In this day and age where everyone is after get-rich-quick schemes, what brings you to this blog post?
Are you seeking things more important than wealth? Are you looking for genuine contentment outside monetary gains?
Before I delve deeper into the topic, I want to make it clear that I’m not against monetary growth as long as it’s done the right way. Having an intrinsic desire to accumulate wealth is in itself not a very terrible goal to have. But your life revolving around just that might not improve your experience in this short life we have on Earth. As human beings, I think there is more to life than mere material gain.
I also firmly believe success is, in essence, an amalgam of small but meaningful successes in more than one sphere of life. I’ll go into that detail in another blog post but when I set my goals for success they fall under various categories like personal, financial, career, relationships, and goals as a global citizen, to name a few.
Recently, I sat down to think of all the things that come to mind that are more abstract in nature, unlike wealth, but considerably contribute to our definition of a good life. Let me know how many of these you think really matter to you more than wealth down in the comments section.
1. Your identity
A deep sense of who you are. An understanding of why you exist, what’s your purpose in life, and what makes you, you, is as important as life itself. Your good side and your other side – one that needs improvement, accepting your qualities and your flaws, are all a part of your identity.
Not knowing who you are and not forming a strong identity may make you lead a very average life. Having a sense of self is going to define your path in life in a much more dignified way. You will have a clear understanding of your ‘why’ behind things, your goals, and your aspirations. It helps you decide who to follow and what to disconnect from.
When you develop a sense of self you will seldom find yourself lost. One of my close friends recently taught me an important life lesson. She told me she forms an opinion about a situation before she goes out to ask for advice. This helps her either improve on her opinion or see why it’s wrong altogether. But when you don’t form an opinion of your own you may end up accepting the other person’s advice as your own. Unless you put good thought into it, it may not be very in line with what you believe in.
Forming your identity helps you have a clear understanding of your relationships in life, who to associate with, and who to disassociate with. In short, as I learn new things about myself, I realize how easy it becomes to make great decisions in life.
1.1 A connection with self
A connection with self, to me, is a connection with a power greater than you. It’s essentially a connection with your Creator. Having that connection will help you pave your way through life’s most daunting difficult times. It’s having trust and understanding of yourself beyond yourself.
Having that connection helps me understand life better, it puts things into perspective and enables me to focus on things beyond the generalized. You don’t fall prey to stereotypes and develop more acceptance for people who are different than you.
An important asset to have in life is time. But if you stop to think about it. Can you actually have ‘time’? What is ‘time’? How does it feel like having ‘time’?
Let me try to illustrate through an example a famous leadership coach uses. He gives an apple to each of his participants attending his workshop and tells them to eat it. The place becomes, as my teachers would have said, a fish market. Someone thought it was a competition and ate it all in one gulp, another person finished it in a minute, another in two, someone took out a tissue paper and started cleaning it, and someone started asking for a knife to cut it. After 30 minutes when everyone had somehow eaten the apple the coach gave them all another apple. This time he told them two things: a. eat the apple and b. this is the last apple you will ever eat. Guess what, everyone wanted to feel and enjoy every moment with the apple, its texture, its taste, and even its skin. No one was bothered by what they were a few minutes ago. Time is your last apple. Your time right now is your last apple.
Will you ever be 20 again? Will you ever live 26th of August 2022 ever again? That’s time for you. It’s precious because there is no way we’re getting it back. Better live it meaningfully? No?
We all seek health, wealth, and prosperity in life. In that prayer, I’ve always put health first. Wealth may buy you anything but health and genuine relationships add much more value to your time.
Working on our health has become a vital thing in our times. We are far from the days when general lifestyle was in line with good health. We are far from it. Therefore, working on your health as early as you realize is vital today. It’s something that will always bring you more joy and contentment in life.
Is it easy no? Worthwhile? Absolutely.
Having influence and great wealth can deprive you of genuine relationships. You may not know why people in your life are there in your life. They may be there after your influence or after the perks they get in your company because of your wealth. You need to be careful when you chose people in your life, for you need to make sure they are there for you and not just for what you have in monetary/influence terms.
Great relationships and a sense of importance associated with them is something many many of us out there don’t really have in life. We lead lives in isolation, harboring a sense of loneliness even when we are surrounded by a sea of people around us. It’s not just physical company that I’m talking about but a general sense of having people in your life.
Having strong ties with families, having great friends and having a life partner who understands you as much as you understand them, growing through your experiences, improving as you grow and the release of positive energy, whenever you are surrounded by ‘your’ people, is something many of us crave for. But it’s also something that’s not given as much importance as wealth.
5. The Experience
Life is not just about what you have in terms of money but the experience associated with it. You may have the best in the world but end up having the worst experience with it in the end.
What is experience? The feelings associated with what you do in life. It can be a part of your work, your personal life, and the personality you carry. To simplify things. Traveling alone in business is a much different experience from traveling with friends via road.
6. The Journey
When running after milestones we often forget about the journey. Real happiness lies not in the achievement of the goals as much as it is in the pursuit of those goals. Your journey, your people, and your experience are something to cherish. It’s there specifically for you. It’s something unique to you.
What values do you live by? Are they worth harboring inside yourself? What impact do they bring to your life and to those around you? How do they make you feel about yourself?
Take out some time to think of your top 5 values and use them as a filter to pass everything you do in life. This helped me overcome my mental barriers when it comes to great decisions in life. For instance, what kind of a person will my life partner be, what is my career line going to be, how do I want to upbring my child – all this stems from my values in life.
Your love for people, love for yourself, for your Creator, for the life given to you, for your experiences, for your knowledge, for your things, and for your journey adds to the joy of life unlike anything else. Love is a very positive emotion even in the form of passion. It brings to the surface your desire to improve, be a better you, and give your best self to the world out there.
9. Contentment and Gratitude
In simplest words, contentment is being okay with whatever life gives you. That’s when it’s easier to be grateful because you realize you don’t deserve whatever you have. On the other hand, if you feel entitled to everything you often feel like you deserve better. This is not to say you don’t strive for anything and just be content with whatever life throws at you. But knowing that after you’ve given it your best shot, what’s coming your way is for you and it’s going to add to your experience.
Contentment and gratitude are priceless. They help you stay generally positive and happier in life. It helps you from falling into the well of despair and sorrow. It gives you patience and courage to look at the good past the bad that’s in front of you.
Entitlement complicates things and acceptance simplifies life. It brings your heart peace.
10. Your Legacy
We will all die as have all before us. But some people live beyond their physical existence. They live in our stories, they live in great ideas and innovations and discoveries. What you leave behind is your legacy. What people think and learn from your life when you are not around them is your legacy. Do sit down and question yourself, what are you leaving behind as you leave this world? How will you be remembered? What will be your impact on the life of your loved ones once you are gone?