Your definition of success, and how to be happy, comes from the top 5 experts you follow.
Who are the experts you follow? Do you watch and admire any “lifestyle entrepreneurs”?
Whether or not you realize it, they are gradually affecting you with their definition of what a successful person is.
The more we consume someone’s content, the more we take on their values and priorities.
It’s the reality of being a tribal creature called homo sapiens.
If someone we watch and admire appears to be traveling the world, always having glamorous experiences or fun adventures, we start to believe that it’s what is needed for life to be truly happy.
What some of those experts don’t tell you is that they purposely staged those photos or videos, maybe even going into some debt, and that it’s not their regular lifestyle.
Even if it’s something they really live, those experts are subtly suggesting that you shouldn’t settle until you have what they have… which is often tied to buying one of their courses or programs…
We then join that business guru’s event, program or community.
There, they’ve infected everyone with those “lifestyle entrepreneur” values, and so you look around, see everyone with those ambitions, and think it must be True and Good that humans should have those things and experiences, in order to be successful and at peace.
Worse yet, we start to do things that compromise our deepest values, in our attempt to emulate the look & lifestyle of those gurus.
We then do questionable things in our business/career in order to make “more money”, and try to fulfill those “dreams”.
In short, we sell our soul.
Yet, I’ve known people who have visited third world countries, to spend some time with the poorest villagers. They always come back shocked by this realization:
The poorest of the poor, are some of the happiest people they’ve ever met in life.
It’s not that poverty begets happiness.
What makes those villagers so happy is not having ambitions for a greater lifestyle. They simply live their life now, and enjoy whatever they can afford.
Yes, we do need to help the poor in ways they want help, e.g. safety, sanitation, clean water, and education.
But I hope they don’t get infected with our mainstream values that sell “must-have” glamour, or that to be truly “free” a human must be able to travel the world.
“People are exposed to many messages that encourage them to believe that a change of weight, scent, hair, car, clothes, or many other aspects will produce a marked improvement in their happiness. Our research suggests a moral, and a warning: Nothing that you focus on will make as much difference as you think.” — Daniel Kahneman, founder of Behavioral Economics.
The media you consume, the heroes you follow, all affect and infect your priorities and values.
It’s not that desires are bad. It’s when desires become requirements. That’s when suffering begins.
Take a look at your credit card or bank statement. It’s filled with products and services that previously, before you knew they existed, used to be optional luxuries to you. Now, those things may have become requirements to remain content with life.
You might be on the #HedonicTreadmill.
Being surrounded by media messages, surfing Facebook, watching lifestyle entrepreneurs on Youtube, it’s easy for all of us to be on the hedonic treadmill.
We need to keep returning again and again, day after day, to a mindfulness of what makes true and deep happiness.
It’s not the stuff and experiences and “freedom” that the lifestyle entrepreneurs are selling us.
Without having to change your external circumstances, your true happiness is calling to you, in every moment.
Breathe deeply. Reconnect with your Source of the grandest, most reliable abundance, calling to you now, forever, from within you.
And then, be watchful everyday of who you are watching online, and what definitions of success they are (subtly) suggesting to you through their videos, images, websites.
It’s said that we become the average of the 5 people we are around. I think this is also true — the top 5 experts / thought-leaders / celebrities you follow online, will shape your values, ambitions, and definitions of success. They influence (or erode) your capacity to be happy.
This is what I wish for you: Happiness now. Every day. Whatever your bank balance happens to be. However many followers you happen to have or not have.
May your happiness arise from the limitless well of creativity and love within you. May it overflow and genuinely bless others around you.
May you therefore serve so meaningfully and lovingly in your work, that others will reciprocate gratefully back to you.
You’ll then able to deserve and have more things and travel experiences… but then again, you might discover that you never really needed them.
You can get George Kao’s best posts once a month via email: www.georgekao.com/email