Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?
For me, I saw a man driving a white Lamborghini Aventador and decided I wanted to live a life like him. When I saw a YouTube video of that Lambo roaring through the streets of Dubai; it just screamed luxury, success, and…happiness.
Actually, I think that was it…
In my mind, I wanted to make a lot of money and have those nice things because when I have money, I could finally be happy.
My whole life, my parents, friends, and teachers had that old little catchphrase “Money can’t buy happiness”. Then something interesting happened…
I began networking with a couple millionaire entrepreneurs and they strongly disagreed with that statement. Instead, they believed that the people who say money can’t buy happiness never had any real money in the first place.
When I was talking to my girlfriend about a lot of early-stage entrepreneurs wanting to chase money and nice things in order to be happy, she asked me “How do you feel when you can’t breathe?”
A little taken back by the random question, I replied “I’d feel like I’m suffocating”.
“Right. Breathing is a need, eating is a need, drinking is a need.” She said, “Do you need the money and things it buys (to be happy)? Or is it something that you want?”
She then went on to talk about the differences between wants and needs.
You want the cars, you want the large house, and you want all these other things, but you don’t need them. And you especially don’t need them to be happy.
If you asked me four years ago, I would have disagreed with her because at that point of my life, I didn’t have any money and I wasn’t happy.
I was struggling to barely get by and I saw all these things on the internet of millionaires wearing the expensive watches, driving exotic sports cars, vacationing around the world, and they all just looked so happy.
The one thing they all had in common is that they all had a lot of money, so when I get the money too, I’d be happy, right?
Has anybody without money ever been happy? Of course…
If you can reflect back to some of the best moments from earlier in your life, what were they? What were you doing? Who were you with?
For me was when I had less than $1,000 in my bank account and I was living in a college party house at the age of 20. Or playing high school football, or playing video games with my friends.
For my girlfriend, it was the times she was playing outside as a child or when we were hiking through the mountains of Colorado together.
None of those things required any money, and we were happier than anyone could be in life.
But then I hit a point in my life where I saw all these fancy things and I wanted more.
So I chased.
I chased the money and everything it could afford.
In the Spring of 2014, I finally caught up to what I was chasing and I reached my destination. After building a magazine app company that started getting 80,000 downloads per month, I quit the job that I felt stuck in and decided to start traveling. The money started rolling in.
Leaving the scorching hot desert of Scottsdale, Arizona for the cool Rocky Mountain town of Boulder, Colorado for the summer; I achieved that success that I’ve been looking for.
I remember one night in Boulder, I was out drinking with a girl I met. We talked about each other’s lives until 3 in the morning, and after getting to know her for a few weeks, I decided I wanted to date her.
She knew I had the money, she knew I had the success, and all the things that I thought attracted the girls (according to the commercials).
She wasn’t interested. Instead, she was seeing a guy who delivered food on his bike because he couldn’t afford a car.
My reality was shattered.
I thought money would attract the girls? Yet here was this guy who had none of it; and he was with the girl I wanted.
Over the next two years of my life, I began slowly noticing that I continued to chase.
If I could only add one more zero on the back of my bank account statement, I would get what I want. Not just the girls, but everything I need in life.
I still was not happy.
It’s almost as if I was caught in a never ending chase, and every time I reached that destination that I thought held what I wanted; the prize was never there. Whenever I bought something new, the thrill shortly wore off, I was incomplete…and still chasing more.
In the beginning of 2016, my friend Billy wrote an article on his blog, Forever Jobless, that resonated with me all too well. Like me, he reached that point in his life where he could say he had all the things most people reading this right now could ever dream of.
A very successful entrepreneur and investor.
Every so often when I check my Facebook news feed, he’s in some other foreign country living the life of most people dream of. He has that nice condo. He has the money.
But according to his article, something was still missing…
“I realized that I’ve been “living the dream.”…but I’m not living it. I’m always thinking of what the next dream is.”
Read his full article at: https://foreverjobless.com/how-to-set-goals/
I soon began to ask other millionaires if they feel like they have everything they want in life. Some did and some didn’t.
But the ones that did went through the same struggle Billy and I pushed through.
We reached a point in our journey where we realized that we can choose to enjoy the journey, because the journey is the destination. There’s a famous quote saying that if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
As long as my business fulfills a true market need, and I’m able to make sales from it – I never start a business simply for the money, unless it’s a business I enjoy building.
If I could send a message to a past version of myself, or anybody who still thinks they need these things to be truly fulfilled in life, I would send the following message:
“You don’t need these things, but it’s ok to want them.
It’s good to want them, because that provides motivation and a goal to run towards. But each and every day as you’re building your financial future, you should enjoy the experience.
Remember those best moments in your past?
They weren’t spent working and chasing things out of a need. They were enjoying the present moment, and being happy and fulfilled with where you are right now.
Doing the things you want to do.
Yes, money provides freedom.
Yes, you can be happy when you’re free.
Yes, it’s great to strive to for success, and I still do so every day.
But realize that you can choose to enjoy the journey, and be happy along the way, because when you do that…you’ll already be happy by the time you reach your destination.”