This one is tricky, especially in today’s world. There is so much over-exposure to everything it is easy to think that if you don’t have certain things that you life is not a happy one. We are inundated with social media highlight reels and shows like Housewives of Whatever County seemingly setting the bar for what we should strive for. If you are TikTok famous, you aren’t doing something right, and your life sucks because of it.
Wrong. FLAT. OUT. WRONG…
This next statement will sound trite, but believe me when I tell this:
The goal is not to be rich and famous.
The Goal SHOULD BE to become financially independent and anonymous.
Why do I say this? Especially from a guy who is in some way trying to gain a following on my own social media channels? Hear me out…you’ll need to understand that constantly measuring yourself against others is a bad habit and a terrible way to live your life. For one thing, many people lie about their real life anyway, so you are not measuring your toys versus theirs anyway. We have all heard the stories of someone leaning against a Lambo to pose for a photo like it is theirs, only to have the real owner walk up to the car and chase them away. This is the perfect example of eating your dessert first; you don’t get to have the car without having the money first. And this leads into a whole different discussion, but I’ll get to that in a minute. And how often does someone lease a car they can’t afford, just to roll up in it and impress people they don’t even know. Financial disaster…
I don’t want to own a Lambo, and here are the reasons why:
–I would get speeding tickets far too frequently
–I would be afraid to park it anywhere, knowing people could do everything from lean on it to take a photo to key it up because they are jealous. I would be afraid the valet would take it for a joyride.
–I don’t want that kind of attention drawn to me
Now, that last one took a while to get to. I used to think I wanted to be famous and recognizable, but I learned over time that this is a rough way to live a life. Here is a perfect example: I knew a guy casually that was a famous NBA player, and I noticed that he was always talking to people every time I saw him. I thought it must be nice to have people shower you with attention everywhere you go. I was wrong. I saw him and his wife and kids out at a mid-level Mexican restaurant here in town when I was alreadyy seated with my girlfriend at the time. They walked in and I said to her: “Oh, there’s Dan, maybe I’ll go say hi.” I had spoken with him plenty of times, and didn’t think it would be out of line to do so. But as I watched them get escorted to the back of the restaurant I noticed that everyone else in the restaurant noticed them as well. People couldn’t stop watching them, even when they were seated and he sat on the inside of the booth facing away from everyone. Despite clearly trying to “hide” and just have dinner with his family, he couldn’t. Four different people walked up to the table and wanted to say hello, shake his hand, or has him sign something.
I ran into him the next day at the gym and I ended up on a bench next to him at one point. He said hi and we started chatting. I told him what I observed last night and then asked him the question whose answer haunts me to this day. “Is it always like that?” He didn’t hesitate for a second, and replied “YEs, it is ALWAYS like that.” In some ways his answer changed my life. I could tell by the look in his eyes that this was a weight he did not want to carry with him. He has no choice, and if he is rude to someone, everyone will know about it, and this was long before Social Media and everyone having a camera in their cell phone. In today’s world, literally everyone would know if he was rude, because it would be broadcast for the world to see. There is hardly any Peace in a life like this.
Peace comes from within, from being content with what you have. The real trick is to teach your brain to be happy with what you currently have instead of dwelling on what you want.
Allow me to share an old fisherman parable that illustrates this point perfectly. A middle aged man lived in a small village by the ocean, and led a modest life. Every day he would go fishing in the morning and catch fish to make for dinner. No more, no less, just what he needed to feed him and his family. Each day he would play with his children, take a nap under the big tree in his back yard and make love to his wife in the afternoon. In the evening after dinner, he would sit in his courtyard and play guitar. He was very happy.
One day a rich tourist saw him carrying some fish away from his boat and asked if they were for sale. The fisherman relied that they were not, this was for his family’s dinner. The tourist asked if he paid the man, would he catch fish for him as well, but the fisherman declined. The tourist was undeterred, and told the fisherman that he would not only make it worth his while, but he has friends who would do the same. “In fact, I could help you set up a business, and you could become wealthy!” The fisherman looked at him and asked “And then what?” The tourist, thinking he was making progress, replies “You could hire more people to fish with you, they could do the work and you could run the business. You could ship the fish around the country and expand your market, making more money!”
“Hmm…” the fisherman thought for a moment. “And then what?” he asked. The tourist replied “You could build the company up and sell it, and retire rich!” “OK, and then what?” the fisherman asked. “You could do whatever you want! You could spend time with your kids, play guitar, whatever you feel like!” the tourist exclaimed, thinking he was really getting somewhere. The fisherman stared at him for a moment, and then he smiled and walked away. The tourist chased after him, and stopped him again. “So, do we have a deal?” he asked. The fisherman laughed, shaking his head. “No sir, we do not. I already have a wonderful life, doing all the things I want to do. I love my family, my house and my life, I want for nothing. I wish that someday you can say the same. Good day sir…”
the moral of this story should be self-evident, but just in case it is not, here you go: The fisherman already had built a life that made him happy. The tourist was implying that after years of hard work of building a fishing business that he could have a bigger house, more free time, etc. What the tourist didn’t understand is that you cannot get the time spent building the business back. Chasing the money to have the freedom the tourist perceived only to be available after achieving financial success was a waste of time for the fisherman. He already had that life, and was at peace with what he had. These two people will likely never see the world the same. My question for you is, who do you think is living their best life?
Don’t get it twisted, you do not need to have 500K followers, a billi in the bank or be on a “reality” TV show to have a happy life. And if you ever do watch any of those awful “reality” TV shows, you can quickly see just how unhappy those people really are. How often do you see Elon Musk doing anything fun? There is no Peace of mind when you chase an ever-moving goal line. As soon as you get that nice car, someone you know will have a nicer one, or a different one that becomes the center of attention for a bit. That cool condo in the cool in part of town soon will need to become a house on the hill for people to envy from afar. The line will always move, which creates two problems:
You never really reach the destination
Even when you get close, your perceived happiness will be short lived at best.
Someone will always have more, something you think is better, bigger, whatever. The pursuit of money and fame will end badly in almost every case. Hollywood is full of rich and unhappy people, all of them knowing it can all come crashing down at any moment. One bad tweet, one slightly rude response to a fan and suddenly they are the bad guy that no one should like Cancel culture is a terrible thing, but it is real nonetheless.
I am striving for Peace of Mind in my life. I firmly believe that this is the right pursuit for the long haul. It will be much easier to have a happy life if this is the goal instead of rich and famous. I want to be well known in a small circle of my business pursuits, my reputation well respected and enough to open a door or two on occasion. The world is ever-changing and if you want to find a stable life to build, do not look to construct a sand castle that will simply get washed away the first time it rains. Set yourself up for a happy life and Peace of Mind by striving to get your life in order, cover your essentials, and enjoy every day as if it may be your last. Because you never know when that could be the case.
I hope you can pursue a life that offers you Peace of Mind and a happy existence. THAT should be the goal, the rest is just details.