Life is a journey to be enjoyed, not fast-forwarded to chase ‘success’
Life is a journey, and the twists and turns in it as we chase our goals and dreams are what make us who we are in the end.
Imagine you woke up with $10 billion in your bank account. And you double-checked and even withdrew a couple of millions so you know it’s not a dream.
What would you do?
Buy a private jet and personal islands for your touring pleasure?
Buy a 500 bedroom mansion and a fleet of Ferraris in all the colors God made?
Diamond rings and necklaces. Watches, shoes. Yachts. Penthouse apartments. And everything else you can lay your eyes on.
And then what?
After you’ve bought everything you’ve ever dreamed of, gone to all the continents, eaten every meal, seen and done everything. What then?
I’m guessing your mind is blank at the thought of that.
Rightly so, as the state of having nothing to possibly do, qualifies as an existential nightmare.
The boredom of being suddenly rich
Markus Persson, the creator of the Minecraft game, became a billionaire after selling his stake in the studio that made the game to Microsoft for $2.5 billion. Just like that he had more money than he knew what to do with. He bought all the houses and toys, hang out with fellow rich people and was free to do nothing but relax all day.
Did that make him happy? Not really. After a while, the excitement over the money faded. He got tired of the parties and toys and beaches and actually started complaining about how bored and isolated he was.
The problem with getting everything is you run out of reasons to keep trying, and human interaction becomes impossible due to imbalance.
— Markus Persson (@notch) August 29, 2015
Hanging out in ibiza with a bunch of friends and partying with famous people, able to do whatever I want, and I’ve never felt more isolated.
— Markus Persson (@notch) August 29, 2015
There’s also an example of a self-made millionaire, Timothy Kim, who says he lacked a sense of purpose once he achieved his financial goal, which then led to boredom.
If someone gives you $100 million and you don’t have to work anymore, you’re going to quickly find out that life feels a little meaningless and you have this hole.
Most people want to add value to society. They want to feel productive. They want to use their brain.
So many of us think we want that life, but we really don’t. Its just the result of being stuck in 9-5 jobs that we hate. So we imagine and fantasize about a life that’s the complete opposite: being free to do whatever we want – like spend our days travelling to islands and lying down relaxing all day.
But those who’ve been there can tell you it isn’t as fun as you think.
Especially if, unlike those two examples, you simply inherit the wealth without working for it.
Heirs who received and blew fortunes
John Hervey, English royalty, inherited a $6 million fortune on his 21st birthday in the late ’70s. That inheritance would equate to close to $65 million by today’s calculations. He fell in love with yachts, fancy cars, women and drugs – and died penniless just 20 years later.
Huntington Hartford II inherited $90 million at an early age. He ended up filing for bankruptcy after blowing the fortune on unwise investments.
Clint Murchison Jr, son of an oil tycoon, inherited $200 million in the 1960’s. 200 million dollars. And he died penniless too.
Many more examples exist, simply emphasizing the point:
There’s a certain strength and character development that comes from having a purpose and succeeding through one’s own effort.
From persevering through countless trials, overcoming doubt from critics at the beginning of your journey, navigating unexpected setbacks, and ultimately gaining triumph through resilience.
It’s hard to lose direction after such a journey, no matter how much money you make, because you know what it cost you to get there.
Two things we need to keep in mind:
Success requires a tremendous amount of time, effort, persistence, learning and sacrifice
We sometimes don’t quite realize that as we make our big plans for the next year or two. We think everything will go as well and as fast as we planned it in our heads. But it doesn’t always go that way, does it?
There’s all sorts of challenges and changes you have no idea are even coming.
This is the planning fallacy, where we think we have all the information we need, all the angles covered and that our plan is failure-proof. But we don’t have all the information, we just think we do.
The only way to actually get all the information is by starting the project and experiencing all the unexpected challenges and changes in person. Getting pleasantly surprised by big wins, getting frustrated when things suddenly aren’t moving, seeking help and advice so you can overcome the obstacles, and so much more.
None of this happens in a day.
Success happens one step at a time. And rewards you with wisdom for every challenge faced
Think of someone needing to cut down a fully grown oak tree, and all they have at their disposal is a sword. The first thirty or fifty swings probably won’t damage the tree much. And the sword will likely be blunt from all the blows.
But instead of getting frustrated, look at the positives. Cuts have been made, where there were none before. The first layer of this large, thick tree has actually been penetrated. So you now know it’s possible. It will take a while, but it is definitely possible. All you have to do is keep going.
And on top of that, you’re actually learning and becoming wiser. As you keep going, you start to identify what angles cut best, how much power to use, how sharp the sword should be. All this teaching you how to get to your end goal and fell the mighty tree – knowledge you didn’t have before.
That’s the power of having goals and striving to meet them; you not only get the goal, but acquire invaluable wisdom and life lessons that can serve you elsewhere or even be shared to help those around you.
Life is a journey. It’s not about the destination.
It’s all the things you learn and experience as you move to your destination. The good times, the bad, the new things, the weird, the unforgettable, what made you strong, what made you cry, who was there, how you narrowly survived…
So live. Every day. Take it all in. smile, laugh, cry, learn and keep moving forward.
It’s a good thing you don’t have everything you need yet, otherwise what would be there for you to look forward to?
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