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The Secret to Happiness That Took Me 10 Years to Learn, and One Year to Master

by | Mar 21, 2022 | Life Hacks

The traditional idea of happiness needs to die.

Get a big ugly mansion in the suburbs, drive a Tesla to look environmentally cool, have 2.5 kids to impress the family, use debt to pay for stuff, have a garage full of bullsh*t — I could go on.

This isn’t happiness. It’s freaking madness.

Only crazies do this.

Chasing money to pay for debt makes you one of them.

Ten years ago I was an unhappy, tired, frustrated man. I went on a journey to find real happiness.

I learned that true happiness is to have control over your time.

Once I unlocked that secret for myself, it took me a year to master. I quit the corporate machine that nearly swallowed me alive, and gained full control of my time. You can too.

Why autonomy is oxygen for humans

Having control over your time gives you:

  • Time to read
  • Time to be creative
  • Time to explore your curiosity
  • Time to expand your imagination
  • Time to write your thoughts down

The corporate machine blew up all these things in my life.

I wanted them back. I just didn’t know how bad I wanted it until control of my time repurchased them for me.

We’re desperate to be creative, explore our curiosity, and follow our imagination. Why are kids so damn happy?

They have all these things. The economic thief hasn’t caused them to trade these necessities of life to chase money to pay dumb debt.

Happiness is being a kid again.

The goal isn’t to stop working. That’s dumb.

When I write an article like this people think I’m a lazy bogan that wants to bum around all day in my jocks with a Cuban cigar.

Nope. Wrong.

I always want to work, and work bloody hard. The difference control of my time gives me is this:

I get to choose the projects I work on. I control the entire outcome and the terms of how the work will be done.

That’s what time freedom gives you.

No more bad projects. Just good projects full of great times, great people, and great classic hits.

The alarm clock life is the worst way to live

If you’re woken up by an alarm clock, are you really free? — Arvid Kahl

Alarm clocks are the new smoking. You wake up in fight or flight mode. I even read once that alarm clocks are bad for your heart. LOL.

An alarm clock isn’t having control of your time. The body is supposed to wake up naturally. How is getting woken up by a piercing sound that reminds you to get ready for a 1-hour commute living?

I can’t believe the HR salespeople are able to sell this dream anymore.

Happiness is waking up naturally as the sun rises and when your body tells you it’s well-rested.

How average people (like me) do it

Let’s stop fluffing around and talk about how you can upgrade your happiness.

Follow this simple formula

Use a job to buy money > Use money to buy financial assets > Use assets to create more money > Use money to buy back control of your time.

That all boils down to two things:

  1. Understand how money works. Get a basic financial education.
  2. Focus on using your money to invest, not spend.

Supercharge the process

To control your time faster, add digital assets to your financial assets.

Digital assets are: a website, social media content, email funnels, a paid newsletter, information products on Gumroad, etc.

Digital assets earn wifi passive income.

Say no more often

You need the resource of time to slowly reinvent your work life. Say no to more time leachers that suck minutes away.

Use “NO” templates to make the process easier.

Become the king/queen of saying no. Subtraction makes things easier than addition. That’s what minimalism taught us.

Avoid stacking debt up to your eyeballs

Using debt to buy stuff is selling your time freedom piece by piece. If you can’t afford it with cash, maybe you shouldn’t buy it at all.

Let your income drop so your freedom improves

To create hours needed to work on your time freedom goal, you’ll have to say no more. That can mean a decrease in income.

Maybe your boss doesn’t love you as much, so your salary doesn’t grow. Maybe your bonus decreases as your job performance goes down.

The biggest mistake is people think a drop in income is bad. It’s not bad if your lifestyle and proximity to controlling your time goes up.

Life is a beautiful set of tradeoffs. Trade more money for the opportunity to buy back your time.

Experiment with a naughty one of these

Most people I know got back control of their time using the internet.

That’s the simplest way: one internet connection, connected to billions of people. The sheer scale means you don’t need to have a high IQ to make extra money online.

A naughty way to do it is with a side hustle. Not everyone loves the phrase. Screw them. It’s just a label to signify working after hours on a project that wins your time back in the future.

If you’re not deliberately trying to get control back of your time, it’ll never happen.

Lifestyle inflation and the corporate greed machine will rob you of time, therefore, of life. The decay happens slowly. So slow you won’t even notice.

Build a side hustle from your bedroom.

A subtle transition happens

This is what happened after I got control of my time back.

Weird opportunities land in your inbox

Time billionaire Sahil Bloom says “free time is a call option on future interesting opportunities.”

A call option is a fancy financial term that means the right but not the obligation to chase an opportunity.

He goes on to say “when you have free time, you have the headspace and bandwidth to pursue new ideas. Free time increases your serendipity surface area.” Translation: Control of your time gives you options. Options make life exciting.

A lack of time burns up opportunities you never get to see.

That’s what happened to me. Control of my time allowed me to follow opportunities I would normally have deleted because I didn’t have time to even read them. That’s how time bankrupt I was, as is a lot of people.

It starts out as hard work. Then something bizarre happens.

I worked my butt off to get control of my time again and take it back from the modern-day devil.

The bizarre thing is I still work hard. Not because I’m trying to get control of my time, but because I freaking love it.

Working hard is fun when you have control of what you’re working on.

The day of the week becomes hard to work out

My wife laughs at me.

I no longer know what day of the week it is. Saturday feels the same as Monday. I often have to consciously look at the calendar to work out the day or month. I even forget what year it is.

Time starts to blur when you’re having fun and in control.

The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it — basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them

(Charles Bukowski)

Having control of your time makes you uncontrollable

My close friends have noticed a change.

Since gaining control back of my time I’m out of control.

I don’t live the same anymore. I’m a lot more carefree. I don’t let dumb stuff wipe out my positivity. I say wild things in public places. I don’t numb my social media posts anymore to impress the corporate dragons.

I just do whatever the f*ck I want. Is that happiness?

You don’t just become happier

The more control you have of your time, the more motivation it gives you. The process becomes a self-fulfilling cycle that compounds better than interest on your investments.

Automating your motivation means it’s easier to get started, so you waste less time. That means you end up working less.

Closing Thought

You’re only truly happy when you control your time.

Happiness is measured on calendars, not calculators.

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