For the longest time, I was fueled by the desire to have an exceptional life compared to what I grew up with. I wanted a life that would inspire envy in others and pride in my parents. I wanted a life that made other people say, “Wow.”
What I realised is that by chasing a goal thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s heavily based on comparing my life to others, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never get there. I would never feel like my life was exceptional. I would always have peers, and I would always have people that made me think, “Wow. Their life is much more awesome than mine.”
Instead, I needed to work solely from a metric inside of me. A great life comes not from comparing my life to the people around me, but from having a life that brings me happiness whether IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m by myself or around other people.
What brings me happiness? The opportunity to influence others with my ideas on personal finances and the economy. What more? The ability to spend a ton of time with my children and my wife. The thought of having a farm with a fish pond in the distance, chickens scuffing around while a big orchard surrounds the house. These are some of the things that make me happy. I am sure you also have stuff that makes you happy or will make you happy when you have.
I know, from experience, that quite a number of vocal critics think that such things arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t exceptional at all. They consider them boring, parochial, and so on. Frankly, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t care. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t judge my life and my goals by the standards they have for their life. I judge my life by the goals and standards I have determined for my life.
I recommend exactly the same thing for you. What do you want? Where do you want to be in five years? Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something “exceptional,” like traveling the world. Or maybe itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something as “boring” as getting up at six in the morning and listening to your neighborÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s crying children. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all wired differently inside.
What matters is that you constantly aim for the things that are important to you, not the things that are important to others.
Almost all of these ideas have one thing in common: you. You are the one, in the end, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s responsible for what you make of your life. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the one that has to make the day-to-day choices. YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re the one that decides where your future will lead.
Which leads us back to the idea of an exceptional life Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and why I think itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a myth. An exceptional life is inherently based on judging your own life by what others are doing. After all, you can only be an exception if there are lots of other lives that are not exceptional around you.
Keep that philosophy in mind every time you buy an item at the store. Remember it when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re trying to decide how youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re going to spend a spare hour this evening. Think about it when youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re evaluating and setting your goals for the future. What matters in the end is whether you are getting where you have destined yourself to be.