The current generation grew up with the idea that leveraging their life is the way to go. What is “leveraging your life?” Leveraging is a technique that multiplies gains (or losses). It’s often used with money or time. In other words, we trade money for time or we borrow money to make more money.
In this article, I am talking more about giving up something that we don’t value to get more of what we do. Here are some common, every day examples of how we leverage our lives.
- If we don’t want to cook or clean, we eat out. (According to Forbes, millenials spend 44% of their food budget eating out).
- We don’t want to take our dog out for a walk so we hire someone else to do it.
- If we can’t or don’t want to do yard work, we hire a landscaper. This may be a professional service or the boy next door.
- Some people who can make more money at work than they pay in childcare costs hire someone else to take care of their kids.
- We don’t want to take care of our aging parents so we hire someone to do it.
- If we want more house or car than we can afford, we finance a bigger debt over a longer period of time so that we can have what we want. This is a sacrifice of future earnings and time.
We live in a time of plenty. The average person has lots of resources and options, and that’s wonderful. We don’t have to struggle, so we often elect not to. We buy our way out of it. This results in being incapable of dealing with emotions that aren’t easy, the inability to work through interpersonal issues, or not learning how to do the hard work of living. If life’s not cushy, we’re unhappy.
Guess what? Life’s not supposed to be comfortable. It goes in waves of inspiration, blossoming, maturity, decline, death, and rebirth. That’s not comfortable. Each part of that cycle requires a different action that leads to growth. When you give it over to someone else to take care of, you miss out on the fullness of life. You don’t get to learn from having that experience, so your life becomes lopsided in favor of what you want rather than perhaps what you need.
Have you seen the movie Click? It’s about a guy who finds a remote control for life. He can fast forward through all the parts he doesn’t like so that he’s not present for the kids fighting, his wife nagging, and boring dinners with his parents. He can just skip to the good stuff that he wants. The problem is, he misses out on forming a relationship with his wife, kids, and parents so when he gets to the things he wants, he’s lost his people. And for what? A promotion and more money that he’s too overworked and sick to enjoy. Is this what you’re creating?
Life’s an investment. Relationships and stuff require maintenance. Before you bring new people or things into your life, get in a conscious space and ask yourself if what you have to give up to have it is worth it to you. Is this going to create the kind of existence that will make you a better person? Will it result in you being a true reflection of your highest and best self? Or if not, will it at least help you get to the next level?
Leveraging isn’t a universally bad thing. Just be mindful of what you are paying out and what you are getting back. And be careful about over extending yourself. You don’t want to leverage your life so heavily that you don’t have time to live it.