There is no work; there is only life
I’m not one for discussions of work-life balance.
If you are worrying about your work-life balance, then you have most certainly got that balance wrong and, unfortunately, you will struggle to ever get it right. The very concept itself is nonsense.
You see if you spend eight hours a day doing anything that you don’t enjoy doing and choose to label it ‘work’… you’re in trouble.
First off, you will increasingly resent the work as it prevents you from doing whatever else you really want to be doing. In resenting your time at work, you’ll question your work-life balance, thinking: I should work less and live more – that will make me happy.
Indeed, because you resent it, you will get worse at the work and your colleagues will lose respect for you. You’ll feel even more alienated and again you’ll think: this sucks; I should work less and live more – that will make me happy.
No. That will make you poor.
It will stop you progressing. You wont get rewarded for the work you do actually manage to do. And you’ll just complain more about your work-life balance. You’ll constantly dream of not having to work (of doing this ‘other’ thing), but will never achieve that dream because you’ll be stuck in a job that isn’t going anywhere.
It’s a race to the bottom and I would recommend you don’t ever engage in it.
Or if do you find yourself in the race. Step out.
I speak from experience. I nearly got trapped in that race to the bottom. I was doing something I resented (working as an auditor) and spent most of my time in the office cursing the fact that I was there.
The end result?
Though I should point out that I didn’t just throw my hands in the air and walk out like some righteous preacher man. Instead, as soon as I figured out I was in trouble, I started doing what I could to get out. I calmly prepared until the moment was right.
Realising I wanted to be a writer, I took a night class to see how I compared to others. That led to me going back to university as a mature student and, eventually, that all led me to London and Agora.
Most important in my own story is that I figured out I wanted to write. I didn’t care what I wrote; I could figure that out later. (Indeed, I discovered copywriting and found I was quite good at it.)
What mattered was that my ‘job’ didn’t seem like work. What I did in the day was the same as what I did at night. At no point did I think: jeez, I hate being here in a nice office in London writing. That’s what I actually wanted to be doing.
Right now, I’m sat by a pool in Florida – in the shade, of course – thinking about things and writing. It’s great. I enjoy doing it – thinking and writing. Soon as I get bored or stuck on a point that needs more thought, I’ll go read my book, or have a drink, or just relax – but at no point will I resent what I’m doing now. It’s a pleasure for me to write and communicate with you.
Yet I get paid to do this, so people assume I consider it work. People say to me all the time: Glenn, you work too much. But what they don’t understand is that I’m not working right now, I’m just living. I get paid to live.
Like the fisherman on the beach I told you about yesterday, I’m choosing how I spend my time. I feel wealthier for it.
Feel wealthier while you get wealthier
Indeed, we’ve been discussing wealth. What it means and how to achieve it.
For me, it’s much more positive to measure how wealthy you are by considering how much time you have to do the things you want to do.
If you do that and then think about what I was saying just now about making sure you choose a job that you want to do, then you’ll realise that you are already a lot wealthier than you might have thought.
Because I enjoy doing what I do, it means I don’t spend any time resenting my work. It would be like saying I resent life. That is ridiculous. If anything, I want to do more of it. Or rather, it means I can start thinking about how to live smarter, use my time wiser.
This brings us back to the point I made in my first article on this subject. (You can read that here.)
To quickly recap, I said that one of the biggest problems for most people is that they are beholden to a single fixed income.
I suggested that there are three options to deal with this:
You can either try to increase that income. You can try to spend less than that income. Or you can try to generate other incomes in addition to that single fixed income.
I argued that all the options are valid and should be done, but admitted that the first option would only end up in you increasing your spending to match the increase in income and option two is pretty damn slow to take effect.
So, that leaves us with option three – creating different streams of income. This is the option I advocate. Not just because it will generate you more income, but also because it will make you smarter and lead to you achieving option one and it will take more of your time up meaning you have less time to waste money, thus solving option two as well.
The other big advantage of pursuing option three is that your time is directly linked to building wealth. By spending time on different projects that you enjoy doing and by measuring your wealth based on being able to choose what you do with your time, you will already feel wealthier whilst you actually become wealthier.
Does that all make sense? I hope so. If not, read from the start again. Seriously, think about this, because it’s a way of looking at things that will help you. If you think it sounds like wishy-washy nonsense and you still think that becoming wealthy is ALL about making more money then you’ve missed the point completely.
In fact, if you do think like that – you can comment below. We can argue about it there.
But if this does make sense to you and you can see where I’m coming from, then good news: you’re going to start feeling much better about achieving real wealth.
By the way, I’m aware we’ve spent a lot of time on theory here. But it’s worth it. Thinking about these things help so much. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that people don’t spend enough time thinking. The world around us forces us to rush and ‘prioritise’ things without really thinking about what or why you’re prioritising at all.
So, hell, read this article again today and give it some thought. Think about what you think. Do you agree with me – or do you have a different view. Maybe you agree a bit, but then depart from my thinking somewhere along. That’s fine. Just think about it.
For now, all this thinking has led us to enough for today and I’ve not had chance to tell you about how to go about creating alternative streams of income. We’ll do that next time.