In a materialistic society which thrives on consumerism, it’s hard to imagine someone who isn’t entirely concerned with money — yet, there are many who are starting to embrace the “less is more” attitude.
What if money didn’t matter? What if money–as far as your life is concerned–isn’t the answer.
There is no doubt that money is necessary to get by in today’s world — there’s no two-ways about it. The days of living off the land are–for the most part–a thing of the past. But, is it possible to live off a lot less than you believe you need — and still be happy?
The question remains:
Why would anyone purposely seek to make less than they’re capable of; and, moreover, spend much less than they want to?
The simple answer is: more time — more time to pursue that which truly matters to you; more time to spend with the people you care about; and, more time to appreciate the simple things in life.
You can’t buy happiness, but that’s not to say–for some people anyways–that it can’t add value to an already happy life. What’s important is not making money the focus.
If you think more dollars, equals more fulfillment — than you will likely find yourself unfulfilled at the end of the day. What you’re really seeking is purpose, meaning, and your place in the world — which you will never find in a bigger bank account alone.
The pursuit of more is always a fool’s game. Why? because it never ends — It’s never enough. More money is rarely ever the answer, though it often appears so. A great piece of advice I received from a former boss in my early twenties was, “ You don’t need to make more, you need to spend less.”
However,–at the time–money was everything. I was still at a stage in my life where I felt that I needed to impress others; I needed better clothes, a better car, a better apartment, a better TV; essentially I felt that I needed to live the way others said I should, or I was somehow losing.
It wasn’t until I was nearing thirty, that the small but helpful piece of advice–from nearly ten years earlier–started to make sense.
The continual pursuit of material goods and “status,” which I couldn’t live without, turned out to be the primary source of unhappiness in my life.
This never-ending need essentially left me bankrupt; creating a prison filled with longer work days, increased debt, and steadily rising stress levels; ultimately, taking me further and further away from anything which resembled lasting fulfillment.
Of course, twenties me couldn’t be told otherwise. At that stage in my life, everything seemed to revolve around appearances and social status. I had to attract a certain girl, impress a certain friend, and, most importantly: prove to myself and my parents that I had “ made it.”
Truth is: none of that should have mattered, and from where I stand now — it definitely does not. My boss knew what he was talking about. It is true that the best things in life are free; or, at the very least — cost very little.
Again, more money can make things easier and afford opportunities you may not otherwise have had. It can also add happiness to an already happy life — but, it’s important to not make money the object.
Funny thing is, when money isn’t the object, it ironically starts to manifest in mysterious ways. By setting your sites on things you’re passionate about–activities that you would do for free, for the sheer enjoyment of it–money often appears as the unintended result of those actions.
Try taking some time and refocus on your interests and hobbies. Maybe there are some activities you use to enjoy which have gone to the wayside over the years. We all have–at one time or another–been caught up in the money game, and thus, sacrificed a lot of our best hours to pursue it.
We’ve all felt the burden of debt, bills, and overtime hours. But, you can resist the temptation for more ‘stuff,’ and release some of this burden. This can, and will, result in a happier stress-free life — I promise.