Are you happy, content and fulfilled? Most of us aren’t. Are you wondering how to get what you want?
Some of why we’re not happy is due to outside influences. But if we’re being honest, the primary reasons why are self-inflicted. To get what you want and to live how you want, you’ll need to leave some things behind.
I’m almost certain you’re doing things that are in direct opposition to what you truly want in life. You’re engaging in behaviors that are, and will continue to, prevent you from living the life you want.
But the reality is, we’re all living some version of the same lie- You can have your cake and eat it too. It’s a lie that manifests in many ways. For some, it’s the belief that it’s possible to go out with friends Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, day drink on Sunday and still achieve your career goals. For others, it’s that you can pursue your career and put off starting a family until later in life.
And I could be wrong. Maybe you’re the outlier who can have it all and do it on your terms. But what if you’re not?
I think it’s worth taking a hard look at. The last thing I want is for you to find yourself out of options and living a life you don’t want, based on the lie you bought into.
Whatever version of that lie you’re living, here’s the truth; you have enough time to do most anything and everything you want, but not enough time to waste. If we’re not careful, we’ll wake up and we’ll have waited too long and we’ll be out of time.
I’m interested in helping you have a serious conversation with yourself. To take a long, hard look at your life, and to determine if the path your own is going to get you where you want to go. And as I’ve already said, I’m almost certain you’re going to have to leave some things behind.
Before you stop reading, I’m not telling you to walk away from everything fun in your life, or to swear off material possessions. But I may be. You’ll have to make that decision for yourself.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The question to ask yourself
- The trouble is
- Your most important resources
- What stops us from making good decisions
- Making it real
Let’s get started.
The question to ask yourself
Here’s the question I want you to ask yourself, “Is this the version of me I want to bring with me into the next stage of my life?”
If you’re in our 20’s, is this the version you want to bring with you into your 30’s? If you’re in your 30’s, is this the version you want to bring into your 40’s, and so on. Ask yourself:
- Is this the body I want to bring with me?
- Is this this career I want to bring with me?
- Is this the financial situation I want to bring with me?
- Are these the family dynamics I want to bring with me?
- Are these the friends and community I want to bring with me?
- Is this the thinking and perspective I want to bring with me?
- Are these the behaviors I want to bring with me?
You’re probably well aware of some of the things you need to stop doing. Like everyone else, when you make an honest assessment of your life, it’s probably easy to identify some things that just aren’t serving you, and that you would not want to bring along into the next stage of your life.
And then there are the not so obvious things. We all have blindspots and things we’re doing that we haven’t taken to their obvious conclusions. To identify what those might be, it’s important to dig into each aspect of your life- something we’ll do a little later on.
The bottom line is this- you’ve gotta take a long, hard look. When you identify the things that aren’t serving you, I encourage you to look at getting rid of them as addition by subtraction. Too often, we try to improve ourselves by adding things, when in reality, we’re better served getting rid of things.
The trouble is
“The trouble is you think you have time.” – Buddha
That’s one of my favorite quotes. Here’s another one, “You have enough time to do most anything you want, but not enough to waste.” That’s actually me.
“Won’t I just grow out of it?” Maybe. As we get older, most of us mature and pick up a little wisdom. But why not act with intention. Why not spend the time and do the work to identify the shit you need to stop doing? The more you can do this, the better your chances of actually getting what you want.
It’s natural and true for young people to be full of promise and potential. It’s also common to reach middle age and have a mid-life crisis. My hope for you is to be full of promise and potential, while taking a hard look at where you can get better.
To help you to do this, let’s focus on your most scarce and valuable resources.
Your most important resources
You’ve probably heard that buying coffee and avocado toast won’t prevent you from becoming a millionaire. While that may be true, it’s emblematic of the real problem.
No, buying coffee won’t prevent you from becoming a millionaire. But 1,000 small cuts will cause you to bleed to death. We need to stop looking at things in a vacuum. Instead, it’s important to look at and evaluate all your behaviors.
Will having a TikTok account stop you from being successful? No. But spending 5 hours a day on social media will. Will going to McDonalds stop you from being healthy? No. But eating there more than once in a while will. This is a perfect example of how you do one thing is how you do everything.
Thomas Sowell famously said, “There are no solutions; only trade-offs.”
Priorities must be set. Decisions must be made.
Our most important and finite resources are time, attention, energy and money. The idea is to find the highest and best use of these resources based on what you truly want. To know if you’re accomplishing that, there’s a simple way to figure it out. You audit them.
Here are some common things we spend our resources on that don’t serve us. I encourage you to think about whether you need to cut down on any of them, or get rid of any completely.
- Online shopping
- Fast food
- Eating out
- Fantasy football
- Beauty/self care
- Social media
- Internet use
Feel free to add more.
Now, let’s dig into the four finite resources:
How are you spending your time? Have you ever done a time audit? The reality is, most of us waste a ton of it.
We have a finite amount of attention. We’re finally catching on that the product for a lot of the internet is us. We’re learning about the value of data. The reality is, like our computers, we have a finite amount of bandwidth. When we give our attention to one thing, we can’t give it to anything else.
Getting older is a powerful teacher of this reality. Most Americans feel like they don’t have enough energy. What about you? To increase yours, take a hard look at what you’re eating, how you’re exercising, and the quality and duration of your sleep.
Unless you’re independently wealthy, you need to be a good steward of your money. Because finances touch most every aspect of life, financial peace of mind is essential to finding happiness.
If you’re interested in digging deeper into this, or jumpstarting this process, check out the Strive Online Bootcamp.
What stops us from making good decisions
While there are a lot of reasons we keep doing and making the same bad decisions, I want to focus on two.
Sunk cost fallacy
The sunk cost fallacy describes a phenomenon when we’re reluctant to stop doing something because we’ve already put a lot into it; despite a clear reality that walking away would be the better decision. This is a perfect illustration of addition by subtraction. This can show up in business endeavors, investments, relationships, and many other places.
We build identities for ourselves based on what we think is important. While that seems reasonable, too often we base them upon how we want other people to think of us. The biggest mistake is when we do something out of a desire to appear a certain way. When we do this, it prevents us from being a certain way. Many of us would rather appear to be wealthy, instead of actually being wealthy. Because of this, we’re reluctant and often unwilling to take a step backwards. We’re not willing to pull back our spending or lifestyle to get ourselves out of debt. Even though doing so would allow us to take many more steps forwards.
Don’t be afraid to take a step backwards. In fact, it may be required.
Making it real
Goals = What you want
Belief = Who you are
Habits = What you do
When we can align those three things, we’re on track for success. We must create a compelling vision for the future.
We must conduct a thorough examination of how you do things/conduct yourself.
We’ve to think about who we really are, and what we really want. Then figure out what you need to stop doing in order to get there.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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