Life is About Relationships and Meaningful Work. Everything Else is Fluff.

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If I only had one month left to live, I would spend most of my time writing and hanging out with the people I love. If I could do those two things, I wouldn’t need anything else. I would be perfectly happy because that’s what makes my life worthwhile. It’s what makes me excited to jump out of bed in the morning.

If my writing can inspire just one person to live a more intentional life, I consider that a victory. If I can be a good brother, a son, and friend, that’s an even bigger win.

I strongly believe that all anyone needs to be happy and fulfilled is just a life packed with close relationships and meaningful work. Everything else is just fluff.

The house you live in, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, the phone you own, the decorations in your home, the neighborhood you live in, your yard, your gizmo-gadgets, your social media accounts, even your net worth is all just fluff around the edges of your life. They might enhance your life in different ways, but they don’t give it meaning.

That new car you yearn for so badly? Fluff.

It might make you happy for 2 months, but then it gets old.

That new Apple Watch? Neat, but fluff.

It won’t give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

That new smart phone? Pretty cool. Still fluff.

Fluff feels good for a few hours, days, weeks, maybe even months if you’re lucky. But long term, your excitement for existing on this planet is fueled by the relationships you have and the unique work you’re doing to contribute to the world. Technology, gadgets, collectibles, trinkets, and every other consumer good can be neat for a brief period of time. But it’s still fluff. It won’t feed your soul in the long run.

So what does this have to do with finance?

Everything!

The more you focus on doing better, more impactful, more meaningful work every single day and spending time with people you love, the less your lizard brain desires the fluff. You begin to focus on feeding your soul, not feeding the pockets of retail corporations. You naturally spend less on consumer garbage. You transform from a consumer to a creator. When your happiness comes from your work and your relationships, there’s no need to search for more of it at the mall.

The path to a better financial life is simple: do work you love and spend time with people you love. That’s it. Not only will this bring you happiness, but it will have an incredibly positive impact on your finances.


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4 Replies to “Life is About Relationships and Meaningful Work. Everything Else is Fluff.”

  1. Over the last couple of years, we’ve been getting into board games and dragging our friends into it too. The best thing about it is the better interactions and stronger connections we have with our friends and family, and with each other. Maybe the board games are fluff, but they nestle our relationships and keep them warm 🙂

    1. That’s funny because my close friend group has been playing a ton of board games too! I almost always prefer staying in and having a board game night with a smaller group than going out. Like you said, it leads to better interactions and stronger connections, plus it’s a cheap source of entertainment. Cheers to board game nights 🙂

  2. Meaningful work is huge, but the idea that people find it by monetizing their passion or finding by a way to get paid for their hobby is so rare as to be fairly ridiculous. Work becomes meaningful when you are good at it and you feel it improves the world around you. Meaningful work was almost never meaningful until the person first mastered it. Until then it was just work. One reason milinials are so dissatisfied is that they think work is supposed to be meaningful in itself. It rarely is, it becomes meaningful when you become excellent and are rewarded for adding value to society.

    1. I strongly agree with your perspective on how meaningful work develops. One of my favorite posts about work and life in general is by Derek Sivers, where he says some of the happiest people he knows are the ones that have well paying jobs and also pursue their art/craft/hobby outside of work. The idea that our passion has to be our source of income, I agree, is ridiculous and often not realistic. And this idea that “finding your passion means you’ll never work a day in your life” is faulty advice. I do think this is a huge source of dissatisfaction among young people and it’s a dangerous myth that needs to be exposed.

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