This pandemic has given a lot of us time to reflect, and if you are anything like me, you are starting to realise something I’m sure we’ve all known for a long time – we’re looking for success in the wrong places.
I took a pause on Breaking the Norm, despite it being much more enjoyable and fulfilling than other work I undertake. In a time when I was focussing on money, I could not afford time to focus on this. However, due to reasons outlined below, I will be picking up where I left off.
Many of us are brought up thinking that the aim in life is to get your qualifications, get a good job, a house, a mortgage etc and you will be happy. But at what price? Many people sacrifice time with their family, time with their friends, time on their hobbies and self-development, just to keep earning money, and in turn keep living the life they don’t truly desire. Obviously, we all need money to survive, otherwise our mate Rishi Sunak wouldn’t be trying his best to give us all a safety net. We also need to make sacrifices to achieve things – without sacrifice there is never success. But I have realised, that these sacrifices must be justified by achieving things in areas that bring happiness, and fulfilment, not just money.
The illusion that getting a job with a big firm will bring you stability and success is incorrect. It is in these times that you see what management is made of. Some firms are doing their utmost to support the lower levels, and other firms are more worried about protecting the higher earners, at the expense of those at the bottom. In times of despair, it very quickly becomes apparent that the supposedly stable position you have taken years to build, isn’t as stable as you initially thought. Therefore, the question must be asked, are you sacrificing for the right things?
Covid-19 has forced many of us to take a break. Although I am still working full time at home, there is no commute, no rushing around in the evenings, no wasting time on the weekend. Suddenly, many of us have more time to read, listen, watch, and enjoy spending time with our housemates or family. We are all craving the simple things, like freely walking, going shopping, meeting our friends down the café or pub, and not staring at everyone with a cough like they’re going to kill you. Things we all once took for granted. I have realised with the slower pace, that it is the small things that make us happy. Of course, while some of us have been forced to take our foot off the pedal, many others are working tirelessly to keep our country safe, and to save lives. The one common thing between these people is a sense of fulfilment from what they do, and a sense of duty in doing it.
Even the richest people in the world are now confined to their homes (granted they probably have a nice gym and pool) but their millions can’t buy them immunity, can’t let them bypass lockdown, and can’t fix this problem we all face. Money can buy happiness through experiences, travel, and helping people. But if you’re not fulfilled, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank. Research even suggests that CEOs may be depressed at more than double the rate of the general public (Forbes, 2015). So why do many of us see that as the target?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to strive to earn money and achieve my goals – I’ll just make sure that I do it in such a way that even if the world’s economy collapses, I’ve still had fun. With all the devastation that Covid-19 has inflicted, I’m sure a few positives can come from it – mainly a change in perspective, and an increase in gratitude for the small things.