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The Human Circus Analogy

Featured guest post this week submitted by Alexander . This post is controversial, but I like it enough to post. Your thoughts?

An animal in the circus or zoo lives behind caged walls. After a while, the lion knows exactly what to do in order to get food (money) or to avoid physical punishment (fired). As long as the lion does what it is told and does not act out of character, the lion will be fed and sheltered, and protected against diseases and other predators. Look at the eyes of the lions at the circus or zoo. That is the look of desperation. That is the same look I see on the morning commute.

Workers get paid just enough to “make a living”, not to thrive. That is advantageous to your employer. Where is that burning desire in your eyes, the same look you had as a mischievous teenager, that desire to escape and conquer the outside world? What is life without that fire?

Put a lion in captivity long enough and it will no longer be able to survive in the wild. Throwing a caged lion back into the wild is like asking a corporate employee to become an entrepreneur. It takes a completely different mindset to operate as an entrepreneur.

The average office worker cannot handle the emotional rollercoaster of business. When you wake up as an entrepreneur, you won’t know exactly how much money you will be making that day or how many hours you will end up working. Some days will be a lot, some little. Money might flow in all at once or end with a dry spell. There is no immediate rewards like in the workplace or at school, where if you do well you get instant approval.

Like the lion would go on for days without food, the entrepreneur must live a minimalistic lifestyle in order to reinvest all his profits back into the business. The lion relies on instinct to hunt and make a kill. No two hunts are exactly the same and a kill is never guaranteed. Same with the entrepreneur. Each day is a new struggle to survive.

The lion lives to hunt another day and so does the entrepreneur Each sale revenue is lifeblood for the business to live and grow another day. His instincts grows sharper day by day and he gets better at honing his craft.

A lion’s jaws, claws and hunting instincts are rendered useless in the artificial man-made environment. His magnificent evolutionary prowess has been condescendingly reduced to doing simple circus gestures in exchange for a carrot and stick discipline.

When was the last time you were creatively challenged at work? What is all that sitting doing to your muscles and posture? Work does not help you learn social skills, be more physically fit, be healthier, or to be a better friend and spouse. In fact, the more time you focus on your job, the less you can on yourself.

Has work made you a less interesting person to be around with? Was obesity, high blood pressure and stress part of the job description? It’s a slow attrition process. You will find excuses to spend less time with your friend, children or girlfriend for the sake of work. Hobbies, if you have any, will die. People that focus on their career find it hard to have a real passion outside of work---it is mostly just for show. You simply can’t have a real passion if you don’t have the time to devote to actually doing it every day.

Knowledge of politics and finance will suffer. This is why it is so much easier for politicians and bankers to take advantage of working middle class people when it comes to voting and getting mortgage and loans because they are too busy working to educate themselves.

The middle class trades time for money while young, but end trading money to buy more time in desperate old age. Most office jobs are deceptively stressful because it wears you down not physically, but mentally. Just take a look at the old timers at the firm who has been there for 30+ years. The only thing jobs are good for are trading in your time for money. After a long day at the office, you are mentally beaten down and don’t want to do much else other than to vegetate on the sofa watching your favorite tv shows.

Would the lion willingly trade in freedom for a lifetime of food, shelter, and willful obedience if it had the choice? Never. So why should you?

The weak lion will willingly trade his freedom for a life of servitude in the zoo because it is either survive in the zoo or get killed in the wild. But the alpha lion will never trade in his freedom because it knows life is so much better outside the caged walls, where temporary discomfort is but temporary but successful conquest is eternal. Why should you settle?