might sound like hyperbole or exaggeration, but I assure you it’s not. It’s the cold truth. You are either living a meaningful life or you are dead inside.

Burn The Boat

You’ve most likely heard that little old parable before, the one in which the warriors arrive on the island and burn their boats so they are forced to stay and fight because they have no other alternative. They must fight and win or die trying. There’s no turning back.

On February 28, 2011, I burned my boat. That was my last day at my big corporate job. March 1, 2011, was my first day of freedom, the first day of my real life, my new life. This year I will focus on my passion (primarily writing) and on my mission (growth and contribution). I will publish my first novel AS A DECADE FADES towards the end of the year (my passion). I will publish content on our site that helps people change their lives (my passion and mission). I will spend a lot more time contributing to others through charity and mentoring (my mission). And I will help you if you need my help.

Burning your boat is also terrifying. You begin to think things like, What am I going to do for money? and What if I end up broke, will I be homeless? and What if I’m not successful at pursuing my passions? and What if I’m making a terrible mistake?

You will probably think all of these things—and many other things—at some point in time. I did. It’s natural. We’ve been conditioned to think this way. You are going against the status quo, and there is going to be some push back for it. Your friends might think you’re insane, your co-workers won’t understand, your family might think you’re lazy. So what! Those things don’t mean anything if you’re not pursuing your passions, if you’re not happy. Plus the Paid to Exist folks already showed you how to talk about this with your loved ones.

Burning your boat means that you must be successful: you are leaving yourself no options other than success. Nothing to fall back on, no safety net. You will find a way to succeed.

This doesn’t mean that you can live the same lifestyle that you lived before though. The house with the two extra guest bedrooms isn’t going to cut it. The $600 car payment isn’t going to cut it. Continuously buying stuff isn’t going to cut it. You will have to drastically adjust your lifestyle if you want to pursue your passions.

But I don’t have enough money to change my life, you might say. Really? Everett Bogue did it with just $3,000. He also wrote the book (literally) on how to make money with a Minimalist Business while pursuing your passions.

But I have a family and kids to take care of, you might say. Well, Joshua Becker has a wife and two children, but he is living his mission and is living a minimalist lifestyle.

No matter what excuse you have, there is a way around it. You know it’s true.

Screw You, I Quit!

The “screw you” here is a bit more subtle than it sounds. I didn’t barrel into by boss’s office and yell “screw you, I quit!” In fact, I had no desire to do so. My former boss is an amazing guy, one who taught me a lot about life.

So, my “screw you” is not to my former job.

Instead, my “screw you” here is to my old lifestyle, to my old life, to a life without meaning. I’m not just quitting a job—the job is not the point here—I’m quitting the life that I lived, and I’m committed to living a meaningful life, one in which I do what I love.

And you can do it too.

I didn’t quit with some big savings account to live off of for a while (the life I was living didn’t allow me to build up some sort of huge nest egg). But I took Jonathan’s advice, and I have enough money to live off of for a few months as a safety net, because I will live a simple life with few expenses. And you can do the same thing. You can refuse to be a slave to your current circumstances and to live a more meaningful life. You can pursue you passions.

That’s what I’m doing starting today. I refuse to be a slave to culture expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and status and perceived success. So, to my old life, I bid you farewell. Oh, and screw you, I quit!

About the Author: Joshua Millburn writes essays with Ryan Nicodemus about living a more meaningful life at The Minimalists. Hit the link to check out some of their essays. Follow on Twitter.

Follow a proven framework to earning a living from your passion

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photo courtesy of r’eyes

Comment & Add Your Voice

Bojan April 6, 2011 at 7:13 am

Inspiring story… I always watched my father, doing what you were doing. I never intended to get a “proper job”, and I am striving to fulfill my passion and I am doing a great job at it.

I am happy, knowing that I am doing something that will make me happy in the long run…


Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Good for you. Yes, it’s important to pursue our passions if we want to feel fulfilled. Sounds like you are taking action pursue yours.

Nate April 6, 2011 at 7:50 am

Congrats Joshua! I think a key message in your article is this:

Every situation is workable…and you need to start where you are

Limiting beliefs and stories we create can get in our way and prevent us from being happy.

I can’t do that b/c I have a family
It won’t work
I don’t have the time

It’s good to be aware of these thoughts and really question them. It’s wonderful to see that you rose above many of the doubts and fears you may have had (and heck, may still have) and went on with it anyway.



Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Exactly, every situation is workable, every situation is a starting point from which we can take action.

Kyle long February 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Hey so I should be a comedian and move to Austin?

Dandy April 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

Hi Joshua!
Thanks for sharing your story. It’s important that we define success and happiness for ourselves. The cultural definition doesn’t suit us all, especially those of us who yearn to take the road less traveled. Thanks again for the excellent post!


Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Bingo! Thanks for the compliment. Yes, success and happiness are measured internally, not with the stuff in our lives.

Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 9:08 am


Thanks for the opportunity to share this with the world. I appreciate it.

Joshua Millburn


Jonathan April 6, 2011 at 11:24 am

Thanks for contributing Joshua. It’s a pleasure to have you. I’m sure a lot of people will be inspired reading it.

Antonio June 13, 2014 at 9:19 am

Good afternoon Joshua,

I have to say, I can relate to your story. I’m about to turn 27 on the 19th of this month and I’m working towards becoming an executive at my job. I’m a hard worker so I’m willing to put in 70 – 90 hours a week. I keep telling myself that this is what I want. I want the big house, Nice suits, watches, suits, cars, and everything that comes with it. Want to have the freedom to treat my family and friends. As I read more stories of people like yourself. I start to realize I might be wasting my time in doing so. You have given lots of great information but for some reason, I’m still in limbo. If you have any other advise you can give. I would be very greatful.

Antonio M. Gonzalez

Tessa Zeng April 6, 2011 at 10:28 am

Reading Linchpin by Godin right now, and this touches on so many of those principles- lizard brain, leave yourself no backup- only in action. Glorious! Also, hi fellow novelist-in-the-works!


Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Hello fellow novelist :)

Yes, burning the boat was a big (difficult) decision, but was very important.

Radman April 6, 2011 at 10:59 am

I was wondering who took my notebook (daily writings/diary). I need it back! Never mind – I’m moving on. Enjoy.


Lee Knowlton April 6, 2011 at 11:34 am

Great post Joshua, you eloquently hit on a lot of things I’ve tried to put into words.

I’m coming from a different place having just graduated college but your advice is relevant and inspiring nonetheless.

I will definitely be reading more of your work and I’m sure it will help me on my own quest.


Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Thanks, Lee. I’m glad you enjoyed the essay and hope you’re pursuing your passions.

Rich Proctor April 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm

This is beautifully written.

I find myself in the middle of a similar transition myself. Your words have inspired me to summon the courage and continue the transition into more meaningful and fulfilling existence. The existence that I was created to live.

Thankfully I don’t have the high powered (and high paying) job to sacrifice, which makes it easier I think. I come from a dead-end job background (a fact that is a major component of my mission).

Thank you so much.


Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Yes, leaving a job I didn’t hate wasn’t easy (it was often comfortable), but I wanted to pursue what I’m passionate about. Thanks for the comment about my writing; I appreciate it.

Max Bronson April 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Hi Johshua,

This post inspires me to keep going. I am in the process of building my own business from home. I love being my own boss. It doesn’t mean it’s easy. In fact, it requires a hell of a lot of self-discipline to work without a boss. I don’t know if you’ve discovered this yet. :)

Anyway, I just want to encourage you to keep going and make sure you’re advancing everyday towards eventually being able to get a steady enough income from your writing and other ventures. I have a feeling you’ll succeed. :)


Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Thank you for your kind words, Max. I appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to comment too.

Walt Hampton April 6, 2011 at 5:28 pm

This is a spectacular piece. Both meaningful and practical. Thank you for exposing us to Joshua’s work. Walt


Joshua Millburn April 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Walt, thanks for the complimentary words. I appreciate them. And thank you for finding my work. Looking forward to interacting.

Leto April 6, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Your story is so eerily similar to mine, I feel a sort of giddy nausea. The six-figure salary, the impressive title, the massive debt, the passion for fiction writing and helping people. This is me.

Today I ran into three different people who all represent the change I need to make in my life. Completely random; one person I hadn’t seen in years. When I got home there in my email was yet another sign — and the words, “Screw you, I quit!” were like a miracle.

Joshua and Jonathan, you give me hope. Thank you.


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Outstanding! Good luck on your journey. Let me know if I can help.

Eric Chaump April 6, 2011 at 6:59 pm


I can’t begin to tell you how powerful this post was. It’s the story of a person, like myself, who looks at others and says, “Man I want to be just like him. With his fancy house and sports cars.” I’m 23 years old, have a good entry level job out of college, currently pursuing my MBA, and just bought a nice, small house with my Fiance. I’d like to think I’ve been pretty successful so far. But everyday, I can’t wait until I can be the guy with the REALLY nice house, nice cars, nice suits, nice…everything. But, I think you said it loud and clear, it’s not about the things. It’s about happiness; that’s what we’re all after. And like you said, “the stuff in your life is not going to make you happy.” Sounds like I need to rethink my mission in life. Thanks for the insight.



Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Eric, better to rethink it now than 10 years from now. Congrats for acknowledging this.

David (Edge of David) April 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Cool, I did the same thing back in 08 by leaving PwC. Great job, but I got burned out by the 70+ hour weeks. Seriously, who the hell wants to work from 815 in the morning to 11:30 at night for a client. Not me. Screw that :)


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm


Mirella April 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm

I just love it when a post pops up in your inbox at exactly the moment you need to read it most :)

I am transitioning away from “work” as we know it, with 2011 being the last year of “work” for me. What is surprising me most is the feelings of guilt and the thoughts of unworthiness that are currently plaguing me. Your advice that this sort of freaking out is natural when we oppose the status quo really clicked with me and was like a breathe of fresh air. So thank you :)

I’ve also been pondering how I will go about following my passions and organising them into a coherent way of life, and your advice on viewing them from the perspective of personal growth and also contribution will help me put this all together.

Loved it :)


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Glad that you found this at the right time. Yes, growth and contribution are the meaning for life for me. Try it and I bet it changes your perspective long term.

Sean M Kelly April 7, 2011 at 1:25 am

Hi Joshua

Great story. It’s amazing how we can capture so much of our lives in a few paragraphs yet while we’re going through all its challenges it can go on for years!

Your zest for life comes across greatly in your article. My father died in 1999 and after that I absolutely decided to invest more time nourishing what was truly important to me in my life. One was my music and now it has become a huge part of my life and brings me great peace.

Yesterday I bagpiped at a funeral and in those moments when I am playing for the deceased family, there is a deep connection with a greater consciousness and I know there is no place I’d rather be and nothing else I would rather be doing!

Carpe Dream!
Sean M Kelly
The Irish Inspirational Blogger & Musician


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Congrats on pursuing your musical passion. It makes life feel so much more fulfilling, doesn’t it?

Clarity April 7, 2011 at 3:25 am

“No matter what excuse you have, there is a way around it. You know it’s true.” Although I already know this certaintly a lesson I needed to learn.


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

It’s funny how we know a lot of things intuitively (or intellectually) but we have trouble acting on them emotionally.

Thanks for commenting.

Hans Hageman April 7, 2011 at 6:55 am

Congratulations, Joshua! The “burning your boat” piece is critical. I’m 53, married with several children and I left a six-figure position last year to maintain my integrity. It’s scary but I have no regrets.

I look forward to watching you on your journey.


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Hans, congrats to you. I’m looking forward to interacting with you as well.

Heather Dakota April 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

Since I’m standing on the edge looking over into the huge abyss of working for myself. This was a fantastic article and a huge inspiration.


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Heather, I’m glad it found you at the right time. Funny how things work sometime, eh? I’m also glad you found value in this essay. I hope I can add more value for you in the future.

Matt April 7, 2011 at 3:07 pm


you have me dreaming again, instead of settling. Thank you.


Joshua Millburn April 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Matt, WOW! What a great comment. Thank you, I’m flattered.

Justin | Mazzastick April 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm

That’s a very powerful story, I know where your coming from.

Many people make this discovery at one point in their life.Material things are nice but they will never cause you to feel content.


Joshua Millburn April 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Amen! Contentment is within us, not within our things.

Philip April 8, 2011 at 7:34 am

A very inspirational post, Joshua! Your story is really impressive, I don’t know a lot of people who would commit so fully to turning their lives around so completely. My road towards my passion has just begun, with graduate school applications coming up this winter. It’s inspiring to hear about such a headlong dive into the unknown in order to find the meaning in life. It really is so important that we care and feel passionate about what we do with our time, that we contribute something to the world, and so many people lose sight of that. For my part, I’ll try not to procrastinate so much along the way (grad school apps = not fun) to where I’m going, because I know that’s where I need to be!

Thanks again, and you’re a great writer. I just discovered your blog this week and have been exploring the archives, it has been a pleasure. Keep up the good work!


Joshua Millburn April 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thanks, Phil. I really appreciate the comment and the compliments. Good luck on your journey as well.

Zac April 9, 2011 at 7:09 am

Hi Joshua,

This is my first time commenting on this blog, although I found it over a year ago.

Like you, I never used to read blogs, and then as fate would have it I’ve found so many inspiring blogs 2 years later, with so much go advice and inspiration that I can’t keep up.

It’s funny how we’re all connected, and how many people can relate to your story.

My story is similar to yours. I left my corporate job after 5 years to pursue what I’m passionate about, and strive to live the kind of life that I want to lead, a life full of meaning, purpose and passion.

It has not been easy…but I feel more alive than ever, and I’ve started my blog, and I’m developing my writing…

Awesome post Thanks, it has inspired me to return here more often.


Joshua Millburn April 11, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Zac, thanks, man. Good luck with your journey and with pursuing your passions; it sounds like we have a similar story. Thanks for taking the time to leave your first comment here, I’m happy that I could elicit such a response. And you’re dead on: it’s about feeling alive, which pursuing your passions allows you to feel.

Kid April 10, 2011 at 10:19 am

This rings true with every person on the planet. Most people are on autopilot, just doing what they “think” they should be doing based on what others “think” they should be doing. It’s amazing when one realizes what their mission is, and aligns their life with that mission. It takes courage, but it’s worth it.

Material things can be very cool if aligned with your purpose. having “things” just to display status is a pathway to misery. It keeps one trapped and small.


Joshua Millburn April 11, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I totally agree. We can become a slave to our stuff without even knowing it. Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful comment.

Kim April 11, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Awesome. I am in the process of selling my stuff, quitting my job and setting off to travel the world. I have a great, well-paying, stable job. I own a house. I have everything I could want and more, but I’m not living my dream, which is to be a writer and travel the world. Your story (and mine) remind me of my favorite quote “If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”- Anna Quindlin


Joshua Millburn April 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Kim, that’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing. Best of luck on your journey. Congrats!

Cynthia April 12, 2011 at 12:35 am

Brilliant article, Joshua. I resonate so strongly with it. :) Thank you for writing it.


Joshua Millburn April 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

You’re welcome. And thank you for reading it. I appreciate it.

Kenjie April 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm

You inspire confidence in me…You have a beautiful heart,Sir…I can feel it!


Joshua Millburn April 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Kenjie, thank you. I’m glad you were inspired. I hope you take action as well.

Linda Wagner - Nutrition to Invigorate Mind, Body & Spirit April 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

Loved this article. This is EXACTLY what I did on Dec 11, 2010 and I’ve never looked back. My life is fuller, richer, and more gratifying than I could have imagined!


Joshua Millburn April 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Congrats. Sounds like we are certainly on the same page.

Jackie April 22, 2011 at 11:51 am


I am approaching 49 this year and some introspection and self reflection is going on for me.

I have been reading a LOT of stuff around finding your place in the world and so on.

No one has made the whole process as succint as you by bringing it down to 2 elements in the way you have.

Thank you so much for writing the article is is such a useful piece of writing.

My best wishes



Joshua Millburn April 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Thanks, Jackie. Good luck to you.

Gandhi April 27, 2011 at 2:48 am

Hi Joshua,
Excellent article. Very close to my thoughts.,
Couple of thoughts for the people who read this blog.,
* Don’t blame your employers for your inability to follow your dreams.
* The salary your are getting is not only for what you contribute to the organization., it is the cost of your dreams as well.


Joshua Millburn April 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Amen! Well said.

Michael April 30, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Amazing and inspiring article! Similarly, I said “Screw you, I quit!” on April 1st, 2011. It’s been an interesting month of adjustment for me but I am absolutely sure it was the right decision – no looking back now!


Andrew May 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Congratulations Joshua, wish you all the best. Our situations are a strangely similar.. (actually not so strangely, nearly everyone I know is in this boat!)

In regards to finding your passion, do you think that contributing to other people in a meaningful way (coaching, showing them how to be ‘free’) is a bit of a cop out in a ponzi scheme sense?


Joshua Millburn May 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

That’s interesting. I think it could be, depending on one’s motivation. That was the one aspect of my last job that I loved though. I was really good at it too (toots own horn).

I do see your point though, it becomes a bit of a double-bind to make money this way. Hopefully I offset it with enough charity work in my community.

Miles May 6, 2011 at 5:47 am

Great article!
side note: Colin Wright’s link is broken. :)


Joshua Millburn May 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Thanks, Miles. Good to hear from you.

AdelinaBadea August 20, 2011 at 3:41 am



spiritsentient November 12, 2011 at 10:34 am

Awesome post Joshua, and sentiments echo’d by myself and many more in these circles.

My story:

I quit my job with no safety net 6 years ago, and during those 6 years I poured my heart and soul into 8 unsustainable businesses.

(Jonathan + most others DO NOT recommend this path. Hell, I don’t even recommend this path, but it opened doors, and gave me the street cred and badges of honor I need to impact others lives in deep, far-reaching ways.)

All of my businesses were ‘failures’ (I have a guest post on this coming up soon for Danny Iny at FirePoleMarketing), there was ridiculous pressure to give up, but I ‘ve never looked back.

It was probably one of the ‘roughest rides’ ever, 6 years of mediocrity + hand-to-mouth living, but I took a lot from each experience, and have built a powerful, clear vision that resonates deep in my bones and an intense focus on SUCCESS.

I have invested tremendous energy in re-branding my entire LIFE in consistency with my vision + mission, and I’m very eager to share it with everyone.

Thanks for the inspiring stuff. You rock :)


deniseestewart January 30, 2012 at 8:08 am

Every time I read something by Joshua Fields Millburn, I walk away with a stronger resolve. He’s a constant source of inspiration as I continue on my own path to a more meaningful life. Thanks for a great post.


JoshuaLance1 January 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

Great article! I’m 40 and I am about to start the next chapter in my life next week by traveling to South Korea to teach English and pursue my art career. I sold my car, gave up many possessions and left New Mexico last month and moved in with my dad until I leave next week. I sold 9 paintings to someone on Ebay so that part is great, I just want to continue everything while I’m in Asia. It’s great to be inspired and be around inspiring people, keep up the good work.


jessica4stein March 3, 2012 at 10:14 am

Just stumble upon this one. You described exactly how I felt in 2009-2010 before I was laid off (voluntarily) with handsome severance.  I chose to walk out the door instead of hanging on because corporate life had no meaning to me anymore.  I didn’t hate my job, I didn’t love it either, although the paycheck was quite alright.  It was just pure boredom and I didn’t like the future me I was becoming… retired after 30 years of service… No No No. 
I spent almost two years doing nothing ;) just some travelling. Amazing time.  Now it’s time to find my passion. You’re absolutely right. Most difficult part. 
Best of luck for everyone.


choky April 27, 2013 at 5:03 pm

i have been 1.5 months after my resignation.
i am in between happy, afraid, and confuse what to do next.
i have dreams. big one.
but mercury poisoning kill almost all my energy. left me feel lethargic all the time.
also, i must quit in order to do some extensive mercury detoxification which is impossible to do when i am still at 95 work.

pahl February 17, 2014 at 1:56 pm

One important thing to remember and this is a BIG BIG thing, If you want to use probabilities and roll the dice, you can at 20-30 chuck it and move your life to something simple. People talk about cutting out cable, sell the house, sell the car but one thing pales in comparison by a HUGE margin, health care. You may be lucky and at 20-30 it may not seem important. But and this is a BIG BUT, you will need it one day and to even go without it at a young age is rolling the dice. A major illness or accident can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just a ride to emergency in an ambulance is about 3 thousand and you just got to the hospital. So, hospital bills will wipe out all your efforts in days and send you into crippling debt. Yes you can go without, yes they have to treat life threatening injuries. But treat is all they will do, once you are stabilized its out the door. If you get zapped without insurance you will lose everything and you can only file bankruptcy every 7 years. So the will grab every possessions worth anything for the rest of your life So before you leap, make sure the one bill, the most expensive over time you keep intact and live with.

Joanie Gutiennez September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

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Crizah April 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Wow! What a powerful one.
I found your blog last night when I am trying to search why I am not happy with my life .
And this morning when I opened my computer, I read this again…

After 2 hours, I am done writing my resignation.
I had a better pay here in Singapore than in Philippines, my job here is easier than before. But the meaning and fulfillment when I was in Philippines was greater than now. Why?, because I am doing what my heart’s long to do before. And thanks to your blog, I am now determined to bring back my old way of living.. simple..fulfilling and inline with my mission.. though, you’re right, it’s not not simple, cause my life here is far better than before. Anyway, I know it will take courage to do it.

Thanks Joshua, your name is really suited to your character.

God bless you more.!


Georgette April 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm

I think you have amazing strength and thank you for sharing your story so honestly. I am at the point of letting go what I think I’m “supposed to do” for what I am passionate about. I have my doubts and fears, but living with this feeling that I wasting this precious gift of life that goes so quickly is much is far more damaging. Really it’s letting go and realizing only you have the power to remain stagnant or make the first step.

I hope to foster the same amount of strength as you found within yourself to make the change. I hope this has helped so many people take the leap as I am afraid that in today’s world we have all cashed in our dreams for what “looks good”. It’s sad and perhaps what I want to contribute is to be a role. Odels for others to follow your dreams and not to settle. Be better for the right reasons.




Chelsea June 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I’m so happy I found this. I actually googled “I’m unhappy with my life” and your blog was one of the first sites to come up. I’m currently unsatisfied with my career and personal life, somewhat. I have always been an advocate of following your dreams and pursuing your passion, however sometimes I feel I should be more pragmatic in my career choice. For example, healthcare jobs seem stable (for now) and a lot of my friends are becoming nurses, trying to recruit me along the way. My background and passion is video production and editing, and as much as I’d like to pretend I’d enjoy having a lucrative nursing job, I know I’d hate it. I do want to move to an area with more opportunities for video professionals(my area has nothing and I’m freelancing), and my mother has given me a hard time about it(I’m 28, but she still pushes my buttons!) saying I’m taking a step backward because I will have to sell my condo and not have a secure job wherever I decide to go. I’m really looking forward to a “fresh start” in a new area, and I wish she’d be more supportive instead of negative. Reading this has helped reiterate the fact that this is MY life, and I’m the only one who can be responsible for my happiness. Thank you for writing!


Tom November 18, 2013 at 3:56 am

Great article, really enjoyed it.

I been wandering around ten years without a job until I’ve figured out that I am a writer! But the problem with writing is that, nobody needs my books in Lithuania, whatever – I started writing in English!

Doesn’t even matter in what language to write – if you’re good at it.

People kept judging my work, so I created myself a pseudonym – now nobody can judge my work and tell me what to write! :-)

Month ago I started a blog on smart and wise stuff for youth, and it’s a good experience – wonder what will happen few years later.


Kayden December 6, 2013 at 1:49 am

I’ve now been reading your work for around 3 hours straight. I truly feel as if I was meant to see this. I’m only 19, but through a series of unfortunate events, I have found that I just don’t know anymore. Plain and simple, I just don’t know. All of your articles and your good friends’ articles, they’ve helped me tremendously. You both are angels. Keep up the good work.


tiana December 7, 2013 at 3:32 am

Interesting post here.

What i read is that you are telling people that if they know what their passion is in life and they go do whatever they are passionate about, that good things will happen.

What you dont mention is the fact of only 1 in a million people who quit their jobs and go chase their passion actually suceed in earning an income. I am passionate about writing also but I am not earning any money from it. Honestly since I am so passionate about it, I dont care about the money. I have only 3000 views on my blog and I have been doing it for a while now. It doesnt matter to me since I am blogging for fun and since I love it.

You should have put something like find what you are passionate about and go for it but dont quit your day job just yet. Chances are you wont gain money quick. It takes time and effort


Jose February 20, 2014 at 10:28 am

I see this was posted a while back, but I hope someone can provide some input; although I think I am really looking for salvation – please feed something into my thinking that I can work with.
My decent job relocated two weeks ago (Feb 7, 2014), and I decided to not relocate and get the small severance pay (4 weeks worth of pay). It’s two weeks later, and I have no idea of what to do, I feel completely lost. The only thing I see happening is that I’m simply going to end up in another job that’s probably worse than where I was. I don’t know what my passion is, the idea even sounds naïve. I feel incredibly stupid for leaving the job, and frankly don’t know what to do. I even dialed the crisis hotline, but hung up before someone answered. Any help?


Tawsif February 21, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Hi Joshua,
I hope you read and reply to my post. It was really very inspiring. I am in the shoes which you were in in your “old life”. I finished my college and got into my dream school for grad studies. But soon I realized that is actually not my dream. Because I am not loving it. I am not happy. I want to do something meaningful in life. Help people. Make people smile. But I am still so young. With no money in my bank, I really don’t know what to do with my life.


martha Namulwana February 26, 2014 at 5:28 am

Hello Joshua

My name is Martha and i live in east africa, i have read your story and am absolutely inspired, i do love your courage and the fact that you persued your passion in life , i personally have a corporate job, i have worked for eight years now
and i would like to be able to literally define my day , decide what i want to do , rest when i want to rest , travel when i want to but it is simply impossible for now because i have to earn aliving and take care of children and extended family as well, i wish i could have the courage that you and ryan had and am hoping that one day i will get it, but my expenses and debt keep increasing everytime my salary increases , i have decided to give my self a maximum of 5years to get out debt , and to organise my self and then one day quit the corporate environment and take the plunge to persue my passion and spend more time with my family, its really hard to see it happen right now but with conscious focus i think iwill be able to do it, thanks for sharing your story .


Matt March 25, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Half the links in this article are broken, please fix as it’s frustrating to read.


Patricia April 23, 2015 at 6:56 am

What an incredibly gutsy move!! Not a lot of people can kiss a six-figure salary goodbye. Totally agree that one should aim for a meaningful life though. Will be reading some of your other posts. :)


Roy October 13, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Hi, inspiring write up! I am now at the verge of needing to make a lifetime decision i.e. to either accept or reject the voluntary separation scheme from my company. Honestly, I dont have much motivation to continue working but I am worried what if I dont have any income post quitting? I do not want to join another corporate job but I want to have a free life while I still need to pay off my monthly bills? whats your advice?


Snoochie Boochies July 8, 2016 at 12:23 pm

I just love stories of corporate widgets who turn back into human beings.

Congrats on getting out of the epic shitstorm that is the american workplace.

I went solo a few years ago. It was the best choice of all time.

I am not trying to maximize my business for profit. Rather I am balancing how much I nees to work to earn to pay bills and free time

Since I am really fucking good at what I do I have lots of free time. I might work 4 hours per day but will earn $500 that day. Also my work is time independent. I have deadlines but I can work at 3am if I want so most days I work from 5am to 10am and then I’m done

Every day is saturday mo fos.

Point is…. this is the life I wanted…. I worked for it and built it and now I am in my late 30s and will never look back.

Will I be a famous entrepreneur? Probably not. Will my wife and I pull down way more than enough to be in the top 5%? Yup.

Find your monetizable talent. Hone it until you are better than anyone else. Work your ass off finding clients. Find a couple high paying ones. Treat them like kings and queens. Collect the checks. Go in your hot tub at 1pm with a cocktail because you already worked a full day before lunch.

My advice…. if you HATE the cube, quit. Now. You have a limited amount of time on this planet. Stop wasting it doing things you hate with people you dont care about. Its not worth it no matter how much you earn. Eventually your soul will explode and your brain will cave in under the weight of your own self deception.

Good luck folks. To your success…


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