Looking for Financial Freedom? – First Find Your Joy

by Alonzo on September 9, 2010

We tried to emulate Madison Avenue’s carefully crafted image of success and happiness. Only too late did we realize we were sold a bill of goods.

Denzel Washington said it best, “We’ve been hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok.”

We bought into the media driven pipe dream of success and happiness. Carefully crafted visions of the “good life” graced our TV screens:

  • The Housewives of Atlanta entertaining in the mansions of their gated communities
  • TI and P-Diddy sipping on fine wine in custom made suites.
  • Halle Berry and Zoe Saldana walking the red carpet rocking the latest designer gear.

Corporate America told us happiness could be had, for a price. And we bought into the fantasy hook, line, and sinker.

Yes, every minute of every day they flooded our subconscious with images of happy people driving expensive cars, relaxing in huge homes, and eating the best food. We’ve been seduced by a fantasy world parading success in the form of material possessions.

Contentment in Gucci, elation by Lexus, euphoria with Manolo. The palatial home, new cars, expensive vacations, dining out, spas, 500+ cable channels, and all the electronic gear we could every desire.

This was Madison Avenue’s vision of prosperity and it became our vision as well. The greatest mass brainwashing in the history of planet earth took place right underneath our noses, all without a single protest, news headline, or tweet.

Today that carefully manufactured dream of success and happiness has turned into a nightmare. Although we have more stuff and comfort conveniences than any generation before us, we’re as unhappy as ever.

Could it be the endless pursuit of a media generated fantasy has left us too overworked, too stressed, and too steeped in debt to enjoy life?

Too busy chasing the elusive picture of happiness Madison Ave painted for us, we’ve failed to think for ourselves, failed to define our own personal picture of success. We’re too busy co-opting the images spoon fed to us to stop and think about what really matters.

The insanity has to stop.

Instead of letting Corporate America dictate a fabricated vision of happiness, maybe we should ask:

What’s my joy? What really matters to me? What truly makes me happy?

Not the temporary elusive happiness that comes from the soft leather touch of a new Coach handbag, or the joy that comes from inhaling the intoxicating smell of a new car.

But the happiness that makes life worth living.

If spending time with your kids is the source of your joy, why are you wasting two hours of your life each day in traffic commuting so you can get to your over-sized home in the suburbs? Wouldn’t a smaller house closer to work make more sense?

Perhaps your passion is visiting new places, experiencing new cultures. Then pursue your passion with vigor, but slash and burn the other expenses that provide little value in your life.


Take a second and think about it.

What truly makes you happy?

Life’s too short to be chasing someone else’s manufactured dream, especially when that dream is a mirage – a house of cards built on a sinking foundation of debt.

Author John Robbins, put it best when he said:

We’ve all seen the bumper stickers that say “He who dies with the most toys wins.” That’s the old game; that’s the old way of defining success; that’s the old “good life.” In the new good life, the point is not to have the most toys, but the most joys.

Find the joys in your life, pursue them with dogged passion and ruthlessly cut back on all the other garbage advertisers say you need to be happy.

So I ask you – What’s your joy?



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