Changing how we think is no small feat. For years, if not decades, we have been subscribing to the idea of ‘have to’. I have to mow my grass. I have to paint the garage. I have to go to the grocery store. I have to wash my car. I have to clean out my closet. As a responsible adult, you almost certainly feel the pang of obligation on an hourly basis. Each new step up the ladder of employment or economics brings on new responsibilities and obligations. Obviously for the very affluent, buying a house doesn’t mean a litany of new chores will be added to his or her to-do list. They obviously have the means to hire people to mow their grass and paint the garage. I doubt that the very wealthy wash their own cars or clean out their own closets. However, average, everyday hard-working men and women usually lack the means to pay others to complete their daily chores and overall maintenance of life.
Succumbing to societal pressures to have more, do more, and earn more is the very reason why we lack the time, resources and focus to pursue our deepest desires. Owning a boat is fun, but requires maintenance, insurance, gas, registrations and long list of safety gear. Owning a house that is more expensive than you really need limits your financial resources and forces you to spend your weekends cleaning out the gutters, mowing the yard, pressure washing the driveway, and fixing the leaky faucet. The list goes on and on.
A lower mortgage, or perhaps even a rental house, might free up the means to hire others to complete those tasks. Cars, boats, houses, jet skis, motorcycles, four wheelers, kayaks, and snow-skis can all be rented. There will be many who argue that it is silly to throw your money away on rent, and in some instances that may be true. But remember, the point we are making here isn’t just whether you should rent or buy. The point is that the cruelest wounds are always self-inflicted.
Most of us do not have personal assistants and maids. We have to shop for our own groceries and mow our own grass. We have to write checks and mail payments for all our monthly bills. We set aside a full day to do our taxes. We have to go to the gym to exercise and we have to drop off and pick up our dry cleaning. All of these things sound perfectly normal; they are all commonplace chores that we all have to do. We say we have to, but a more correct description would be that we have chosen to. We chose to think, talk and act like everyone else and, therefore, we end up with the same life everyone else has.
We succumbed to the idea that our path to achievement is linear and predetermined by what is expected of us and that it is achieved little by little over time. The varied list of possessions that signal status diverts our focus from that which would bring us true fulfillment. The painful truth is that having more means doing more. And the more we have to do the less we focus on our true desires.
Tra Williams is a celebrated speaker, business consultant and author of the forthcoming book Feed Your Unicorn. He is a nationally recognized thought leader in small business, franchising, leadership and entrepreneurship. Tra works tirelessly with people, professionals, and organizations to help them define success on their own terms and build the framework required to sustain it. For more information, please visit: www.TraWilliams.com.