03 Apr The Illusion Of Comfort
We all love comfort and we often associate having certain degree of comfort with happiness. Wealth provides us with comfort, which is one of the reasons why we strive for wealth. We think if we’re wealthy, we get more comfort, and we will become happier. This way of thinking results in us working our asses off for a comfortable life, whether it is for ourselves or for our loved ones.
But the thing is…Comfort is actually an illusion. An illusion that too many of us become slaves of, because it’s so easy to get sucked into.
Don’t lose yourself in the illusion of Comfort.
Many don’t know this, but at one point in my life, in the very beginning of starting with our businesses, I was extremely broke. We never worked with any investors and banks were very anxious at that time to give out loans to startups. At that time I was still a Bachelor student. Apart from some financial aid from my dad, we invested everything we earned (which wasn’t that much yet) into our new brand, which at the time wasn’t generating much income yet. It was a vicious circle. As you might know, brand awareness takes a load of time, I’m talking decades, not a year or two.
I found myself facing a harsh truth of life: Struggle to pay the rent and bills. I’ve never had to struggle like that before, because I was lucky to have my parents who always supported me financially all the way through college.
I had two options:
1. I could borrow more money from my parents.
2. I could give this struggling life a go.
I felt like the first wasn’t really an option, as it was my choice to start a business and not go for a 9-5 job at some multinational. Also, I felt, I was an adult, and it just felt wrong to keep running to my daddy for money, so there was a lot of ego and pride involved too.
So, I decided to give the struggling life a go, because I wanted to see if I could really survive. My dad started his consulting company from scratch too, so I should be able to do so as well.
It was tough…I mean reaaally tough for quite a while. I wouldn’t call myself spoiled, but I come from a good family and always got everything I needed, and almost everything I wanted. So it was a real lifestyle shift for me. However, I am very grateful for this period in my life, because I’ve learned and grown so much from it. I’ve gotten more tough, my mind got stronger. When you know you are capable of living uncomfortably, there isn’t much you’re afraid of anymore. I realised that fear of failure is actually the fear of having to live an uncomfortable life, but I survived…and I was fine. I know now that, no matter what happens in life, I will find a way to survive. I can easily adapt to changing circumstances.
Apart from learning great financial management skills, I realized how many things we tend to buy that we actually don’t need. I was used to buying new clothes every month (maybe even every week!), so many accessories, and all those little things that we splurge on and we don’t need. All the food we buy that goes bad, because we buy too much. You have to become inventive, creative to make the most out of what you have. The constant realization that every euro you spend now, you won’t have to spend tomorrow, so it has to be spent wisely. While it is not a way of living that I would like to maintain, as it is quite extreme, it has taught me so much. I’ve decided to maintain this new mentality and it still serves me well, because no matter how much you earn, it doesn’t hurt to be conscious.
The new mentality – habit of living with less – basically refers to no unnecessary shopping (Ask yourself, do I really need this? And be honest!), eating in (cooking), staying in (entertain yourself at home).
One of the results of employing this mentality is something I am extremely grateful for, which is looking for happiness from within, rather from external sources.
It’s the realization that, buying that ’’new dress that you don’t really need, but it’s soo cute and it will look great on instagram’’, is fun, but not real happiness.
During the struggle period I had to find ‘’free things’’ to do, things that I could enjoy without having to spend any cent. Apart from working a lot, I started reading more, writing more, streaming television series, enjoying nature, working out. All things that costs relatively little to no money, but are actually really good for you. Being in my early twenties, with all my friends still going out partying and splurging, it was tough. But as a result, I became happier from within, and it wasn’t based on external factors. I found out, that I didn’t need a lot of comfort to make me happy.
Sometimes the uncomfortable things in life are there to teach us lessons because to go through a change of habit, we need to feel uncomfortable. – Mo Seetubtim
Give it a try if you can. Learn to live with less. Become comfortable with living uncomfortably. Then you’ll realize that there’s more to life than finding comfort. Because after all, comfort is just an illusion.
P.S. I bet you guys didn’t know I could walk on water…;-). Pictures taken at Babunhol Resort in my home country Suriname by Surej Tul.