A friend and I often have insightful debates on money and happiness. The age old saying that "money can't buy happiness" always makes us giggle because whomever said that probably didn't have any… niether money or nor happiness.
Buy experiences, not things. Ella is rolling in dough © bitstrip
Of course, money cannot buy love, fulfillment or meaning, but it can buy 8 types of freedom.
1. Freedom from guilt
Before I ever entered the coaching world, I knew the concept of an inner compass: a guiding beacon so deeply embedded within you that makes your decisions and directs your life. My inner compass was… guilt! The guiltier I felt, the more responsive I was. Yeah, f***ed up! Lived 25 years that way, like a zombie on auto-pilot.
One day when my wrists ceased and I couldn't work anymore, I found my way to Network Spinal Analysis (NSA), a holistic form of spinal entrainment and chiropractic care. I plopped down $5,000 without blinking, because the alternative was surgery or a lifetime of medication (who knows what the side effects would have been!). NSA taught me the power of an uninterrupted mind-body connection. I always just thought my body was a garbage can that propped up my precious, valuable brain.
Six months later, when I returned to work, my colleague asked me to do something. I didn't want to but said yes anyways. In that instant, a heart-stopping, gut-wrenching pain shot up from both my wrists to my shoulder blades. Woah! That was guilt coursing through my body!!! Talk about a mind-body awakening!
So yeah, I bought an NSA care package and it free me from guilt.
How often do you catch women saying, "I feel so guilty for…" or "I feel so bad for…"? Can you even conceive what our planet would be like if we weren't ruled by guilt? Since that day, I haven't felt any guilt. Can you even fathom what a life without guilt would be like for you? Money bought my chiro care, which bought my freedom from guilt, which yeah, bought me a heck of a lot of happiness!
2. Freedom from FOMO
I was chatting with a fellow entrepreneur and she complained how, even if she had met the love of her life, she wouldn't be free until September to go on a date with him. And we were in the middle of July!!! I asked her to list me her calendar and asked her why she booked herself so fully?
She named the typical FOMO: fear of missing out. But I knew right away there was something more to it. I asked her if it was the fear of missing out or the fear of not being invited back (FONBIB)? Because if you get invited and you say 'no' often enough, then you just might not get invited back next time. Her jaw dropped. Nailed it!
FOMO, or in her case, FONBIB, is rooted in our human need to belong. When that need is not satiated in a healthy way, it becomes a desperate need to belong, regardless of the tribe that we end up belonging to. That's how deep this human need for connection and belonging is.
I worked with my coach for 4 months on this topic. I lost a lot of friends on my quest to free myself from FOMO and FONBIB. It was god-awful and very painful at times because I confused wanting to be like with wanting to be loved. Two very different things. I recovered after my fall. I learned that 'no' is a full sentence. I learned that I was loved by the people who matter so I no longer need to be liked by those who don't.
So yeah, money bought my $1,600 coaching package, which bought my freedom from FOMO and FONBIB, which yeah, bought me a heck of a lot of happiness!
3. Freedom from obligation
I was raised as my dad's eldest son. I know how to change car tires, re-route electrical lines, and refit plumbing pipes. Lol! I was also expected to be my parents' retirement account. Who needs RRSPs when you've got an eldest son who will provide for you for the rest of your life? My nickname as a child was 'money tree', as in: you shake it and money will fall from it.
Who wouldn't want to care for their parents in their old age, from a place of whole-hearted gratitude? But the Asian culture has maniacally twisted this gift (something you give because you want to) into an obligation (something you give because you have to), a duty, an expectation, a way to shame your children into submission. Yuk! I don't think that's why innocent little children were put on this earth, to be their parents' retirement account. In fact, Carl Jung wrote, "the greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parents."
Oh the shame of being a terribly inadequate daughter. God forbid, buying them a car, putting a down-payment on their townhome, moving them across the country, and renovating their old home wasn't enough. This inadequacy plagued me for decades… until I hired a counsellor who knew exactly what I was going through because she had been through it herself.
So yeah, money bought my $900 counselling package, which bought my freedom from obligation, which yeah, bought me a heck of a lot of happiness!
4. Freedom from anxiety
I remember the very first morning after I quit my corporate contract!!! I was so high you had to scrape me off roof with a putty knife!!! And I also vividly remember the morning after that: as I was making my daily power smoothie, my right hand was shaking so uncontrollably that I couldn't put the lid on :O
I felt wildly out of control like an external power had taken over my body. That power was anxiety. No one, no one ever told me about the massive tsunami of anxiety that would hit you once you leap into the unknown world of entrepreneurship. I woke up in a sweat every morning, with my heart pounding and butterflies in my stomach.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears: Gabby Berstein's book 'May Cause Miracles' appeared in my world. I read and did an exercise every day, religiously, as a doctor would prescribe. Every morning, as soon as my mind came to consciousness, before I had a chance to run through the mile-long to-do list and worry about every worst outcome, I'd begin reading her book and do the exercise in my journal, right then and there.
I could afford this morning luxury because I found a terrific assistant on elance.com to check my e-mails before I woked up and handle some simple tasks for me. Best decision I ever made! Being free of anxiety, free of living in the future, being free of dreading worst case scenarios and being free to be creative again, without any medication or therapy, I could have died happy then and there.
So yeah, money bought my $100/week assistant, which bought my freedom from anxiety, which yeah, bought me a heck of a lot of happiness!
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Thank you for being a lone nut, a leader, and a friend! <3