I mentioned recently that I enjoyed reading Scott Adam’s book “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.” He has a fantastic chapter on setting your activities to your inner clock and I highlighted this a bunch of times.
…the single biggest trick for manipulating your happiness chemistry is being able to do what you want, when you want.
Bingo. I am having so much fun an amazing percentage of the time. Money lets me dictate my own schedule. I don’t buy things, but I buy my time and I tailor my energy level to match my activity.
I sleep when I’m tired and wake up when I’m not. This might be my favorite thing about my life. It’s such a luxury and the biggest reason I call myself out on my laziness. I love sleeping. My waking hours rock too. I write for two hours most days, occasionally much less and sometimes much more. I read books. I hang out with my friends. I talk to my family. I take long walks. I go wherever I want. I make travel plans and look forward to the next whatever. I laugh and smile a lot. I feel genuinely happy. I giggle in awe that I get to live this life.
I know that control is an illusion and that the Universe might accidentally knock down anyone with the hubris to think otherwise, but I also know that feeling completely out of control really drags me down. Money gives you options in relationships, living situations, legal kerfuffles and life in general. More options means more control. I wrote a list of stumbling blocks to happiness that involve lack of control that money probably can’t solve and might even make worse.
Thriftygal’s list of happiness detours that I have no advice on
- Addiction of any sort. If your addiction is in more control than you are, I’m guessing you’re not happy. Oh man, especially a shopping addiction. That’s my idea of hell.
- The grief that comes with death. I have no crippling experience with this yet either. I dread the day.
- Living in a country with no freedom. I read too much about North Korea.
If you’re feeling out of control because you don’t have enough money, you can do something about that, however. Adopt a healthier attitude towards what it means to work and to live and to have enough. I can’t control everything, but I can control my attitude. I can feel as in control as I want to be. There’s the t-shirt line.
Here’s what helps me. It sounds simple, but all of my advice is simple. Decide what you’re going to do and then go out and do it. Remind yourself of why you made that decision when the moping starts. Feel empowered.
Leaving Australia last year brought me to tears. I loved living in that part of the world and the idea of my adventure ending gutted me. I actually interviewed and contemplated a job offer to stay, but as much as I loved Sydney, I knew corporate law couldn’t make me happy. That was my decision and knowing I had control and was doing the best thing for me greatly lessened the sorrow.
It can work for you too. Tell yourself that you get up and go to work because you decided you’re going for financial independence. You’re responsible and that is the type of person you want to be. Nobody is making you do anything. You want a bigger life. You’re not going to buy that crap. You’re going to put that money towards making everything better long-term. Yeah!
I love my life because I feel like I am in control of it. I feel free. Retirement is better than you think. At least my retirement is better than I thought it would be and I thought it was going to be pretty damn good.
The only hard part is deciding what gets my attention now. Everything. I want to do everything.