Why money & comfort are making you unhappy
I make £50,000/year working literally 4 hours a week
I spend the rest of my time having fun: growing my business (yes, for fun), travelling, advising/investing, acroyoga, art, music, writing, etc.
When I was a desperately poor 16-year-old, eating 5p reduced sandwiches from Sainsbury’s and waking up to snail infestations, money looked like the shiny answer to everything.
Society will let you believe this until you make enough money to realise it’s all one big hilarious scam…spinning morons (like you and me) round the capitalist cycle:
It’s not just that money doesn’t = happiness, it’s far worse: money often decreases happiness.
Outside spending on a handful of very specific, scientifically proven happiness boosters: health, experiences, altruism, and “buying back” your free time…
…money just makes you lazy and snobbish.
It robs you of your basic human need for challenge and adventure, and traps you inside a cushy, convenient, consumerist bubble, moving from screen to screen, comparing your material possessions to others, and wearing down your soul till you give up on your dreams and start saying things like:
I’m really grateful for my extremely boring job. It pays the bills and I have weekends off to watch Netflix and drink beer.
What more could I want from life?
Less money, more life
Slowly but surely, I’ve realised so many of the “luxuries” money can buy aren’t luxuries — they are poisons.
Yes, I could stay at a 5-star hotel…but I want the excitement of a dodgy hostel or the challenge of wild-camping.
Yes, I could jump in an Uber…but I’d actually prefer the physical feat of lugging my human-size camping backpack through the tube.
And yes, I could order Deliveroo, rehire my private chef or drop £s at [insert name of overpriced restaurant with mediocre food but nice ambiance]…but again, I want the challenge of cooking gyoza from scratch — dough and all.
It’s so funny to watch gym-goers plod away on their treadmills, personal trainers on-site, whipping them to go faster, while kids play basketball on the courts round the corner, too full of adrenaline to even notice they’re exercising.
It’s so sad to see middle-aged bankers drive £500k Ferraris in between London traffic lights, accelerating only to immediately slow down, too old to feel the wind in their hair, clinging onto an inanimate car as their hard-earned reward for two decades of dull corporatism.
“The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive.”
― Coco Chanel
I would rather make my own art, than pay for it.
I would rather build my own house, than buy one.
I would rather build my own app, than pay a developer.
The most fun, rewarding, fulfilling adventures I’ve had have all been free (or frivolously cheap, or money-generating).
I spent last weekend camping on psychedelics. Next month we’re holding a giant water fight in Finsbury Park (a precursor to a Guinness World Record we’ll be breaking next year). And tonight I’m making gyoza.
Update: the gyoza was awesome! 👇
Buying your way through life is far too easy and far too boring.
Instead of stacking comforts upon comforts, and then wondering why it’s all so unfulfilling…how about doing uncomfortable things? taking on challenges? beatings odds?
It’s counter-intuitive to everything I grew up believing but I love it.
Challenge is the real luxury in a world where everything is so easy, so comfortable and so boring.
Obviously, lots of those comforts are nice, and I’m as indulgent as the worst of us, but my fulfillment comes from challenge.
It’s why I’m learning astrophysics in French; it’s why I’m refusing investment into my company; and why I’m leaving London to become an acroyoga teacher in Indonesia.
The challenge calls me. I’m on the extreme end (I know…), but if you’re specifically lacking fulfillment…you’re looking in the wrong direction.
More money will not help; it will ironically make everything just a bit worse.
Next week, we’ll explore in more detail the 4 scientifically proven ways to spend your money for increased happiness. And then we’ll return to our 6-month plan for escaping the 9–5 matrix ✌️❤️