Today I want to touch upon something I think is important, but all too easy to forget when you’re out to make money and cut those day-job shackles from your ankles.
I’m talking about the false symbols of success that so many worship.
The big houses, nice boats, fast cars, expensive watches, piles of money, and other goodies.
I’ve been lucky in my life, because I’ve experienced a lot of these “symbols”, which has helped me realize that they aren’t worth pursuing.
I used to think money was the be all and end all of happiness, but oh was I wrong.
You can spot false symbols of success quite easily. If you set a goal to make $100,000 a year, but only need $50,000, the goal might feel good while you’re working towards it, and even give you satisfaction when you reach it, but after a while, it just feels empty, without substance.
What matters in life are the connections we have, the value we give, and the experiences we have. Sounds cheesy, but that’s the conclusion I’ve reached.
Now, I’m far from perfect in that I only go after “pure” goals, because I get sucked into greed over and over again, and sometimes that’s exactly the nudge I need to stay on track.
I like to say that I’ve never wanted fame, but I’d be lying, because deep down I know that I like recognition.
But I also know that getting Brad Pitt-like status where I can’t go outside without being recognized would be horrible.
A small dose of recognition is normal. We all want to be seen as contributors in our community or tribe, and that’s healthy.
What’s unhealthy is the constant struggle I see towards stardom. People sacrificing everything to become famous. It may just be what they need to experience right then and there, but it still kills me inside to see someone chasing something … unreal.
Success means different things to different people, but what is success really? Is it accomplishing what you truly value?
Most likely not.
It’s usually accomplishing something that someone else values, which in this case is society, parents, friends, and so on. That’s why our parents want us to become lawyers, doctors, and bankers.
Well, to be honest, mine didn’t push me towards those, but there is always some bias to take the traditional path, which is go to school, get good grades, and buy stuff that is “important.”
Getting a great job leads to an avalanche of money, which means that you can buy a nice house, a fast car, and get security.
Instead of blindly accepting the symbols of success that someone else gives to us, I think it is far more important to sit down and determine for yourself what success means to you, and what it doesn’t.
Only when we think for ourselves can we become truly free. Earning money online is all well and good, but if you aren’t careful, it can become just another job, just another 9-to-5.
The cycle repeats itself, until something changes inside of you.
I was lucky to have stumbled onto online poker when I was 18. It was one of my early wake up calls.
It got me thinking about what truly made me fulfilled. It led me to start meditating more, to start questioning what is going on, and to start taking responsibility for my own life.
I had all the money I needed, but I wasn’t any happier. In fact, I worried about my future.
You can read all the books you want about happiness, but they don’t truly have an impact until you experience it for yourself.
I didn’t become enlightened through that first realization, but it helped me become aware of the fact that something wasn’t quite right.
I’ve always had an easy time falling into greed and doing things for money, but sooner or later I always snap out of it, because it doesn’t make me fulfilled.
I like making money, but I love making money when I’m helping someone or providing value just like I’m doing with this article.
Then we have the little things, such as designer clothes, bags, shoes, new phones, gadgets, and all the rest of them.
Buying a Playstation console and playing now and then is cool, I even think it’s productive, because it’s fun to go 1-on-1 versus your friends playing FIFA or NHL, but it makes me bored after awhile, because I completely destroy everyone at those games ;).
I live next to an IKEA, which is the epitome of our consumer culture, and what amazes me time and time again is how frequently the parking lot is packed with people buying stuff they don’t need.
Buying more stuff serves as a distraction from looking inward and facing the emptiness that so many are experiencing today.
People aren’t fulfilled, a piece of them is missing, but things do not change until they reach a breaking point.
When the suffering becomes impossible to avoid and when there’s nothing left than to face it, then you either change or you break.
What I wanted to get across in this article is that it’s important that you remember what is truly important to you, even though you want to earn a living online.
I’m learning more and more about this myself, and it is a topic I’m hugely passionate about, because not only does it affect you and me individually, but it affects the whole planet and our future.
Does it make sense to keep consuming as we do today?
What will our future look like if we do not adapt?
I’m an optimist, so I believe that we will learn, but it will take time.