Whether you like it or not, the majority of Americans have a flawed mindset towards life.
We grow up with the hopes and aspirations of being successful, which most of the time “success” is defined and quantified by how much money you make, the size of your house and what car you drive.
In addition, the way others view you or the perception of how you want others to view you seems to be just as important as the actual success itself.
Deep down into our core, these few factors are what typically drives us each and every day.
We work long and hard for days, weeks, months, years upon years at a time to attempt to achieve some marginal success, some “happiness”.
Whether that success to you is to lease a BMW that you can’t afford to project the image of success to those around you, or to buy a material item that months down the road won’t give you the same sense of feeling you got when you first bought it.
We associate material items with success, which we hope will bring us happiness. As at the end of the day happiness is all of our ultimate goals whether we realize it or not.
At a certain point in life (typically sooner than later), having this mantra equals out to a really fucked up way of living.
F the BS: It’s time to recalibrate!
Take Europe for example. I’m not a world traveler (yet), but I’ve spent a decent amount of time in a handful of western European countries to get a true feel and sense for how the average person lives their life.
And I hate to break it to you, but “success” and material items are not a top priority for Europeans, not by a long shot.
Simply being out in the open, enjoying the present moment and the scenery, with friends and family over tea, coffee, wine, beer, some lunch…this is their ultimate goal and priority and what brings them happiness.
While we as Americans put all of our focus, efforts and energy into working to make more and more money to buy more and more bullshit consumer products, as well as the next new thing that we don’t need and won’t ever bring us long term happiness, most Euros seem to keep it simple and take advantage of the small moments and things in life.
Now let me disclose that I’m sure it’s not like this for ALL Europeans. And undoubtedly, they may have similar financial stresses and overall life problems like us, but the key difference that literally changes everything is that they live in a society where working and money simply aren’t No.1 or even No.2 in their mental list of what’s most important in life. They put friends and family first, and push to the side the bullshit of everything else (fancy cars, the latest technology gadgets, big homes, etc, etc).
Before I wrap this up, just think for a moment about what you may be LOSING by making your current definition of success your top priority.
We only have so much time on this planet to live, love and breathe.
Do what needs to be done to make the true priorities in life your top ones. It won’t be easy, and it may take years to accomplish but you only have one life to live so make it worth it.
I’ll leave you with this story that gets me every time…
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”
“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”