Is what you want to acquire in life helping or hindering your success?

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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Action Summary

  1. Challenge yourself on how much wanting ‘more’ in your life is helping or hindering you
  2. Seek to acquire more experiences … not more ‘stuff’
  3. Be more grateful more often for what you’ve already acquired
  4. Improve the lives of others through your actions and you’ll experience more meaning and prosperity in your own life

The WHY:

One of the innate drives of humans, as highlighted by researchers Nohria and Lawrence in their book Driven 1 is the drive to acquire. What is it you want to acquire in your life? What don’t you currently have that you believe if you did have it, would help you live a more intentionally meaningful, flourishing and prosperous professional and personal life?

How would having what you want to acquire make you an even better person? How would having what you want to acquire bring even more trust into your life (the confidence you need for self-trust, the courage you need to trust others, and the combined competence and character you need to earn others’ trust)?

Don’t limit your thinking to the things money can buy. Expand your thinking to the things you would like to acquire that money cannot buy. Also, don’t just think of acquiring more things. In her wonderful book ‘Who can you trust’, Rachel Botsman 2 highlights the zero-sum game that’s created in just wanting more stuff in our lives, and how acquiring more stuff, just to keep up with the Joneses, is not only wasteful on a personal level, on a global level its damaging the environment.

What we know from a range of positive psychology research 3 is acquiring more positive experiences in your life is far better for you both mentally and physically.

Stop for a moment and think, if you did have what you want to acquire, how will this benefit and create value for the relationships you have in your professional and personal life? Striving for more, (whether that is knowledge, skills, attributes, relationships, money or the things money can and can’t buy) is part of your innate drive as a human.

For many, continually striving for more can result in forgetting or ignoring what you already have? This raises the importance of gratitude in your life. There is an increasingly large body of research highlighting the benefits of being grateful can have in your life 4. How grateful are you for what you’ve already acquired in your life?

Invest some time on being grateful for what you have and be happy in celebrating your journey so far, and be happy in celebrating the future you aim to create through what you still want to acquire.

Let me finish with a quote from Albert Einstein who said:

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

My best to you for now, and remember when you intentionally improve the life of others in your professional and personal relationships, you set up the power of reciprocity … what you give out, you get back.

  1. Driven: How human nature shapes our choices by Paul R. Lawrence and Nitin Nohria
  2. Who Can You Trust: How technology brought us together and why it could drive us apart by Rachel Botsman
  3. Applied Positive Psychology: Integrated positive practice by Tim Lomas, Kate Hefferon and Itai Ivtzan
  4. Positivity: Groundbreaking research to release your inner optimist and thrive by Barbara Fredrickson
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