Awhile back, I had the opportunity to give a presentation to about 30 couples who wanted to improve their finances. The crowd was a mix of young and old, naive and mature. They were all rich, however, in their unique experiences with money. I enjoyed listening to them more than I enjoyed presenting. There is something powerful about hearing people's life stories. At least, for me, there is.
During one part of the presentation, we would conduct a visualization exercise. The participants would close their eyes, breathe in and out deeply, and try their best to center themselves. After about a minute, I'd ask them to focus on the ticking of the clock, then the rhythm of their breathing. When the participants were completely relaxed and present, I then asked them to think of their happiest moment in life.
I asked them to capture the moment: its sights, sounds, and smells. I also asked them to think about who they were with and what they were doing at the time - to feel the full emotion of that moment, to allow themselves to actually transport their entire being back into that space and time. You could literally see smiles light up across the room.
After about 3 to 5-minutes, I asked the participants to focus on their breathing, then the clock's sound, and then my voice. I asked, 'What was your happiest moment?'
Some people described childhood memories of spending time with a parent or sibling. A few described enjoying the warmth of the sun in the company of friends. While others shared how they had celebrated a momentous occasion with people they cared for the most. People often described laughter, stillness, peace, and calm with their moments.
They felt loved!
What has been fascinating about conducting this activity, then and now, is that nobody mentions money - everyone's happiest moment revolves around some sense of connection. Now, money may create the backdrop for a memorable moment; however, based on the countless number of antidotes I've heard, like going to the park, playing board games, making pizzas together, are not the types of things most people would consider a major financial burden. Most of the happiest moments I hear are quite simple and ordinary in nature.
This leads me to an essential point. Your presence is more important than your presents. A genuine sense of connection, trust, warmth, and unconditional love is worth more than a pound of gold.
If you've been on the grind trying to pay for the connection that others have found for free, I want you to take a step back and consider this question:
Will the people that matter most to you still love you without all the things your hard work can afford them?
I believe the answer to that question is 'Yes.' Now, the tougher question, are you grinding so hard because you do not feel worthy of their love?
If you answered, "Yes." I want to take a moment to tell you that you are enough. There is no end to more. But there is, unfortunately, an end to you. There is an end to me. The most precious gift we have is our presence. And, when it comes to being present, studies show that it is more about quality than quantity. So don't stress there. You can still enjoy your grind. But when you aren't, be present.
Take some time to relearn how to create connections without the use of money, fame, or prestige. If you do, I think you might find that you've always had what you've been striving for.