I recently finished reading a wonderful book called Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who neatly puts into perspective the relationship between money, happiness, time and purpose. Simply put, beyond a certain level of needs met and comfort achieved, the correlation between money and happiness is largely meaningless. The tricky part of this equation is allowing our brain to accept that that level of financial comfort has indeed been reached. The fear of possible financial calamity is never too far away and often keeps us grounded in jobs we have no love for, and time spent in environments that given half a chance we would escape from.
I found that a more proactive pursuit than complaining about my life was exploring activities both professionally and personally that excited and engaged me physically, mentally and emotionally and then steadily allocating time every week to improve myself in those areas. Having worked for years in environments that I found drained my energy and limited my scope, I have since proactively sought out experiences that demonstrated to me that there is a professional space where I can lose myself in, where time slips by unnoticed and where I receive more energy than I lose whilst doing those activities. For me, that was coaching, building my own business and working with people to find their unique paths to personal success.
The “Flow” equation in very simple terms is about finding what you love to do, regardless of how unprepared or unqualified you may be at it and steadily challenging yourself to improve within that space. The key then is managing the fine balance of challenge and skill level required, whilst minimizing anxiety and boredom. In doing so you enter the flow channel where your desire, purpose and positively engaged energy propel you forward towards excellence.
Passion and purpose are infectious, and skills will always have a value. The most successful people in the world both financially and personally are also often the most passionate and skilled at what they do. The work, therefore, does not exist to simply chase money or cash a paycheck, but rather the other way around, where money is simply an attractive benefit of finding your purpose and your flow.