This is How You Outlast Your Monsters
By July 2, 2023– Published on
Friends used to tell me that everything changes when you have your third child - the house you fit in, the cars you need, coordinating social activities - and travel becomes its own (expensive) adventure.
This summer, we added a fourth (we temporarily adopted my niece). I must admit, I love all the added chaos - including any additional costs - things like this stroke my “provider ego.”
Whenever I see a determined parent, multiple kids in tow, pushing through the world, I always smile with admiration and respect.
So as we roll through the airport, baby in a carrier, toddler in a stroller, two kids running, I recognize the look on other parents’ faces. The admiration fuels me.
I love the chaos. I love the complications. I love needing a seven-seater SUV and barely squeezing in with our luggage. I love that we need adjoining rooms at the hotel because two beds aren’t enough. I love it all.
I want to talk about why. Why do I (and many people) want their life to get harder?
Why do I embrace added challenges and costs instead of resisting them?
Here is my answer:
Chaos and challenge give us purpose. Purpose gives us pride. Pride feels good.
People like to feel good.
A cognitive behavioural therapist would say this fills our human need for significance.
All humans have this need. And recognizing that we have it is important - because either we choose our purpose, or a purpose will choose us.
Let me explain.
Building a business or raising a family is a long-term application of purpose. If done correctly, the result is a lifetime of fulfillment and significance.
It requires focus and determination. It is a journey that will inevitably present hardship and failure, with the opportunity to persevere and fight for success over many years.
With a purpose like this, our bandwidth is often maxed, and the ability for distractions to pull us off track is diminished. It can still happen, but we are more resilient to it.
However, if we lack such purpose in our life, then life will present a constant stream of options for us to choose from.
I (like you, I am sure) know many people who became overnight infectious disease experts in 2020 (Covid), civil rights lawyers in 2021 (George Floyd), geopolitical analysts in 2022 (Ukrainian invasion), and are presently refining their 2023 credentials based on current indignation.
I am not belittling the activity of social media activism; spreading awareness about civil injustice or environmental hazards is a noble cause.
The question I would ask is this, “What is your time horizon of commitment?”
A study out of Wharton University last year dove into this exact issue, studying the correlation between duration of purpose and happiness and fulfillment.
The interesting finding was not that fulfillment decreased as the time horizon of purpose decreased (that was obvious) but that at very short duration, purpose negatively affects mental health.
Individuals who were committed to causes for a month or longer had a positive correlation between purpose and happiness, with longer purposes equating to higher levels of happiness.
But individuals who frequently pivoted their focus - especially those who often found new areas of obsession within a month or less- had decreased levels of fulfillment and increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
I wrote this week's essay because it is the essay that I needed to read. I am building a business and creating wealth; this is a core purpose of mine. But over the last few months, I have been fighting a specific battle in my business, and losing.
After months of getting beaten up, I am experiencing the tell-tale emotions of a “losing fight” - the inner voice that tells me to quit, that I am in over my head, and that I lack the required skills and experience.
And truthfully, right now, I do lack the skills and experience. But the only way to acquire those skills is to hit the battlefield and fight for them. So that’s what I am doing.
But on a a losing day, what keeps me in the game is remembering that I will outlast my monsters. I am clear on my time horizon for commitment.
I am an investor, writer, podcast host and athlete. Each week, I share an essay on human behaviour and the psychology of decision-making.
If you enjoy my writing, please forward it to a friend!
After my essay, I jump into two additional topics:
My investment portfolio - what is catching my attention in the macro landscape and where I am allocating capital (Not investment advice)
My Sovereign Life Blueprint - my personal dashboard for organizing my goals and holding myself accountable to them.
Let’s start with the investment portfolio...
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