Rediscover Joy in the Journey to Financial Freedom

Embarking on a journey to financial freedom is a path many aspire to take. So do I, but in a recent introspective reflection, I revisited my aspirations, expectations, and approach to life. It became apparent that the pursuit of productivity had consumed me, leaving little room for the joyous experiences that once defined my days. The realization dawned on me during a conversation with my wife, where I found myself yearning for the simplicity and contentment of childhood and early adulthood.

From Passion to Overwhelm

My wife and I started dating shortly after I began my studies. It has been a time of little responsibilities and lots of freedom and fun. Gradually, pressure and expectations increased, and without noticing it I changed. I became more serious and constantly thinking about my projects and work. I developed a pessimistic worldview. Maybe because of my profession. The more I learned coding the more I knew how much I still needed to learn. Fixing one problem almost every time results in the next problems to solve.

While my studies progressed I developed the urge to create something significant and get wealthy. I always tried to achieve excellence and took way more work than I could handle. That’s when I got more and more unhappy, but my beautiful wife always stayed by my side and cheered me up. Don’t get me wrong these projects made me who I am now. I learned a lot while working on these projects, but I did it the wrong way, more on this later…

Anyhow, I forced myself to go on. And without noticing it I lost my smile and joy. After I finished my studies and started working for a company I was sure that my suffering would end. But it was even increasing. My personality, which I developed over the past years, persisted and so did my take on life. I had less time but chased my passion for creating a product or service anyway. It resulted in me having less time for my wife and nowadays my child too. 

Breaking Free from Destructive Patterns

Lately, I made the situation even worse because I developed a habit of starting days by opening multiple tabs of YouTube videos and binge-watching them. Such behavior depletes one’s motivation to do less rewarding tasks. This article explains why. But in short words, you destroy your dopamine system and only highly rewarding activities can make you motivated again. Sure you can force yourself through it but it is hard and unpleasant. There I was, wasting my time, not having time for my family but wasn’t pursuing my passion either. I constantly felt guilty for not working and at the same time missing beautiful moments with my family. When I forced myself to spend time with my family the same was true. I wasn’t enjoying our time and felt guilty because I did not progress. I was not present and they felt it too. I felt torn at every minute regardless of which decision I took. Enduring boredom became impossible, I mean when I wasn’t doing anything, I almost reflexively reached for my phone to open YouTube and numb my senses.

The Road to a Balanced Life

To fix my situation I started working out regularly again. It is proven to reduce stress and make you more robust in terms of mentality. It gives me a sense of progress and achievement. And on top of that, it has always been said: “A sound mind in a sound body“. I am starting to feel these effects, after a few weeks, already.  

I love to start my days with a hot cup of coffee. But nowadays, I only enjoy my coffee with educational videos or music. I plan to integrate a short meditation into my morning routine, haven’t yet committed to it.

Having unfinished tasks in the back of your mind constantly poping up, does wear one out. Therefore, I do carry a little notebook with me. When I come up with or remember a task, I write it down or complete it right away. This is a technique from David Allen’s book¬†Getting Things Done. It reduces stress, you do not have to remember the task. Every now and then I scan my notebook for unfinished tasks and tackle them. It creates a wonderful feeling of progress even if the tasks are small.

Additionally, I try to eliminate multitasking as much as possible. Switching from one context to the next and never really immersing in your work does hinder flow. Some studies even prove the negative consequences on your happiness when keeping this behavior for longer periods of time. 

I have to relearn how to enjoy the current moment again, as a child we all had that ability and lost it while growing up. Every moment was filled with joy and curiosity. Our actions were driven by the sheer enjoyment of the process, not the result. Acquiring this skill again would make me embrace the journey to financial freedom.

I am sure there will be a lot of challenges on my way to success. When I encounter them I will make sure to share them with you. Becoming wealthy is not only about coding, selling, trading, or any other profession. A lot of work has to be done on one’s personality, mindset, and approaches to the work at hand. If you want to read more on this have a look at my post Progress to Financial Freedom #3: Overcoming Obstacles and Staying the Course.

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