When I get X, I'll be happy and at peace you tell yourself. But nothing could be further from the truth. We are bombarded daily with images of people riding in expensive cars, wearing clothes that cost thousands of dollars with perfect bodies, and vacationing in the most exotic places. If you're on social media, these images are often combined with inspiring quotes about success.
Now I'm all for inspiration. But when you get underneath it all, it's a bit of a schizophrenic message. The words over these images speak of deeper meaning while being layered over materialism. I'm the biggest advocate for being the best you can be and reaching your ultimate potential. I have made a career out of helping others achieve theirs. But attaining your material and financial goals without meaning and purpose ends in emptiness and despair.
Avoid the twin traps of materialism and status
Everyone agrees with this, but few remain focused on it. We all succumb to the siren's song of materialism and status. Why are we so susceptible to this illusion? I believe the answer stems from two causes: lack of worth; and lack of meaning. When these things are missing in our lives, and within ourselves, we are tempted by the faux substitutes of money and fame. If we just had enough money, we could relax. I have told myself this more times than I can count. Actually, this was my mantra this past weekend.
I have conquered my need for status and recognition. However, it is an ongoing battle to untangle my freedom, security, and sense of peace from my income. Maybe, you can relate to what I'm saying. Nothing can depress you more than scrolling through your Instagram feed when your struggling financially. By the tenth post, I feel like everyone drives a lamborghini and lives along the Mediterranean Coast expect for me. What? You say. You don't live next to Beyonce and Jay Z either.
Perhaps, you are still chasing status or both money and fame. These are fools errands. I went to an event several years ago for the Super Bowl. It was a private party a friend invited me to. Now most people would have been excited to be there and star struck. However, for me it was the most pathetic thing I had ever seen. Everyone in the room was looking past each other attempting to trade up to mingling with someone more famous. It was the epitome of emptiness. If that is fame, you can have it.
True peace is related to meaning and connection
What I desire is true meaning and deep connection with others. Again, I am not saying wealth and meaning are exclusive to each other. The most generous friends I have are my most financially successful ones. It comes down to your priorities, intent, and what you value. Furthermore, you will not be more fulfilled, happy, and at peace someday. It is there to be had now. Acquiring more will only multiply what you currently are. Peace is an inside job.
The difference between those who find peace and fulfillment and those who only know and agree with what I am saying comes down to this: the ones who achieve this goal take action. Ask yourself, what is standing in the way of me implementing what I know to be true? It is almost always going to be related to some sort of fear and shame. Have the courage to conquer these twin foes, and you will begin to experience true peace and happiness.
In addition, stop and take the time to be mindful on a daily basis. Every morning I take off my music and walk along the lake by my home on the way back from the gym. While doing so I practice mindfulness and notice everything around me: the stillness of the water, the sunrise, birds, etc. Begin to develop a similar practice. Start small, and stay consistent. Learn how to begin being, instead of constantly doing. Never in human history has this been more essential. Be one of the ones who DO, rather than KNOW. You will then discover peace comes through being, not having..
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.