Habit #10: Be Affluent
We often talk of having affluence, but I think there’s something more powerful about being—embodying—that sense of abundance. Having suggests gaining, even measuring from the outside. Being or embodying, on the other hand, suggests an internal decision and process. An attitude, a choice that today I’m going to live abundantly.
To our ancestors, the concept of affluence, if it existed, was probably very different than what we think of today. For them, the ultimate commodities were time and leisure. Funny how those were so beneficial for evolutionary progress…
Compare time and leisure to what we’re encouraged to pursue and define our affluence from today—status and possessions. We often tether ourselves to them really. Even beyond the point at which our basic needs are met, the drive for accumulation and ascent takes over and can co-opt every other priority whether we even realize it or not. Sometimes we’re working so long and hard we don’t even see it creep into our consciousness. We don’t consider ourselves particularly materialistic people, let alone greedy, but somehow we get sucked into the cultural grooves.
What does abundance mean to you? While we don’t need to swear off the blessings of modern conveniences and novelty, it’s important to define our most deep-seated priorities. What values do you want to be the center of your life? What genuinely nourishes you at the physical level? What fills your intellectual, creative, social, emotional and spiritual dimensions, however you conceive of them?
Too often we wind ourselves around a distorted sense of our basic needs (e.g. food, shelter, security, upgrading our kitchen or car because our neighbors did) all while depriving ourselves of what we’d call our core priorities (e.g. time with family and close friends, volunteering, time and outlets for self-expression and creative development, etc.).
The fact is, our basic needs are simpler than we often think. And…our other, more nuanced needs, are more essential than we often think. How about embracing the idea that you get to have fulfillment on all levels? Seriously. What should it look like for you as an individual? (This is the real crux.) Be bold enough to create a vision for your life, however counter it is to our culture’s version of success or linear progression. Think about experience and satisfaction, about playing hard and sleeping well. There’s where living abundantly begins.
The central premise of The Primal Connection is that we can use the model of our ancestors to create not just a healthier physical existence but also a more balanced and fulfilling life. To be affluent is among the habits I call our inner dialogue—the assumptions, patterns, and narratives we can create or accept for ourselves. That dialogue has the power to limit or expand our lives. It will influence our potential to connect with the world and those around us. It will ultimately determine how successfully we live as modern hunter-gatherers but most importantly whether or not we will live the full measure of our Primal selves in this lifetime.
Thanks, everybody. I’d love to hear how you’re taking this into the weekend.