How to refocus when you learn (because you will) that money is not the answer
Preparing for and overcoming the hurdle when you realise everyone was right about money and happiness
Hello fellow Protagonists,
There are certainly far worse problems to have in life but I do not think that this is one that can be ignored.
The moment when people start to realise that everyone through history who quoted that money is not the answer and that it doesn't bring happiness, were right.
It seems that as humans we have to personally experience things before we truly believe something to be true. We only learn that the frying pan is as hot as our parents warned us about after we decide to touch the metal part at the "cooking end" of the handle. I vividly remember this lesson one pancake day.
My strange interpretation of that event was that pancakes were shit and told myself that I didn't like pancakes for years and years afterwards. Oddly enough anything with bananas, ice cream, chocolate and peanut butter on it tastes great.
Aren't minds fascinating.
The reality to this fact about money may come a lot sooner than people realise. It didn't take anywhere near as much time as I initially thought it would to reach this wake up call.
In your mind you think that people who quote about money not bringing happiness are flying around in private jets to stakeholder meetings and charity events, or are struggling to decide which of their ten cars they want their assistant to drive them around in today.
This is not the case.
I have been fortunate enough to have a reasonable job that offers a fairly respectable salary but by no means leads to a glamorous lifestyle of fancy restaurants and weekly shopping splurges.
But it was enough to reach this point I am talking about.
The specifics will be different from person to person but once I reached a certain point where some of the bigger cost events had been saved for and obtained this is when perspectives can shift. For me this was when:
We had put down a deposit for a house that me and my wife were happy to live in for the moderate (even long) term. This involved saving for 4 years, living in our first house for another 4 years and saving up for moving costs again. Not an easy thing but achievable if focused on over years.
We saved for, paid and got married (if that is your thing)
I decided to own my car rather than financing or paying rent each month
I had a reasonable emergency fund in case of life doing what it does
I got rid of all debt (except my student loan)
I am happily Investing a little each month
This may sound like it should be a great feeling (remember I am talking about the financial aspects of these events rather than the situations themselves) but in reality it led me to a very uncomfortable learning curve once they had been achieved. They are also goals that I, and I believe many other people have and are fairly likely to be able to achieve in our lifetime.
Having big events to save towards provides fuel for a belief that money has a great meaning for us at that time. That we require more of it to take ourselves from one place to another that we think will be far happier for us.
I honestly believe that there are parts of people who reach the same situation that I did and so decide to buy something really expensive on finance so that money can become a key focus and important for them once again.
Like the new struggle brings new meaning.
This is because obtaining more money is such an easy purpose to think about, and that is why people aim, and possible stay, with that focus. It is not always easy to achieve but it is easy to focus on. With numbers we can simply interpret information and perceived progress. We all know that £10k is more (and therefore arguably better) than £5k.
Other (nearly all) aspects of our lives are not as clear cut as this. They can be far more complicated and some people may not want/are ready to face that challenge or have never thought of it that way before because money has played such a large part of their thinking and is believed to hold all the answers.
Trying to move from one place to a better place is what provides purpose in our lives and when we realise that money will no longer do this and the answers are probably something more individual and complicated, this can be a scary time. This can also lead us to lose track of our own purpose and meaning.
I wanted to discuss this topic, not to gloat, as I really believe many people can and will reach this point. I get that as humans we will probably wait to experience this for ourselves just like I did, though I would encourage people to start thinking now, before you get to the point where you are forced to make the change.
It is not a nice place to be when forced into and I feel it can lead to some of the lowest, most confusing moments in some of our lives. It is related to our life's purpose after all.
Time to ask ourselves what it is that brings real purpose and meaning for you, is it:
In helping others
In making someone's day
In building knowledge
In showing off your creativity
In following a passion
In enjoying the smaller things in life
In good, stimulating conversations
In improving your health (mental and physical)
In spending time to just live in the moment
In not taking things too seriously
In leaving this planet in a better position than you started
Gratitude for reaching this point in the first place is also a huge aspect as many people in this world never will. Shifting away from money as a purpose is scary because it is liberating at the same time. Like the classic scene off the matrix (one of the best films on a philosophical basis of all time) when Neo reaches a moment where he can see reality for what it really is, and it isn't pretty but he is free and chose to live that way.
Once we see the situation for what it really is we can then focus on building it up.
I have just finished an interesting book that was recommended by my mother dearest, Surrounded by Idiots by Tony Dufresne, and I want to finish this post on an eye opening statement Tony makes.
"When you expand to the good you also expand to the bad"
If we are ready to improve on our lives be prepared to realise that we may hit low points in doing so. This is just part of the process so don't worry.
GLHF (Good Luck Have Fun)
Contact me on Thedailybuff@gmail.com
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