In North America, we overvalue the idea of busyness, and undervalue time. North Americans work longer hours than people in any other industrialized nation. In Europe, North America is viewed as a “nation of workaholics”. According to a report from the United Nations International Labor Organization (ILO), “Workers in the United States are putting in more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world.” I clearly didn’t read that memo before making my transatlantic move, and in true Living by Experience fashion, I opted to learn the lesson the hard way.
What are we working those long days and weeks for? Even though I wrote a bestselling book about travel, it’s not extravagant vacations we put in all the extra hours for. The typical American worker has an average of only two weeks of vacation as compared to four to six weeks for their European counterparts. That alone might be the reason why I never found my permanent place in corporate Canada. How is it that anyone is remotely ok with the idea of only getting back ten days of their time every year to do what they want? Asking another human being for my own time back, whether paid or unpaid, is an outrage, and inappropriate form of modern day slavery. Another lesson I learned the hard way after my transatlantic relocation.
Do we work for happiness then? I wrote an entire book in this series about Happiness at work. According to regular surveys by the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago, no more Americans report they are “very happy” now than in 1957, despite almost doubling our personal consumption expenses. The world’s population has consumed as many goods and services since 1950 as all-previous generations combined, but it doesn’t make us any happier. Since then, times have changed, but our core human issues have stayed exactly the same. The majority of people continue to be unhappy about the work they’re doing. We’re still struggling with love, happiness and freedom just as much now as we were at any point in history. Just the circumstances have changed.
Monday Morning Heart Attacks
There are serious costs to working so hard. Most heart attacks in the United States happen between 4am and 10am on Monday mornings. Heart attacks occurring between 6 a.m. and noon are also considered to be more severe. During the rest of the week, we tend to cut back on sleep and time with our families. Almost a third of people working more than forty-eight hours a week said that their permanent state of exhaustion was affecting their relationships, including their married life. Nearly a third admitted that work-related tiredness was causing their sex life to suffer, with a reduced or completely lost sex drive. They also complained that long hours at work and frequent required overtime led to arguments and tension at home. Most of them blamed the long hours as a direct cause of their disagreements. To make matters worse, they felt guilty for not pulling their weight with domestic chores. Sounds familiar? Guilt and resentment are always linked, and founded in the same negative emotion. It’s your choice whether to maintain the status quo or challenge the limiting belief by taking action before it’s too late.
There has to be a better way
Despite popular belief, struggling financially and not having time with your kids, family and loved ones is not how life has to be. There’s no need to choose between living a fulfilled life and financial stability of a regular day job. Admitted, as an “independent”, my schedule is different from most corporate employees, and my income tends to fluctuate a bit. But ultimately, the journey has been worth it. The idea that you can’t have both might be a conspiracy between employers, attempting to prolong our modern day slavery for as long as they can. Looking back, building an independent career worked out way better than you ever would have been able to describe to me when I first started out. In my millionaire mindset class, I share what I’ve learned from my financial mentors. In short: it’s not about removing anything – but about adding better options. But first, I had to learn stop living for the weekend.Millionaire Mindset Preview
Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it. Because nobody else will.
This post contains a story from my new book, The Freedom Project Love 2.0. The books introduces an upgraded view to the way humans relate to each other. It’s available on Amazon, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble and finer book retailers worldwide. For those who like ebooks (not me), it’s also available on Amazon Kindle. To learn more about the Freedom Project series please visit www.freedomprojectbook.com. Thanks for your support!FreedomProjectBook.com