The Life & Money Trap: Breaking the Mould of Expectations


Dangerous Expectations in the Beginning

The minute you are born you begin to learn all that the world has to offer us as the human race. You start out learning some of the most basic human functions and then as the years roll on you have choices to make and different directions that you can take in your life. Some directions you take will shape your entire existence and map out a blueprint for the way in which you live out the rest of your days.

9-5 expectations

What we have seen in modern times, especially in western countries, is that many of us are raised with only limited choices provided to us yet massive amounts of expectations to follow a particular path in life. These expectations that I talk about generally revolve around your parents telling you to go to school and get good grades so that you can graduate and get into a college and start your tertiary education. You are encouraged to graduate from college with great results so that you can then apply to get the best job possible.

Now when we refer to the “best” job, we, or actually your parents and others believe that such a job would be one which is with a reputable company that is able to offer you stable employment with a good wage for a long time.

Pinstripe Prison

escape the pinstripe prison

So well done you have landed the “best” job possible and now you are in your mid to late 20’s and working the grind as a graduate (aka shit kicker). You once again go back to the bottom of the ladder and begin the long arduous career climb. After several years in the job you will begin to learn more, gain more experience and get more respect from your bosses and colleagues.

But make no mistake about it you will be putting in the hard yards, early mornings, late nights and even weekend work.


Thats not what you signed up for?

Well listen up and listen good, if you do not aim up and put in the long hard hours when “expected” and required then you will simply fall by the wayside. Other rats in the ranks will happily trample all over you to get ahead on the corporate ladder.

Ultimately, what you are “becoming” is a small cog in a big machine. Remember this point about what you are becoming because later in this blog post we will discuss just how important the concept of “becoming” really is.

If you aim up and perform as required then your “best” job will be safe and your weekly pay check will be secured. So I hope your enjoying the big machine because its going to be a long 30-40 years of it ahead for you.

Golden Handcuffs

Golden Handcuffs

Now you are starting to climb the career ladder and before long you will get a pay rise, perhaps on a yearly basis or even on a bonus scheme. With having more money at your disposal you will begin to buy more possessions and more expensive monthly liabilities such as a car loan, a home mortgage, gym memberships, cable tv, nice suits or clothes, visiting fancy restaurants and various other lifestyle luxuries which ultimately bring more clutter and stress into your life. You will begin to accumulate a large amount of expensive possessions but you will unfortunately have little time to enjoy them because you will be working such long hours to be able to afford them. But hey you will be keeping up with the Joneses.

Does that make sense? Anyway we will get to that shortly.

Back to the benefits, you may even start to get better privileges in the work place such as moving from a open plan cubical into your own office with a number of other employment bells and whistles. Also you may be issued with a new title within the workplace, now you can begin to look down upon the lesser titled and junior workers who are in the same position you once were trying to battle their way up the corporate  ladder.

But back to that money that you are earning, its starting to get quite good and you now consider yourself to be earning a very stable and solid weekly income. You can afford all your payments, bills plus enjoying a bit of lavish socializing here and there.

So what, you are probably now into your mid 30’s or on approach to your 40’s and you may be married with kids or starting to think about having kids. They are an added expense and so is having to ensure that your partner is adequately provided for. This isn’t unusual but what is unusual is the lack of quality family time you get to spend with your family because again you are working such long and hard hours that your children are starting to miss you and you are starting to miss out on seeing them grow up.

You may see other people your age with successful small businesses that are earning more money than you, work less hours, have more time with their kids and take more time off work to travel or do the things they enjoy doing when they take time off. You probably have regular fleeting thoughts of going out and starting your own business but at your age with such a long and hard built career sitting behind you there is no way you feel as though you could start all over and the mere thought of that is exhausting plus how would you be able to maintain all the nice possessions, loans, mortgages and assets that you have by taking a reduction in the money you earn.

You have now succumb to the corporate machine, your hands are well and truly locked into the “golden handcuffs” and they are not getting any looser. They are called the golden handcuffs for a reason because you are earning good money to provide for a lavish lifestyle but the problem is that you are locked down into your job that more than likely is a drag and you have no way out.

Golden Watch Retirement

Gold Watch Retirement

You now have more grey hairs than any other colour on your head, you are now well into your 50’s, unfit, overweight and every time you look in the mirror you can see a dull, vacant and tired human being staring back at you silently screaming out at you and asking you why on earth did you just subject yourself to the last 30 to 40 years of unfulfilled stress and work for other peoples expectations. Your kids are pretty much grown up and moving on and your wife, hold on your 2nd, maybe 3rd wife tends to be more interested in spending time with her friends than she does with you. Clearly, the emotional, romantic and affectionate spark in the marriage dwindled away many years ago due to the lack of work that you failed to put into it whilst you were burning the midnight oil of a night time at work for so many decades.

Your marriage has suffered, your kids rarely take the time to be with you or call you up if they need something from you, they are consumed with their own lives which you lost touch with so many years ago.

You’ve hit your 60’s and guess what? Your cog in the big corporate machine is beginning to get old and not work like it used to. The younger cogs are making the machine perform better and its about time your piece in the machine was replace with a newer and improved version.

But never fear because your company is ready to see you out into retirement with a lovely Gold Watch and a morning tea party. With murmurs from some of the younger cogs saying “dont let the door hit you on the way out”.

You are out, retired, finished, work is over, what ever you want to call it and now you are free to do what?

The problem is that you are now too old to do many of the things that you wished you could have done when you were younger, your body and mental energy is just not what it once was. For so many years you have suppressed your passions in life in order to work the corporate machine so hard and now that you are retired you simply do not know what to do with yourself.

Reality Check

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Come on is this really what our lives are supposed to be like, well in modern times in many western countries it is considered to norm and people who do not tend to follow this path are considered to have failed societies expectations and subsequently failed in life.

Perhaps I have taken a very stereotypical case of how middle class America or middle class western society thinks, acts and ends up carrying on their lives, or at least are expected to carry out their lives.

But the fact remains that in the above mentioned scenario does not make you financially wealthy, it is not beneficial to your health both physical and mental, it does not assist in helping you work on your close relationships and it certainly does not bring purpose, meaning and passion into your life.

Breaking the mould

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After analysing the above scenario which is considered by many the normal thing to do with in western society, we see that over the past hundred years or so we can see that this type of living and working is simply not fulfilling to most people. The simple fact is that if you get towards the end of your life and you feel as though you have wasted decades away on satisfying other peoples expectations and keeping your head above water then ultimately you are wasting this precious life here on earth that you have been given. We all know you only get one life and as cliche as it may sound you should make the most of it.

Now if you are young and are less secure in your own self and have minimal life experience then you will probably find it harder to break the mould of the above scenario or reverse away from the expectations that your family and friends have of you. You may feel as though you owe it to your friends and family to follow the path that they wish for you to follow but ultimately you need to be true to yourself and come to the realisation that you only get one chance at this life and therefore you need to forge your own path by standing on your own two feet and doing exactly what it is that you want to do in this life.

So what is the answer to breaking the mould and doing exactly what you wanted to and shying away from the expectations of others? Well this is simply going to be up to each and every individual to work out what they are passionate about, where the values in life lie and exactly what they want to achieve and become as a person in the short time that they have on this wonderful planet called Earth.

To help you really kick start your mindset so that you can prepare yourself to break the mould of heavy expectations place upon you by others I have outlined 3 very important actionable concepts to put the wheels in motion so that you can forge your own path in life.

1. Passion

find your passion

You will probably often hear a lot of people talk about passion and following whatever it is that you are passionate about in life. The reason why you need to discover what you are really passionate about in this life is so that you can follow that passion, engage in that passion and live a life doing something that you absolutely love.

Everyone is individual in relation to what their passions are in life and it is going to be completely up to you to work out exactly what it is that you love to do. Once you come to this realisation of what you are passionate about and what you love to do then you can look at working out what you can actually do in life in order to further your passions and possibly even turn your passions into a career or some kind of work that can create a fulfilling living for you.

Passion is one of those undeniable human elements which add character to a person and enables them to live a meaningful and purposeful life very much in contrast to the scenario we described earlier in this blog post.

Everyone has the ability to be passionate about something however it is going to be up to you to be 100% true to yourself and work out what your passion in life is then it is going to be up to you to follow that passion even though it may not be in line with the expectations of your friends and family and other people in your life. You need to also be aware that your passions will most likely develop and change over time.

2. Values

Life Values

With the more education and life experience that a person can get it is not unusual for people’s values to change over time. Whether your values be spiritual, religious or simply based on life experiences that you have come across these values are critical to leading a more meaningful and purposeful life and building a strong character as a human being.

A person who doesn’t have any values or principles in life is a person who simply bows down to other peoples expectations of them. Having strong life values and principles is the backbone of a person’s character and I implore you to question different feelings, emotions, principles, rules, situations and other peoples life values in order to find out exactly what you believe in as a person in order to lead a meaningful life.

Having good and strong values as a person creates a strong human character which is essential to breaking the mould and beating the expectations that others have of you. It will enable you to walk your own path, stand on your own 2 feet, be the person you want to be an lead a meaningful and purposeful life and stand to be someone that you are proud of.

3. Becoming

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Putting your passion and your values on the line and literally practising what you preach in is really what can forge your path through life and help you become the type of person that you want to be. This stage can be considered the practical stage where you take action on what you love doing and what you believe in as a person in order to lead a fulfilling and meaningful life and to ensure that you enjoy your day to day living experience.

The thing about “becoming” the person who you want to be is that it doesn’t just happen overnight, and there will be no end game to the process of “becoming”. The becoming process is a process that will be with you for your whole entire life, I guess in a sense the becoming process is life itself since it really is the practical journey that you go through from the day that you’re born right through to the day that you take your last breath.

Passion, values and the becoming process are all 3 vastly different concepts however intimately linked together for anyone who wants to bring purpose and meaning to their life.

Individually speaking these 3 concepts are vastly different I mean you take for example the fact that you might be passionate about health and fitness but then on the other hand if you compare that to your own values then your values in life may be that you seek to treat people the same regardless of their sex, race or religious beliefs. So you see that these true concepts can be a vastly different from one another but where they can become intertwined is when you put your passion and your life values into practice and start becoming a person with a strong character based on those two concepts. The becoming, the creating and the building of a person’s character is what brings these 3 concepts together to be able to offer you the opportunity to live a life full of meaning and purpose and a life that you’re passionate about and that you enjoy living.

Sad reality is that far too often you would look at the average person in society and you could almost stereotype them as a sheep following the rest of the herd and bowing down to other peoples expectations of exactly what they want for them or what they vision they should be doing in their own lives. Far too often you say that these sorts of people who follow other people’s expectations are generally not fulfilled and satisfied with the life that they build for themselves and that is exactly why you need to break the mould and shy away from other people’s expectations of you.

It is imperative that you be your own person and become who you want to be.

Each and every person has their own unique set of values and passions in their life and naturally other people would have their own opinion of what you should be doing with your own life and you generally find that this is in line with what their own passions, goals, and values are according to them.

But if you truly want to be able to live a life full of meaning, passion and purpose, and a life that you can be happy and proud of then you really need to work out who you are as a person follow your passions in life and stick to what your life values are since it is only then when you will work out who you truly are as a person so that you can forge your own path in life by breaking the mould of expectations of others.

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Joshua Boorman
We aim to provoke your conscious thought and discuss all topics to help you live more meaningful and purposeful lives.
Joshua Boorman


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Joshua Boorman

We aim to provoke your conscious thought and discuss all topics to help you live more meaningful and purposeful lives.