In North America, both in the US and in Canada (and – really – the world over), earning a good living, having a house, paying for your kid’s education, saving for retirement – all the things we all thought we’d be doing when we grew up – is no longer all that attainable for over 90% of us. It may seem like it when you look at the number of house purchases. But if you dig even a tiny bit deeper, the real cost of getting that house shows up. In Toronto, we call it being “house poor”, because every cent you make goes into paying down the mortgage. For years. In fact, mortgages are routinely generated over 25 or 30 years, because otherwise it would be impossible to hold one. This, along with student loans and other debts, generate huge debt loads that tie us down to whatever jobs we can get. Until we’re old.
I’ve talked about this before in The Wisdom of Insecurity. It’s one of the drivers for the tiny home movement: finding ways to shed that debt load and attain the freedom to do what you truly want to do. You might dream of winning the lottery, or making it big in business, spending thousands on the few coaches who have made it big in the hope that it’ll happen for you, too. Sadly, I suspect that mostly isn’t true.
So, what is the answer? Making it big? Or not? Either way, the reason for wanting to try is because you – like me – probably want to live a happy and fulfilling life.
If you could have that life, with or without a lot of money – wouldn’t that feel like success? It would for me. The older I get, the more I value my health and the health and well-being of my loved ones. The more I value living in a community of happy and contented people. Money, as long as my basic needs are taken care of, matters less and less to me.
What is success? According to the online dictionary, it’s the accomplishment of one’s goals. That is a kind of success. But life success – feeling successful and happy life, is more than that: it’s accomplishing the goals that mean a lot to us. Richard St. John in his Ted Talk (below) lists 8 secrets that he gleaned from successful people.
I believe these 8 things can be narrowed down to 3:
- Passion: Passion for whatever it is you’re doing means that you’ll happily do whatever it takes to get it done. Passion will get you through the mistakes, inevitable failed attempts, criticisms, and dark nights. Working at something that you’re not passionate about is work. Doing something you love is fun – not work. It may be that you’re not sure if you’re passionate enough in what you want to do right now. That’s OK – do it until something else takes over. There is no ultimate answer to what you should pursue – only that you love doing it.
- Focus: You may think this is a no-brainer, but believe me, doing what you love can be terrifying. All the nay-sayers, the bills, the lost security can make it really hard to focus on what’s truly important. When I feel stuck, it’s always because I’m sitting in fear, where there are a lot of inner voices telling me that I’m not good enough, that I’m going to fail, that this is a stupid idea. Then I distract myself with anything else so that I don’t have to feel that terror, ultimately wasting my time on what doesn’t matter. If this happens to you, having a friend to talk to can help. And if that isn’t an option, try this: take your worst fear – say it’s “No matter what I do, I’m going to fail” – and turn it around to something that gives your heart a lift – like “No matter what I do, I’m going to win” (because in the long run, that’s what’s going to happen). Use this turn-around whenever you begin to feel that fear, as a way to regain your focus.
- Love: This may seem corny, but honestly, if your feeling of love and good will towards yourself and others doesn’t increase with what you’re doing, then it probably won’t be sustainable. Because without this kind of love, how can there be happiness.
Having said all that, if you want the added bonus of financial success, go for it! But first, go after your heart’s desire, because without that, money isn’t going to do it.
Now I’d love to hear from you about your own experiences, knowledge, opinions. In the comments below, share one thing that you experienced as a mirror moment that changed your day, or even your life.
This newsletter is in three parts: the first part is my contribution; the second is a video I’ve found that relates to the topic in part 1; the third is a quote. I hope you enjoy the richness this brings to the topic of the week with all three parts.
Quote of the Week
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.
– Maya Angelou
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. I offer both one-on-one consultations and coaching packages. For more information, visit my website www.thejoyofliving.co/services-and-programs or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org