What’s important about money to you?” I asked a prospective client who came to me for some advice. To which they replied “Well I’d rather be rich and unhappy than poor and unhappy”.
On the surface this sounds a valid and reasonable response. It also reflects our modern day society’s appetite and drive for achievement, however rather than helping us it may be deceiving us of what maybe a better way.
Let’s use the following personal experience to put this in perspective.
My goal weight is 78kg. When I’m above this weight I feel unhappy and unsatisfied.
My desire to achieve my happy weight motivates me to over exercise, over diet, become overly tired, then give up.
Often I’d find myself with a spoon in one hand and a bowl of ice-cream in the other, accepting failure again and the entire experience negatively impacting not only my self-esteem but my work, my relationships, my health and finances too.
Furthermore the times when I achieved my goal weight, within the next six to twelve months my weight is back on or more and I’m left wondering how I got there. A feeling of exhaustion and defeated wash over me as I accept that this maybe simply be my lot in life i.e. constantly experiencing this painful process over and over again. So much for happiness!
The above example could also apply to savings goals, business goals, healthy eating goals and relationships.
“Insanity is doing the same thing 100 times and expecting a different outcome”. Albert Einstein
Is there an easier and better way?
In life I have learnt that “our thoughts are things”. We buy into our thoughts by internalising them and through our choices and efforts they become our reality. In the same light our money choices are a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves and also become our reality.
Often we approach the attainment of our ideal self with our negative thoughts self-perception of lack, unattractiveness and self-criticism (see above). Applying this approach often results in dramatic but unsustainable changes to our lives, like a crash diet.
However what if we were to simply accept who we are and start to embrace the activities of the person who we really want to be?
In a radical experiment to embrace wholeness in my life rather than happiness, so far I have experienced less stress, greater focus, a higher tolerance to say no, greater enjoyment and energy to do the activities of a person fulfilled.
How did I do it? Firstly I followed the money, tracking where I spent money, the reason why how I felt at the time.
Doing this for two weeks I began to see a patterns of purchases and emotions i.e. feeling flat=buying junk food, feeling exhausted=buying take away, weekend=alcohol. Going to the gym= feeling good, drinking water= feeling healthier, new home meal=fun& enjoyable.
By identifying where I spent money then linking it my feelings at the time has shifted my perspective from seeking happiness to one of wholeness.
Wholeness simply means complete, lacking nothing, entire, undivided and uninjured. It evolves, gives and is regenerative. Wholeness“becomes” rather than “strives” and by default it naturally purges itself from impurities, through ones thoughts and actions.
In the past my pursuit for happiness was a roller coaster of emotions that left me exhausted, burnt out and depressed.
Today I am inspired to exercise daily because it make me feel more whole. The by-product of this is I drink more water, eat healthier and by default (not focus) my weight is reducing.
I am also inspired to write about my discoveries and journey because it also makes me feel more whole. The by-product is I feel more accountable to myself, I personally grow and have the opportunity to positively help others.
Thanks for reading and if you feel it resonated with you feel free to forward it or share it with a friend.
This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views.
About Peter Horsfield