In my most recent teleseminar, one participant asked: "How do I let go of my obsession with money and instead focus on my quality of life?"
That's a great question. Many of us struggle with this very issue throughout our lives - including myself – especially in this day of $95 per barrel crude oil.
I've been speaking and writing for some time about the need to stop and look at your life, determine what's important to you, and design a life in support of your values and beliefs.
Some people have a mistaken impression of what I'm suggesting when I advocate that strategy. They ask me: "David, what do you expect me to do? Quit my job, remove myself from the rat race, turn off all technology, and live off the land?"
Of course I'm not advocating those things. I am simply suggesting that, over time, many of us lose sight of the things we value most deeply, and money issues and our desires to always want more often get in the way of achieving those things.
It isn't until we design our lives and lifestyles around those beliefs – when we prioritize the things we value the most at the top of our lists – that we find true happiness and fulfillment.
We've all heard, and some of us believe, that money can't buy happiness. I've come to learn that the hard way. Yet we do worry about money – sometimes to the point of obsession.
The first step to getting beyond these fears requires that we spend time in reflection. We have to do some soul-searching to determine what beliefs we have about money that are keeping us from living the lives we desire.
In my case, I realized that:
- No matter how much money I had, I always wanted more. Why? Because I associated money with success: status and the ability to live "the good life."
- The more money I wanted, the harder I had to work to get it. I was raised with the ethic that the secret to life was to work hard and sacrifice today so that some day, eventually, everything will work out in the end.
- To make a lot of money, I had to accumulate massive amounts of knowledge, proficiency, and experience. In fact, I had to know more than anyone else could know about the particular arena I had chosen to pursue.
- Someone who makes a lot of money cannot possible be contributing anything useful to society. They're (we're) simply capitalists who have to justify and rationalize their business approach and practices.
- I didn't deserve to be prosperous.
It has taken me a long time to dispel these notions, and they do seem to crop up more often than they're put to rest, but I'm getting there. I simply need to remember my direct experiences and take the second step: Turning my knowledge and experiences into positive affirmations.
Here's how I did it:
- Money cannot buy happiness. I know this because I've had money and it's never been the key to my happiness, passion, and fulfillment. Living a life in support of my values – my family, friends, and community – is where I find these things.
- Many people I know and have read about don't work extremely hard, yet they do make money – enough money to cash flow their lives and lifestyles. I know that when I let go of my desire to make money and instead focus on living my mantra – that of empowering others – great things happen both in my business and in my life.
- There are many people that I know of who have a similar amount of knowledge as I do. Some have more, but many have less because they've chosen to eliminate needless information from their lives instead of constantly trying to accumulate and organize it.
- Many people are, in fact, contributing substantial value to the world through their vocations. As a matter of fact, their purpose in business and life is to do exactly that, not to make money for the sake of increasing their wealth and status – as an affirmation of success.
- I am worthy of making money through business endeavors. This doesn't in any way compromise my principles. Personal ambition isn't the enemy of nurturing and leveraging my creative talents, so long as I don't sell my soul and attempt to advance a self-seeking, personal agenda.
Written for Dumb Little Man by David B. Bohl, creator of Slow Down FAST. Visit David at the Slow Down Fast blog or join one of his monthly teleseminars. His next seminar is entitled, "5 Secrets to Success: How to Begin Living YOUR Life YOUR Way".