Side Hustles Get You off the Drug of Comfort Zone Money from a 9-5 Job


A monthly salary is an addiction worse than heroin.

The first time I heard this from Nassim Taleb it made me think. Why is a 9-5 job heroin? It keeps you comfortable. Once you’re in a job for a while it’s obvious what you need to do to survive.

After a few years in the workforce, you have a network of humans who can help you get another job if you desperately need one.

This isn’t an article to bash 9-5 jobs with a baseball bat.

The point is to remember that a salary equals the drug of comfort money. Side hustles give you discomfort money.

We all know we need comfort and discomfort to live a good life. Why shouldn’t this apply to how you make money? It should.

Reverse your paycheck psychology

I recently heard another way to think of a paycheck: it’s your boss’s subscription to your time and energy.

The money from a job is just enough to pay for your house, car, food, and family’s needs.

The threshold where you don’t need to take the salary anymore appears in your mind as a giant battle you can’t win. So your boss gets to keep the subscription to your time and energy active.

It’s not about hating a 9-5 job. It’s about having autonomy over your time and energy to aim it at whatever work projects you want. That’s real freedom.

Side hustles open the escape hatch.

Harsh truth you don’t want to hear:

If your salary is your only source of income, you are one step away from poverty — @Strong_Leaders

How to Get Hooked on Discomfort Money Instead

It starts with after-hours side hustles. Not to be cool, but to experiment with an alternate reality that will change how you think

Here’s what side hustles give you:

A focus on execution

Execution is uncomfortable. That’s why so few of us do it. Many of us prefer to talk about our goals and put them off until our annual holidays.

A side hustle shifts your attention, if you make it an after hours habit. A side hustle comes from a goal(s).

When you work at that goal each day you execute. Execution produces results. Results produce evidence. Evidence produces confidence. Confidence can turn into courage. Courage can help you eventually replace your job with your side hustle.

Think of a side hustle like a seed you plant. It can literally grow into anything you like. You won’t be able to predict where it will take you.

Painful personal responsibility

The internet makes it easy to outsource blame. You can pin the blame on the government donkey. You can get angry at a stranger who has a different opinion than you. You can take out your bad day on anybody you like on social media. It’s all too …. how do I say it … comfortable?

A side hustle changes the narrative in your head. You are responsible. You can’t blame your boss, employer customers, or colleagues. All you can do is blame yourself. That’s the way it should be.

An addiction to flow states

A side hustle happens after hours. You’ll typically log out of your job and log into your side hustle.

Unlike a job full of disruptions, a side hustle is just you against the world.

Distractions can get turned off without your salary getting switched off. This time is sacred. I found I got into the deepest flow states of my life — where hours felt like minutes, and the level of output took me by surprise.

Once you’ve experienced the focus that comes from a one-person side hustle, it changes your life.

Flow states are a form of discomfort though. To keep accessing flow states you need to slightly make the difficulty level higher each time to unlock the superpower.

Imagine an out-of-body feeling that’s joined to discomfort. That’s flow.

A wider network of friends

A side hustle will have you spending some of the time on the internet. In the process, you’ll meet other people with the same side hustle. If you remove self-interest from the chance to connect, you’ll make some awesome friends.

I sometimes argue that the friends I got from my side hustle are more important than the autonomy over my time and energy.

Money to invest

Thanks to the internet, any side hustle niche can eventually make money.

The comfortable thing to do when it happens is to spend the money. The uncomfortable choice is to invest any money your side hustle makes.

Investing money makes your financial future easier. Investing can help you cut off the comfort zone money from a 9-5 job in the future if you choose.

A Plan B (if you grow to hate your job)

My life plan was to work at a bank for the rest of my life. I didn’t mind it, but I didn’t love it either.

When I quit working for a bank and entered the world of tech, I grew to hate my job. The people were hard to stomach. The KPIs felt lifeless. I felt dead inside. The corporate machine began to rot my soul.

My side hustle accidentally gave me another option.

Work you love rather than the participate-to-earn model

It’s tough to admit that you don’t love your job.

For many of us, a job is a form of work we pretend to love so we can get our salary and survive life. We participate to earn.

A side hustle stems from a different place. The sole focus is to do something you love doing — or accidentally discover you love doing — through experiments.

The foundation of a side hustle isn’t built on money, like a job, because you do it after hours for free first. This changes your relationship to work. That new romance is uncomfortable at first, like all romantic partners that are way out of our league.

However, over time this relationship evolves. The discomfort shows you how comfortable work you love can be if left to marinate for long enough.

The paradigm shift you need to escape comfort zone money

So why do we stay in a job we’d rather trade for a side hustle?


This quote explains it better than I can:

“The fewer income streams you have, the less leverage you own. If you hate your job or your boss, you’ll have no choice but to stay because you have nothing for leverage. You’re trapped because you don’t have multiple streams of income.”

When I added multiple income streams, I noticed my attitude at work changed. I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, nothing happened as fast as I wanted. But it eventually did happen.

Multiple streams of income de-risk your decision to choose discomfort money — while simultaneously canceling the subscription your boss has over your time and energy.


Start to work on an uncomfortable side hustle after hours.

Lean into the discomfort.

Let discomfort eventually help you destroy the salary addiction, so you can do the work you’ve been waiting to do your entire life.

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