When I was younger I used to read a lot of classic self-help books, a la the Tony Robbins and others.
One common theme I saw, was the concept of listing up anything (material) you want in life, in order to make the ultimate goal more concrete and attainable.
What Tony Robbins usually would have you discover, was that you are almost never farther than a semi-successful business idea away from having your most indulgent materialist goals met.
Now, an exercise I would like to propose instead, is to map out your ultimate dream day, in terms of what activities you want to do, for you to be as happy as possible, and then realize (*SPOILER ALERT) how little materialism is needed.
Let me be the center of attention for a moment, and showcase my own dream day:
- 05:30 Wake up, make coffee for me and my wife and be present for when she wakes up (I am an early riser by nature – not something I pride myself in or proselytize)
- 05:40 Read
- 07:00 Make/eat breakfast
- 08:00 Write/handle investments
- 10:00 Gym time
- 12:00 Lunch
- 12:45 Cognitively non-demanding tasks: run errands, attend to a garden, go for a walk, meet for coffee with a friend (My mind is only capable of doing heavy processing earlier in the day)
- 17:00 Prepare and eat dinner
- 19:00 Social time/Relaxation with the wife (eg. watch a movie or talk)
- 21:00 Slowing down, getting ready to sleep
Even this is eyeopening for me.
By mapping out the exact activities I want to do during, in my view, the best day of all time, I can learn that:
- I don’t need a fancy car, clothes or other status symbols
- I don’t need a gigantic place to live, however it might be nice to have small garden
- I don’t need to spend time in expensive bars, restaurants and clubs.
I can also learn, that the actual cost of this lifestyle is practically very low, which makes it entirely possible, that I can gather the required funds for investment capital to make it all float, in a matter of a few years .
The problem with me doing this exercise before you get to do it, is that you probably can’t help but benchmark your dream day against mine. But try not to.
The idea here, is that you just get a handle on what you want to DO with your life. Not what you want to own, or how you want to be perceived by others.
According to what I believe in, this is a more logical way to prioritize your highest wishes.