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Expert feature: No Money, Be Happy


Posted by Dave Cornthwaite of Dave Cornthwaite: Expedition1000 under Adventure Racing on 6 August 2012 at 11:00 PM

Dave Cornthwaite is on a mission to travel on 25 journeys of 1000 miles or more with non-motorised transport. He's keen to inspire others to follow suit so get involved in! Follow his progress in the Expedition1000 Tribe and Facebook page, follow him on Twitter and get also get some more inspiration in the Adventurers Tribe!

Like no other event on the planet, the Olympic Games have the capacity to change people’s lives. When the World Cup is on suddenly there are little nippers running around with a football. Wimbledon incites folks to dig the tennis rackets out of the cupboard under the stairs. During the Tour De France everyone is out on two wheels. The Winter Olympics has the whole nation out Curling, ah hem.

The Olympics takes almost every form of sport and puts it straight into our living room, a schmorgesborg of disciplines from which we can pick and choose our next inspiration. Exposure is the key, we see other people achieving great things and suddenly the taste for achievement is in our own mouths. Other people, other humans, mere mortals, are succeeding. We can too.

At some point in our lives there’s a ‘eureka!’ moment waiting to whisk us away on a journey of passion and newness, but what happens if the Olympics is just a temporary blip in our lives and doesn’t spark a change? The key is to force the change yourself, and doing new things is just the way to do it.

This might seem quite blunt, but if you don’t like your job and you’re only working because of the end-of-month payslip, then you need to quit. Doing something you don’t enjoy just for financial reasons means you’re putting money over happiness and this will create a very grumpy version of you. But we need money to survive! Yep, but not quite as much as you think.

Lower your outgoings. It’s hard especially when you’re living a city life, but after a good honest chat with yourself if you feel like your work is part of the problem then like it or not you need to pull out of the trap. The less money you’re spending the less money you need to survive. The less money you need to survive the more secure you are.

You have a talent that has the potential to make you brilliant. You may not know it yet, but you do! Seek out your positive friends and relatives and ask them what they think you’re good at. Then ask yourself. Change doesn’t happen overnight but bit by bit you can eek out the bad bits from your life and allow good bits to take their place. And then, when the time comes to take the plunge, you’ll be ready. Because a smile makes you ready for anything.

Look around, we created pretty much everything central to our lives right now. Buildings, systems at work, phones, businesses, the place you work, the things you do and wear and travel home on. ‘The Man’ is that mythical icon who takes away your money and makes you do things you don’t enjoy, but in reality he’s nothing more than a bully. And he only bullies if you let him.

There’s a way to look at life that goes completely against convention, the opposite of the adult-life you envisaged as you grew up and slowly fell into. You went through the system, like I did. Got educated, got a job and a house and a partner and a hamster. But does it work for you? If you have doubts, then probably not.

If this is the case, it’s time for a change.

We’re not all geared up to sit behind a desk. Some of us are superb at it. Our skillsets make us perfect for a 9 to 5. Some of us couldn’t be more opposite and if that’s you I think you know it already. When you’ve become accustomed to working Monday to Friday and having a solid income it’s almost impossible to imagine anything else. It’s not impossible to achieve that something else, though.

Suppose you know what your ‘thing’ is. The thing that makes you tick. The thing that makes you good at living. The thing that makes you brilliant. Take the 40, 50, 60, 90 hours you currently work each work and give them back to yourself. Are you telling me that if you had all day, every day to dedicate to turning your very own passion into a viable source of income that you couldn’t do it? I don’t believe you.

The Olympic Games are fascinating because they’re based on dreams coming true. Hard work and sacrifice being brought to fruition – the athletes out there have realised their own potential and fought for the right to take it to the limit.

If you do the same your life will change irrevocably for the better. Don’t spend your life working towards someone else’s dream only to look back when you’re nearing the end to think, ‘I lived the same year 80 times, that was my life.’

If you need more incentive, don’t forget that it’s 2012. Live every day like the world’s about to end, live your passion, do something that you can work hard at without feeling like you’re working hard. Be happy, it’s better for you and everyone around you.

And forget about money, it’s not important. Bar the very elite, you are financially wealthier than most of the athletes competing at the Olympic Games. Watch their faces when they compete, do they look poor to you?