Why do we work so much? I know the answer is “money,” but why? Yes, we need to cover our cost of living -- your true basics like food, clothes and shelter. But after that, what are we working for?
The short answer is luxury. We want to get our hands on some luxury.
For some, that's cars, watches, boats and all of the other flashy things we see scrolling through Instagram. For others, it’s art or travel. Everyone has their own definition of luxury.
But that shouldn’t be the reason for our lifetime of toil. It should be for time. You see, time is the true measure of success -- the real currency of an entrepreneur.
We work our lives away to buy objects of luxury instead of enjoying the luxury of our time on earth. We should be yearning for free time to do what we want, not what we must. We should want time to do the things we like, not the things we dislike. Forget the desk job. Forget cleaning the house. Forget mowing the lawn or cooking dinner. If you don’t like it, the luxury of having extra money should eliminate it from your life.
This isn’t a rant promoting unadulterated laziness. I’m a firm believer in work, especially deep work in your creative pursuits and hard labor in your physical pursuits. I'm also a firm believer in not doing what you hate.
For my own creative enjoyment, I enjoy writing -- both words and code. That’s my deep work, and no matter how much money I have, I’ll never outsource that. In the physical world, I enjoy lifting weights, fighting and doing yard work. Those are things that I won’t be cutting down anytime soon. Since I enjoy those things, my time isn’t better spent eliminating them from my life. But certain aspects of them can certainly go.
I love weight training, but I hate planning my workouts. It takes me too long to figure it all out. Thankfully, that’s a problem that money solved in my life. I have an amazing trainer who sets it all up for me, giving me my time back. I love writing, but I hate publishing my work. Thankfully, you can hire a content manager (or team) to handle that. Prime examples of money buying my ultimate luxury -- time. Time that can be better spent doing things that either make me more money, which I can use to unlock more free time, or that I enjoy, like reading or hanging out on a beach with my family.
Maybe I want to tighten up my Jiu Jitsu game. Maybe I want to create a cool bonsai tree. Maybe I want to learn to play chess or learn a some new tech that could advance me in the professional world. Maybe I just want to sit on my ass and read or play a video game or watch some mindless tv for an hour every now and again. These are things that we work for.
Freedom versus the slavery of materialism
Only after you’ve unlocked your free time is it even worth pursuing the material. Fancy cars aren’t my style, so why would I waste money that could be used unlocking my freedom, on a cool car? Unless you truly enjoy driving cars (which I do,) washing cars (which I don’t,) fixing cars (meh) and everything else that comes along with it, you’re spending your time to make money to buy something you don’t truly love. That’s backwards.
Love to travel, but only get one week long vacation a year? Go somewhere for a month or two. When you’re not working a full-time job, you’ll have the time to explore new ways of making a living if you want more months like that.
Do you really love exotic cars and want a Ferrari, but you’re just settling on the Mercedes? Take that money, buy some more time, and spend it building a business that makes you the money instead of your boss. Instead of that Benz, put that money into buying more time. That’s now what defines you as successful.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors