The Year was 2008, the kid on my school bus took out his brand new iPhone to show the other students. Man, this kid was cool, filthy rich, and had what I wanted.
My phone was dull. It flipped open. I had one game, Centipede (I think it was called). No apps. No music player (though I had the original iPod Nano), and worst of all it wasn’t touch-screen.
I knew at that moment: I needed a LOT of money so that I can have a giant, white, touch-screen monstrosity.
Or, so I thought…
Having a lot of money, being rich, and taking control of your financial future meant everything to fourteen-year-old me. I did everything you were “supposed” to do in order to get rich:
- Stay in school.
- Get a part-time job.
- Save, save, save.
The money came in. Slowly. But, a lot was going out. Quickly. There wasn’t enough of it to go around. Bills, Hot Topic, movies, taxes, Social Security, and what the heck was a 401k. I needed more. And, fast.
Around 2010, I was almost sixteen and I needed a car, not just any car a nice one, like my filthy rich classmates.
So, I did everything you were “supposed” to do in order to get rich:
- Go to college.
- Get a high-paying career.
- Don’t acquire “bad” debt, only “good” debt.
I worked harder. I made a bit more money, month after month. I kept my grades up in college so that I could attend a state university, become a Doctor of something, and relax on a yacht in Miami by the time I turned twenty-two.
Now it was 2010, people were getting rich off the internet. They started blogs. They sold e-books. They quit their jobs. They moved into mansions. They didn’t take no for an answer. They owned stocks. They had cars. They purchased mega homes. The Great Recession was over.
And, student loan debt became everyone’s worst nightmare.
And yes to working full-time.
Then came the roaring 2013’s: I still wasn’t rich. I had a full-time job, with benefits. But, I needed more money so that I could retire by twenty-five.
- I received my A.A. Degree at eighteen.
- Got an okay-paying job (better than some of my peers).
- I had a disabled mother and minor brother to care for.
Getting rich was still a goal in the back of my mind. There had to be a way to make money fast. Light bulb!
Writing. Yes, it’s so simple and so easy. Tons of people made money writing. I can too!
- I started a blog and wrote three posts. No money.
- I joined content mills and wrote for them. No money.
- I wrote novels, queried agents, got rejected. No money.
Everyone else was making mad money from selling their books and they were raking in the dough.
Hugh Howey. Seth Godin. Amazon Millionaires. Overnight Bestsellers. 99-Cent-Per-Book Masters.
I could not get rich to save my life!
Around March 2016, a breaking point: I became unemployed.
By then, I suffered from anxiety and a bit of depression.
And, I grew to hate writing.
Something finally clicked and I noticed somethings. I was 21. I had a gorgeous car. I had a touch-screen smartphone. I had untouched manuscripts. I had a college degree. I had money in the bank.
I wasn’t rich.
But, I wasn’t unhappy anymore.
Losing my job broke the “get rich quick” trap that I stumbled and kept falling for.
Money has its place. It’s a tool used in exchange for things.
It was simple logic; I give you something in exchange for something of equal value.
Money stopped being the gauge for how well I was doing in life. Now don’t get me wrong. I want to take care of myself and my family financially and live a life of comfort. But, I’m not the maniac who needed to get rich NOW!
Everyone strives for more at one point in their lives whether it’s greenbacks or shells. Tweet This: What we collect that holds value is what we end up putting ahead of our own happiness.
When I stopped focusing on getting rich, great things happened:
- I found a day-job that allowed me to enjoy my weekends and spend time with friends and family.
- I started writing for love and therapy.
- I started putting my health ahead of gathering “stuff”.
And, I noticed my meaningful life.
Getting rich quick doesn’t interest me anymore.
Besides, why get rich quick, when you could be wealthy with wisdom?
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