Don’t Confuse Your Net Worth With Your Self Worth
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- Published on August 19, 2021
- Last Updated March 18, 2022
- In Entrepreneur Quarterly
Money is a scarce resource; self-worth is not. You can have as much of the latter as you want provided you’re building self-esteem from the inside out.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in reverse. I can’t count the number of miserable millionaire entrepreneurs I’ve met who convinced themselves that they’d be happy “after I make my first million.”
Somewhere along the way, they were taught that “financial freedom” would eventually make them happy. So, day by day, they willingly traded their your current happiness for a happiness IOU to be cashed in later.
Rather than being satisfied with a more-than-modest living running a successful lifestyle startup, they trade in some of their freedom and happiness for their first round of funding. Say goodbye to a little slice of contentment because your investors just took it and it’s highly unlikely they’ll give it back without a fight.
Yet when you finally buy those golden handcuffs, your happiness will probably crash. Being in control is psychologically proven to improve happiness, which is why you started your business.
But the challenge that will never go away while seeking happiness outside of yourself, is recognizing in the moment, that each thing you thought would make you happy only does it for a while. Each of those things are impermanent.
Everything you see, touch, taste, feel or experience in this life will eventually disappear. Your car will break down, your bank account will dip, and you’ll sell your boat because it was a pain in the ass to maintain.
If you’re building happiness, purpose, and fulfillment solely based on your relationships, career achievements, financial success, social status or some other carefully cultivated environment, just remember that every one of those things is impermanent and 100% out of your control.
The easiest way to get out of this endless cycle of temporary satisfaction is to shift from an extrinsic to an intrinsic model of happiness.
Once we let go of some of our material aspirations and begin to focus on what we can control, our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual presence, we can begin clawing back much of the freedom and independence we gave up to achieve the dreams that were never ours.
Start eating healthy and getting some exercise. Read a few pages a day and start a meditation or yoga practice.
Begin working with a coach or therapist. And, most importantly, adopt a practice of self-reflection.
Getting to know yourself in a deep and contemplative way is undoubtedly the best and most sustainable method to long-term happiness available to you.
Speaking from experience, it’s a hell of a lot easier than keeping your investors happy.
The best thing about shifting from an extrinsic to an intrinsic model of happiness, purpose, and fulfillment is that much of our scarcity model of living begins to slowly fade away.
We become happier with less.
And this type of self-worth is not impermanent. You take it wherever you go and no one can ever take it away from you.