Happiness is completely subjective. You can be completely miserable with millions, if not billions in the bank and you can also be euphoric when poverty-stricken. Can money really buy happiness? Are rich people not shopping in the right places? Can you be truly happy without financial security?
The money problem
You work really hard day-in and day-out, and for what? A measly pay check that doesn’t give you satisfaction. Is it the lack of money that is causing your dissatisfaction? Or is it other areas of your life. You may even find that other areas of your life directly effect how much money you make, like mental stability.
Say you have money, why would that make you happy? Sure there are some stock answers to this question, some examples:
Peace of mind
Extra time to pursue passions
Vanity & materialist items
But is that all there is to life? Sure, chasing your passion is important in life, no doubt. However, the amount of time you have to invest into getting financial freedom might result in old-age or a lack of drive.
Think about it.
You spent 20 years of your life chasing the pay-check. You finally reach financial freedom, at the age of 40. That dream of becoming a professional powerlifter is gone, you’re past your prime.
A good argument is that this is merely physical. If you wanted to become a world-wide pop-star, you still could; just look at Susan Boyle.
However, because you dedicated 20 years of your life to becoming financially free, you’ve lost the drive that you once had. 20 years of grinding has left you worn down and ready for retirement. Maybe you should’ve started sooner?
The fact that you haven’t been able to achieve your true passion because you were consumed by a rat-race is plain sad.
I would like to clarify however, I am not insinuating that you shouldn’t pursue financial stability. I’m stating that dedicating your life to a cause that is unworthy of your attention is ignorant.
With all of that said, let’s look at how you can change this around, even if you’ve already spent years chasing the pay-check.
Identify your desire
What do you truly want? Is it to professionally ski? Become a head chef? Own your own furniture company? Whatever it is, identify it, write it down, and begin visualising your ideal future. This is so important for success.
I know this sounds insane, but think about it. A large amount of successful people visualised what they wanted before they had it. Here are a few examples:
Elon Musk - Visualises his ideal future for a “Space-faring civilisation”
Martin Luther King - “I have a dream”, a visualisation
Connor McGregor - Says what he is going to do, and pulls it off the majority of the time. He visualises the shots
Seeing is believing, if you can see it in your mind and you take the actions required, you can bring that visualisation into reality, like an artist painting on a canvas.
Make a plan
A lot of people would tell you to take action rather than plan, this is stupid. If you don’t plan, you are just going to dawdle and float around, aimlessly completing tasks that are of no value to you.
Write down what it is you want to achieve, then reverse engineer a plan. Doing this will allow you to fully understand what actions need to be taken in order to achieve said goal.
You’ll realise on the journey that it isn’t the end result that makes you satisfied, it’s the process itself. The process of betterment and self-discovery that truly grants happiness and self-worth.
Say you want to run a 4-minute mile. Sure you could just start running, but that isn’t going to get you a 4-minute mile. To achieve such a feat you’d have to plan your runs. 2 long runs and 3 short runs. Some intense, some slowly paced. What kind of shoes would you need? Have you done your stretches? How much sleep are you getting? What does your nutrition look like?
There are a million questions I could ask. You don’t need to answer them all, just enough to get you started. You can always iron-out your plan later down the line if you need to. Get the fundamentals down and stick to them.
Seems like a weird thing to say, but it’s necessary. Humans are naturally habit-driven creatures. Have you realised that you most likely do the same thing day-in, day-out? We don’t like change because change invokes anxiety and anxiety makes us feel endangered which goes against out natural instincts. Hence why we perform the same tasks every day, because we’re comfortable.
However, the majority of your habits are probably bad ones, habits that are detrimental to your health & wellbeing. The first thing you eat in the morning shouldn’t be a chocolate bar or a packet of sweets. Instead, replace your bad-habits with the opposite, good-natured habits. For example:
Chocolate bar > Strawberries
Sleeping late > Sleeping an hour earlier
Spending too much time on games > Spend 1 hour extra on productive work
Bad-habits can be hard to break, take them one step at a time and you’ll soon override them with healthier, more productive habits.
While breaking bad-habits, you should also try to implement new habits. Here are a few examples:
Walk 10,000 steps a day
You should aim to introduce a new habit once a month. This makes it significantly easier to stay on top of a new habit before it’s automatic stage. 1 new habit a month will lead to 12 new habits in a year. That can completely change your life!
Don’t neglect other priorities
These times may be exciting, but don’t neglect other areas of your life. Otherwise, you’ll end up where you started. If you dedicate your entire focus onto your passion, rent isn’t going to be paid. There is a fine balance between chasing the pay-check and chasing your passion. Make sure you find it before it finds you.
You might not think it, but your social life is just as important as your work. Humans are social animals, we thrive off of companionship. That’s why extended periods of isolation can lead to insanity.
I’m not saying you’ll go crazy if you don’t see your mates or call your girlfriend for a week. However, you should make the effort, you’ll reap the benefits of a good conversation more than you know.
You want to maintain motivation throughout this entire process. One of the best ways to do this is by measuring success. To do this, you need SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based). Having measurable goals is paramount when it comes to measuring success. Here are a few examples of SMART goals:
50 Instagram followers by July 22nd 2020
5-minute mile by 21st August 2020
SMART goals are super clear and they allow you to easily measure your success. If I’ve gathered 27 Instagram followers, I’m a little over 50% of the way to my goal.
Hitting goals and measuring success is one of the surest ways to maintain motivation, especially when you feel like progress is slow.
Remember, anything worthwhile takes time.
It is going to take years to achieve your dream, and that’s okay. You need to stay dedicated to your craft in order to achieve at the highest level. No one became successful on the weekend!
Work day-in, day-out. Not in the direction of money, but in the direction of passion, creativity, and aspiration. Like Steve Jobs said:
”Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Stay driven! And good luck, you’ve got this.