Question for you: Why do you want to be a millionaire? Is it because you want a million dollars (or rupees) in your account? Or is it because you crave for the lifestyle that comes with it? Driving fancy cars, living in a lavish house, going on exotic vacations, attending crazy parties… Aaaaaah! The life!
I’m guessing it’s the latter, right? And that’s why you slog your butt off! You work like a maniac to be productive. This productivity, you are told, will help you progress and earn more. But here’s the thing. Productivity, real productivity, isn’t measured in quantity. It’s measured in quality.
I had written about one lie that society wants us to live in. Well, here’s another: doing more means you are productive. Doing less means you’re not doing enough. And if you don’t do enough, you won’t get anywhere in life. You will languish at the bottom while your peers get promoted, earn more, and enjoy more of life’s offerings. But, in reality you’ll work 10 hours a day, only to get promoted to eventually start working 14 hours! And that ‘relaxing weekend’ you so looked forward to will become a myth. If you are lucky, you’ll occasionally get to enjoy the spoils of your earnings by spending on gadgets that you barely use or indulge in a “short-or-get-fired vacation”, as Tim Ferris terms it. You will become a slave to money all your life.
But how can this be a lie? After all, doesn’t packing more activities in 24 hours give us a rush? True, it makes you feel great, but what do you accomplish? You tick a lot of items off your to-do list each day, but in the end, how did it help you to be productive? You worked your ass off only to have to do the same thing, in the same way, again tomorrow.
‘Doing more’ was a concept introduced by organizations to wring us, to suck out our blood, and then do it again. The more man did what he was told, the harder he labored, the better his chances were of being promoted. And as long as he believed this truth, the corporate world could make him work more and keep him bound.
Dalai Lama was once asked what surprised him most about humanity. “Man”, he said. “Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he does not live in the present or in the future. He lives as if he is never going to die and then he dies having never really lived.”
Poignant, isn’t it? We are all living that life. Well, at least most of us are. If you are one of the few who is genuinely happy with their lives, I salute you.
So what should we do to get out of this trap? Bruce Lee opined, “It’s not the daily increase, but the daily decrease that matters. Hack away at the unessential." So take stock of each daily activity. If that is helping you move closer to your ultimate goal, pursue it. If not, either delegate or stop it. However, dear reader, this does NOT apply to household chores. Please don’t quote this to your husband, wife or mother and declare that you will stop (or worse, delegate) household chores. It won’t be pleasant for me to see them chase me with knives and daggers.
So if you have a goal, do what helps you to pursue it. If you don’t, spend time with people who matter - spouse, parents, children, good friends. How will you find time? Simple. Eliminate activities and things that add to your daily burden instead of reducing it. Quit going to places where you are not needed. It’s better to quit when people are asking “why” instead of “when”. A “why” question means they are applauding your contribution, rather than wondering “when” your exit will come. So it’s best to free up time to pursue a more constructive and fulfilling life. You are the master of your fate. The key to your life is yours. It’s time you took it back from people who never should have had it to begin with.