There are two types of dreams you will build in your lifetime: yours and someone else’s. When you punch the clock and exchange time for money, you are helping build someone else’s dream. This may not be the case in every situation, but I’m confident that it is for most. What if it were possible to escape the current model of living and live the life you actually want? It’s not easy and may take a long time, but it’s possible.

You may have to punch the clock and serve your time during the day, but learn everything you can about the machine you help run so that you can go home and throw everything you have at building your own. Use the lessons you learn from the places you work and have worked. If you feel like you can’t learn anything from what you’re doing, you probably aren’t looking hard enough. I’ve learned things from scrubbing toilets, overnights in a factory, washing dishes, wading through sewage, and many other spirit-testing jobs that I now apply to my daily life. Be willing to learn and you will find the lessons. Don’t just be a cog in the machine. Own the machine. Build it and bring it to life.

I’m not even close to earning my freedom, but I’m striving for it. It may take years of grinding after you come home from your day job, but as you learn and grow, you will be able to shift your efforts more to your own dreams and eventually work for yourself if you desire. The possibilities for this are endless, and it looks different for each person, but the message is the same: work for someone else while you grow your own thing and eventually you can quit and be self-employed.

Decide what you want your life to look like. Decide if you are willing to do what it takes to achieve that. The alternative is to help someone else live the life they want until you are old enough to retire. It’s okay that some choose this, but it’s not the only option. Embrace the grind.