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What do you want to do with your money? Notice I didn’t ask you what you were supposed to do or what your parents said you should do with your money.

Often times in our quest to create a life that we desire, we somehow find ourselves on a path that looks a lot like the one someone else would have for us. Joining the family business is important to dad, so we go to law school. Mom was married with two kids by 30, and she doesn’t let us forget it. And our friends all have their first homes under their belt and we couldn’t imagine being left behind.

Our desires sometimes get buried by the opinions and even actions of others. In some cases, having money makes it harder to create our ideal lives. Joining the family business or marrying an approved partner overrides everything, especially if your idea doesn’t align with the popular opinion.

If you’re reading this blog, it’s safe to assume that you are tired of settling for the financial status quo in your life. You’ve spend time feeling lost, empty and confused; you have money and money creates opportunities, but you are still uncertain on how to use your money to live the life you want. Or maybe, you’re not sure what exactly that “ideal life” even looks like, let alone how to get there.

As you know very well, it’s not about the money you have. It’s about what you do with it. The best investments in life you will ever make are the ones in yourself: your happiness, your health and your passions. So where exactly should you start making investments? Here are a few fun ideas and exercises to get you started.

Think outside the box
The luxury of having money is that it affords you a little creativity. You don’t absolutely have to do any job that doesn’t appeal to you just to make ends meet. Start looking around your current life and asking open-ended questions about everyday things. Push yourself to be as innovative as possible. Thinking outside “the box” stimulates personal and professional growth.

Take a class
Not something your mom says you should. Or something that you go to just because you’re friends are going. Taking a watercolor painting class or volunteering at the local YMCA probably won’t directly lead you to a specific career. However, tapping into your creative side opens your mind to different possibilities and even open up avenues not available to you before.

Do some soul searching
What was your favorite childhood activity (aside from eating ice cream and catching fireflies!)? Go through old photo albums and check out scrapbooks you made when you were younger. Go through all the different activities you were involved in and write them down on a piece of paper. Then, use some innovative thinking to figure out how to recreate those past loves as an adult. So what are you passionate about?

Be grateful
When we are having feelings of inadequacy in one area of our life, we may begin to view other things from a negative lens. When this happens, force yourself to look at the good people and things in your life with eternal gratefulness. Focus on a different type of abundance; look for things in life that fill you with happiness and instill peace. Being genuinely grateful for the mass abundance you already posses opens the door for more abundance to flood every area of your life.

Having money doesn’t automatically assume happiness. You earned the money you have through hard work, sacrifice and dedication. Now, take the time to do the same thing in your personal life. Cultivate creativity in every way you can, don’t shy away from trying new things and be grateful even when you’re don’t feel it. Creating the life you desire is absolutely possible; you simply have to choose it.

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