Many spend their entire lives chasing money. When they finally get it, they find themselves worth millions but trapped at a job that they hate that makes them work 60+ hours a week. Miserable.
These aren’t hypothetical situations. It happens all the time. I hear about it all the time in most of the millionaire interviews I consume.
They achieve their dreams of wealth but they live with regrets for what they sacrificed to get there.
How about living a life with no regrets and getting rich?
Thinking through what success is to you and having some real world experience from others to bounce that off of can save you a ton of time.
What is a bucket list? Popularized by the movie, Bucket List, a bucket list is a term to define the list of activities you want to do to enjoy life before you die.
I once met a happy-go-lucky girl who was going through life trying to check items off her bucket list. She wanted to sky dive, so she did with her sister. She wanted to visit a local beach, so she did.
Success can mean having enough money to constantly weather whatever unexpected bills (medical or otherwise) that come your way.
Success can mean being able to buy whatever you want to achieve what you want. This doesn’t necessarily mean crazy expensive stuff like a mansion or Bugatti, which science has shown doesn’t really help your happiness much.
It can mean simply buying some decent clothes so you look presentable to people without worrying about the bill.
Success can mean fulfilling some of your life goals. This could be something like visiting some of the most exotic, beautiful places in the world in person. This could be something more modest like being able to live comfortably in a big city without being stressed about the bill.
Success can mean having the freedom to never work another day in your life if you didn’t want to because you’ve made so much money. Success can mean sitting there and enjoying the fact that you’re not stressed out to death from overwork.
A lot of Warren Buffett’s managers fit this bill well. Many are so wealthy that they don’t have to work. They come in each day because they love it.
Their version of success is much in alignment with Warren’s: doing what he wants to do whenever he wants to do it with the people he wants to do it with and no one else.
Quite frankly, not everyone gets there. Many simply wish to get there but they aren’t willing to work harder to get it.
Some shouldn’t get there because their version of success might be very twisted or endanger others.
But if you have honest goals that don’t hurt anyone else, let’s see how you can move towards them.
Becoming wealthy is one way of getting there. It’s a great way since people can’t tell you what you need to do anymore.
What people don’t understand about money is that it’s a slow, steady game. Overnight successes are over hyped and rare.
Also, the average person just doesn’t understand basic personal finance. They don’t save. They spend every dollar they have. If they ever do invest their money into something that makes them more, it’s a poor investment.
You’re not like that. Save smart. Live a bit lower than your means. But by no means sacrifice your dreams or regrets to do so.
For example, let’s say you save $5000 a month away. You’ve read some great books on personal finance and investing. You put it away in a nice, safe index fund.
But… You have a dream of traveling the world, partying, or dating incredible, beautiful women while you’re still young.
That requires money. And there’s a ticking biological clock to meet that deadline.
You either have to spend more or invest it in a way of making a lot more money (through a business or developing your skills somehow). This is because your goals require money and to not regret what you didn’t do, you must find some way to do it.
Think smart. Be creative. Be efficient.
Maybe there’s a way of doing things cheaper. Maybe the sacrifice of quality of life isn’t worth it and it’s better for you to find a way of making more.
Don’t let modern society’s materialistic world mess with your head. Don’t let others who have bought into this flashy consumer life to chase things that you know won’t help you much anyways.
Define success for yourself.
Learn from the mistakes of others.
Maybe for you, you’d love to work a 30 hour work week while doing what you love. Success to you is having plenty of time to relax, play video games, take a walk in the park, or do what you want without getting anxious you’re wasting time.
Let the people who work 80 hour weeks show that off. Many of them do it to show off and are inefficient with their time. The ones who don’t enjoy what they work on will hate most moments of it anyways.
By no means do I mean that you shouldn’t be willing to work hard and be patient to obtain that 30 hour work week.
You should be willing to work hard for 60 hours a week to obtain that 30 hour work week one day. And you should move towards finding something you love so that if you ever get the luxury of a 30 hour work week, you still choose to work because you love it.
Be efficient. I’ve come across a few millionaires who were forced to work 40 hours or less a week.
Leonie Dawson had a family to raise and was forced to work 20 hours a week. She made it as efficient as possible and became a millionaire from that time through her business.
Brandon Gaille’s a millionaire who was forced to have less hours to work because of medical issues. He has to sleep 13 hours a day.
Jon Morrow, another blogger, has to pay $120,000 a year in medical fees just to stay alive. He’s forced to hustle to make money just to breathe.
And you just might find yourself in a place where you are much more successful than what “society” deems a success.
There are a few big bloggers online who have a dedicated page that shows all their life goals (however big or small) and if and when they were accomplished. This includes:
- Steve Kamb of Nerd Fitness
- Thomas Frank of College Info Geek (inspired by Steve’s list)
- Stefan James of Project Life Mastery
- Location Rebel
- Annette White of Bucket List Journey
When they’re accomplished, they update the page and
cross it out to let people know that they finished an item and/or link to proof.
My Issue With A Giant Bucket List
While it is awe-inspiring to see how many crazy items people have crossed off their bucket list, a list that showcases every possible item you’re interested in accomplishing under the sun isn’t ideal.
My theory is that more could be accomplished faster and with more enjoyment if you focus.
Split your giant list into categories. Then, list out the top 1 to 3 items on that category to the public or yourself. Focus on those until success. Then, move on.
My issue with a giant list of 100+ items is that since they’re not sorted by importance and the sheer size of list is so overwhelming, it can leave you running around disoriented trying to cross off tasks.
It’s Okay If Your Goals Change
If you have an item on your bucket list, but years later, you mature and realize that you wouldn’t enjoy pursuing or accomplishing it anymore, feel free to remove it from your list with no shame.
Some people think it’s a cop out if you do so because you have “chickened out” but I think it’s a waste of time to pursue a goal that you no longer have interest in. We have a limited amount of time on Earth and it’s better to spend it pursuing other goals you actually care about.
Recommended Further Resources:
- The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
- Bucket List Family on YouTube and Instagram
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