From Craig Fuhr, The Fix & Flip Artiste …
As I’ve spent hundreds of hours speaking with students over the past several months, its occurred to me that we all are lacking one of life’s essential ingredients: Joy.
Where did it go? What happened to the bright, hopeful childlike exuberance in all of us?
I’ll never forget one of my favorite episodes of Cheers where big Norm walks into the bar and Sam asks, “What’s happening, Norm?”
Norm replies, “Ugh…it’s a dog eat dog world, Sam, and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.”
You laugh because that’s funy, but this is no joke.
I open every mentoring call with, “Hey [student name]….how are ya? How are things going?”
Inevitably, I get something like, “Man I’m just swamped,” or, “Geez Craig, it’s been tough lately,” or, “I’m struggling, but I’m working on it.”
How about you? I’m asking you right now; “How’s it going?” “How’s life treating you?”
If your answer sounds like any of the above, then read on my friend, because your boy, Craig, is here to give you some practical tips to make a fast (and maybe much-needed) 180 in your life.
I’ve spoken to thousands of real estate investors and one of the questions I love to ask the most is:
“Why did you get into real estate investing?”
100% of the time, the answer is, “I wanted more freedom in my life. I wanted to be happier.”
Why, then, does it seem that so many of my investor students and friends are so damn unhappy? Perhaps it’s because they’ve allowed their businesses to take over their personal lives…
Life Lesson #1: Design your personal life first.
You are doomed to a relatively joyless life if you allow your business to dictate how you will live your personal life.
Design your personal goals first – then make your business fit those goals.
Listen up because this is crazy important…
As you think about your goals, you must think first about your personal life, NOT your business. You must think of your personal life, not money. When we’re working, even if we absolutely love our jobs, we are still not free, right?
That boundless sense of freedom comes in the personal moments doesn’t it? It comes when we are unstrapped from our smartphones, iPads and laptops, right?
So why then, would we design business goals first? Those goals only serve to maintain the lifestyles that we choose to live. They DO NOT give us freedom.
A sense of freedom comes when your spouse says, “Hey, rather than that crappy, too-short, 7-day trip to the beach, let’s take a 14-day vacation to someplace warm this Winter,” and because you’ve designed a business that serves your lifestyle, you’re able to reply with a resounding “Yes!”
That’s freedom. That’s joy.
I know it seems antithetical to what society teaches us, but take a look at society. how are they all doing? Pretty crappy, right? So why listen to society?
Sit down, take a hard and honest look at your life and ask yourself, “What do I want for my personal life, my health goals, my spiritual goals, my family goals,?” and “How will I build more joy and freedom into my life?”
For most, designing their personal goals is not easy…
But I want you to think back to when you were a kid. Allow yourself to dream like a kid dreams. Let your spirit run wild as you imagine joy like a 12-year-old kid on the last day of school. When you truly arrive at this child-like state, I want you to write down your personal goals.
This is where you are truly designing your freedom.
Life Lesson #2: Design a life that requires less work.
If you own that big $500,000 house, the two $35,000 cars in the driveway, the 2-car garage so filled-up with crap and toys that your cars can’t fit in the garage, and a house full of everything that money can buy…you’ve designed a lifestyle that must be maintained by A LOT of work.
I’ll be honest, I like stuff. I like nice cars and big houses. I like the finer trappings of life…but I don’t let those things dictate how I am going to live my life. I’ve discovered that just like the new car smell wears away, so does the new house smell, and the new electronic smell.
Listen up – all material possessions tarnish with time. A brand new house just becomes a place to live. A shiny new car just becomes a way to get to work.
When you surround yourself with all of the material possessions that society says you’re supposed to have, you’re creating a lifestyle that must be serviced by money and work. You’re also creating a life where you’ll never be happy because your house won’t be as big or as grand as your neighbor’s, and your car will one day be tired and old. You cannot win at this game.
Ask yourself right now…What does it cost every month to be you? How much money MUST you earn every month just to maintain what you’ve got right now? How much money should you be putting away toward tomorrow’s retirement that instead is going towards today’s lifestyle?
Choose to live your life unencumbered by material possessions that bring you momentary and fleeting joy.
Choose to live your life with the endless joy and boundless freedom that comes from having time to get healthy, having real, quality time with your kids, having the time to make date nights with your spouse, and having stress-free time just to sit and read a book.
Do you want that life?
Life Lesson #3 Get rid of the debt and get rich!
Strangely enough, I know people who are actually motivated by debt. It’s true. Heck, even my brother has said to me, “I buy more things because they motivate me to make more money.”
The sad truth is, that the $30,000 Harley sits in his garage waiting to be taken for a joy-ride. The big camper begs to be taken out to the woods. The two quad-4-wheelers sit waiting, begging to be taken out in the mud. And saddest of all, his two beautiful kids sit waiting every night for him to come home to share a simple dinner.
You see….debt makes you a slave. Debt makes you do things you don’t want to do. Debt delays dreams.
And listen up right now – there is NO GOOD DEBT! People often say to me, “I have no debt Craig, only my house, and my cars, but that’s good debt.”
Is it good debt when you lose your job, and you lie awake every night crying on your pillow, wondering how you will make the next mortgage payment? Is it good debt when the repo man tows your car away? Is it good debt when you have to work overtime to pay the mortgage? Is it good debt when you can’t send your kid to the college she deserves, or go on that 2-week vacation that you deserve because you have to work to pay off that debt?
Is it good debt when you work tirelessly at a job that you hate because you know you can’t afford to lose the job you hate? Is it good debt because you’ve convinced yourself that your kids deserve a nice house and neighborhood to live in, but they never see you because you’re working so hard to maintain that debt?
Trust me, your kids just want a happy, stress-free parent who is present – NOT a nice house.
Even The Bible warns us against debt and extols the virtues of not going into debt. One of my favorite verses; Matthew 6:24 says, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Choose your master wisely for you can only serve one. Just know that no matter your choice, you will surely serve.
Life Lesson #4: For more joy, simplify your life.
If you lack joy, take a look at your life. How complicated is it? And how much of your life is dictated by what we’ve been indoctrinated to believe we must have?
When I take my kids to soccer or baseball practice, I’m inevitably confronted by a parent who is pissed to be there. They say things like, “Damn, I feel like all I do is cart these kids to practice,” or “This practice at dinner time is just ridiculous,” or “When will I have a Saturday just for me?”
But guess who is signing the kid up for all the sports teams? Yes… those same complaining parents!
We find ourselves trapped by these lives that we’re “supposed” to have, only to find that we’re too busy, and too stressed to enjoy them. Get off that roller-coaster. Enough is enough. Your kid will be just fine if he or she is not the next Derek Jeter or Maria Sherapova.
Set goals for your personal life that are based less on what society says you need, and more on what you think you need. You know when your spouse needs more of you. You know when your kids need more of you. You know when your mind and body need less stress and more joy….so why not build a life that will get you just that?
Remember, simple is better. Simple = Joy.
P.S. Need a mentor?
Lemme Hear You
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. If you need help designing your best life, I’d love to help you do just that. Hit me up in the below.