Net worth does not equal self worth. And showing off fake net worth is the quickest way to guarantee misery and failure.

This has took me years to figure out…

I let money, or my lack of it dictate my happiness for years. The better off I was financially over the years, the better I thought of myself, the more confidence I had and the less I worried about little things.

I thought for years that the better I was doing, the more people would like me and the more respect I would have.

Even through times of hardship I didn’t want to slow down my lifestyle and focus on what really mattered to me. Instead I wanted to keep up appearances.

That was crazy. For three reasons…

The only time you ever really know how much money someone has is when they are bankrupt or they are dead.

People are naturally jealous of friends or relatives who are more successful than they are. Even your parents and closest friends will get off over your failures. They will get a weird sensation deep down that lifts their spirits when you lose. It is human nature, your failures make them feel better about their own shortcomings. So no, they won’t like you better if you ‘make it,’ they will probably hate you for it at first.

Thirdly, people don’t give a shit. People buy things they can’t afford to impress people who don’t care! Never keep up with the Jones’ and play that short term game. I’ve done that many times and I’ve always regretted it…

I’ve got a stupidly expensive car.

I spent an ungodly amount of money on my wedding.

I’ve got great golf gear.

I’ve got designer clothes.

These are all short term plays. To look good with a great car, to look like a better golfer than I probably am, to have a great wedding day.

But what then dick?!

What happens when the car goes back and I’ve nothing to show. What about when all my shit gets old. What about the day after you’re back from the honeymoon and you’re poor as fuck!

Now, eventually, I’ve figured out the sprints don’t matter; today, tomorrow or even the next 5 years…

Play the long game, win the marathons not the sprints.

Don’t fake a good life if deep down you’re miserable as shit. The only thing this guarantees is that you’ll be miserable for a long time to come.

Nothing just happens, great things take time and they need to be worked for. You can’t bullshit your way to an actual good life.

Related — How to Master the Game of Life

You and not your ‘stuff’ are your biggest asset. If you want to invest in anything or spend a lot of money, do it to make yourself better. That will pay off long term. The game will play itself out, the ones who give up the fakery and short term shit will win.

Work hard now so you can afford nice things without them ruining you. Work hard every day on building a happy marriage that will last forever. Work hard now to improve yourself at the things you want to get better at.

There are no shortcuts to satisfaction, personal growth or happiness.

Related –– Practice Makes Patient

More important than any of this though, is…

Living a life true to yourself.

And this is where all this ties in. Play the game for you, not to impress other people, or to prove them wrong or to feel good about yourself for a day.

Play only for you, forever.

Why are you doing what you are doing with your life right now? Answer it seriously. Is it for the right reasons…

Is it your total truth?

You are uniquely valuable to the world. Some of the greatest artists, writers and musicians in history only became wealthy and got discovered after they died. They didn’t stop producing masterpieces just because no one else recognised them as masters at the time.

They didn’t care about material things. They wanted to do what they loved, they practised and persevered. They left a legacy, none of their loser friends with the sports cars did.

Related –– Tired of Going Nowhere Put a Gun to Your Head

If you have loads of money and you want to buy stupid shit then kudos to you. But if you don’t and you want to live life on your own terms one day, then start playing your own game now.

Just because your closest boys and girls go to the pub all weekend doesn’t mean you have to. Just because they all have nice cars doesn’t mean you should. Just because they are going on a cruise doesn’t mean you should too.

Align yourself to your own long term goals and once again I will say this – map your actions to your ambitions. They may be happy in their 9 – 5 jobs working for someone else, earning a good wage and partying every weekend. If they are happy in that life then they’ve won.

But if you’re not, like I’m not, you need to change your behaviour.

About 6 months ago I started my process of removing my own bullshit…

The car goes back this month.

My best golf stuff is on Ebay.

I don’t ever buy new clothes now unless I have to.

I’m not going on a summer holiday.

The list could go on.

I am doing this for me, because I’m trying to play a new game. This is the start of my new 20 year marathon. I don’t care what that costs me in the short term.

I’m not saying I’ll become a recluse and have no life, I’m just going to think about the big picture more and not do anything to please other people whilst crippling my own future.

I want to diversify my focus and my income so that no one thing can control me. Like a boss, a wage, a car loan or a cruise I need to pay off.

I don’t want to live a life fulfilling someone else’s ambitions, I want to create my own future. A future of freedom, based on a lifestyle I design.

Related — How to Use Self Awareness to Start a New Venture

I don’t want to outsource my self-esteem to anything or anyone else. Like a boss, those closest to me or my bank account.

I want freedom in terms of how I spend my days. I want to thrive doing something I love. I don’t want to be a slave to a normal wage.

I want to live a life true to my own unique purpose. I want to win my own marathons, at my own pace.

This takes discipline over a long period and short term sacrifices, but hey when I’m done, maybe I’ll be rich and I can buy loads of stuff I don’t need!

I will actually do that, it may not be obvious based on this post but I do love to live life. However there will be two big differences… it won’t stall the rest of my life, like it might do now.

And it wouldn’t actually be stuff, it would be experiences. For me and my family.

Live within your means to fulfil your dreams…

-Matthew Brown

Tell me your story and how it’s going, I’d love to learn something from your process. Leave a comment here or DM me on Instagram or Twitter 

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Thanks, hope you enjoyed this instalment! Matt