Go Get Somebody Pregnant

I was listening to a previous episode of the Content Warfare Podcast when Ryan Hanley mentioned that he's about to have a kid and how that milestone was changing his approach to business. It instantly brought me back to my old stockbroker days because, believe it or not, management encouraged knocking someone up all the time for this very reason.

Don't get me wrong; it's a terrible idea, but you can't argue with the fact that the external pressure caused by another mouth to feed is going to light a fire under your ass. This post isn't about becoming a parent, however; it's about how external pressures can drive you to succeed.

Management at my old firm knew this. That's why they wholeheartedly supported guys getting into enormous amounts of consumer debt. I still remember the smile on Roy's face when I pulled up to the office in a brand new Chevy Blazer after my first decent paycheck. When I told him there was a brand new lime-green Geo Prizm (ugliest goddamned car in the world) in my garage as well, he was practically beaming.

Management understood the correlation between outside pressure and increased production, and you never saw this more pronounced than when one of the guys had some girl pull up pregnant. I had more than one buddy go from borderline slacker to cold-call cowboy overnight when he found out he was about to be a dad.

Likewise, when somebody had a monster AMEX bill due (back in the days when AMEX was a charge account and had to be paid in full every month), you'd see a level of motivation and resourcefulness come out in them that you hadn't seen before.

I myself was no different. I allowed myself to get buried in consumer debt and a mortgage. Every dollar I got deeper in the hole, I worked that much harder to get out. Oddly enough, my first divorce (due in no small part to all the financial pressures of that debt) drove me to work even harder, because now I had all that debt to repay and I needed to get laid once in a while.

My point in all this is not to advocate getting into debt; you guys already know my feelings on that. Nor is it to encourage you to become a parent, which is about the dumbest thing you can do to yourself financially (even dumber than marriage).

My point is to get you to think about what having that kind of pressure would be like, and then act as if. Act as if you spent all last season betting big on the Jets. Act as if you have to finance your parents' retirement. Act as if your regular booty call just texted you that "We need to talk and it's important. #ninemonths".

Rather than actually getting yourself into these nightmare scenarios, try to convince yourself that you had, even for just a week or so, and see what it does to your motivation and productivity. Major life commitments change your approach to business and have a knack for clarifying what is important and what is just noise.

Some of you guys who already have kids can back me up on this. It definitely changes your outlook on business. There was certainly no altruistic intent behind my old firm encouraging guys to have kids, but the end result was the same: increased production.

The trick is to light that fire under your ass without actually lighting that fire under your ass.

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