We’re back from Florida! We were at FINCON last weekend, a writing conference “Where Money and Media Meet.” It got me thinking: “What’s the most important thing I learned while there?”
Let’s explore this idea that’s been soaring through my brain like a hang-glider flying over a rainbow:
“Think more about what you should be doing, and do everything you can to do that.”
This is what I mean:
On Thursday, we were invited to lunch by the journalist who interviewed me for MSN and CNBC last winter. Carl, Mr. 1500, from 1500DaysToFreedom joined us. I’ve known Carl since last year, and he asked me:
“If you won $10 million dollars tonight, how would your life change tomorrow morning?”
As I chewed on an incredibly delicious piece of thought stuffed between the fleshy folds of my brain matter, I thought about my answer.
I realized the problem in my life isn’t my job or boss. Being self-employed means I am my own boss, and I create the job I want to have every day. I’m not trying to escape a life-sucking career. I’m a full-time contract sales rep; a landlord; and a writer and blogger.
The things I hate most about working, no longer exist for me. For example, here’s a short list of the things I hate about “working” for someone else: 1) I hate having to wake up super-early to an alarm and then commute in busy rush hour traffic. 2) I hate having to ask permission to take time off to do the things I really want to do. 3) I hate having a manager who wants to impose their goals on me, when I am very clear about the goals I want to achieve in life.
But I’ve found, other than these three things, I really enjoy working with awesome people, and creating incredible things with my time alive. I am a goal-driven man, and I enjoy working to accomplish bigger and bigger goals.
And in my current sales, blogging, and landlord life, I feel like I’ve solved a lot of these problems I hate about work, while positively balancing most of the aspects I like about work.
In my sales business, my clients usually aren’t ready to start talking about work until 9 AM, and they leave the office by 5 PM, so it’s easy to plan all of my appointments between rush hour traffic, and I always have nights and weekends off since my clients don’t work during the nights or weekends either. And almost all of my clients are people I enjoy working. Together we work toward the same goals: They want to best products and service from me, so they can focus on being great in the other aspects of their jobs.
This is probably why I rarely talk about early-retirement on this blog. Why? Because why would I want to retire from a work lifestyle that has all of the things I enjoy doing, with few of the things I don’t like doing? Why aren’t I obsessed with wanting to retire early? Because I’ve created a style of work for myself that perfectly fits the type of lifestyle I like to live.
And now that I am writing this, I think this is the answer to find happiness most people seek: Rather than try to retire from the job you hate. Try to find a way to create the lifestyle and career that you love.
But even though I have a lifestyle business that I have no interest in retiring from, there is still more I want out of life. That’s what I am going to continue building and growing toward.
What more do I want?
I know that I am going to die one day. When I do die, I want to feel like I lived the life I was created to live. This feeling of, “Doing something that is bigger than just making money and being happy,” may have originated inside of me because I have had a spiritual, or conscious awakening at some point. But I have this deep, inner calling that continues to push me to try to do something powerful, helpful, and totally unique with my life. I like my sales business, and rental property, but I feel my soul craving a deeper life experience than just trading products and services to generate a profit. I also want meaning. I want purpose. That’s where this blog comes into my happiness equation.
This is where my statement in the beginning of this article comes into play: “If you’re not doing what you want to do, then you have to find a way to start moving toward doing the things you want to do.”
Even though I am starting to have everything I once wanted, there are still dreams inside of me that feel unfulfilled. I want to write; help; and inspire others. I want to help make people believe that they can reach a little further, and accomplish more than they ever thought possible. I want to share the insights, tools, and lessons I have learned that have helped me, so that other people can find the happiness I have found. In short, as I gain more money, I am starting to change my goals from the pursuit of money to become financially independent, to the goals that have nothing to do with money, like making a difference and inspiring people who feel captive in their lives to reach a little further, work a little harder, to create the freedom they crave.
Ultimately, the financial independence community I was immersed in for four days last week, continues to inspire me to do less of the things that KINDA makes me happy (like work for money), and more of the things that REALLY makes me happy. (Like seeing people gain confidence, and push themselves a little further, and embrace the courage and new ideas that can transform them to the next level version of themselves.)
All in all, the financial independence community I was around this last week continues to push me to keep going on the journey I personally dream about, and push myself to the next level of who I am supposed to be.
If you’re still with me, here’s the steps that have worked for me to get this far, and the steps I’d recommend anyone who wants to start doing everything they REALLY want to do:
#1) Destroy a consumer mentality and all high-interest debt which is keeping you locked in a financial cage.
#2) Avoid spending your hard-earned money on the things that only KINDA make you happy, and focus all of your energy on finding and accomplishing the things that REALLY make you happy. Sacrifice 50% of the things you don’t need to be happy. Then increase your savings/investing rate to 50% so you can start saving for the things that REALLY make you happy.
#3) Study to Learn. Learn to Grow. Repeat the process, and start growing into the person you want to become.
#4) Ask yourself, what do you really want to do with your life?
#5) Now that you’re becoming the person you want to be, and you have a vision of what you want to do; and money is no longer the biggest pressing issue in your life because you’ve saved a ton; start making the decisions that will lead yourself toward doing what you want to do full-time with your life.
#6) Do it! Take a part-time job trying something new. Experiment with your talents, life, and ideas. Start a little side business doing what you see in your mind. See if you like it, and if you do, begin to grow your little hobby from a part-time experiment into a full time lifestyle business that you love to live.
Once you do that, hopefully you’ll find yourself in the same position I found myself in this weekend, when Carl asked me: “If you won ten million dollars tomorrow, how would your life change?”
And the best place to find yourself in, is to be able to answer: “It really wouldn’t change my life that much, because I’m already living the life I dreamed of living when I was broken and discouraged, and just wanted a life that could provide me the peace and meaning I always dreamed of living.”
How would your life change if you won ten million dollars tomorrow?
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