An extract from my forthcoming ebook "How To Make Money - Even In A Recession"

What is the meaning of life?

Many people have put much thought in to this question. Religions have fought and people have died over it. Funny thing is that they are all working on the same basic idea. I’m going to tell you the meaning of life and it might shock you.

The meaning of life is… To live!

That is our total reason for being here. So how do we live then? Well we have 24 hours a day to live in. You can break those hours up into 3 parts.

• 8 hours for working
• 8 hours for sleep
• 8 hours for family, entertainment, education, past-time.

Now these are the even breakdown of our daily life. The problem is that many of us have these numbers a little turned sideways. I would bet that if some of you folks wrote your daily time break down it might look like this.

Life A
• 12 hours of work (because I have to get all the over-time I can get to pay for my stuff)
• 10 hours of sleep (because I am working so many hours I need time to recharge my batteries)
• 2 hours of family (well I don’t have time to educate myself or have a past-time, and well I do get to see the kids a little bit in the morning before school and my wife gets to talk to me when we are in bed)

How about this way of life?

Life B
• 12 hours of sleep (because I can’t get a job, the economy is bad. I don’t have a good enough education so I always get left out)
• 10 hours of entertainment (well I can play on the games machine all I want and watch all the TV I want now. There is not a show I’ve not watched or game I’ve not cleared at this stage.)
• 2 hours of family time (well if I’m at home and they want to jump in on the a game they can and then that adds of our “family” time. Or we sit down and watch the TV shows together. So really I have 12 hours family time now. Ya?)


If you are in Life A, is this really a good way to live? Your reasons for working all these long hours are noble and you are to be commended for all your hard work to keep your boat afloat. But really you are only bailing water out of a sinking ship. That ship is your family relationships.

If you are in Life B, then while you are living a much easier life you are also not paying attention to your family’s needs. Is this really a good way to live? Your attentions are all on these other things that are taking you away from communicating with your children and partner. Relationships are the most important thing in the family unit. They take care and attention for them to grow and thrive. If you start to take your attention off them then they begin to wilt.

I used to think that I was being smart when I’d say this to people about working.

“I work to live, I don’t live to work.”

When I started driving a Taxi for a living it was really easy money. We were at the height of the Celtic Tiger in Ireland and I thought that I was being smart because I had stopped slaving in regular jobs. When I thought I had enough money I would go home. The other guys working in the same company as me would be still staying out and working on until the early morning. My thinking was that I only needed to make a certain amount of money a week and so when I had reached that amount then I could go home to spend time with my wife.

Well the problem with that thinking was that when times got tough I had to work longer hours to make up for the loss in earnings. The money I was making was really only going on paying out bills and loans with maybe a little bit on entertainment etc. We never had much to spend on taking the kids away on holidays. They always got all they wanted for birthdays and Christmas, but we never really had anything.

Now when I did live to work that was not much good for the family either. At one point in our young family life, I was working 3 jobs trying to pay for us to have an existence. Thursday, Friday and Saturday I would work 18 hours or so a day. Then work 10 hours Monday to Wednesday after a day of being a zombie on Sunday. But we still had nothing really for it because we were just spending money on bills, rent and stuff. Our oldest two kids were very young and so might not have noticed much but it really got to me that I was away from them and my wife so much. It had a really hard effect on me and my relationship with my wife. So you really have to look at the pros and cons involved in doing things like this if this is your life pattern.

But what are our real responsibilities in life?

First off you have to be responsible to yourself. If you are not happy within your mind and body then you cannot safely provide for your family’s needs. You can take care of yourself by making time to relax and shut out your worries for an hour a day. If you cannot do an hour, then 20 minutes or half an hour maybe? It can be silence filled in a darkened room with your eyes closed and not really sleeping. Just letting your mind wander off the problems you have. Or you might want to listen to your favourite music? Make sure that it is music that really gets you in a good mood and stuff that brings about feelings of the good times in your life.

You can read a book. It can be anything, but something that you actually want to read so that you are thinking on the words and not wondering off to sleep with boredom. This can be a good time to read up on a subject you want to know more about or a person who you admire. The choice is yours as this is your time. In other cultures this is considered meditation or contemplation. If a short power nap is required then so be it. But time it and make sure that you are not woken up by anything or anyone. If you are woken you are, but at least try.

If you cannot do it every day, then try to do it at least once or twice a week? The rewards will be immense, and you might find that the answers to the problems you are having will just come to you out of the blue. Answers will hang there like ripe apples ready for the picking and all because you relaxed and allowed your brain to function as it was intended.

So a better you is more able to provide for your family’s needs. What exactly are your family’s needs? I know that I cannot possibly know your exact family situation but I can pretty much guess what you need to be doing to make them happy.

• Be there to love them and for them to be able to love you
• Be helpful and supportive
• Guide them towards success for their own

It’s fine working long hours to provide for your family. But what about providing love to your family? I hear many people say “Well I’m only away from them so much because I’m working so hard to provide for them because I love them so much.” Yes this might be true but most of the time this is not communicated back to the family unit. Over time you become the outsider of the group. You did not make it to a concert your child is doing in school or you could not take a child to their martial arts, dancing, drama, and soccer or swimming classes. These are all little links in the big chain between you and your kids. You become the person that supplies that feeling of joy as they come out bursting to tell you about the fun they had and ask you “did you see me do this?” or “did you see me do that?”.

Your partner will be delighted that you have taken over such a part in the child’s life because they are possibly run into the ground trying to get about sorting out other parts of your family’s existence. See this is a team that has a goal to aim for, and that is for the whole team to win in life and thrive.

You also have a responsibility to society. That is to raise your children as best you can so that they are contributors and not takers. You do that best by setting an example yourself. In Ireland we have a very good social welfare payment system. While many people wine and moan about it. It is still one of the best in the world. So good in fact that people do not see the need to come off the scheme once they get on it. I have been on it twice myself and each time after I got over my self-pity I went off and took the next job I could find that would take me off the welfare scheme and back paying taxes adding to the society I live in.

If you have a business then it should be something that lifts the community and society as well. This will increase your profits because people will see that you are not just out to take, take, and take. Increased profits means increased taxed etc. which help run the country and provide for the services you use every day.

But maybe you have not been doing this up until now? Maybe you have been a taker? Or living for work? Then all is not lost!

I’ll tell you another secret! What is in the past is in the past, it is not now nor the future. It is your choice to change what happens in your life. Most of the time we can get caught on the hamster wheel of life. We go from moment to moment following pretty much the same things day by day, week by week, month by month and year by year. These wheels we are on were not really planned out, they were just presented to us as something we should be doing and so we jumped on thinking that they were our only option.

Sometimes these are wheels that our parents were on also, so we think that we must run on the same wheel. Well if your parents were always working around the clock and never had much money, and just got by. Or if you parents were never able to get a job after they were laid off work 30 years ago and have spent the rest of their lives on the social welfare scheme. Then you follow the same path, guess what? You will end up in the same situation as them or worse!

You might end up a bit better also. But this will not be true success, just that you are surviving a bit better. If you can look back at your life and that of your peers and parents and see the mistakes that have been made then you can avoid them. Now I don’t mean that you have to look at single moments in time that you can pin point. It might never as simple as that? But then again it might be? I want you to look at the contents of the coming chapters and see if they go against what you know have been done by you in the past. Then if we ignite the spark within you to make a change then don’t let it burn out due to you holding yourself back. Get out there and make plans to bring about those changes and move towards your success.

We are all dealt a different set of cards when we are born. Some people’s hands are set up for winning, some people’s hands are set up for getting by and some people’s hands are set up for having it hard. But you really do not have to stick with the hand you have been dealt. How many times have we heard about rich kids falling into poverty despite the vast opportunity they had to succeed? Or the amount of self-made millionaires who have come from families who have nothing much to offer them other than support. Or those persons just dug in and made it work for them despite their family situation or what part of town they were from.

When you make a conscious decision to make a change in how you are thinking then you will see the world in a totally new way. Opportunities will open up where you thought none existed before. People will come into your life that will inspire you, coach you and push you on towards greatness. Once you are willing to make the effort then you will find that you will have people who are willing to make the effort with you.

Then when you are really successful you can provide for all the people in your life. Your family, your parents, your relatives and society in general. Giving to charity can be at the levels to make a real change. Funding schools and colleges for educational and sports equipment can be of immense benefit to all and give you a chance to pass on the success you have gained.

*Read more by going to Amazon and searching for Paul Oliver O'Leary

Author's Bio: 

Paul Oliver O'Leary has ridden the rodeo of life and survived. After having had his own business at 21, he ended up running along with the rest of the herd. Working in 3 jobs trying to support his family. Now on his third business things have clicked for him. Also he is the author of the ebook "How To Fill Your Friends List On Facebook" which is available on . He is available for one to one or group sessions either in person, skype or facebook.