In the introductory post I asked what you would do after celebrating a big lottery win. I am sure most of us would spend a few minutes thinking about sports cars, lavish homes, and incredible vacations. Once we get past thinking about owning every material possession we could want what comes next? I have never had this experience first hand, but reading all the stories of past lottery winners that end up on the streets I imagine it would be overwhelming.
The funny thing is most of us use the daily time constraints and stress of work as excuses for why we are not happy. I know I have been guilty thinking, “if only I had X amount of money I could do whatever I wanted.” Yet in the above example after the excitement wears off buying material goods, what do you do next? The truth is for most of us we can do what we really want to an extent and be very happy right now. We just think that we have to reach certain accepted societal norms such as X amount of money, number of years working, achieving the promotion ect.
We may think we need to follow the rule of delayed gratification to postpone fun now for a better life later. The mistake being made is we are not really living for today and just putting off the same questions that we will struggle to sort out later in life.
Now instead of pretending you won the $10M let’s say you just finishing up working a highly successful career in what ever industry you currently work. You are retiring at the generally respected age of 65 proving you have worked hard and done what you were supposed to. Now that you are retired what are you going to do now?
You don’t have to win the lottery to be Happy
How is this any different than winning the $10M not including the material goods? You still have to sort out how to spend your time to be happy and feel self worth, the only difference being the lotto win forcing you to address this earlier.
It is important to work on these things now for two obvious reasons. The first is so you can enjoy life more right now. Secondly, If addressed young enough you can wrestle with these tough questions and start preparing slowly so that retirement is not such a shock and you already know exactly what you want to do.
I plan to start a blog post from time to time in the future asking: Did you really do the things you wanted to do this week? If you did not what was the reason? Sometimes there are very good reasons as things come up, but I think I am guilty many times depriving myself from doing them for no good reason other than thinking I must focus on career goals rather than take time to myself. It is important to reflect and I look forward to comments now and in the future.