When I graduated 30 years ago, my plan was to pursue the “American Dream.” I would work hard and earn enough money to own my home, drive a nice car, send my kids to college, enjoy wonderful vacations, and have enough money to retire comfortably.
I did it. I checked all the boxes: home, car, college, vacation, money for retirement.
And, then in my 50s, I started to wonder, ”Is this all there is? Is life really just about the things money can buy?”
Of course not. Virtually all of us value our closest relationships more than our stuff. We understand the joy of helping someone else often trumps the pleasure of a shiny new purchase. We love engaging in activities that fuel our passions and grab our attention.
Our challenge is that the pursuit of the American Dream often leads us astray. Our pursuit of more money, so we can buy more stuff, takes us away from what really matters to us.
We know this, yet we continue to chase the Dream. Why? Because we get a short-term happiness burst when we buy the new thing. It feels good, but when the pleasure quickly fades, we are left longing for more, so we look for another hit, the next luxury purchase.
What is the answer? Regularly remind yourself about what provides you lasting satisfaction, and focus your attention on the pursuit of those experiences.
Don’t let the American Dream lead you astray.