Erich Fromm in To Have or To Be? describes a modern misconception. He writes that most of us spend our lives trying to:
Have enough (money, power, things) so that we can…
Do what we want in terms of work and how we spend our time, because then we can…
Unfortunately, most of us get stuck at the first step: we never “have enough.” As a result, we put living our lives on hold.
“Once I pay off the house, I will consider changing careers.”
“When the kids are grown, I’ll deal with my marriage.”
“When I retire, I will take up painting, golf, or traveling.”
Fromm says that in order to have a rich life you need to invert the formula. First, you need to:
Be who you are. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and your purpose. This self-awareness will lead you to….
Do what you love. When you use your unique strengths to be of service to others, you will be rewarded, and…
Be happy. You’ll have what you need. That doesn’t mean you will have everything you want, but it does mean you will have what you need. Dick Leider says in The Power of Purpose, “There are two ways to be rich; one is to have more, the other is to want less.”
How can you invert the having, doing, and being cycle? Stop making money your primary goal. Instead, follow your passion, heart, and values. Stop measuring your success by your bank account. Measure your success by your happiness.
Happiness is a feeling that comes from inside; it cannot be bought. Sure, you can feel unhappy if you don’t have enough money to meet your basic needs, but after that, money will not make you happy. To be happy, do what you love to do and do it to be of service to others.