WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY? DREAM BIG.
Think of something you’ve been putting off, or saving for next year, or planning to do after retirement; or maybe something you’ve been thinking about doing but haven’t been quite able to convince yourself. Think about your biggest dream. Got it in your mind? Good.
NOW WHAT’S STOPPING YOU FROM CHASING IT?
The most common answers are time, money, and the fear of uncertainty. There’s always a reason why you shouldn’t do something, and if you can’t think of it, someone surely will.
I have big dreams to inspire people to shift their perspective from competitive consumerism (I’ll explain what I mean in a minute) to the values of the “simple bare necessities” (Did you think of ol’ Baloo?). It’s a perspective understood by few and valued by fewer.
YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY
You might tell yourself, I’m successful and I deserve to be happy, then go out and buy the newest Apple Watch or upgrade to that luxurious suite on the top floor, but are those the things that make you happy? I can bet you it’s not. It’s the connections. Maybe you use your new Apple Watch to send quicker replies to your friends or are more confident to invite your family over to your new living space. These connections make you happy.
But maybe you want those things to prove to your friends that you are, in fact, successful.
Hold on, back up. Didn’t you assure yourself you deserved to be rewarded for your success with happiness before making your last big purchase? Then why do you need to prove it to anyone else? If you’re spending your time or money on something that is truly adding value to your life, and it’s not negatively affecting anyone else, then it doesn’t matter what others say.
Do the things you want to do, and do them now because you never know what might come up in the future.
BUT IT’S NOT AS EASY AS THAT
You’re right, it’s not. It’s a lot of hard work. In my case, I want to steer people from competitive consumerism. But what does that even mean?
It’s something I’ve come to notice thanks to traveling and trekking. In the big cities, people walk around with their phones in hand everywhere they go. I know that’s not surprising, but what is, is how many of those people still have their phones in hand when driving. I know this doesn’t count as hard evidence, but the last time I was on the freeway (I was not the driver), I counted at least 1 in 4 people distracted and driving.
The point is, technology has come to rule our lives, and to feel included and qualified to compete in society, we feel we need to be up to date with the latest gadgets; the faster phone or the smarter car will bring us social favor, and by transitive properties, we will be happy. This only adds stress to your life and subconsciously fuels your participation in consumerism.
ITS A MARKETING SCAM
We buy products to stay connected with our loved ones, but these products exploit us in such a way that we end up feeling lonely and disconnected, the exact opposite of what they promised to do. We have hundreds of friends on social media, but we talk to all of about eight of them.
I fell for this marketing scam too. Brands and social status had a positive correlation, but after trekking in the Himalayas and the Everest Region in Nepal, I realized how much happier I felt with just the small amount of stuff that could fit in the pack on my back. I was tired and I got sick and incredibly exhausted, but I knew if I couldn’t walk out of the mountains myself, I would be airlifted, and that meant being ripped out of nature and “safely” deposited back into the madness of the city; pure motivation to see more, learn more, and live more kept me well and happy. It’s cliché, I know, but it’s true. From then on, I wanted others to experience the genuine joy and absolute bliss I felt too.
It’s one thing to tell people this story and it’s another to inspire them to, at least, consider my point.
I had a dream to go backpacking and see Mount Everest, but it wasn’t something I had been dreaming of my whole life. The dream lived for about two years, during which I put my whole head and heart into doing the things I needed to in order to fulfill it. I have a whole long list of things I dream to do, but I don’t have a dream I’m saving for “a time that is more convenient.”
LIVE FOR NOW
Last weekend I went to Catalina Island, this weekend I’m going sky diving, next month I’m traveling to Banff National Park, and next year I’m going to Machu Picchu. I’m doing the things I want to now. I’m adding value to my life through experiences, not material things.
I cleaned out my possessions so I am left with only the things that I truly appreciate, and I make an effort to spend time away from my phone. Why? Because downsizing and donating the stuff you don’t need is only part of path to happiness. What stops you from wanting more stuff and unconsciously replacing the things you gave away?
Advertisements will lure you back into the competitive sport of consumerism, no matter how hard you try to escape it. My solution, limit the ads you see per day. Now, if you’re online, there’s no way to stop the number of ads you see (though you can reduce them) so my solution is to simply spend less time online. From experience, I can say I no longer have the urge to buy something every time I walk into a souvenir shop. Although it took me months to get here, it was absolutely worth it. Now I can focus on experiences I value rather than the things social media tells me I want.
Here I am, living my dream of offering you a new perspective. It’s up to if you want to consider it or not. But however you choose to live your life, I wish you all the happiness, whatever that may mean for you. For me, it means less technology, less stuff, and more time in nature; that is my version of success and happiness.
But whatever the case may be…LIVE NOW!
Leave a comment below and tell me what your biggest dream is or how you can add value to your life, may that be spending more time with your dog or starting your own company! I want to know what makes you happy!