I used to dream about “financial freedom” and “passive income”… having so much money that I could just do whatever I wanted, travel the world, give money abundantly to causes and people in need.
Sounds great, right? I invested in lots of business programs that sold me on that dream.
Eventually I realized 2 things…
(1) The ones selling the dreams are the ones getting rich… not those of us buying into the programs, unless we also joined their ranks and sell dreams of easy & big money to others who are unaware of this dynamic.
(2) By getting caught up in that culture of hype, I was actually escaping, and delaying, the building of my right livelihood.
In the past few years, I’ve worked diligently to build what I feel today is the truest version of my livelihood yet.
When I am feeling rested, feeling loved, and connected to my higher self, I realize that what I really want isn’t passive income nor financial freedom.
What I yearn for is feeling truly useful to others, seeing my strengths used to uplift the world and evolve humanity, and feeling that the money I earn is an honest, noble living.
It’s only when I feel tired, fearful, discouraged, that the hype of passive income can get through and start infecting me.
Perhaps the most important and urgent thing, then, is to get reconnected to our higher self. We first need to do the self-care and spiritual practices that bring us back to a truer perspective of What Life Is About.
Then, we might see that there is so much opportunity (and urgency) for us to earn a worthwhile living, to truly feel that we are being of service as we make money, and doing work that co-creates a world that our hearts are yearning for.
Mahatma Gandhi named the 7 destructive forces in society:
Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce Without Morality
Science Without Humanity
Religion Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principle
You might notice from the list above that there’s only 1 sector of society that Gandhi repeats: How money is acquired.
Is the primary goal of our work to satisfy our own desires? Then it becomes easy to get obsessed about passive income and financial freedom.
Can we develop a deeper viewpoint? We need to be rested, renewed, and reconnected to our higher selves.
We can then uplift our perspective, and see that the primary purpose of work is Contribution and Character— what we do for others that simultaneously builds our virtues… with one of the results being our own security and the meeting of our desires.
I am grateful that today, I have finally built a business that I love, allowing me to feel that I’m of genuine service to others, while growing personally and professionally, and earning an honest living.
This is what I yearn for you…
To really LOVE your work, your business, so much that you wouldn’t care about “passive income”… to feel so deeply that you are earning a right livelihood, such that offers of “financial freedom” feel empty to you.
Remember this: When you are vacationing or chilling out, other people are finding ways to add better value to your ideal audience. When you’re not improving your products or services, other people are improving theirs.
Let us therefore look at market competition as a mechanism given to us for our continual personal & professional development. We are asked to become better, and better, to continue to innovate and improve our products/services, to become increasingly valuable to our ideal audience.
Passive income and financial freedom are forces in the opposite direction.
They perpetuate this illusion: A stable offering that just keeps making you money and never changes. Is that true of Life?
In that worldview, work is only a means to the real purpose of having more vacations and fulfilling temporary desires, putting you on the hedonic treadmill of materialism. Or a more altruistic version being sold to you is that you can make lots of money so that you can have the power to choose which causes get funded. It’s still about your control and ego.
Here is an alternative idea:
Vacations, breaks, and rest are a way to renew ourselves, to reconnect to our higher selves, so that we can come back to work and improve our offerings, making them even more effective and delightful for our audience, to be earning money that feels ever more noble and true to us.
“Work” and “making money” don’t have to be necessary evils. Our work and money-earning actions can be transformed into our heartfelt cause for the betterment of the world and the development of our virtues.
Instead of obsessing about financial freedom, and looking at other people’s precious money as the means to our own desires, let us see other people’s payments to us as a sacred reciprocity of our best strengths given to them.
Having it all usually means “Having lots of money and plenty of free time.” It is an illusion, sold by those who are getting rich selling you that dream.
I offer you an alternative definition of what it means to “have it all” —
“Earning money by expressing your valuable strengths to uplift others, finding your most joyful play in your work, continually growing in meaningful ways, and having a rhythm of rest that keeps you refreshed and connected to your highest self.”
Not as concise… yet hopefully, more balanced and true.
I wish for you everything that brings you a true alignment with the highest version of yourself.