I love this.
Cars and houses are nice, but freedom and choice are the real markers of success in my opinion.
Is success being tied to a well paying job that you hate, that someone could take away from you at any moment? Employment is fine, but getting to the point where you are there by choice has got be part of the success barometer? Likewise with assets, if you don’t actually own those houses and cars and you’re only acquiring them to show off, can that really be classed as successful? Because I think our society currently doesn’t look past these superficial things to find out what real success looks and feels like.
In my opinion, success isn’t a collection of assets.
It’s a feeling.
It’s being completely at ease with where you are in life and how you spend your time and money. It’s having the freedom and choice to do what you want to do and not be beholden to someone else and whatever agenda they may have for you. Beholden is the key word here, employment is the right road for many people, but success is knowing that if you ever wanted to leave you could. Success is having the courage to beat down your own path whether society values and classes that as ‘successful’ or not.
I was chatting to a friend yesterday and we were saying how important and valuable the ‘can’t wait to go to work’ feeling is (as opposed to the dreading Monday morning feeling). Time and the way we spend it is far more valuable than money. There are always ways to make more money, time is finite, once it’s spent you can’t make more. We should value time more highly than money and only spend it on things that are really important to us. Yet too often people ‘work for the weekend’, spend years in jobs they hate (and spend years moaning about it), and put off pursuing hobbies and taking trips for when they have more time. I realised on a trip recently that there would never be ‘more time’. Time in the future is not guaranteed, all I have is the time I have now so I figured I’d better start using it. That’s resulted in adjusting work patterns, spending more time with family and actually using some of my time to pursue hobbies and plan the trips I’ve been looking ‘forward’ to. I’ve got a better deal on our mortgage and started saving more too, I realised that if I wanted to feel successful in the future and have the same level of freedom and choice, that I would had to spend a little bit of my time, and a lot of my money protecting it.
Of course one person’s successful feeling is not the same as another, but on the whole most of us (really deep down, past that ego bit) value similar things; family, a comfortable home, fulfilling work, time for hobbies, a bit of travel… We are often made to believe these things are out of our reach, but if you turn down the noise on a lot of the things that we don’t need (that we are told we do), then you usually find that the important stuff is well within reach.
Right, I’m off to play my new cornet. I thought playing a musical instrument was quite a wasteful use of my time, I’ve realised that doing non-money making things actually gives the money-making activities more point and context. Feels much better to do a bit of the living now and not just saving it all up for some non specific time in the future.