It was a Monday night and I was mindlessly scrolling through my Instagram Stories like every self respecting 28 year old should.
Everything was going smoothly until I came up to something that struck me hard, like a punch straight in the stomach.
It was a story, uploaded by one of my best pals Markos Gkogkos, that depicted (in a pretty cringy way – Sorry Markos) the following message:
“In a month the decade is changing, no more excuses, take that risk!”
Pretty huge, right?
We are not talking about a year, we are talking about a whole decade, a DECADE!
If that’s not enough to shake you into taking the risks you always wanted to take, what will?
If not now? When?
Despite the “shallowness” of this photo, it made me realize that I, indeed, took some heavy risks and changed some major things in my life in 2019!
Let me explain myself…
Is it just me or every young boy dreams of becoming a pilot?
Since I was a young boy I remember myself admiring pilots.
I can’t exactly recall why…
Maybe I was fascinated by the freedom that flying in the sky can provide…
Maybe it was the feeling that you had control of a 100 ton metal machine in the tip of your hands.
Or maybe it was the subtle prompts of my mother, constantly buying aviation-related stuff for me… – from airplane toys to Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 (although my father was guiltier for devoting many more hours playing that) –
As I was getting older, the thought of, actually becoming a pilot never matured inside me.
It remained a romantic childhood dream that I couldn’t afford anyway.
*Becoming a Commercial Pilot (getting your Commercial Pilots License (CPL) and your Aircraft Type Rating) nowadays will cost you around 80.000€ in Greece with no job guarantee afterward.
I got into the Digital Marketing field and, long story short, I found myself as the head of marketing at Agnotis (a huge success startup story from Greece selling premium design baby diapers and cosmetics with a subscription model via the internet).
And life goes by casually… until I saw it!
The biggest national flag airline carrier in Greece is proceeding with the “biggest private investment” of the recent years in the country.
The carrier announced an order of 42 aircrafts (Airbus 320 neo type) worth of 4 billion €.
Under the umbrella of this huge investment, there was also something else.
100 scholarships for aspiring pilots to fulfill the surplus demand for flying personnel.
As an act of pure impulse, I signed up and filled their lead form!
Immediately after, I was part of the candidate filtering procedure.
It started with an interview, continued with the COMPASS Pilot Aptitude Test and ended with the Medical 1 Examination.
After successfully passing everything, one fine morning my phone rang:
“Mr. Stergiou, Congratulations!
You’ve got accepeted in the “squadron”!
“…in, approximately, one year your flight training will start…”
Instant first emotions:
Adrenaline rush – Joy – Excitement
Thoughts that immediately followed:
“Wait, what? Are you going to become a pilot for real?”
I had a whole year ahead to decide… and that year was as stressful as it can be…
What is your true, long-term purpose in life?
I don’t know about you but, from my mid-20s, this was one of my deepest and most constant thoughts…
And I am not referring to a S.M.A.R.T. goal, like being a manager at an international corporation or getting yourself a luxurious BMW SUV.
I am talking about something else, I am talking about your deepest life purpose!
The one that fuels your everyday struggle…
The one that motivates you…
The one that makes you creative, energetic and “hungry”!
After much thought, my long-term goal in life is pursuing Freedom.
Freedom in terms of:
Without getting into more details, this was the spark that gave birth to MoneyMinority in 2018 [my personal blog on self-finance, investments and money management] and led me into resigning from my position in Agnotis during the summer of 2019 [to pursue my own ventures and luck].
I can hear you say…
“…your ultimate goal is Freedom. Freedom to do what?”
I will explain in second, bear with me…
Most of you will agree with me that time is the most valuable thing we have.
It is distributed equally to everyone, no matter how beautiful, or rich, she or he may be.
Time, is also, finite.
Thus, you can not create additional time for you, no matter what you do.
The only thing you can actively do is make sure you make the best use of it!
The freedom I am pursuing is strictly connected with my time.
I am pursuing the kind of Freedom that will give me the privilege to invest and spend my time on whatever I think is important in any given period of my life.
Would that be a long term project that is in my mind?
Would that be friends and family that might need my support or help?
Not missing important moments of people I love?
Taking care of my body and health?
Probably all of the above, with many more that would come up!
Something I have realized while growing up is that needs, priorities, taste, and people constantly change in your life.
Having the flexibility and the luxury to consciously choose what I spend my time on is what I am aiming for!
“Oh, shut up about your dreams and pursuits! Are you going to become a Pilot or not?”
Some weeks ago I have, respectfully, rejected their offer.
Was that a smart choice?
The thing that counts is that it was a conscious choice!
Admittedly, one of the greatest things that get to happen more often as you grow up
Above-average salary, being part of a booming industry (airline industry), a relatively prestigious job, are some benefits nobody can easily ignore.
The thing is that becoming a pilot, wouldn’t be the correct strategic decision taking into consideration that my life purpose is being more independent and flexible.
To be honest, it is exactly the opposite!
And, as a friend of mine has pointed out in a very sweet way:
This way you will always get to have your childhood dream!”
Thanks Konstantina, I loved it!
My personal 2019 Digest:
- Successfully monetised my personal blog
- Quit my 9-5 job
- Consciously, rejected a “lifetime opportunity” to make my childhood dream come true
Hell of a year, right?
Onwards to 2020!
Take care of your friends and loved ones as they are taking care of you.
Probably, less than half of the decisions above would have taken place without their support and guidance. More than half of the decisions above, wouldn’t have taken place without.
My love and gratitude to all of them.