It’s my belief that a lot of us drift through life not knowing exactly what we want out of it. We get caught up in the daily grind and eventually lose the appreciation for what really makes us happy. We lose touch with our innermost wants and desires so life becomes a struggle to survive rather than something we enjoy every day.
Personally I found myself following the “get a good job” mentality throughout high school and the first two years of university. Then that summer I found a book lying on a bedside table where I was housesitting called “Rich Dad’s Guide To Investing” by Robert Kiyosaki. This book changed my world view completely and I was set up the path of the entrepreneur who was going to make the big bucks.
Now I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this path and all that’s it taught me but a few years ago I discovered a new flaw in my plan. I was working so hard to “get rich” (and reinvesting most of my money into it as well) that I wasn’t really appreciating life. I was missing out on all the little things in life because of this big goal I had… I firmly believe in delayed gratification but I was taking it to the extreme.
Taking a look at what’s really important
Doing an exercise from one of my mentors made me realise just where I was going wrong. The exercise was to find out what I really loved and I now repeat it every year as I fine-tune my life. Basically it goes like this…
You ask yourself: “What do you love?” and write down the answer.
You ask that question over and over again until you get a list of things you love. You want to do it without filtering or thinking heavily about it and just get your thoughts on to the page. Then later you can refine your list and remove all the random thoughts that came into your head during the process.
This year I have a list of 11 loves and I make sure that I’m spending a lot of time on those loves. In fact I’m doing most of them on a daily basis. What was interesting for me is that nearly all my loves are quite inexpensive and easy to do. In fact the only expensive one is travel and when I break that down into what I love about travelling (friends, food and culture) I can also achieve that through inexpensive means.
So now I have a life filled with things I love and life is a lot more fulfilling. My business is also more closely aligned to what I love doing as well and I get to focus even more on my loves as I grow my team and get rid of tasks I dislike (to other people who like them). Through this I’ve also been able to work less and earn more because I love my work on a daily basis.
Take a moment to step back and look at what you really love about your life. Do the exercise above and then compare just how much time you’re devoting to things you love so you can do something about it. It can also help to make a list of what you hate doing so you can find other people to do that stuff for you.
And remember that awareness is the first step to solving a problem. By taking stock of your life more often you’ll be able to make the subtle changes that bring you more happiness and fulfilment. It’s not a quick fix however with a little action you’ll move yourself step-by-step towards living a life you love.