I’ve spent the last 13 years designing the ideal lifestyle. I’ve tried countless diets, exercise routines, romance strategies, and business plans. I’ve spent time meditating in the mountains and brokering deals in boardrooms. Through it all, I’ve made some realizations. The most important thing I learned is that much of what I’ve spent time on had little to do with what I want from life.
There’s something special about building a life where you genuinely don’t have to answer to anyone. I’m not quite there, but that’s where I’m aiming. For too long I spent time trying to be “well-adjusted” or “successful”, but I was letting other people define my success. Eventually, I found that success is different for different people. Language is funny like that. We use words and assume they mean the same thing to other people, but who’s to say my “happy” is the same as yours?
In this amorphous peregrination, we call life; people are always looking for something solid to stand on. We invent words to describe ourselves. To show that we are different from everyone else. Minimalist. Healthy. Wealthy. Educated. These words seem concrete, but they are just comparisons. Wealthy compared to whom? I believe that we innately understand that the phrases we use to describe ourselves are just comparing us to each other. So we strive endlessly to represent those adjectives. They cease to serve us and instead become prisons of our making. What if someone is more minimalist than me? Who am I if I’m not considered educated enough? One can see how this way of thinking generates unease.
The key to determining what you want is to take time away from others. Pause and reflect on the times in your life when you’ve been most happy. What were you doing? Determine your definition of the words that describe you, and don’t let it be altered by what other people think. When you master this, others will notice, and they’ll start to try to be like you. They’re trying to be like you because they’re still playing the game of comparison, but you’ve escaped your prison.