Whoever does not regard what he has as most ample wealth is unhappy, though he is master of the world.
Of the three following scenarios, which one would you choose?
1. To be well-off financially, own a stunning custom home in a beautiful area with an incredible view, or a sweetheart of a home in an upscale neighborhood on acreage, drive a luxury car, have plenty of cash to travel and to buy antiques, and to eat in fine restaurants — BUT be plagued by either failed painful personal relationships, or a life-threatening disease, or both?
2. Live in a lovely home in a nice neighborhood, drive nice cars, travel a bit — BUT fall deeper into debt every month, have to endure endless daily obligations, and work your fingers to the bone (sometimes at multiple jobs) to maintain your lifestyle, and therefore, enjoy very few hours free from work, chores, commitments and drudgery?
3. Live very modestly in a rented apartment, small mobile home, tiny cabin, or older RV, drive a small economy car, own nothing of real value — BUT have no debt, do work that’s in alignment with your soul, spend your days with the one you love, together supporting your community, and helping your loved ones?
Of course, there are many other alternatives and scenarios, but these three examples provide some good food for thought, and serve as a ‘scratch on the surface’ of the lives many people choose to create for themselves.
At first, it may seem that everyone would be happiest if they enjoyed an affluent lifestyle living in a pricey house surrounded by many costly belongings, traveling in style, reaping the benefits of huge business success. But, many people who have created that very life do so at an exorbitant cost. Either they toil very, very hard for endless hours leaving them little real time to enjoy their chosen life, or they suffer from complicated, (and often times devastating) personal relationship issues or severe (even life-threatening) health problems.
Most people find out at the end of their lives that it’s not what they achieved or acquired over their lifetime that made them happy. In fact, “things” and the trappings of an affluent life, or business success, was often the genesis of their frustration, emotional pain, exhaustion, spiritual bankruptcy, and what felt like eternal entrapment by an alarm clock and a job they hated.
What generates lasting joy is appreciating what you have already, loving the work you do, and enjoying true freedom to live life one day at a time in good health surrounded by loving people. So…..what would make you happy? A new Mercedes? A 5,000 square foot custom home? Annual first class tickets to Rome? Winning 10 million dollars in a lottery? Or, the peace that comes with knowing what you have right now is more than enough, feeling authentic appreciation for the natural ebb and flow of your life, waking every morning to the sound of birdsong instead of to the jangle of an alarm clock, and loving someone who loves you back?
It is guaranteed if you are unable to be grateful for what you have today, if you do not love the life you have already, it doesn’t matter what more things you acquire or how much money you earn, it will never be enough. You will always be “wanting” more, working harder or scheming harder to obtain “things” or to achieve “success” while sacrificing your personal relationships and your health in the bargain.
You need not give up on your dreams and goals to live simply, and joyfully. There is great good in working hard if the work you do is in alignment with your purpose, and there is beauty in striving for a better life. But, lasting joy is never found in tangible things, or money. It comes from living simply and authentically, feeling blessed for who you are and what you have right now, while still keeping your dreams animated and breathing. Look to future articles on how to live simply and purely to generate happiness, while still pursuing your life’s goals and holding tight to your best dreams.
May you live an extraordinary life!
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