You just need three things in life to be happy.
Nothing more. Nothing less. Just three things.
Not four. Not five or maybe even twenty. Just three things.
And whenever something doesn't fit into one of these three categories you have to get rid of it. Or don't do it. It will only distract you from what's really important in your life.
And when I say you, I basically mean me. And when I say three I mean it could be any other number that's manageable. But I think three is a good number.
So here are the three things that are most important in my life...
Freedom to do and live wherever I want to
Eliminate everything that causes unhappiness
Make my life as smooth as possible
And whenever I have to decide whether or not I should do something, I take a look at that list. And then I act accordingly.
Look. I get it. Not everybody can do that. I wasn't able to do that just a few years ago either. When I decided that those are my priorities I was far, far away from all of these three things. It took me many years of hard work and sacrifice to get to the point where I enjoy some of the above freedom. I'm still not quite there yet. But I'm getting there.
It's hard. Really hard. Because there are forces that are constantly trying to pull you away from these things. From your things. From the things that are most important in your life. Whatever that is.
Over the years many people asked me if I wanted to work with them. Or for them. They basically offered me the one thing I needed the most. They offered me money at the end of each month. But it was in exchange for my freedom.
And it was a tough call every single time. Because I didn't have that much money. It was getting less and less every single day. I was losing money for 3 years every single day.
So rejecting these offers wasn't easy. At all. But all I wanted were those three things in my life. Those were and still are the three most important things for me. The only things that matter.
So I said "no" every single time I got offered a job or was offered to work with someone on a project. Simply because I knew that it would cost me some of my freedom. The freedom I fought hard for many years.
Look. I'm not going to lie to you. The only thing that helped me to get to where I am right now was that I went back to these three core principles over and over again and made these the basis for all of my decisions. And nothing else. Even, no especially when it was a tough call.
If I didn't do this, I would probably be stranded somewhere in the consulting jungle where I would always have to trade my time for money. And when you're trading your time for money, then you'll never be free. Ever.
Simply because you'll never be able to make enough money to enjoy more freedom. If you want to make more money, so you could afford more freedom, then you'd have to work more hours. Which means less freedom after all. So that doesn't really work.
I'm not saying that any of this is or was easy. It's probably the hardest thing out there to say "no" to making more money. It always looks like more money will mean more freedom. When the truth is that it doesn't.
It usually just means more work, less time and less freedom when you're working for someone. When you're trading your time for money.
Look. When your family is the most important thing in your life, when your family is on that list, then that promotion might not be the best idea ever. Because every promotion means that you've gotta work more. Which basically means less time for your family.
And at the same time you'd have to keep trading your time for money. So instead of trading more and more of your time for more and more money, try to start trading less of your time for money and use the additional time to build or create something that will help you to create your own freedom. Instead of destroying it.
So how do you get there? How do you create something that helps you to create your own freedom?
I don't know. I don't know you. I don't have all the answers.
But I think a good start is to stop trading more and more of your time for more and more money. Because this won't get you anywhere in the long run. Other than maybe the hospital.
And making your list with your three things of course.
It all starts with this.
It all starts with giving yourself some time to breathe.
Some time to think.
Some time to experiment.
Ultimately, it all starts with doing and creating things.
And nothing else...
P.S. This was part 25/30 of my upcoming book. By the way, I just uploaded a super fancy cover. It’s really good! And yes, that’s my handwriting on the cover :-).You can check it out and pre-order it here.
[Related: I stopped giving a shit a long time ago]