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Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels but not achieving your goals? Or are you aspiring to material things – yet still feeling empty? Are you focused on all that glitters – but not your goals? A few words from entrepreneur Evan Carmichael on how getting caught up in the wrong details can lead you away from what’s truly meaningful in life.
I think people focus on the wrong things in life – or just in general.
Yup, People focus on the wrong things.
Like, you’re attached to, let’s say…a Porsche, right. You want the Porsche. Why do you want the Porsche?
Is it because you want the excitement? Maybe you just want it as a status symbol. So many people have these goals – like, I want to make X amount of dollars, or I want to go on that vacation, or I want to buy that car, or get a house – because it’s a status symbol, because they feel it’s some kind of sign.
What’s it worth to you?
Getting a Porsche is a sign that you’ve made it. So, you’re like, I’ve made it now, because I got that car. And, the fact that you have so much of your self-worth tied up into objects is ridiculous. You’re a valuable human being, whether you have that car or not.
I’ve gone from living in a basement apartment, to living with my parents, to building a 5,000 square-foot custom home from scratch, to living in a condo.
Renting, buying, doesn’t matter. Where I am doesn’t matter. It doesn’t impact my self-worth, just because somebody might look at me and say, Oh, you’re living with your parents? vs. Oh, you have this 5,000 square foot, modern, custom home?
Those who mind don’t matter
(and those who matter don’t mind)
What they think of me has no impact, nothing to do with how I think about myself, and the value that I bring. That’s an important distinction, because a lot of the things that you’re doing in life, in your business, and in life, are being done because you’re trying to impress other people. The fact that they might think highly of you now makes you feel better about yourself.
Stop caring so much about what other people think about you.
There’s a great line, I think from music impresario Quincy Jones, who said, “Not one ounce of my self worth comes from what you think about me.” (or something to that effect). And I think it’s an incredibly powerful thing. Because how amazing would it be, if you could really embrace that, and stop getting things, stop chasing dreams and goals because you’re worried about – or you’re trying to impress – somebody else?
You know, I look at some of the goals that I have, but the goals themselves don’t matter; Much more important than how many people read this article is what they get out of reading it. Just like more important than how much money you make, is how you make your money. There really is a big difference.
The force of your impact
If I achieve those goals, that’s awesome, but does that mean that I’ve made it now? Does that mean that suddenly I’m a good speaker/youtuber/businessperson, and before I wasn’t? I mean, I love the stuff I’m doing. I’m really proud of the book I’ve written. I was proud of the things I was doing a month ago, and six months ago, and three years ago, and five years ago.
More important than how much money you make, is how you make your money.
I might be better now. I might have more practice. I might be turning up a little bit more now. I might feel like my impact – because of the skill, and work, and effort that I put in – is greater now. But, the numbers by themselves, are just a vanity symbol, and they don’t mean anything.
Now, I still want to have that goal. (It’s great to have goals.) I think that it’s a valuable yardstick. But, my self-worth isn’t tied to whether I hit 1,000,000 subscribers or not.
And, I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong; people make the wrong decisions, do the wrong things, and focus on the things that are not important. My having a million subscribers is nowhere close, nor anywhere near as important, as the impact that I feel that I’m making. Touching lives. Being there for my followers and my readers. That’s important for me.
Wanting you to go off and do amazing things with your life, and hoping that something in here inspires you to go off and make a positive impact on the world. That fuels me, every single day.
Chase the right goals
If you don’t know what that fuel looks like, start by asking (and answering) an important question. Why? Why is this important to me?
And, at the end of the day, if it’s to impress somebody else, or because your self-worth is tied up into something else, that’s the wrong reason to do it, and you’ll never really have success doing it, because it’s always gonna be something else.
There’s always gonna be some new person to impress, or they’re impressed for like, five minutes and then they’re not impressed anymore, so you gotta go off and do something else to impress them…or that status symbol that you got, it’s great, great for where you are now, but now there’s always gonna be somebody else who has more than you.
And that’s just chasing a hollow existence.
Meaningful work that you’re proud of is what you want to focus on. It’s super important to understand why you’re chasing the things you are, and get that clarity on your life. When you do, it’s sure to make a big impact and bring you a sense of direction as you set off and do something meaningful and powerful.
And that’s truly meaningful for me.
Toronto-based Evan Carmichael #Believes in entrepreneurs. At 19, he built then sold a biotech software company. At 22, he was a VC helping raise $500k to $15mil. He now runs EvanCarmichael.com, a popular website for entrepreneurs. He has set two world records, uses a stand-up desk, rides a Vespa, raises funds for Kiva, wears five-toe shoes and created Entrepreneur trading cards. He loves being married, his son, salsa dancing, DJing, League of Legends, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
Are you chasing the right things in life? What are you chasing? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below.