They Sold You The Dream, But This Is What They Didn’t Tell You

Work hard. Graduate from a top school, get the corner office, buy the luxury car and big house. Fill it with gadgets and stuff.

Still unhappy?

Earn more. Spend more.

Keep up with the Joneses.

Sure, you’re exhausted, burnt out and feeling empty, but maybe the next promotion will give you what you need.

So you work the 12 hour days sacrificing time with your family. You grind it out through lunch, rarely take vacation days and end up packing on the pounds from sitting at your desk all day.

Then, the day comes.

They hand you a big promotion and along with it an even bigger workload and a little bit more money.

Yet, you look around your now cushy office, expecting to feel completely elated.

You think of the missed holidays, birthdays, the late nights and early mornings.

You should be happy. You should be thrilled.

You get the curt smiles and envious glares from your colleagues. You act like this is everything you wanted and more but something is different this time. Something has changed.

You call your wife and tell her you’ll be late again today and to give the kids a kiss goodnight. It’s the third night in a row you missed dinner.

You hear the exasperation in your wife’s voice. She was up at night with your youngest and at the office all day too. The kids are crying in the background, and you wish you were there to comfort them.

This isn’t the dream you wanted to buy.

You hang up and stare at your phone. Your photo drive pops up with a picture that says seven years ago today.

You see you and your smiling wife on that magical trip to Italy. The sunkissed hair, the bright smiles, laughter playing on your lips. You think about the carefree person you used to be. A person who used to take chances, be spontaneous and live in the moment. A person long gone and forgotten.

This life is not what you imagined.

You dreamed of selling it all and living in Costa Rica. Travelling the world, learning a new language, living in a villa by the beach and maybe opening up a little cafe.

You let out a weary sigh as the heaviness, the struggle, the hardship of the past few years finally settles on your shoulders, like a deadweight.

You bought the dream and thought it would make you happy, but this is what they didn’t tell you.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” ― Henry David Thoreau

Endless consumption is leaving you in a perpetual cycle of work, buy, debt

According to the Financial Post, Canadian household debt has hit 1.8 trillion this year. In the US, household debt has set a new record of 13 trillion reported by CNBC.

Sure the flashy new car or expensive designer handbag might give you a burst of happiness for a short period, but in the long run, these purchases will not make you happy. They will only add to your stress levels and contribute to the financial pressures in your life.

Plus, in our quickly evolving world, the next new gadget is just around the corner. Making us constantly yearn for newer and better. Advertisers are perpetually hounding us with the next product that will make us happy, the one thing that will finally help us feel better about our unfulfilling lives.

Yet, despite how much we keep filling our houses with things, we are still unhappy.

“We are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.” ― Brené Brown

The rat race is wreaking havoc on your health

North Americans are guilty of working longer hours and taking less vacation than our counterparts in Europe. In fact, the Working Time Directive indicates that employees in the European Union can’t work more than 48 hours a week.

This hustle hard mentality coupled with the lack of downtime is destroying our health. We’ve grown up believing that working hard and climbing the corporate ladder is the path to true success. The big house and the fancy cars are what we have to show for it.

Long days at the office, followed by overscheduling our kids’ calendars and social lives leaves no time to take a break. There is no time for reflection or even the energy to think about if this is what we really want.

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”― Dave Ramsey

It’s time to rediscover who you want to be.

Choose experiences over stuff

Research shows that our satisfaction with buying things wanes over time but surprisingly increases when we purchase experiences. So instead of buying the next trendy gadget, go to the theatre, plan a getaway or take a class to learn something new. Not only will your contentment grow but you’re learning things the latest iPhone will never teach you.

Embrace a simpler lifestyle

Want more freedom, time and energy? It all starts with owning less. Manage your personal debt levels by taking a hard look at your life and seeing where you can make changes. Maybe it’s time to sell that expensive car, downsize your house or get rid of a credit card. Get rid of the toys, gadgets and clutter so you spend less time organizing and more time living. Think of all of the stress you’ll be releasing by living with less.

Focus on what you’re gaining

Sure, you might not have the fancy things you did before, but now, now you have true freedom. Freedom to discover what you want for your life, along with more time to spend with the ones you love most.

Imagine the feelings of ease of not having to worry about the mountain of debt and bills. Imagine the thrill of finally pursuing long forgotten dreams and passions. Imagine being that dreamer again that believed anything is possible.

That was the real dream and it’s time you finally buy into it.

Looking for more life-changing advice on simple, joyful living? Sign up for my free Ultimate Simplicity Course below.

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