THE BLOG

What Happens When You Quit Caring About Money

06/13/2014 11:23 am ET | Updated Aug 13, 2014

Everyone needs money. We need it to buy food, clothing, shelter, transportation, get medical care and everything else we need to live. That makes it hard to not make money the No. 1 thing in life. When asked, most people would say that money is not the most important thing in life, yet their lifestyle is largely defined by what they do to make money. Colin Wright, of Exile Lifestyle started by defining success around money, but he found something that works better for him.

The "normal" life path
Colin grew up in rural Missouri in a small, midwestern community. After high school, it was time for college. After graduation he got a job in Los Angeles -- a big change from the midwest. A year later, he started a branding studio. He quickly gained a solid client base and was making good money.

Colin describes the lifestyle he found himself in as being about "getting as wealthy as you can" and "having wine parties and knowing exotic cheeses." He was making good money, eating good food, drinking fancy wine and going to clubs three times a week. This was success -- he thought.

But then he said, "Wait a minute, is this it? There has to be more to life."

Redefining success
Colin began to rethink what success meant to him. As long as he could remember, he wanted to travel the world, see new things and get the unbiased perspective that can only come from getting to know people from many different cultures. He wanted to see different perspectives and experience new things. He wanted to learn things he wouldn't even think to ask about.

A big change
Colin closed his branding studio for good and began traveling full-time. But it wasn't just a summer vacation, he traveled to a different country every four months for five years and he's still at it. This has taken him from New Zealand to Bangkok to Iceland. Colin has traveled the world, the whole time meeting people, helping them and taking a genuine interest in them and their cultures.

But what about money?
He still needs money. The approach he's taken is a combination of keeping his living expenses low and creating assets, like businesses, books and investments, that provide passive income. These things he enjoys creating help pay the bills, but he says the most important asset he has is the relationships he has built as he traveled throughout the world.

As a result, he's developed a large network of people who want to see him succeed at whatever he does. Whether he needs investors for a new business venture, advice or just a sofa to crash on, he has a large and worldwide network.

I feel pretty confident that if I decide to become a rodeo clown or some other career trajectory, I could probably get a pretty significant audience to come out and watch for no other reason other than that I've helped them out at some point or they just like the work that I do and they want to see what I'm doing.

Instead of working to earn money all year and taking a vacation for a few weeks, Colin's focus is primarily on his real devotion: writing.

A day without writing for me is a day that I have no idea what to do with myself. I get so miserable anytime I try to take a vacation because that means taking a vacation from stuff that I love doing.

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Are you ready?
While Colin loves his lifestyle, he doesn't recommend it for everyone. He advises that everyone must decide for themselves what type of life they want. What that looks like for you will be very different than what it looks like for Colin. When you redefine success beyond money, you get to decide for yourself what success means to you.

Decide what success means for you. Then decide you deserve to have it.

Above images by Kurt Langer (kurtlanger.com)

Colin Wright's Exile Lifestyle