Instead of making new resolutions to add (and later discard) in the new year, Steve Cook, author of Lifeonaire, says we should be focusing on what we want to subtract.
As the clocks ticks closer to 2021, we typically look back over the previous 12 months and contemplate what we intend to do differently in the upcoming year. Curiously, these resolutions are often the same ones we made and abandoned the year before.
Steve Cook, author of Lifeonaire: An Uncommon Approach to Wealth, Success, and Prosperity says that wherever you’re suffering—finances, lifestyle, relationships, spirituality—if you dig down to the root you might find the problem is you’ve bought into a cultural narrative that tells you to hustle, grind, stay busy, and keep pursuing more.
Not only does blind pursuit of “the American Dream” not lead to happiness, it actively detracts from it. We need to slow down, take an honest look at our choices, and stop the proverbial madness, sometimes even quit. In Lifeonaire, Cook challenges us to consider what we really desire out of life.
Things to Quit
He shares how Americans blindly pursue financial wealth—thinking that money will reward them with what they want—and helps us to discover that our heart’s desire is to become more than just a Millionaire…what we really desire is to become a Lifeonaire.
Rather than adding to your already jam-packed to-do list, look for what you’ve been doing that isn’t serving you well. Then quit doing it.
Quit Using Money as a Success Metric
You should not stop doing smart things with your money, but do stop measuring your success on it. Chances are there are many people that have much more than you yet are still not happy. At all. “One thing I have discovered in my years of coaching wealthy people is that they never seem to have enough,” says Cook. “They measure their success based off of how much they have and consequently they never have enough. This measure itself leads to discontentment.”
Quit Taking Financial Advice From People Who Aren’t Better Off Than You
“It is amazing how often people take advice from others who are doing no better, if not worse than they themselves are,” says Cook. “I’ve seen people get marriage advice from divorced people, and business start-ups getting advice about how to do things from struggling businesses. The only advice you should get from those who are struggling is what NOT to do.”
Some advice, should be left to professionals. While you may consult with a friend regarding your health issues, ultimately you will see the doctor to get a professional help.
Same with financial. You want to grow your financial portfolio, speak to a financial advisor. Accordingly to a Forbes article, if you want to save money, track your expenses. You want to pay off your debts and find the the fastest way to pay your mortgage? Calculate your mortgage and speak to a lender. Retirement is on you mind? Automate payments to your retirement fund.
Quit Taking on Debt
Everyone wants to eliminate all of their debt. Yet, most of those who are adamant about it will end up deeper into debt in the following year. They will make it so they’ve convinced themselves enough that there’s something else that’s worth going into debt for.
If you were to follow every marketers pitch about every product and service, they’ll have you buy it. They don’t care that you want to be debt free. “Make it a point to stop borrowing money next year. You will find that there are things that you can actually live without, and it is the first step toward becoming debt free.”
Quit Trying to Keep up With The Joneses
It’s a game that isn’t worth winning. Whenever you compare yourself to someone else, you will always find someone that has something bigger, better, prettier, or newer than what you have. It’s a very slippery slope to be on. Of course, this is made even worse with social media. People bolstering about how wonderful their lives and you trying to play catch up. Instead learn to be grateful for and content with what you have.
“Keeping up with the Joneses often means keeping up with a pretty picture that doesn’t represent what is going on behind closed doors,” notes Cook. “The Joneses oftentimes finance their way to that pretty picture. You don’t see the amount of work they do to maintain it, the stress they are hiding, and the disfunction in their relationships that comes along with the pretty picture.” That last piece is keep as that is what we end up comparing our selves with. People continually declaring how happy they are, what they just got, and tell you that you should be like them.
Instead, look the other way. Know that they don’t have it all and in fact, they’re putting all of this in everyone’s face to make up for weaknesses in their lives. You should instead tell them to quit the nonsense and focus on the essential.
Quit Being Around People Who Try Too Hard to Impress
Surrounding yourself around those boasting about the latest expensive thing they’re buying, or rubbing it in everyone’s face on how fab this thing or that thing that they have is, just to prove their worth is not who you need to be around. Most people are too busy worrying about their own lives to really care about you. That is not an indictment of people, instead it suggests that the same insecurities that you may have about how you look, what you have, or how successful you are, may be shared by many. Make this the year that you surround yourself with people who have come to a place of contentment—those who aren’t trying to impress anyone.
Quit Working so Many Hours
Cook insists the most successful people work less, often make more, and love their life. Their business complements instead of competes with their personal life. They experience freedom and independence with their time, finances, and choices. Work will never end, so there is no sense in trying to finish it all.
People think that hard work means working a lot. Efficient bursts of hard work are far more productive than working 60-hour work weeks. If you have young children, long work hours and lots of business travel (which is not happening these days) are especially dangerous. Now is when they need you in their lives, especially with many of us having to homeschool. Work will be there later.
Quit Putting Off Things
Let’s face it, in 2020 many people realized how short life can be. It’s time for you to start experiencing life to the fullest. When you are trying to live life with money as the measure, you will never have enough. You will put off doing the things you could do right now in hopes that someday you have more available to enjoy life. Live it today. Sure we may be limited by a pandemic but hopefully once that’s over, there is no reason to stop in your tracks.
The Gist of it
Cook concludes that the Lifeonaire approach is to change the rules of the game of life. Rather than playing life by the rules set out, stop doing the things above to free up space and time for the things that really matter. It’s time to grow and experience life to the fullest. Apply these basic principles and let this year that you turn things around.
What are you planning to quit this year?
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