Assets surround us by the billions.
And even though their values are exaggerated, assets are good for many things. Money can make us happier: the house closer to the city center. The feeling that you can quit your job tomorrow. A reliable car? Carbon fiber bike. A fast laptop? A fine dining experience. An extended travel?
Big surprise: comfort, that has given a general direction to human development can make your life better.
But assets are certainly not omnipotent. Can you imagine someone very rich and famous and successful – sad? Being in a worse state than you are? Robin Williams? Chester Bennington?
Assets are (should be?, could be?) a small part of your life: only the necessity to reach your goals.
I’ve recently stumbled upon the “PERMA” theory of Seligman. He identified 5 key areas of well-being. Money and other assets can help with more positive emotions (1), in relationships (3) and in accomplishments (5), but still, in a limited way. For engagement / flow (2) and meaning (4) assets have very little impact.
The Holy Bible is an asset. Kellogg’s rice krispies is an asset. This article is an asset. Whatever you work – you are being paid for being an asset for people that pay you.
It’s very easy to mix up assets and goals. Goals are abstract, self-made, “icing-on-the-cake” type of things. Except they are not.
Goals create meaning and reaching our goals creates accomplishments. Two key areas of well-being that are very strongly connected to goals.
I try not to fall into the same old mistake of telling you what’s your life’s goal and what’s important for you.
I’ll rather say a couple words about myself. I can’t go too wrong with this.
I’ve been very successful in eliminating actions that caused bad feelings. Said goodbye to many useless habits (from watching TV through video games to getting drunk or ever feeling bored) and have been trying to develop new habits (like writing these articles – something I’ve wanted for a couple of years).
But I can not imagine myself becoming a full-time writer (or a full time anything). I understand that focusing on one project makes you successful, makes you achieve your goal, you get to know yourself better and all-the-self-help-clichés – but I just think this type of external success (the millions of unique visitors, advertising income, keynote speeches, becoming a well-know public person) is not what I’ve ever wanted.
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m a midway-special person. I have done better on focusing and having goals than almost all around me while I’m very far from being any of the world-famous people who’d focus on one thing and would become the best in it.
I’m the guy that was 2nd in the county chess championship and 3rd in the running championship. Never was first.
I’ve been to more than 60 countries. But less than 193.
I’ve earned a good deal of money. But less than the acquaintance who employes a couple dozen people now.
I’ve watched over 1500 movies – but less than the guy with whom we were shooting a short movie.
I’ve read 3-400 books – but less than my sister who’s finished the Hungarian-Italian language faculty.
…and so on.
I like having a couple of projects going on. I like personal relations – something that doesn’t add up as something exciting or a great story – but they are full of essential content.
I’m good being midway special. And I think there is nothing wrong with you if you are little-special or not-special. We won’t all be word-record breaking… ..anythings.
“I hope you realized you don’t have to do something amazing to be happy.” (Passengers, 2016). This is something I learnt when I was 15 but I had to learn again recently.
Rather than the objective metric of “how much I make”, “how many girls I sleep with”, “how cool my story sounds”, goals that you set for yourself – that focus on your own growth are more likely to make you satisfied.
One of my goals that has taken me where I am now is “never settle”. Every morning, waking up, I’d like that day to be a real one. That’s the day that exists, the rest is history or future: unreal. Trying proactively to be there that day is a goal. Keeping up getting better in what’s important for me is a goal. Not hurting others is a goal. Not wasting time is a goal.
Follow Steve Jobs’ advice: stay foolish, stay hungry.
Follow James Clear’s advice: never settle.
Follow my advice: never say in the morning that you’ve done enough.