Happiness is a matter of perspective, however, there are several core tenants to what makes us happy individuals. Having a purpose, something to live for, a strong support network, a fulfilling career. The list goes on as to what truly makes us happy to be experiencing life.
But sometime down the road, self-help gurus get in the way. They’re not nefarious in their intention, but they do make us stop and think about what truly makes us happy. In my case, I would encourage people to be contemplative, to do self-exploration, and to know with certainty what is needed for you to be happier.
But many self-help gurus forego that and immediately propose a seemingly lavish lifestyle. They push the idea that you need to either drive nice cars or live in nice homes. Or, in some rare cases, living on the beach and sipping on a nice drink.
Not a care in the world, soaking up the rays of the sun, and living the life. That’s what life is all about, right?
It’s definitely persuasive, especially when someone is already living on the beach and is selling that lifestyle. But their true emotions are suppressed. After a few weeks, you get out of the honeymoon phase, and you start to realize that none of this is going to make you happier in the long term.
You then get back to work.
We Love The Hype… But Not For Long
The reason self-help gurus leverage these things is that they give us a rush of emotions. We are transfixed by others living great lives and posting highlight reels on social media.
Even though we know it’s not the whole picture, well-off gurus position themselves in a more transparent way.
Sure, your friends went on vacation for a few weeks. But here is this guru, living those highlights every single day. And all you have to do is buy whatever they’re selling.
It’s compelling and effective. The network marketing industry has sold this promise for decades, even though people know only a handful of people at the top benefit from the industry.
But just like when you first got into network marketing, the magic and wonder and hype that you had vanishes after a while. Even if the guru provided some great assistance to help you recreate your life, living on the beach doesn’t seem like a worthwhile endeavour for the rest of your life.
Similarly, the idea of retiring and sitting back and doing nothing at all with all that free time doesn’t sound that great the more you think about it.
We Need Work, We Need Drive
Resting and taking it easy only provides meaning when it is followed after work or after achieving a goal. It gives us a sense of accomplishment and that this is a time to enjoy the fruits of our labour.
The idea of living on the beach or living a more carefree life without having to do work feels nice and compelling to all of us. We’re working right now. It’s brutal, challenging, and emotional. It’s no wonder that someone promising a life without those things is pretty compelling in those moments.
And why we get turned off when we realize it takes even more work to get to that point.
The promise of eliminating work from our lives means sacrificing part of ourselves. It’s for this reason that these self-help gurus living on the beach are still working. They’re still selling something or creating new products or services to offer to people.
This goes back to something that I’ve heard time and time again about retirement: we need to change the way that we think of retirement.
By extension, we need to rethink what a carefree and happy life actually looks like and not have it be defined entirely by self-help gurus or people who are living more lavish lifestyles. It’s different for every single person, and it changes dramatically based on our own values and beliefs.
Find The Work That Gives You Purpose
All of that takes time. It’s the reason I encourage people to take their time with where they want to go in life. We’re complex beings, and there’s no way of knowing whether something is for us until we dive in and invest time and energy into it.
You want to have a balance between that and everything else, as you don’t want to be planning, pausing, and thinking at every possible opportunity. You want to be anchored by your own values, and if you find something appealing that resonates with those, you give it a shot.
All in all, what gives us a much happier life is when we have the ability and opportunity to continue working in some capacity. It might not be work in the traditional sense, but it’s still work in other ways. Growing relationships, getting in better shape, exploring new places. The list continues on the various work that you can put yourself through.
This is one rule that should remain constant throughout our lives.
Being put into a state of perpetual work conditions us to crave those opportunities to rest and relax. Vacations or just the idea of being someplace nicer than where we are is akin to the saying “the grass is greener on the other side.”
An alternative and a subtle implication of getting to rest and relax sounds amazing on paper. But the reality is that those are temporary, and we’re better off treating them as such.
Enjoyed the article? Please consider offering your support by sharing this on social media!