Maintaining an average lifestyle is a lot of work. A life lived well beyond average, is, well, beyond a lot of work. I recently spoke with a colleague of mine about money and the ongoing attempt to make sense of how we earn and spend and spend and spend. She was astonished by how much money she had recently made on a nice bonus check, and how little she had left after not doing much with it. Pay tax bill. Pay daycare. Pay this. Pay that. She was asking my advice in regard to splitting the cost of annual Disneyland passes for her two kids with her ex husband (and purchasing one for herself). She said after paying her share, she would have about five-hundred dollars left of that seemingly “windfalll-ish” bonus check. Five hundred dollars is not chump change, but hardly life changing.
What I told her was something that is becoming clear more and more on a daily basis, and something that I have yet to capture for myself. While we both make a good living, in fact very good when based on national averages, we simply cannot get ahead far enough economically on a normal salary type job. This is not universal, as CEOs, and celebrities are doing just fine on salaries.
Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of Falling (Photo credit: epSos.de)
Who is buying the million dollar homes near the beach? That is a seven thousand dollar payment.: Entrepreneurs, risk takers, and insanely hard-working people with a lot of skill, luck, and tenacity. Relative success, such as mine and my colleague’s is a blessing and a curse. I am grateful for my work, enjoy and find fulfillment.
I will never amass any tangible wealth beyond years of pecking away toward a 401k, without stepping beyond my current state of comfort.
It’s easy ( in a sense) to wake up everyday and do my job and cash my paycheck every two weeks. I work hard and smart and have some success. On my computer, I have written goals and have written dreams. They are separate for a reason. My dreams are only dreams in my current reality. Beach house, mountain get-away, European trips, Ivy league colleagues for the kids, and so on.
My “dreams” cannot become “goals” until there is a realistic road to achievement, a paradigm shift in how I approach my life and the effort and energy I give everyday.
This conversation with my colleague opened my eyes and recharged the energy I started this blog on. I asked her, really asking myself, a profound question. Do we except our [fair ] role in life, enjoying the comforts of a fun and “not-terribly” stressful job? I could be a coal miner after all. Well, if that’s the case, the treadmill of life will leave us with Sundays at Disneyland at least seven times a year (that’s the amount of visits per year she figured she needs to make it worth paying for the passes), and a budget drive through meal on the way home. We can opt for hard work and risk. Not the hard work we are all used to. Not hustling to switch planes in Salt Lake. Not the risk we are used to. Not worrying about a buy out, or hitting quota. The hard work involved is waking up early, staying up late, answering calls, driving business, bleeding for your work, and being energized 24/7. The risk is that it will fail and you won’t have healthcare, a company car, or electricity (that takes money). The pay-off however, can be amazing.
Comfort does not equal lazy, and success does not equal misery. Where is your happiness in this equation?
Driven people find happiness in success if they know what fuels
What is your choice?