What would you do with 5 million euro? What about €20 million? €100 million? A billion? I am very sure that everyone would enjoy having a windfall of any of these amounts to spend at their leisure. Many people tell me that all of their problems would be solved, if only they won the lottery. If only…
To me, having worked with billionaires and dozens of millionaires, it is very evident that this is not true. I have seen very rich people who are miserable and very poor people who are extremely happy. In many ways, the more you have, the more you have to lose.
My point is not that money is bad or that money is not a great thing to strive for. Indeed in the world we live in, the more money you have, the more power you have… to make a difference. My point is that it is not the amount of zeros that matter when it comes to your happiness. It is your perspective.
In many ways, we are always striving for more. Never satisfied. We need to keep striving. We need to keep doing better. So no matter how much money we have it is never enough. It is like to-do lists. You can get everything on a to-do-list done today but the more you do, the more it moves you forward to the next set of tasks. To-do list after to-do list.
So how do we learn to be satisfied? How can we deal with this issue? The answer is not to stop striving for things as it is one of the things that makes us human. Instead, we need to practice appreciating what we do have… no matter how little or much we have. Instead of waiting for tomorrow or hoping for a windfall, we need to focus on the lottery we have already won. The relationships present and past that have come our way… the good ones. The lessons we have learned. The experiences that we cherish. The opportunities that we have in our lives.
Comparing yourself to others is not helpful because you would not give up everything you are and have to be someone else. Instead of seeking that greener grass, you need to smell the roses. It is not hard.
Whenever I whine to myself about the amount of travel I do or about anything I am not entirely happy with, I remind myself of all I do have and love in my life and about my life. I am not necessarily satisfied. But I am happy.