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Friday, February 24, 2012

How Much Energy And Life Are You Trading For Money?

Everyone has to meet their basic needs... a roof to sleep in, food in the table, bills to pay. As your life progresses you somehow fall into the line of thinking that you got to work to make money. However, the more you work the more money you will make and therefore the more "stuff" you can have…

After all,  you work so hard, you deserve it…

Have you stopped to think at what point you will have "enough" and when can you stop working for money?

We are always looking for the promotion, for a job that pays more, for another job in addition to the one you have, and for ways to make more money.

In this process it is easy to fall into a life of work. Where the great majority of your time is spent working for money or in the preparation to work for money or recovering from all the time you spent working for money. So that your work then becomes your life…

It is in this lifestyle where that life we imagined we would have when we grow up and go into the “real world” is nowhere to be found. Because now your work/job/occupation/profession defines you, it is who you are and it is the answer to that all too typical question

"What do you do?"

This incessant pursuit of more...more money, more status, more things, more responsibility...sort of happens. At some point you might have lost control of what you "really" wanted to do when you "grow up" and are now doing something that you ended up in. But after all we all have to pay the bills and put food on the table, so you press on....

Have you stopped and asked yourself: what does your work do to you?

Do you feel fulfilled, happy and invigorated at the end of the workday, glad to do it again tomorrow?

...Or are you exhausted, drained and counting the hours until Friday?

I have been fortunate enough to feel both so that I can tell the difference.

Believe me, the only reason I say this and ask these question is because I have "been there, done that". Chasing more money and working more so that I can make more money. So then I can have more stuff, the things that show me and others that I am "making it" and that I am successful.

What I want you to do is to look at the amount of time you spend in everything related to work. Not only the hours at the office but the ones before and after too, the hours preparing for it, recovering from it, extra work, vacation from it, etc. If you really add those up then you will realize, like I did, that an awfully huge amount of your life is going to the pursuit of money.

Sure, there is pride in professional success and building a career. After all this is what you went to college for and it has taking you years to get where you are and this is the common definition of success…but is it yours?

Ask yourself if all those hours you spend making money are what you really want to do with your life. Or are they the hours you need to put in so that you can have more?

What if you did not need to have so much stuff, did not need such a big house, the latest model of that car or one more thing to go in the garage. Do you really need to fill that closet with one more gadget or did you really buy it because everyone else has one and you "have" to have it?

Is that pricey club membership worth what you get out of it or do you have it because you are buying your way into a social circle?

When you look at the things in your life and then evaluate whether you really need or want them and how much time at work you have to spend to keep them and acquire them you might figure out that you might not have to work as much as you thought you did if you didn’t have them to begin with.

On the other hand you might also discover that there are other things you want to do with your life that the constant pursuit of money do not allow you to do. Things that might be more fulfilling than pursuing money so that you can collect more stuff…

Figure out what those things are and then think of what you need to do to make them happen. How would they enrich your life? Will they make you feel like you are really living?

Awareness is the first step of change…

This is how you get the ball rolling towards figuring out how to make your life more about what you want instead of what you want to buy. Heck, if you hit the jackpot you might find something that is truly fulfilling AND also pays you enough. But even if it doesn't pay you just finding the time to add it to your life might be good enough.

By taking a look inwards and asking yourself these questions and also discussing them with your spouse you might gain enough insight into what your energy and life are going into and then you can decide if this is what YOU want.

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