“Money Or Comfort?” Not The Right Question To Ask
Sometimes people tell me “I like money, but I prefer my comfort.”
I hear, “I like X, but I prefer to not do anything.”
This mindset extends to fitness, friendships, creativity, skill, and other good things. It’s not just about money.
A part of it is laziness, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. There are a lot of people who are clearly hardworking (they take all-night jobs to pay the bills) and they can clearly take a little discomfort. They still use that phrase.
The Problem as it appears to me, isn’t that they’re lazy, but instead that they haven’t seen the full story. They don’t see that the uncomfortable thing they don’t want to do actually leads to the most comfort and the most calm.
When you invest, whether it’s money, time, effort, or anything else, you need to put something in and you don’t gain anything back. It may feel uncomfortable, and a times futile or hopeless.
Investing money in order to earn a financial return is the most obvious example.
You invest focus to learn something new.
You invest willpower, longer hours and courage to ask your boss for a raise.
You invest effort in order to work out and improve your health.
You invest creativity in order to film an engaging movie, paint a handsome painting, or write an appealing book.
You invest in improving a relationship with a friend by opening an awkward yet necessary conversation.
When I bought my first products to sell online, it was an investment of money I’d earned freelancing. I didn’t know if I would be able to sell the products. At times I feared I’d wasted the money.
Comfort is in jeopardy, especially if you’re not starting out with a lot. All it takes is one small crisis and your life is thrown off-track. One broken cell-phone, one unpaid rent check, one car accident; that’s all it takes… and now you have even less to work with!
This is why the phrase “I like money, but I prefer my comfort.” has a but in it. You can invest but then you don’t have the money and that’s risky. This is why it feels like an and/or situation, where you can have money (and everything else) but not comfort.
The Solution is to realize that you can have both.
“I like money, and I prefer my comfort.”
More generally “I like X, and I prefer my comfort.”
You just can’t have both at the same time, right away, but you can have both. You need to pass through a potentially uncomfortable, awkward, tiring, or risky period. This ‘investing’ period is all you can see now but it’s only a short period, not the end.
The end is that you…
Get a return on your money.
Learn a new skill.
Get a raise.
Live a more healthy life.
Film a great movie, paint a great painting, or write a great book.
Have more open relationships.
It’s Very Easy To Be Comfortable… once you’ve learned something and you know you’re good at it, once you’ve negotiated a better salary, once you’ve closed that sale with a happy client, once you’ve built the habit of working out and can see a six-pack, once you see your film win awards at Sundance or once you see that business you invested in exploding. Especially as all your ‘wins’ build off of each other and grow exponentially.
If you want to be comfortable, why not try to be healthy, wealthy, and very good at what you do? Do you think you might be more comfortable than you are today, even if you need to push yourself a little bit?
The last time I checked, being unhealthy, broke and unskilled was more uncomfortable.
If you’re not doing well in any area… be it financially, regarding your health, your relationships, or anything else… and your justification for inaction is, “I’d like to have X, but I prefer to be comfortable.” then I recommend that you re-think your comfort-seeking strategy.