I don’t want a raise

On using constraints to unlock hyper-creativity

I don’t want a raise.

Yes you read that right. I don’t want my employer to give me any more money.


I’m trying to replace them.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want another job either. Where I’m at now is just fine. I don’t want a raise because I’ve decided that I want to out-earn my own job — by way of my own creativity.

I realize all of this sounds quite odd. So let me explain why.

I don’t want my employer to give me any more money for two reasons: Diversification and Constraint.

First, diversification.

For most, the jobs we hold represent our ONLY source of income. This is precarious at best, as it means we NEED our jobs. And we need them much more than our employers need US to fill them.

Needing a job means all our our eggs are in ONE basket.

A basket owned by someone else.

And it gets worse. Typically, the fate of our precious eggs typically rests in the hands of ONE person at our ONE job. In the hands of our manager, supervisor, boss, etc.

“All or nothing” situations are fragile.

I don’t want to NEED my job.

I want the freedom to spend my time on projects because it’s where I WANT to invest my time, not because I NEED to.

We should aim to own more of the baskets our eggs are placed in.

Now, constraint.

Constraint is the answer to the elephant in the room: Why not take a raise AND anything we can generate on our own?

Accepting a raise will let my creative brain off the hook.

Creativity thrives on constraint.

I want to force my creative-self into a deliberately uncomfortable place and press myself to invent ways to generate extra sources of income within the limited free-time I have available.

Constraining the rules and the time available, forces our brains into hyper-creative mode.

I want to be hyper-creative.

Accepting a raise would also instantly increase the target amount we’re trying to generate in parallel. And there’s nothing more demoralizing than trying to chase down a moving target.

Our creative minds need the constraint to find solutions.

So, how long will it take?

I have no idea.

In 2012 I created about 5% of my job’s income through my own means. Through the first 4 months of 2013 I’ve created about 20%. The constraint is forcing me to be more creative — and apparently it’s working.

Can I get to 100% by the end of this year? Definitely. Could it take me another 10 years to get there? Absolutely.

How long doesn’t really matter, though. Because the creation itself is the fun part.

Creation is a way of life. It’s who we are. So, in the end, I’m just trying to be more “me.”

Developing a daily habit of creating and sharing what we’ve created is what matters most.

So all of this, this mission, is more about developing a habit of constant creation, than it is really about money, or jobs, or freedom, or whatever.

Those are just outcomes largely out of our control.

All that we can control is what we create and how often.

So create. Everyday. And let the outcomes work themselves out.

They always do.

🤝 Stay in touch

I send an email several times a year with a handful of the most interesting things I’ve written or uncovered at home, abroad, and on the web.

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