What Drives You to a Build a Better Life?

building legos

If you are a regular reader to my blog, your outlook on life is different than the norm but in a special way. You don’t want life to be ordinary. You want life to be freaking extraordinary and lived with no regret.

Your friends and family may not understand your unconventional style.
Enjoy life now…are you crazy? Take less money but have more freedom…are you nuts? Take a year off and travel the world…why?

Don’t expect everyone to understand. Only you will truly understand.

What caused you to want to create an extraordinary lifestyle?

Was there a moment or a series of events that made you realize that there is more to your life?
Last week, I shared my story about the path I was leading and how I realized it wasn’t for me. Continuing to doing meaningless work for money isn’t going to make me happy.

Some are lucky enough to discover their passion early. Others start on a traditional path before realizing how miserable they are. It became painful, stressful, unfulfilling, and depressing. I understand all too well.

Work slowly takes over people’s lives while freedom and happiness becomes nonexistent.

Being aware that change is needed is the first step. Then at least you’re not sleepwalking through life. To make that change, some take a leap of faith while others work in their free time to finally end the grind.

For myself, bottom line is I want to have my cake with extra icing and eat it everyday.

What caused you to want to enjoy life now and not wait?

What’s important to you in building your ideal life?

Share your story in the comments.

Photo by jdlasica

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  • I think the reason I decided to do my best to create an extraordinary life is because I’ve watched too many people out there waste theirs.

    Whether through drugs, addiction, laziness, choices, etc…I’ve seen such great promise destroyed in a few moments. It literally takes a few choices to quickly be on a path that is leading to nowhere.

    I want my life to be something I can be proud of when I’m on my deathbed. A life that was fulfilling. Not only for me – but for those around me. I think I’ll judge that by how many people are surrounding me AT that death bed. The ones whom I touched and made a positive impact for by my actions in life.

    I also want to live with no regrets. To do everything at my fullest potential and SMILE while doing it. There’s no time to waste. This life is rather short.

    • Word.

    • Benny

      Christian I believe you’re well on your way. When I was 20, I was young and dumb. You on the other hand are doing amazing things and so driven to lead a happy life. I would say “keep it up” but I know you will. Thanks my friend!

    • Solid!

  • Hey Benny,

    I’m from an environment where I’ve seen a lot of lives taken away. I remember having this feeling inside of me as a teenager that I wouldn’t make it to 18. It wasn’t a very disturbing feeling because I had seen it happen to so many people, I thought it was the norm.

    When I was able to leave that environment and go to college – my prospective of life changed (for the better). In years to follow, I met a lady who later became my wife and we now have a family (3 kids). After having my first daughter, something really clicked in me – I realized how fragile life is, and I made it my goal to maximize it to the fullest. For some that’s traveling, or whatever. For me, it’s simply enjoying each day, because I know how blessed I am to be here. It’s spending as much time with what I love the most.

    My ideal life is the life I live. My focus is largely on others. I’ve been so fortunate to make it to where I am that I know I have a serious purpose to do things for others…and that I try to do as much as I can.

    Very introspective here, and made me think. Thanks Benny!


    • JK, isn’t it wild how a little girl will change everything for you?

      I am creating a different kind of life because I know how teenage girls acted who didn’t have their dad around, and that’s not going to be the case with my daughter.

    • Benny

      Hey JK!

      Thanks so much for sharing. It’s so inspiring to hear that you grew up thinking you wouldn’t make it to 18 and now you’ve got this amazing life with a wonderful family. Everyone I know who has kids say it completely changes you. I don’t have kids yet but I love talking and playing with my friend’s kids. Gosh I can’t wait to have one of my own cause I know I will love that little child like crazy!

      I love the message your spread, your wisdom, and the overall good vibes when I read your words.

      That’s what I try to do here JK, make people do some thinking. There’s never a right or wrong answer. 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing my friend!

  • Hi Benny,
    I can really relate to this because I am living in Costa Rica and to a lot of people seems like I am living a dream (and most days, now, I am) but I am not quite there yet. I came as a teacher and have been second guessing for two years if this is what I really want to be doing. I am really good at it and there are parts of it I enjoy but then there are parts that make me want to walk away and never look back.
    I love writing and I love this whole social media thing. I would have never thought that I would get involved in something like this, but that is where my enjoyment has led me.
    I am hoping that all of this ends up helping me write my book and also some other ideas I have.
    My ideal life would be to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want and still consider that work. I have been making first steps to all of that and have been having a great time! Thanks for a thought provoking post!

    • Benny

      Hey Julia!

      Thanks so much for your honesty and sharing.

      I agree with you in that I want to do whatever I want, whenever I want and love my work.

      Glad you’re on this blogging journey! It only gets better from here on out. You’ll get to meet more and more great people. Many people have had doors open for them through their blog and networking. I hope some amazing opportunities come my way that I didn’t even expect.

      Getting a book deal? Definitely possible. Come on if Srini is talking to a book publisher you can do it too!! 😉

  • I really enjoy following the adventures of others. It has created a lot of excitement for me to see others take risks and go on journies.

    I also get excited to see other people spend money and buy a car, or fancy clothes. The thrill is just as there if not more so than if I bought it myself.

    Is this weird? I donno.

    I take 6 weeks off a year, which I’m happy with… although 8 weeks off would be better!


  • Ah I love this topic Benny.

    Well I did start a lot later in life than many. But I always appreciated life due to having seen so much loss throughout mine. I just didn’t know that I could have more than I did. I made great money and at the top of my income bracket but I was miserable. Once I finally realized I could change my life, I dove in head first. I don’t have near the income that I use to now but I’m so much happier than before. I chose to live my life to the fullest everyday instead of just existing. I don’t regret anything I’ve done either. You have to take chances in order to find where you belong.

    Thanks for sharing this…


    • Benny

      Thank you for sharing Adrienne.

      You prove that it’s never too late to start something new so you can enjoy life more. You make a wonderful point about taking chances and living with no regret. Only then will we find happiness!

      Thanks my friend!

  • I had what I call an “Ah ha moment” when I was traveling with my boss and he almost got us arrested by TSA security guards in the airport. He had no respect for anyone and had been verbally abusing and taking advantage of all his employees. I put up with it for a while and was in denial about how bad it was, until that day in the airport.

    I realized that I didn’t want to work for someone who had no concern or respect for others. I was exhausted, physically ill and had no energy for anything other than work. It felt more like surviving than living. And that wasn’t the life I wanted, so I quit!

    I like what Adrienne said above–you have to take chances in order to find where you belong. You also have to be willing to make changes when you realize that you DON’T belong.

    Great topic!

    • Benny

      Hey Lindsay,

      Yes your crazy boss! I remember when I first read your story i was in shock that someone could act like that! Unbelievable.

      Thanks for sharing your “ah ha” moment!

  • Like Christian discussed, I’ve seen others live lives that I don’t want to.

    In one word? Freedom.

    • Benny

      Hey Caleb,

      Yes short and sweet. I like it.

      I too have seen lives where it’s all work and takes away from time to enjoy life. I know we both will have our freedom my friend!

  • I also have seen lives wasted. I saw the things my parents went through to try to make life better for me and I feel like if I waste my life then their struggling was all for nothing. No way I’m gonna let that happen.

    Besides, if I can help myself then I can definitely help others. I try to help people as much as I can but with limited resources my reach is not very long. If I do better for myself I can also reach out and pull others up.

    Finally, I just want the freedom to pursue my art on my own time without the interruption of a 9-5 and working at a thankless job.

    Building that better life one day at a time..!

    • Benny

      Thanks so much for sharing John!

      I agree about my parents too. They worked hard growing up so we could have a better life. I’m sure you definitely can help people more than you think. A little help goes a long way for sure.

      I’m glad to hear you’re building that better life one day at a time. You know I’m in the same boat with you. We’re not on the Titanic either so we won’t go down!

  • Trying to pinpoint the exact moment I wanted to live life now is hard for me. I think I’ve always had a drive to experience the most out of life. However, I can point to one instance that heightened my drive live extraordinarily.

    The first was when I watched Dead Poet’s Society. Carpe Diem was a big focus for the movie. There’s a scene where Robin Williams is talking to the students about how it’s important to seize the day now because life is too short. It really struck home with me. I think the day after I saw the movie, I took living an amazing life much more seriously.

    • Benny

      Wow thanks so much for sharing Steve. That is a great message to live by for sure. Sadly I’ve never seen the movie. I know I’m probably in the minority. I’ll have to check it out one day!

  • I’ve never been one to sleepwalk through life. I do however go through the motions of work to handle my business and responsibility for my family. I do hustle on the side and will make it out.

    As for the moment I knew, well, I guess I’ve always known. I just never thought the construct we were taught as kids was correct. Why are artists and creatives cast aside in terms of career paths when they have given the most joy to the world?

    Maybe I’m still just a kid.

    • Benny

      Hey Pimp Daddy!

      I think with work, especially if we’re trying to end the grind, it’s natural to just go through the motions. I know I do. I’m glad to hear that outside of work you’re wide awake and enjoy life. I’m sure having a child makes a huge difference.

      Glad to hear your hands were surgically reattached so you can type again. Too made they mixed up your left and right hand. Oh well! Just look at the bright side. (inside joke)

      • It’s definitely the outside work that is I enjoy. My baby girl is a huge blessing and my wife and I are beside ourselves with love.

        As for my hands, yes, they were re-attached backwards and now I type dyslexic….I can type though, so I guess that’s the bright side….

  • “For myself, bottom line is I want to have my cake with extra icing and eat it everyday.”

    This is a wonderful perspective. So many people think they’re not worthy of it. They don’t think they deserve it.

    Your courage is inspiring!

    • Benny

      Thanks Steve! Speaking of being worthy I made a card to myself to remind me a few things. I wish I remembered where I saw it first. It says “I am worthy. I am capable. I am deserving. I trust myself.” Short but great reminders for myself every day.

  • I’d have to say the minute I found myself sitting in a cubicle from 9-5 every day along with 650 other people, with cubicles as far as the eye could see.

    It was not the way I wanted to spend my career life, not to mention it was turning me into a robotic human being until I’d wake up on the weekends. I realized that I wanted to live my life to the fullest throughout the entire week and not just the weekend.

    Living an extraordinary life isn’t easy, and I think that’s why so many people find it easy to just settle with the “norm.”

    At the end of the day, I want to build a legacy that will last. I want the dash on my gravestone to mean something, not just simply show my existence.

    Thanks for reminding me of my journey!


  • I realized three really key things:

    1. I don’t want to wake up 30 years from now with a bunch of “what if’s”. For example, my father in law’s dream is to own his own restaurant. That’s all he talks about. But something’s holding him back: fear. I don’t want fear to take my dreams and put them into submission.

    2. My family is so important to me. I want to see them grow up, be a part of their lives and help them experience new things. Going to a 9-5 and coming home mentally & physically exhausted isn’t the way I want this story to end.

    3. (hope this doesn’t sound cocky) The majority of successful people I meet aren’t necessarily smarter than I am. They just took action while most of us talk about what we want to do.

    Great stuff B!

    • Benny

      Hey Torrey!

      Thanks so much for sharing my man!

      I agree with you on all three things. You don’t come off as cocky in your last reason. Successful people aren’t smarter than we are. They just take more action and more chances than most people. Your family looks awesome! Saw your photos on FB. I don’t have kids yet but want to be there as they are growing up and spend as much time with them as I can as well. That’s so important. I’m sure most commenters would list family as their top three reason as well.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  • Hi Benny,

    I’ve always known that i was unhappy working crazy hour just to have that great lifestyle, with the big house, and the latest gadgets but after i had kids i became so paralyzed at what i would lose if i chose any other life.
    “i thought, i needed my smart phone all the time”
    “i thought i needed my new cars”
    I thought i needed beautiful dishware”

    I love all that stuff YES. But, it came at such a high price that all i did was work to make money and save save save and work and save and work.
    We have so much less now and yet we are so much happier because we are pursing our dreams. IT’s a strange place to be and it takes some getting used to because it goes against the status Quo-pro and the way i was raised.

    I’m glad i figured out sooner rather than later that this is the life i want to live. I would hate to have regrets in my life.

    • Benny

      Hey Annie!

      We’re all against the status quo. We want to design our lives differently than most people. They may not understand but they don’t have to walk in our shoes every day.

      It is great to find out sooner than later. Hopefully those lessons you’ve learned are rubbing off on your children so when they get older they’ll know these same values.

      My mom was telling me about a friend of a friend’s son she met in NYC this time. The parents are rich and the kid spends money like crazy. Going to restaurants where it’s $250 per person. He tried a $100 hamburger. Buying stuff from Chanel. I just shook my head. This kid just graduated high school!!

      I know you’re on your way for sure and we’ll celebrate in the future!

  • Benny, I’m not sure if work becomes all consuming and takes over people’s lives. It’s only if you let it.

    I’ve worked for 12+ years in my business, and can see myself doing it for another 5-10 years, while moonlighting online. I don’t let my work consume me, and strike a balance. Same thing with the Yakezie Network and Financial Samurai.

    Speaking of which, you should consider joining the Yakezie Network! It’s a 6 month challenge, and great for relationship building and growing your site. See here: http://yakezie.com/personal-finance-blogs/



    • Benny

      Hey Sam,

      You’re right in that work only consumes people’s lives if they let it. They don’t take the conscious choice to do what you do, which is strike a balance. I didn’t realize you had a work outside of your two websites. You definitely get a lot done. 🙂

      I will check out the Yakezie network!

  • I had to get rejected a number of times before realizing I was going after the wrong career path. I studied marketing in school because I thought it would lead to a creative career path. After graduating, I assumed that I needed to work in an ad agency to continue my dream. I eventually got a job and it wasn’t a fit for my personality. I also found office politics annoying. So here’s what caused me to stop:
    I stopped listening to my head and went ahead with what my heart was saying. Might sound cliche but my choice feels 100% right.

    I would say that having peace about what I do is important. There’s no point doing something just because.

    • Benny

      Hi Daisy! Thanks so much for your first comment here.

      That’s not a bad cliche. It’s true. Many of us listened to our heads because people tell us this is the path you should take to be successful and happy. When it fact we’re a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. Not going to work.

      I’m glad you’re happier now! Office politics does suck to say the least. What are you working on now that makes you much happier?

  • Ahhh… ‘Continuing to doing meaningless work for money isn’t going to make me happy’ particularly resonates with me…Ive been working in a job I hate but a recent turn of events means that I may have an escape route quicker than I planned. This post is the extra push of inspiration I needed to realise that being unhappy for money so isnt worth it!

    • Benny

      Ooohh an escape route is nice! Lots of people who have left a comment on this post all agree that meaningless work for money is a horrible way to live. Hope you find that escape route soon! Will follow on your blog and Twitter for sure.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Nicole!

  • Hi Benny,
    The extraordinary thing ( based on societal belief) that I did was to leave my high paying job and started working on my own. I am of the opinion that if we want to do something on our own, explore our passion, we should not wait. Yes we should take some good things from ordinary lives but we should always mould them into extraordinary stuff.
    Also we should help our fellow travellers no matter where they come from, what their beliefs are . If they are willing to adopt and see the common cause, I think they are our friends.
    I took this decision and I am still to earn a single $ from last two years but I don’t care as I have met people like you online. That makes me happy.
    I am real live breathing eating drinking human and I confirm and love that 😉

    • Benny

      It’s not easy to leave a high paying job but I’m glad you quit to explore your passion. LIfe is suppose to be happy and exciting. You definitely seem like you made the right choice.

      Yes the internet is a great way to meet like-minded people who share similar goals and outlook on life.

      Thanks so much for sharing Ashvini!

  • Benny,

    My Mom calls me “CRAZY!”.

    Growing up, I lived a regular life. My parents were able to send me in a good private school, buy me nice clothes and give me everything I need.

    But there was something missing, them9my parents).

    My mom worked a 9-5 in a prestigious 5-star hotel here in Manila and it’s very time demanding. She comes home late, so we don’t see each other unless she comes home early for dinner. During her rest days, she spends the whole day resting or worst sometimes do some work.

    All through out my childhood years, I was kid with a mom but I did felt that I had one.(But I still love my Mom because of her hardships of raising us three)

    The reason why I want an extraordinary lifestyle is because I want my kids to grow with a Dad they can tell stories to and have fun with.

    Thank you for the Nice Post!

    Armand Polanski

    • Benny

      Armand, amazing comment man. I understand clearly your motivation for wanting to build a better life. Most of our parents do work hard. They work long hours because they want us to have a better life. I’m sure they wanted to spend more time with us but felt like they didn’t have a choice. Growing up they were taught to work hard no matter what. I believe we want to work smarter. I know we will work hard when it’s needed but not doing that for years and years while missing out on many of life’s pleasures.

      Thank you for sharing Armand!

  • Hi Benny,

    I just want to be a first-rate version of myself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. That’s all, Benny. I am tired of conformity. I grew up listening to people telling me what I should do, what degree I should have, what the best job is, etc. based on other people’s experiences. That ruined my entire my life. I am trying to correct everything now by being first-rate version of myself instead of a second-rate version of someone else.

    • Benny

      HI Mouh,

      I love that first sentence. It’s so true. I thought too that listening to what other people suggested to me was the best thing. It led me to a life where I have things but not happiness. Now I’m turning it around and taking control of the wheel.

      I’m glad you’re taking more control of your life as well! Just make sure you’re doing something everyday towards that goal.

      Thanks Mouh!

  • I loved this article! I have been driven to build a better life since I was 8 years old. I remember the moment clearly when I was standing in my living room being verbally assaulted by my alcoholic step-father and I thought how much I hated my life and decided when I grew up I was going to choose a different life than the life I had been given.

    I didn’t know how I was going to make this better life happen, but I was determined to make it happen. Careful to avoid the unhealthy habits I saw in my family to the best of my ability, I started to seek out alternative ways to think and process and live. I sought knowledge and insight from places of love and compassion, and I was fortunate to discover programs that offered the help I so desperately needed.

    I am in a constant state of awe towards the world around me. I continue to seek loving and compassionate wisdom and truth in life, and I continue to live the best life I can possibly live. I am, and will always be a student of live and love, and I extend my desire to love life from my personal to my work-life to my own blog.

    • Benny

      Hi Chrysta!

      It’s amazing you remember that moment so clearly when you were only 8 years old. It’s great you figured out from a young age you wanted to make a better life and so determined to make it happen. The world needs more people like you to spread love, compassion, and make the world a much better place!

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing Chrysta.

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  • Huge post Benny.

    So.. good question. What cause me to make that shift was realizing that I was not really enjoying the achievement process. I started trying to focus on gratitude as much if not more as achievement, and suddenly achievement started happening faster.. and I was happy as crap along the way.

    I like how your spam prevention thing says “confirm you are a real live breathing human.” Original.

    • Benny

      Thanks for visiting Ryan!

      I’ve been focusing much more on gratitude the past month by writing in a gratitude journal. Did you think it or write it down as well? I’m always looking to see how others have done it.

      That’s great you made the shift and are happier for it!

      Thanks for sharing Ryan!

  • i love the conversation / community you’ve got here 🙂

    i feel like you just described me in this post 🙂

    i left my job november 2009. I haven’t worked since!!

    though, right now i am being faced with some problems/hard decisions.

    i am trying to start a business.. it is slow going with clients. it is really not enough/ barely enough to live on. i have sold my car and this is the last valuable thing i own for more $. i am now starting to consider going back to the office because of this, just to get more money saved and work on my business on the side.. until that can pick up. right now i am just really struggling and the transition to become an “entrepreneur” has not been smooth. i have been avoiding this route for a LONG time. I do NOT want to go back to the office. but i think i have to suck it up in this case… there are times to reject something, and be a ‘rebel’.. but there are also times to reject the rebellion.. basically, live your life in opposites and keep experimenting/experiencing from one idea to the next..

    • Benny

      I’m happy with the community I’ve attracted here.

      Have you read a book called “Book Yourself Solid” by MIchael Port? I haven’t read it but a friend recommended it for people looking to get more clients.

      You took a big step in leaving your job 1.5 years ago! Starting a business is hard because now you’re the boss. You have to do everything. Going back to the office may not be a bad idea but I understand that you don’t want to. At least if you do don’t give up working on getting your business running in your free time.

      I noticed your portfolio but I don’t see any testimonial for any of your work. Are you able to get some? Having testimonials for former clients will help your reputation when potential clients look at your work.

      The work you have done have you asked for referrals? Word of mouth is a great way to get more clients. Have you tried offering your services on Elance or Odesk?

      Just some ideas for you. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Janet!

  • The community you built here is very awesome Benny.

    The point I want to make is that most of the people here had a turning point. Some had it under the certain atmosphere surrounding them, others had it in one specific point.

    I may be one of the few that don’t relate to work but seeing the dream girl walk out the door with the man that was the opposite of me, without being able to really express my own feelings at the right moment was so painful that the only thing I could’ve done was become extraordinary. There was no other alternative.

    But not extraordinary in the greedy self. Being extraordinary for others.

    My whole life and vision is to see social interactions as an artwork. Being able to talk to a stranger, being able to take a chance on asking a girl out, being able to do experiments to show that people don’t bite and are actually polite. Bask in embarrassment, rejection, and awkwardness. It’s maybe a coping mechanism…the only way I could use that pain for positivity instead of wallowing in it.

    I can be extraordinary by leading by example, telling people it’s okay to experience awkwardness and rejection if your intent is genuine.

    • Benny

      Thank you Matt for being part of the community!

      I know what you mean about asking girls out. For so long I’ve had the fear of rejection from girls. I’d just freezing because I wouldn’t know what to say or fear that what I said would be stupid. I’ve tried listening to CD’s, reading about how to overcome it, but it didn’t help. I think what would have helped was to actually start talking to the girls. Not think about hitting a homerun with every interaction. Do it so many times that I wouldn’t care if I got rejected. I can think of so many times where I had a great chance to talk to a girl but I didn’t. Looking back now I wish I would have taken more of those chances. The worst would have been a no. I highly doubt they would have laughed in my face cause I know I’m not creepy. But before I imagined the worst.

      What really changed for me was having confidence in myself. When that happened, I started attracting more girls. I dressed better. I got a stylish haircut. I was in shape. I had friends who I had a good time with. Really changed my attitude and i really believe girls noticed that and that drew them to me. Made it much easier than me having to try and strike up a conversations.

      Ok this turned out to be really long….hahaha. Just having flashbacks when it comes to talking with girls. 🙂

  • You know what actually made me want to enjoy life now? All of the people who are NOT enjoying their life. A few years ago, I was stuck by the idea that I can do whatever I want. I think I might be taking that a little bit to an extreme right now, but it’s what I believe. I don’t think people stop and ask themselves “What do I want?” “What would make me happy today, tomorrow, next month?”
    For me personally, it is more about constant re-evaluation. I am always asking myself if this is what I want. Are there other options that might be more interesting and fun? I struggle with the fear of never being satisfied for more than a few months. It’s hard for me to accept that I might never feel satisfied and ALWAYS finding a new something (place, job, etc) but that isn’t a big enough fear for me to settle into anything for the pure purpose of settling.
    Hmm, Benny, I think you might have just inspired me for a new post!

  • Great post, Benny.

    I just want to keep things simple.

    Contentment is more important to me than money.
    I am most content when I’m with my family.

    So, everything I do benefits my family and allows me to enjoy time with them.

    • Benny

      That’s great motivation there. At least you know what your priority is and can build a business to fit that.

      Thanks for sharing Adam!

  • Benny,

    For me it was really the pursuit of waves more than anything else. I knew that I wanted to be able to surf everyday so much that I was willing to do whatever the hell it takes. The amount of uncertainty I’ve had to endure has been so much it’s been crazy.

    • Benny


      Too many people find a job and then try to fit their lifestyle around it. What you did was determine your lifestyle and designed your business around it. That’s a much better a approach and I believe most of my readers are taking that approach cause the first one sucked for them.

      I’m sure it’s been a crazy ride but your’e still standing on that board riding that wave. Keep it going my friend!

  • I think what drives me to build a better life is having a safe future financially. Love the site and the post!


    • Benny

      Thanks Greg! Safe financial future is a great reason. Keep hustling!

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