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Approaching Life "Bass Ackwards"

Dear Friend,

“The secret to success? Love what you do. The secret to happiness? Do what you love. See the pattern?” ~~ Hugh DeBurgh

Happiness is the direct result of a choice. An agreement, between you and you. If you aren’t happy now, it’s because you have not made this choice, this agreement with yourself.

The question is, “Why not?”

Many people simply do not understand this basic rule of life. Apparently, nobody told them about it. Their parents didn’t know it. Chances are, their parents weren’t so happy themselves. And maybe those parents didn’t see themselves as success stories either? Friends were probably clueless too.

People have the power to make this choice any time they want. The choice, the agreement with themselves, is to follow a happy lifestyle.

Because people do not make this choice, a choice that they don’t know exists, they live a misdirected life. And they never really achieve the success and happiness that they always thought they were pursuing.

I look at all of the people online right now, frantically selling one get-rich-quick idea after another. Now, don’t get me wrong. I suspect that many of these approaches can work. But most do not. At least not with most people. Why?

I think that people approach life bass ackwards. They think that if they can only be a “success,” they will be happy.

Imagine the following scenario. Perhaps it sounds familiar?

Your friend buys a really cool, and logical-sounding, Internet work-at-home program. His goal? To get rich so that he can retire and live like Hugh DeBurgh. 😉 So he buys this thing. And he works at it, often quite hard, for a little while. This is impressive, as most people just put such programs in a corner at home and forget about them. For them it was an impulse buy. But not your friend.

He keeps at this. For a few weeks, perhaps. Then his initial burst of energy and enthusiasm runs out, and it’s replaced by a feeling of emptyness. Since he started this program to riches, fifteen more, perhaps cooler, programs have been released by competing Internet “gurus.” He already feels like a dinosaur. And look, he’s not rich yet. Not even close. Maybe he should jump ship and try a better program, or maybe even the better version of the program that he already bought (it’s new and improved!).

Maybe you have a friend like this? Maybe that friend is you? Whatever.

I’m not criticizing honest effort and initiative. Just choosing to get started proved that this guy’s a go-getter. And I’m obviously not passing judgment on the quality of whatever new business opportunity that he pursued. There are a million ways to critique how to best approach these things.

What my goal is today is to point out a more fundamental problem with this approach to life. And I consider myself an expert at this question because this is how I screwed up the first half of my own life.

If you want to be a financial success, you first have to be happy. And the best way to make your fortune is to choose a career that keeps that happiness going. Choose to do something that you love. And don’t concern yourself too much at first with how that choice will make you money. That part will make itself apparent to you later.

I spent the first half of my life in pursuit of money. And I did things that I did not enjoy. Things that did not come naturally to me. And that I did not believe added much value to the world.

Luckily, I never engaged in what I considered immoral behavior. I always treated others fairly. And I always tried to deliver more value that people expected. As a result, I did make money. And I valued that money dearly.

Everytime I looked at my bank balance, I thought of the suffering that I went through every day in pursuit of it. And that led me to a tight-wad mentality. When I would lose some money in the stock market, or wherever, it would actually hurt. I felt pain. And I did not love money. On a certain level, I hated money. I hated the power I thought it had over me. The power to keep me from my goal of true success and happiness. It toyed with me. I’d get close to a “magic number.” Then things would go South. I came to resent money. Clearly, this was a disfunctional relationship. One that I lived every day.

Now, my work wasn’t that hard. At least physically, that is. In fact, I find that simple hard work can be a relief. You know that it is not a career. That it is temporary. You work a bit and you get your money. It is a very short term effort that leads to a very short term reward.

But my work was very stressful for me. Not because I had an inherently stressful career, but because I worked at something that just didn’t fit who I was, and so I really had to force myself to work all of the time. I never really looked forward to anything. I just kept reminding myself that someday I would be glad that I was the proverbial hard working “ant,” squirreling away my savings, and was not like the carefree “grasshoppers” that I saw all around me, who would starve come “wintertime.”

What hurt me so much is that I felt “stuck” in my career. It was a well-paying career, but a career that brought me little or no personal fulfillment. I think that the same feeling exists out there everywhere. In millions of hard-working people. Perhaps you feel this way right now?

You know how valuable money can be in eventually freeing you to live the life of your dreams. And you have already paid your dues. All you have to do is keep going. You aren’t going to throw all of that seniority away. All of that expensive education. But you measure the value of that seniority and education by the memory of the pain and sacrifice that you suffered in acquiring it.

This is the life model that our ancestors followed for millenia. It is a survival life model. And it got us to where we are as a civilization. But it did not bring anyone happiness.

Today we are all blessed with an opportunity that in times passed only presented itself to the most elite in human society. We have the opportunity to live a truly fulfilled life. We have the opportunity to shed our survival instincts and begin to focus on living. And loving. On dreaming. And believing. And on doing what we were always meant to do.

And with a world population in excess of six billion people (and growing exponentially), combined with a world communications network that will very soon make it possible to reach the vast majority of those people instantaneously, you now have the opportunity to sell whatever skills or abilities that you have to people out there who really need them. And some of these people can and will pay you well for your skills.

No matter how quirky or valuless you may think that your skills are, someone out there in this very crowded and quirky world of ours will pay you well for them. In fact, the more odd or rare your skill is, the more valuable it likely is to those few real people who need it. And who need you.

It is the existence of this worldwide network that no longer requires you to specialize in skills that appeal best to those closest to you. Those within your local community. Instead, you can specialize in those skills that you love. That come most naturally to you. To
day, the entire world is close to you.

You no longer have to do what you must. To be happy, you must do what you love. And this fact makes possible your discovery of true happiness in this life.

Interestingly, it just so happens that to discover what you love to do, you must first be you. In the fullest sense of the world. To discover what you love, you must first discover you.

So the first step you must take to achieving wealth and success in life is also the first step you must take to be truly happy. You must discover and accept you for who you truly are. You must start out your life doing those things that you truly love, and not those things that you think might make you a lot of money.

Most people fail when they attempt to get rich because they do not get this process right. They approach life bass ackwards. Now you know the right way to do it. So get going! I wish you the best of luck!

Talk to you soon!

Hugh

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