Financial freedom sounds good in theory, but the journey to get there makes a lot of people miserable.
This is because financial freedom makes people fixate on a goal in the distant future. When I finally have $5 million, then I won’t worry anymore. Goals are meant to be motivating, but what if they backfire? Here’s a case in point…
I coached someone who’s plenty rich. He and his wife make more than $200K combined and they have an investment property. They scrimp and save every penny to buy another investment property. One weekday, they were walking past a sidewalk cafe and watched a couple just relaxed, laughing, enjoying an afternoon cocktail. He shared his internal dialogue with me: Wow…when can I relax like that?
Here’s the irony: the psychological cost of chasing financial freedom is the sense of freedom it may cost you now.
He can literally take his wife to a nice dinner the same night. When I pressed him, all these reasons came up: yeah, but we don’t really like to waste money on fancy meals.
A rich life is created now. And it can be done in small and subtle ways. Because if you don’t cultivate that rich life now, what are you going to do once you do have all the money?
Here’s an exercise that shocked me in its simplicity.
Enter the dream day exercise
I did a dream day exercise, which asks questions like:
“What’s a perfect day for you? What does your rich life look like?”
The power of its exercise lies in how specific it is, from how you wake up to what your morning routine is. Here’s an excerpt of some things I wrote down:
- Wake up next to my love* and make coffee for us
- Have a slow mornings to move, meditate and write
- Walk on the beach
- Have friends over for meals
*still working on this one. I’m taking referrals ;)
I was shocked at how basic my dream day looked like. And here’s what I realized…
It was less about the things that I did, and more about how I felt doing them.
Feelings of being grounded and relaxed. Not being in a rush. Not frantically multi tasking and being obligated to do one thing or another.
It hit me like a brick —
I have access to my dream day now. But when my mind is overly fixated on an external goal, I forget that it’s my job to make myself feel good. I forget the little joys of life.
I realized that not only can I live a rich life now, but this is a feeling to be cultivated.
I want to cultivate ease, slowness, and relaxation.
To me that is my rich life.
A richness that I can only give myself.
You can create your dream life today
Do you ever find yourself short of breath, and all it takes to relax is to breathe deeply?
Chasing after goals is like that. Hold your breath while running after your goals and you’ll make the journey unnecessarily hard on yourself.
Your dream life is built by one dream day at a time.
Dream days are built by things that bring you contentment.
Contentment is a skill to be cultivated.
Not in the distant future, but now.