Playing Life in Hard Mode by Max
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Playing Life in Hard Mode by Max

I started 2017 with a full-time job at one of the main actors in the automotive industry, probably not the most glamorous one, but definitely one of the most advanced in my predilection field: production, logistics, and lean manufacturing.
This job came with stability, wealth, health insurance, and also all the perks inherent to corporations with 100000 employees.

I had already decided for a couple of months to quit this industry and to put myself in search of some more significant and meaningful projects.

To give a push on this quest, I decided to enroll in a 6-month program at Knowmads, an alternative school for leadership and personal development based in Amsterdam. I expected this course to give me all the tools and guidance I would need on my way to a more meaningful world, to a more meaningful life.

And I was, back then, a bit naïve I guess (not that I am not anymore now, so no worries about that), which made me face a couple of disillusions as I went through the weeks of the program.

Because like many of my generation, I was not ready to step into the wild professional world, not knowing what to aim for. I felt like I was thrown in a wilderness with no other goal than “getting a job I like”. And boy, oh boy, I didn’t know what it meant. I couldn’t find an answer to this question back at my corporate job. Neither at my university, high school or anywhere prior to that actually.

And I expected to get an answer to that at Knowmads….

What a fool!

Luckily enough, I am of the ones that don’t accept status quos. And when I realized that the beautiful people hosting us at Knowmads were at least as much human as I am, with at least as many flaws and fears as I have, I decided to get into action.

And so I looked for action. Got involved in projects. Many projects. Too many even, some could say. But it didn’t matter to me. I had to try. I had to try things that were new to me. Try working in different contexts, teams, on different elements, synergies… And I failed. Oooh boy, I failed hard. But I kept going. Started anew. Got into new teams. Into new projects. And little by little, as I was putting effort into projects, my time at Knowmads flew by.

Soon enough, I had to go through my final presentation, and then to step into this period with no real plan. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to stay in Amsterdam back then. It was the 25th of September, 2017.

Then, I took a decision. To stay. For the first time in six years, I would stay in a place for more than six months. I would stay to strengthen the base I had built in those last six months. And so I did. Getting started as an entrepreneur was no easy task, and it didn’t get any easier as the days passed. But I kept trying. And I kept failing. And here I am, on the 30th of January 2018, looking back at this crazy year.

Sometimes I think about what my life could have become had I kept my past job. And no matter the struggles I face today, I have no regrets.

I read once online that moving somewhere we know nothing about and/or no-one was like “playing life in hard mode”. I don’t know if it’s true. But maybe it is true that, as you get further in understanding the meaning of life, things don’t come so easily anymore, and something tells me that it is for the best.

Max, alumnus of Tribe 15, is the founder of Sustainable Development Consultancy and a partner at Sapient – Social & Environmental Enterprises. Both initiatives focus on empowering citizens to create and develop their own project/idea, to help them on their path to change.

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