You Don’t Have to be a Millionaire Before 30, Slow Down and Smell the Goddamn Roses!

by Alexander Heyne · 3 comments

What’s up with today’s 20 somethings? Previous generations seemed to have these ridiculous assumptions about success, about what you must or must not do within a certain time frame.

And my generation has our own, which is:

“If you aren’t a millionaire by 30 you are wasting your time, and you’re a lazy bastard!”

It’s funny, because I also tell myself that all the time.

I’m young, I work bloody hard towards what I want, plus I’m only 24 which means that by 30 I should be able to make a million or ten million or fifty million easy, right?

Sure, it’s possible.

But why?

If it’s going to cost you your sanity, your health, and the blessed peace of mind that comes with just enjoying life, why do it?

It’s like accepting a high powered high-salary corporate job in your 20s.  Sure, well before 30 you are going to be making a 6 figure salary, but you’re also going to be going to work at 8, and not leaving until 8.

You literally will be sacrificing your life for your own “success.”  You’re choosing $100,000 over the following:

  • Time.  Time to go to the gym. Time to go out with your girlfriend.  Time to surf. Time to travel. Time to learn a new skill.
  • Freedom.  The freedom to say, “I’m tired of all this shit, It’s time to pick up and go.”

How is that even remotely worth it?

Yet that is what so many highly motivated, hard working 20 somethings are doing.  We are trying to build our legacy, enjoy life, and make millions all before 30.  It’s insanity.

Everyone around is yelling, “You better not take that long, you better be able to do it quicker than he/she did, you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and a great work ethic – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be ultra successful by 30.”

It’s like eating dinner with a bunch of screaming kids or adults arguing about something.  It spoils your appetite, gives you agida, and makes you want to throw your plate against the wall and go smoke ten packs of cigarettes (as far away from home as possible).

We have a huge push for product and not process.  The whole premise of the “bazillionaire by 30″ attitude is that we need to see some fruit before 30.

But what about all the other things you can’t see? What about a person’s sanity, enjoyment, or best of all – time to enjoy those bazillions we’re going to be making?

The worst part? We put most of the pressure on ourselves.  Middle finger to the world, golden Willy-Wonka ticket in hand, we’re saying “I got big things to do, bitches.”

And then promptly have a nervous breakdown 6 months later.

Well I have a reminder for you, me, and everyone else putting immeasurable pressure on themselves to be successful before 30, or tomorrow, or next year:

Slow Down and Smell the Goddamn Roses, You Don’t Have to be a Millionaire Before 30


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Kimball December 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

When I was in college, Facebook was invented. And instead of losing track of everyone who I knew in high school, I was flipping through their spring break pictures and getting upset because I decided not to get an internship while they went to Cancun.

Now, 5+ years later, we’re still on Facebook and I’m still friends with those people from high school and they’re all having babies. But somewhere between then and now I realized that I’m following my own pace and path in life and that’s okay. But, as you pointed out, it’s really, really hard to appreciate the path you want versus the path that others have or are taking for themselves.

Though, here’s a question. What’s the difference between “slowing down” and using the urge to be a millionaire by 30 motivation?


afheyne December 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm

This is by far the biggest personality flaw I have. I am ridiculously hard on myself and competitive – and ultimately being competitive is all about comparison to other people.

“It’s really, really hard to appreciate the path you want versus the path others have or are taking..” Agree 100%.

I try to remind myself that my goals are different from 99% of people, and that you can only compare success and failure to where YOU want to be. It’s tough though.

Slowing down vs. using the urge to be a millionaire?

Sometimes the neuroticism and overworking catches up with us and we just need to sit down with some red wine and classical music. Or maybe that’s just me, haha.

It was just a reminder, even a tiny one, that making a million a year by age 30 is not worth the trade off of not remembering my 20s at all. That’s sort of the classic trade off – it’s relatively easy to make a lot of money, but at what cost?

I recently got offered a new job where I was pretty much guaranteed a high paying management position in a year, but I’d be working 10 hours a day – plus an hour commute each way – and sometime saturdays. Is $150,000/year as a 24 year old worth it if you get a grand total of 1 day free time a week? Not to me, anyways.

But like you said there is definitely a razor’s edge to walk, between using that 30 as an artificial time constraint, while at the same time not losing your mind or losing focus.

Having said all that if I’m not making serious big bucks doing something meaningful by 30 I will probably never talk to myself again ;).

How do you balance the two?


Jerad September 6, 2013 at 11:01 am

Sometimes I’ll get really stressed out without realizing the cause. Once I have time to sit back and think about it, however, I realize that my stress isn’t originating from just one thing, it’s originating from my list of “mental tasks.” There are a lot of things I want to accomplish before 30, but my ambition is slowly eating away at my peace of mind, which, in turn, renders me unmotivated to get much done at all.

Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
(My three favorite words.)

I enjoyed this article a lot because it unravels the “age barrier” myth, you know, the one that says that after a certain age your accomplishments just won’t be that cool, or they won’t mean quite as much. It’s now worth the mental stress to set an age limit for success. In fact, it’s just unproductive. Sure, it might motivate you to some degree, but really it should be your passion that’s driving you, not an ambiguous deadline.


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