In my career, there were a variety of milestones and experiences which were formative moments. However, the most significant moment came around 2015 where I realized what the game actually is. Prior to this, my perception on career was completely misguided, which I discussed in my article “The Goal, Breaking Free, and Achieving Freedom” which you can check out here.

The realization came about partially due to my own research and partially through the guidance of a more experienced mentor and friend. I always had a critical and analytical mind, had pieces of the puzzle, but never the complete puzzle. Once I did, everything clicked. The sooner that one realizes this truth, the sooner they can set themselves up in a favorable position. Some key things to grasp are as follows:

  • The rat race is designed around the principle that participants can be classified as batteries, tools, and owners.
  • The batteries are lower skilled workers which are in a state of instability and are highly replaceable, either by systemized processes, work design, or both. The system considers these workers a “dime a dozen” and their working conditions can be difficult given that classification.
  • The tools are mid and higher skilled workers which produce usually a positive return on investment (ROI) to the company for a limited amount of time. The objective of the game is to commoditize the skills of the tools, make them less expensive over time, and even automate them to make them cheaper participants in the game.
  • Owners are the largest beneficiary of this system. The owners typically are the “elites”, the direct ownership, large shareholders, Board members, etc. where the objective is to have the highest profitability while the lowest operating costs. For the latter, this will entail making the cost of labor cheaper and commoditizing people.
    • NOTE: I am not making a moral judgement, I’m simply sharing the truth so people can find their path to freedom from this system.

For batteries and tools, the system is set up to encourage growing levels of consumption and the prioritization of acquiring liabilities instead of assets. This pattern leads to inherent financial instability for the batteries and tools, thereby leading to more reliance on the rat race for their livelihood and existence. The formal education system reinforces this by teaching skills which will allow them to operate as a battery or a tool, but never as an owner. Advancing to university studies, most students now exit with a significant amount of debt, leaving them completely dependent on the rat race. Furthermore, the traditional family structure has been disrupted due to these economic trends and influences, which I have discussed the evolution of the two income household which you can read here.

When I realized that the establishment classifies people as commodities in a game, my entire thinking changed. Initially, I was angry at the realization that my labor and intelligence were simply commodities to be used in order to enhance the wealth of the powerful, while I received a small portion of that in exchange. The part that was particularly infuriating is that the game is not designed for you to “do the right things” in order to win: work hard, work smart, and build wealth. Relying solely on active income is almost guaranteed to be prone to disruption given these parameters, no matter how hard or smart you work. Far too often, I have personally witnessed individuals doing great work over a career, built savings, and then get completely disrupted by the whims of the rat race which resulted in destruction of their wealth and dreams of retirement almost instantaneously. They rarely recover and get back what they have lost. That is not the path to freedom and sustainability in this labor market and the “disruption” economy.

Passive income focus and growth
Consistency is key with capital gains

Although I was initially angry at the realization of what the game actually was, I also tasked myself with using my intelligence to not expand the wealth of others, but rather expand my own wealth and buy my ticket out of the game. This resulted in me accelerating my research and experimentation with investing, trading, and other methods to develop alternative income streams. If one is not born into wealth, the only way out of the game is to go against the grain and outside of your comfort zone to build wealth on your own. Now, I am on the path to exit the game on my terms which is amazing considering I was brought into this world in poverty. I will begin paying much of this knowledge forward in order to change the game!

  • The end goal of career should not be to advance to a certain level. Chasing status is a false illusion. The “rat race” is setup to have you consume more and lack financial sustainability, such that you stay in longer and give the establishment power and control over you.
  • Social media and entertainment are designed to lead to addiction and get you off of the path to freedom. Stop myopically focusing on these mediums as they only serve as an intentional distraction to remain plugged into the game.
  • The pandemic showed us (and continues to do so) that small businesses and small landlords can be disrupted at a whim by the establishment. I am an entrepreneur, so starting businesses is nothing new to me. However, small businesses are at a disadvantage, so if starting something, make sure you master the principles of scale and differentiation before going all in.
  • My perspective on multiple income streams and passive income are “follow the money”. Choose ways to make money that the “elites” use, such as certain investment strategies. This will limit the disruption risk mentioned above as the establishment are less likely to screw themselves.
    • The “elites” are not particularly intelligent or effective at hiding their moves. Rather, they correctly assume most people are distracted that they will not notice. You can piggyback off of their moves and profit as they do.
  • Passive income is of particular importance as you need to create enough of this to essentially master time. Once your passive income is greater than your active income, you can be very strategic in how you invest your valuable time and self actualize.
    • A classic Warren Buffett quote comes to mind…”If you can’t figure out how to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”
  • Regarding direct real estate ownership, there are easier and safer ways to make money and generate consistent income rather than being a landlord. I held several high yield investments in REIT closed ended funds (CEFs) during the pandemic and none cut their dividend, yet many of the small landlords in my network were financially affected by the pandemic and the eviction moratorium.
  • Patience, hustle, and consistent growth over time is what you are looking for. Don’t get discouraged if it seems overwhelming and takes a while. If it were easy to unplug, everyone would do it. Stay focused on the goal, sacrifice near term satisfaction for the long term goal, and remember…to live a life that few could dream of, you have to do things that many cannot or will not do.

-Jonathan Ozovek

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