How do I get over my feelings of guilt for wanting to pursue my dreams?

How do I get over my feelings of guilt about wanting to quit my easy life of good fortune, get over the objections of friends and family that can’t understand the idea of wanting a simpler lifestyle that may not seem as financially stable or lucrative as continuing working, and quit my job to make myself happy already?


Follow your bliss with a plan, not a helmet.

08-10-13-49-56 / 32


Hello Diner. We mentioned in different Fortunes that the feeling of guilt occurs simply because you care. The Advice Fortune Cookies are not going to discourage you from showing that most admirable of human traits. We also don’t like instructing our Diners to stay in situations which they find themselves unhappy.

Having a life span as short as ours, we understand the importance of filling it with meaning. And even if you measure your life in years instead of minutes, meaningful endeavors never come to fruition quickly, so your life can seem equally fleeting.

But we understand that your wishes differ from those of your family and friends. It’s not as easy as saying, “go forth and follow your passion.” So does that mean we want you to go do your thing, but suffer guilt in silence?

Of course not.

Instead, consider the situation from your family and friends’ point of view, and understand what they’re concerned about. Assuming they care as much for you as you do them–and chances are, they do–they are likely nervous that the unstable financial situation might not be able offer you a stable source of basic necessities like a place to stay and healthful food. They don’t want you to max out your credit cards and go into heavy debt. No one wants that–including you.

Therefore, I recommend that you plan, Diner. From your Order, you seem prepared to give up a few luxuries, but also figure out how to keep basics like housing and food stable without going into heavy debt. Determine how long the startup period and gaps in income will last. Then work out a budget and savings plan to see you through those gaps. Commit to a set time span of how long a gap in income you will go through before scaling back or quitting the endeavor altogether. Hint: that time limit should be about as long as what you saved for.

Humans have this cognitive bias called escalation of commitment. Sometimes this is called an irrational escalation of commitment for a very good reason. The more money and time someone throws at a venture, the more stubbornly attached they become. It becomes hard to make important decisions like when to quit. Incidentally, another cognitive bias people have is the belief that they are less susceptible to biases than other people. As you can imagine, that belief is also not true.

Setting yourself that definitive time limit that is backed by something concrete like how much money you have is a very good way to proceed. It may not only quiet some of the objections your family and friends have, but it may also keep you from being in a desperate situation.

Go forth, plan, AND THEN follow your passions, my friend. Let the us know how it works out, and we may even plug your product on Facebook. Good luck, Diner.

Baker’s Note: This Order had the word “(continued)” at the beginning of it, but the Bakery had no idea from which message this one was “continued.” If we’re missing something, please let us know.