“Relaxed, productive, at peace, happy, quiet, unburdened. This is how I want life to be. Every day a Saturday.” - Ryan HolidayTweet It!
I was working for the man, becoming complacent and just generally not pursuing my ideal life. The kickboxing training, the writing, the mixology competition, all the books I’d wanted to read ... my goals seemed doomed to remain merely images in my head. I was dissatisfied and most of it was due to a hectic work schedule that left me zapped of energy and motivation.
So, I crunched the numbers and reached a liberating decision: I would “work” only 2-3 nights a week so I could spend the rest of my time pursing my passions.
Here’s the story.
One of my mentors, a Philosophy PhD working in Positive Psychology, recommended a book called A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. I don’t want to get all grand and poetic about it, but it changed the way I think about work, money and the correct use of time (our most precious resource).
This is a what I derived from the book:
Meaningful Work + More Free Time + Less Money > Meaningless Work + Less Free Time + More Money.
If you embrace smart spending and a simpler life, you don’t need to do all of the exhausting/meaningless work that is required to buy things, which frees up your time so you can pursue your dreams.
These ideas guided me as I altered my spending habits. I wanted to prioritize free time and creative work over consumerist impulses and the rat-racer mentality. Cooking rather than eating out everyday. Buying clothes from vintage shops. Ridding myself of subscriptions I didn’t need. Moving to a less prestigious area and cutting utility costs… It’s incredible how much you can alter your cost of living when you stop to manage your desires and learn to spend more intelligently. I’d definitely recommend Mr. Money Mustache to get financially literate and start focusing on happiness over collecting stuff.
"Let the beauty we love be what we do." - RumiTweet It!
And by the way none of this means living like an ascetic. I still go out with friends and eat nice dinners. I’ve seen three big name concerts this month and bought myself a giant new hookah for my workspace. It’s just a matter of properly allocating expenditure and doing away with excessive extravagance in the name of happiness and creativity.
The fruits of this life-experiment have been especially sweet. Nowadays I have all the time I need to relax, spend time with loved ones and pursue my real interests. I entered my first mixology competition and even won (but who’s keeping track?). I’ve had the time and energy to become an executive producer for a new chart-topping podcast, The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman PhD. I wrote this article and I’m working on my first book. I joined a kickboxing gym and I intend to get in the ring in roughly seven months. I’m currently helping a PhD at UPenn with a book about the science of creativity. It’s been a liberating and gratifying change.
For all the creative types out there with dreams that they just can’t seem to realize, try re-prioritizing how you spend your money and time so that you can dedicate yourselves to the things you love. Eventually you can even monetize your passions and start making money doing the things you want to do.
To sum it up: I only have a bed, a lava lamp, a TV I got on black Friday, a desk I got from a yard sale and my computer in my new room … and I’ve never been more relaxed, happy or creatively productive.
This post was originally shared on Oughtology.
Begin your day feeling grounded and inspired.
A free 30-day email series where we share the most impactful stories and ideas that have helped us on our journey to live a more meaningful life.
✌️ Free. Unsubscribe anytime.
“I’m in the midst of big life transitions at the moment, chasing book deals, relocating, taking risks, carving out a life that feels honest, so your emails have been a perfectly timed source of inspiration and reassurance.” Jo in London, Great Britain
"Love the emails! They are a great reset or what I would call mindful chiropractic adjustment to approaching the day. Thank you!" Laurie in Albuquerque, New Mexico
"I love the emails. They give me a new perspective and things to think about and apply in my life." Monica in Johannesburg, South Africa
"It's food for the soul and sets my spiritual compass in the right direction." Farahdiva Samsul in Assam, India
"Absolutely LOVE the daily emails. One of the only email subscriptions I read daily. Keep them coming!!" Adriana in New York, New York
"The emails are thought-provoking and uplifting. A little pause from the crazy happenings of modern life. A quick chance to reflect, smile, and think about a life lived mindfully." Pharan in Queensland, Australia
"I have thoroughly enjoyed the Mindfully Mailed series. Daily I await this little nugget of goodness to hit my inbox each day." Tambria in Shreveport, Louisiana
Welcome to Holstee
Living with intention is an ongoing practice, not a destination. Inspired by this, we’ve created a range of products to help you on your journey to live both fully and mindfully, including the Holstee Membership, Reflection Cards, and our recently-launched Reflection.app.
This article is part of our series on the theme of Simplicity.EXPLORE Simplicity →
Inspiration and tools to help you live a more meaningful life.VISIT THE SHOP →