Doing a goal setting activity the other day got me thinking about what's in the way of achieving my dream life. It's not that I'm not enjoying life exactly as it is. I love my family, my work, where I live, and being part of the charities with which I'm involved. Being part of it makes me feel fulfilled. But how can I have more of all of this?
There are generally two things that we all want and need more of: Time and Money.
When you ask most people what stands in the way of achieving their goals, they will almost unanimously answer: "Money." or "Time".
That again got me thinking about why those are the two things we need most of, when both are really quite ambiguous and the answer that came to me, set me free. In today's post, I'm going to tell you more about that.
Why We Don't Have Enough Time or Money
I was chatting to a friend who lives a simple life in small resort town in a developing African country, where the average salary is very low. However, my friend has her own business, with very low overheads, and she manages to earn more than double what the average townsfolk does.
Twice a year, during the influx of holidaymakers, locals would complain about how stores put up their prices and how they can't sustain themselves with the high cost of living.
Yet, the restaurants and fast food outlets are always full. The town's 4,000 inhabitants have two major malls to choose from, featuring eight jewellery stores and five thriving car dealerships on a strip of a mile long.
During winter, stores are stocked with blankets, boots, and faux fur coats, which end up on the mark-down piles as it doesn't get cold in that part of the world.
My friend's husband offers a business opportunity, which costs $10 to start, however none of the locals can afford to start that and get out of the rut of carving a living out of $300 a month.
"Seriously? Either they are lying about earning so little or they are in severe debt. Despite earning three times, sometimes more, than they do, I don't buy the stuff they do. We don't have a car, because we can't afford one, besides, we get by fine without one. I guess it's a matter of priorities. I buy the cheapest make-up (I work from home, anyway, so why mess up my skin with that junk?) and you should see their shopping carts! I'd never buy that stuff, because it's a waste of money. Yet, we live like absolute kings. It makes no sense!" laughs my friend.
While she doesn't have the best of everything, she's content with what she has. Even if she was a millionaire, she would still buy the same things she does now.
This conversation made me realize that people don't have money and time, because they don't know how to manage it and they don't understand their own priorities.
Are You Wasting Time and Money?
At some point, we all waste, but I've come to the realization that we can slowly start to spend our time and money more wisely and start getting closer to living life unbound.
At the same time, we can help other people be more, have more and live life unbound. Let me show you what I mean:
Don't Hoard – Give Away
Most people are somewhat sentimental. We want to keep all the reminders from our children's firsts and the movie stubs from the first date with the hubby, but it also spills over to less special items and becomes an obsession.
This post puts it perfectly:
Many Psychologists now believe that the 'new' fashion for minimalist living is a reaction to the stress of our increasingly materialistic, possession acquiring lifestyles. After all what does all this materialism lead too? Debt = stress Less space in our homes = stress More stuff to maintain & clean = stress Needing more money to feed our addiction to 'stuff' = stress Working harder & longer hours to gain money to feed our addiction to 'stuff' = stress Guilt about working harder and longer hours and not spending time with family in order to feed our addiction to 'stuff' = stress
The Constant Need for Bigger and Better
Many people buy things not so much for their own enjoyment, but rather because "everyone else has one". Then "everyone" gets a bigger, better, new model, and we naturally have to get a bigger and better one too. Out comes the credit card… and out goes the enjoyment of the car / house / gadget when it comes to repayments.
My tip: Buy things (you can afford) because you WANT them to add value to your live (rather than because the Jones' have one).
How to Have More Time and Money
Every day brings a new opportunity to do more with your time and money. Which opportunities are you grabbing? Here are my tips for getting the most out of life. (Warning: They may be somewhat more radical than what you have been taught.)
1. Remove Mental Clutter First Become clear about who you are and what you want in life. That will help you prioritize what you do with your time and money and what you keep and what you throw out. This post speaks about a concept called active ownership:
Active ownership, which differs from minimalism, is about investing your limited attention, money, space, and time to what you value so that those things will thrive. Being vested in something makes you care more about it. You can’t do or have everything, so when you choose to take active ownership, it becomes a commitment to it and decisions and compromise have to be made about what commands your limited attention.
2. Do More With Less
Obsessing about "getting more" is not going to help you. Start doing more with what you have already, or less, if possible. Use your time and money better. Save wherever you go – and celebrate the small savings to see how they turn into huge and unexpected rewards.
3. Make Life an Experience
With point 1 above in mind, create experiences. A moment of connection with your spouse, a hug from your children and feeling the sun shine on your shoulders cost nothing but a few seconds of your time, but the rewards are so much sweeter than the investment. A walk along the beach is much better for the soul than fighting the crowds in a mall.
4. Grab Every Opportunity
Wealth is not measured in money.
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” ― Epictetus
Therefore, you should take every opportunity that comes your way to do more, better and richer things with your time, and even with your money. I read a great analogy this week:
P.O.O.R. = Passing Over on Opportunities Regularly.
Are you rich or are you poor? You can tell by your wants and by how you spend your time and money.