Becoming More Human, Less Robot: How To Find More Meaning, Satisfaction, and Happiness

Pretty Much Everyone Gets It Wrong About Money

Having spent eight years in the private investment business, I’ve been asked the same questions over and over: “How can I raise more money?” and “How can I make more money?”
In response, I would explain how you could improve your e-mail marketing campaign, how many phone calls a week you should be making to cold, warm, and hot prospects, and how my investment products were better than standard investments like mutual funds. I was very good at having an answer to how my clients could make more money and how more money would give them the freedom, security, confidence, or success they had always longed for.
But I began to realize that even though my clients and I were making more money I didn’t feel freer, more secure, more confident, or more successful — nor do I ever remember a client expressing these feelings.
I realized that making more money was not, is not, and will never be the answer to deeper human challenges.

How This Plays Out

A couple weeks ago I was in Edmonton delivering a coaching program to a client, Cody. He reached out because [as always] he wanted to learn how to raise more money.
But something didn’t sit right with me: I didn’t believe the technical knowledge about raising money was what Cody needed, and I didn’t believe his challenge was related to raising more money, or making more money at all.  
How could it be? He already had plenty of money. I knew that more would never bring him the feelings he coveted (freedom, security, confidence, success).
I agreed to meet him to deliver a two-day, one-on-one coaching program on one condition: he must be open to deepening the conversation beyond just the technical aspects of how to raise money. A funny thing happened: almost as soon as I stated my condition, Cody launched into an explanation that what he was really looking for was a way to create more meaning in his life. He wanted to know what it would take to wake up in the morning and be excited about his day.
Cody is a smart guy. On the outside his life looks amazing — he’s a successful business owner in Edmonton. He lives in a beautiful house on a lake, has a gorgeous wife, beautiful children, and works about 40 hours… a month.
Cody’s goal is to work as little as possible for the most amount of money, which is most people’s. The bogus term, “passive income” neatly expresses this desire for many.
Cody has gotten so good at living this philosophy that on a typical day rolls out of bed at 10am, lounges on the couch, and before long sparks up a joint.
He spends the much of the rest of the day smoking more weed, returning a few phone calls, and answering a few text messages. He has mastered his philosophy, earning well over $300,000 a year while living this lifestyle.
The problem is that Cody is terribly unhappy. He gets no meaning from his work. How did this happen? And more importantly, how can he change?

Why We Chase The Wrong Goals

Cody knows he’s unhappy but doesn’t know why, and he’s figured out a novel way to avoid the discomfort. Rather facing his discomfort he fills that space– and soothes his anxiety — with his various avoidance techniques.
Rather than admit the lack of fulfillment he pushes away the feelings temporarily by filling the space with weed and the pursuit of money and plenty of leisure.
The effects of the weed don’t last long, so the underlying discomfort and unhappiness quickly return. His philosophy keeps him needing more and more marijuana.
It may be easy to hear Cody’s story and think, “Well I don’t smoke weed everyday. I’m not Cody. I’m happy in my business.”
But replace marijuana with alcohol, sex, smart-phones, the Internet, Facebook, selfies, shoes, cigarettes, shopping, or anything else and the result is the same.
We’ve constructed a society full of ways to escape ourselves. We’re taught that it’s not okay to feel unhappy or experience pain, and that if we do it just means we need more money, sex, Internet, smart-phones, or selfies.
But feeling pain doesn’t mean we’re broken. Since we’re not broken there’s nothing to fix. In my mind these feelings are who we are. They are the manifestation of our true self. No amount of marijuana, sex, selfies, or cigarettes will make them go away. When we try to “fix” our emotions this way they only grow stronger, because our truth wants to be seen and heard.

Why The Surface Often Doesn’t Represent the Depths

For years I pretended to be someone I was not because I was afraid of sharing my voice and speaking my truth. On the outside my life looked great. I was running a “successful” business and driving a BMW. I had the time and money to travel around the world and do things like yoga and scuba diving.
I had a beautiful girlfriend and a four year old step-daughter. We lived in a beautiful condo in downtown Vancouver and had a boat big enough for us to live on in the summer, have big parties with our friends on and take long trips up the BC coast.
I had done an excellent job of achieving what I thought I needed to be ‘successful’. The only problem was that underneath this projection of happiness and success I was fucking miserable.
I thought that by making a lot of money I’d be happy. So I stayed in a business I hated. I thought I had a responsibility to make my girlfriends happy. So I pretended to be happy in my relationships even when I was feeling upset or anxious. I thought if I achieved everything and continued to live this lie that eventually I would feel happy.
But lying to myself only made the suppressed feelings stronger and I was subconsciously destroying my life while trying to keep the depression at bay. My solutions? I started working longer hours so I could do more deals to make more money.
I looked for having more miscellaneous sex, drinking almost every day, and creating excuses to have parties so I could get drunk. It was all an attempt to numb out the shame, pain, sadness, and despair that screamed louder and louder.
My “solution” did not work — of course.
The pain only grew stronger and more incessant. I woke up every morning to work at a job I hated. I cheated on and pushed away every girlfriend I had because I did not want to take responsibility for and reveal how scared, alone, and unhappy I really felt.
Deep down I felt I didn’t deserve to be loved, yet I continued to hide this emotion and blame my unhappiness on everyone else but myself.  
On the inside I was slowly dying. I had massive feelings of shame, anxiety, sadness, and pain that I was not sharing with anyone, including myself — these weren’t new emotions. I can remember them as far back as kindergarten, when I would sit on the curb dreaming I was a Jedi Knight waiting for Han Solo to come pick me up in his Millenium Falcon.
I remember being curled up in a little ball with my feet tucked up under my jacket and cried because I felt like I didn’t fit in. I felt helpless and alone and I desperately wanted Han Solo to take me to that galaxy far, far away. I wanted to be like Luke Skywalker and thought if Han Solo picked me up I could learn how to become a Jedi Knight and then for sure I’d fit in.
I didn’t realize that it was okay to feel like I didn’t fit in or that I didn’t have to go anywhere or become Luke Skywalker so that my friends would love me for who I was.
Years later I wanted to become some other mythical creature — the rich, successful, carefree entrepreneur — rather than a Jedi. But I still wanted to be anything but myself.
I didn’t realize that the Jedi Knight I thought I wanted to be was really me. I thought I needed to go somewhere else, to change, to escape, to control my emotions and my life. What I missed was that I just had to get out of my own way and let myself feel it.
Eventually with the help of a good friend and mentor I became more aware of the anxiety, pain, shame, and despair gathered up inside me and I began to really feel it. As my awareness grew around these feelings I began to reveal more and more of myself — to those closest to me and the world around me. An incredible thing happened when I allowed myself to really feel the anxiety, really feel the shame, really feel whatever the feeling was.
The intensity of the feelings began to dissipate, sometimes there was a noticeable release of pressure inside me almost right away, and I began to feel a greater sense of peace and calm.

How Our Ability To Feel Opens the Door

For Cody, marijuana consumed the majority of his mental energy. This left no space for what he actually wanted because you can’t create something new when there is no space for it.
Have you ever heard that a lot of successful writers find themselves cleaning their house before they write? This is a technique to create mental space.
If Cody could stop smoking weed — or even just cut back —  his inspiration towards “finding more meaning in his life” would start to show up because there would be space for it. If he would stop focusing so much attention on money he would create more space for his fulfillment to show up, too.
But his real challenge isn’t financial. It’s not about the money at all. It’s about not valuing himself. He already has more money than 99% of the people on the planet — and yet he’s not happy.
If making more money than 99% of the people on the planet hasn’t made him happy, what do you think the odds are that more will be the solution?
We over complicate our lives by placing things, stuff, money, or substances in front of what really inspires us. These things then hold us back from showing up in the world as we truly want to.
They hold us back from feeling. When disconnected from what we feel, we are disconnected from ourselves and others because feeling is how we connect with others.
Our ability to feel connected to ourselves lets us be more present and connected to others. Giving this gift of our connected and feeling self results in purpose and meaning.  
Our ability to feel is what makes us human.
Read More By Chris Biasutti on the ManTalks Blog:
How Giving a Public Talk Forced Me to See My Truth
Chris BiasuttiChris Biasutti spent years of his life getting very good at pretending to be someone he was not because he was afraid of sharing his voice and speaking his truth. On the outside his life looked great. He was running a “successful” financial services business , driving a BMW, and had a boat big enough to live on. 
But he realized one day that happiness was missing from the equation. So he started investigating and soon realized that the problem was widespread. Nobody was happy, and everyone thought what they needed was more money.
Today, through his coaching and consulting, he helps entrepreneurs build businesses that truly serve them and the world around them.
Chris is in love with the ocean and travelling. He spent 2012 living on a remote island in the Philippines where he was certified as Divemaster. He can frequently be found diving under or sailing on top of the water off the coast of B.C. and in remote destinations around the world.
You can contact Chris as [email protected].

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