Discover more from Weekend Wisdom - Dan Isaacman
Beyond Materialism & Monetization 💸
Rethinking Redefining , Influence, Success & Wealth
"The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves."
- Alan Watts.
People with an overwhelming desire for wealth or fame aren’t motivated by the pure joy of having wealth or fame. No, they have a hole in their psyche that they are trying to fill with enough stuff to not make them feel so inadequate anymore…
That’s right, we each make up what “success” means for ourselves, and then we spend our lives measuring ourselves against that definition. And let’s be honest, most of us don’t actually define success for ourselves, we simply adopt the definitions that are handed to us by our family, environment, and culture.
- Mark Manson
💵 Millionaire Mindset?
Picture this and tell me how it makes you feel:
A picturesque mansion
Luxurious cars lined up in the driveway
A bank account brimming with zeros
Adoring fans screaming your name
For the longest time, I believed that amassing material wealth was the ultimate marker of success.
Little did I know that the chase would lead to a path of disillusionment.
I took some time off recently in exchange for some quiet reflection. I stepped away from my online activities and content creation.
I had to stop to realise that some of my materialistic pursuits were making me miserable and even ruining the things that I once loved so deeply.
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The Illusion of Material Wealth
It is challenging to absorb any content from our various flavours of social media without the allure of fancy toys, fast cars and the material trappings of life.
Marketing agencies worldwide have made it their mission to promote materialism as the ultimate marker of success.
I too was sold the idea that if I monetised my hobby, I could create a flow of “passive income”, the most attractive of all the types of money 💰.
One example was the re-invigoration of my DJ Business. For many years I have DJ'ed as a hobby and taught others; my interest in this hobby has ebbed and flowed throughout my life. Then in 2019, I attended a seminar that prompted me to explore my DJ Hobby as a viable internet business.
As I started to take DJ Mentors more seriously and invest further in the development, I saw some decent responses. I even got paid online by a handful of strangers for creating content. Im not going to lie; it was an excellent feeling.
It was a great learning experience, but I now realise where it went wrong and caused me to question everything.
I had expected specific achievements based on what others had marketed to me about making money online. I was sold the promise that I would get x,y and z as long as I did a and b. The steps were clear, and I was brainwashed with the illusion that greatness could be achieved from a list that could be ticked off.
As a result, most of my motivations shifted and became externally motivated about what I would get. I had swallowed the pill and was deep down the rabbit hole of the "everyone can be rich from the internet for only 99.99".(In truth I spent way more than $100 and i’m embarrassed, but somewhat impressed, at the actual figure)
When I finally decided to step back and re-assess my life, I realised that one of my favourite hobbies (DJ'ing) had become laced with ill will.
The weekend had come, and as I was about to enter the beautiful music studio, instead of feeling brimming with joy and privilege about the cool toys I was about to play with, I felt a sense of resentment and disillusionment.
I had pursued the business initially to spend more time mixing and enjoying the world of music, but now as I entered my office, all I could feel was anxiety and expectation. I felt empty and ashamed; something needed to change. Trying to make money from my hobby ruined it.
My hustle began to suck the joy out of everything I loved about music appreciation, and my expectations, disguised as goals, made me feel like a failure.
Have you felt similarly a sense of emptiness or disillusionment despite achieving specific goals. Have you questioned your materialistic desires, your journey to get there, and expectations along the way?
Standing at the crossroads of my DJ business and my passion for music, I realised that my pursuit of material wealth had taken its toll. The empty feeling, the sense of resentment, and the loss of joy made me question the true meaning of success. In that moment of reflection, it was clear that I needed to embark on a journey to redefine my intentions and ideas of success and question the authenticity of my decisions.
Unveiling the True Sources of Fulfillment
Stepping away for me meant taking a serious break. I stopped many of my hobbies, along with writing. I also made a conscious effort to delete all social apps from my phone and severely limit the content I was consuming. My aim was to see if there was anything I longed for as a sat in the purposeful boredom.
When I started to come back slowly into the online world, the strangest thing happened. The messages and content I used to resonate with now started feeling dirty, especially regarding productivity-based content, and it all felt like shameless marketing of courses about courses.
It made me feel like most of my efforts were for nothing. I felt irrelevant, and initially, this deterred me even more, so I disappeared again back into my solitude.
The Butterfly Effect
With all this extra time, I started to focus on other areas of my life, including my Day Job. It dawned on me how it is that I , and most other people, make an impact on the world without trying.
Before the hiatus, I seemed so scattered in my focus that I could not excel in one arena. When I stripped back the obligations, I noticed, for example, that I was making a more significant impact in my work and on my colleagues just by being good at what I do.
It was not by pushing and trying to get external validation but by being authentic that led to the greatest impact. People could see how I was conducting myself with integrity, purpose and drive, which inspired them to improve.
It hit me that most of our impact in the world is not from pushing people to be better but by living as an example in our own pursuits to be the best version of ourselves that rubs on people.
It made me think that some of the most significant moments of my life were not someone trying to be impactful, but it was a basic conversation or admiration of characteristics that has had more lasting effects on how I conduct myself and interact with the world.
Nothing is more inspiring than seeing someone being genuine and honest to themselves while acting with integrity and humility.
It's normal to question whether we're making the right choices or if we'll be able to find the same level of praise in doing mundane tasks instead of revolutionising the world. But in the face of these doubts, remember that the most accurate measure of success lies in living a life that resonates with our authentic selves.
Taking my break was a painful and isolating experience. Many of the values I believed to be true in my heart now felt utterly wrong, and it seemed as though my entire existence was thrown into question by my failure to realise my expectations.
Multiple times, I thought, "What is the point? We are all irrelevant, and why should I even care or try". I wanted to crawl into a shell and retreat from the internet altogether. It got pretty dark, and all I wanted to do was give up.
However, through introspection and contemplation, I am starting to unravel the layers of conditioning that led me to believe that material success and validation was the ultimate measure of happiness in all persuits.
I'm slowly discovering that the path to genuine fulfilment is paved with intrinsic motivation, personal growth, meaningful connections, and the pursuit of something larger than ourselves.
Redefining Success: Shifting Perspectives
Society has conditioned us to believe success is synonymous with wealth, status, influence, and material possessions. We've been led to believe that external achievements measure our worth. But is this truly fulfilling? Does it capture the essence of a well-lived life?
Success should be an expression of our true selves, a reflection of our values, passions, and personal fulfilment.
Self-reflection serves as a compass on our journey to redefine success. It allows us to pause, re-assess our values, and uncover our true desires and aspirations. Through introspection, we gain clarity about what truly matters, enabling us to align our goals and actions with our authentic selves.
Intrinsic values, such as authenticity, purpose, creativity, and meaningful relationships, provide a solid foundation for a fulfilling life.
When we prioritise these values, we find that success becomes less about external validation and more about living in alignment with our deepest convictions and passions.
Societal pressures and the need for external validation can often steer us away from our true path. It takes courage to resist these influences and stay true to ourselves.
By consciously detaching from society's expectations, we free ourselves to define our version of success and find greater fulfilment in the process.
As you embark on the journey of redefining success, remember that you can shape your narrative. Embrace your unique strengths, honour your values, and follow your passions. Success is not a destination; it's a lifelong pursuit of growth, authenticity, and fulfilment. Dare to redefine success on your terms, and let it be a beacon that guides you.
Cultivating Authenticity and Well-being
Start by engaging in regular self-reflection. Take a moment to breath and check in with yourself.
Take the time to explore your core values, interests, and beliefs. Imagine your believes belonged to someone else and see if you can be critical in the 3rd person.
Embrace activities that genuinely resonate with you, even if they don't align with societal norms.
Set boundaries to protect your authenticity and surround yourself with people who support and encourage your true self.
Take some time to unwind, unplug and step away. Allow yourself this freedom to rediscover your motivations and intentions before moving forward.
Both preservation and growth are about honouring our physical, emotional, and mental needs. Make self-care a priority by engaging in activities that bring you joy and recharge your spirit.
By prioritising self-care, you create the space for your authentic self to thrive.
Be kind to yourself when faced with setbacks or moments of self-doubt.
Remember, authenticity is not about perfection; it's about embracing your whole self, with all its complexities and contradictions.
The journey to personal fulfilment is not without its challenges. Remember that personal fulfilment is a profoundly personal journey, and taking small steps or making course corrections along the way is okay.
Embrace the obstacles as opportunities for growth and self-discovery.
Take the story of Jane, a successful middle manager who seemingly had it all. She had always dreamed of becoming a C-level executive; deep down, she felt unfulfilled and disconnected from her true passions as she crept closer to her goal.
She stepped back with courage to pursue a dream of working with a nonprofit organisation.
As Jane immersed herself in this new work, a profound sense of fulfilment and purpose filled her thoughts that had previously eluded her in her previous career.
The trappings of external validations and success no longer had a hold on her.
The strange thing is that once she had given up on her race to the top of the corporate world, she accidentally became a top executive for the new company.
Jane's story reminds us that personal fulfilment can be far more rewarding than chasing ‘“success’’”.
Take a moment to evaluate your own life. Are you prioritising personal fulfilment?
Are your actions in alignment with your true values and passions?
Identify areas where you can make changes, no matter how small, to bring more fulfilment into your life.
Reflecting on My Motivations
When I took a step back I learned some valuable lessons:
Not all the things you are good at need to be a money making scheme. Often Monetization can suck the joy out of something you once loved
The influence that we seek is mostly a natural byproduct of persuing excelling at the things we already do, however mundane. When we embodying our authentic self, we lead by example and this seems to have a much greater effect on people.
In a world consumed by the pursuit of wealth, fame, and external validation, it is crucial to take a step back and reassess our true values and aspirations.
The relentless chase for material wealth and societal expectations often lead to disillusionment, emptiness, and a loss of joy in the things we once loved.
The meaning of success should not be defined by society's standards, but rather by our authentic selves.
Thanks for reading Weekend Wisdom - Dan Isaacman! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.