Yesterday I was eating lunch at Panera, and next to me were two men, one of which was trying to sell the other on some sort of pyramid scheme. The seller said at one point: “Don’t you want to make some extra cash in your spare time?” l generally had a depressing lunch because I thought of all the people like them who don’t realize that there is no such thing as “spare” time because there is only “time.”

Every moment of every day you are either moving closer or farther away from fully realizing who you were meant to be. How you spend your time when you aren’t working is just as integral to living up to your potential as what you do at your place of employment. Your friends and your associations matter. Do you exercise to relax, or do you drink? Do you make time to read a good book once in awhile, or do you play video games? Do you get adequate rest on Saturday and Sunday, or are you out all night trying to fit as much fun as possible into the weekend? All of these things matter. I am not passing judgement on one activity or another. I am merely stating that everything requires self examination.

You could die ten minutes after you read this blog of a heart attack. You could die a few days from now in a car accident. Or, you could die many years from now in your sleep simply due to old age. That is why every second counts.

What kind of person wants to spend their life chasing after spare change like they were Mario or Luigi from Super Mario Bros.? No one should ever have to do that unless, for whatever reason, that is what their spirit truly desires to experience during its time on earth.

The person who goes around thinking of “spare change” in their “spare time” will generally just lead a life where they’re only just getting by because all of their energy is focused on just getting by. On top of that, people who are always looking for spare cash usually tend to do so because they want to buy “things”; it’s a good indicator they are way to concerned with filling up their life with gizmos and gadgets and clothes, and when you lead a life chasing after earthly pleasures you will never be satisfied.

Look at some of the most successful Hollywood stars out there, sports figures and politicians who have enough money to buy anything they want. They have closets and mansions and garages filled with “stuff.” They don’t need “spare” change, and yet, if you follow that person in the news it’s not long before the writing is on the wall that many of these people are absolutely miserable.

But I digress. That’s another issue for another blog post.

The point is, one of the keys to finding happiness is asking the right question. Instead of saying “how can I make some spare cash” one might ask: “How can I be financially independent by age 50?” Or they could ask: “How can I make $100,000 a year and enjoy what I’m doing?” The brain is a supercomputer, and if you ask it the right questions it will come up with answers for you. However, if you put garbage in, you will get garbage out.

There is a reason why people say they need to “focus like a laser.” That’s because the human body is pure energy. Your thoughts and your feelings and everything that makes you “you” — when you dig deep enough down — is pure energy. So it stands to reason that if you focus your mind and your body and your spirit in one direction, that energy will begin to carve out the reality you desire.

You might think the Catholic guy is getting all New Age at this point, but he’s not. Regardless, I hope this post will do its little part to help get you focused on what you need to do to attain true happiness.

Best,

Doug

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

2 comments

  1. needed to read this today. it’s a philosophical view i share with you, but i sometimes forget. financially struggling, we are not the type who fill our lives with gadgets and gizmos. we just can’t. but we still find ourselves sometimes in a trap that money is the end all important thing… even if we don’t have it. one of my favorite quotes is “we are always getting ready to live, but never living.” {by emerson}. it hangs on my fridge to remind me to live, lest i wake up one day at 80 years old and find that i only got ready to live and missed the living part. lately, my mantras {for lack of a better word… not to sound new-agy either} have been “i’m convinced that the key to life is contentment.” and “the most important things in life… aren’t things.” we are sort of at a crossroads in our lives as a family… trying to decide where we want to take things. it’s exciting, because there is so much room for potential. but i whole-heartedly agree that we need to focus our energies on what we want to see happen. with a toddler, we find ourselves so busy, rarely taking time to sit down and map out our goals and needs. this post inspired me to maybe get a big ol’ white board and just start writing things out in big bold letters for us to see so it’s sort of always in our face, even when we get caught up in raising a little one and all the other things that keep us busy. anyway, i know i’m kind of rambling in a not-very-cohesive manner. but those are just some of my thoughts. perhaps you have already read this article at one point, and though i know it’s not exactly the points you made here, the article reminds me of yours, so i thought i’d share it. it’s a good read…
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/

    thanks for your inspiring post today!

    1. Thanks for the article, Georgia. I had not read that. Good read!

      I think the white board idea is perfect. Many times, the stress or anxiety we feel can be alleviated by taking a step back and examining where we are in life and where we want to go. We just let all sorts of thoughts and feelings swirl around inside our head, and because they’re all mixing and mashing and bumping into one another it gets confusing. Writing it all out on a sheet of paper helps to dissect and identify what’s really going on.

      Good luck!

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