• Laura Curta

A Good Life: on your own terms & conditions

I have a beef with the personal- development books that claim that one can achieve absolutely everything: you can be a millionaire if you want it hard enough and work your a** off, you can travel the world anytime, you can become an influencer, etc. The secret? You have to want it a lot (like… dream about it), and you have to be willing to put in work (the titanic, no excuses, die trying work). That's that. Also... you can't possibly pass these kinds of opportunities...else...


Let me tell you a story: I was in the 11th grade (about 10-12 years ago). My parents found out that studying in Scandinavian countries is free. They were so enthusiastic! “Laura, you must go and study there! It’s free! You can’t miss this chance!”. They wanted the best education for me, and I wanted the same, but I had to also bring to their attention the tiny writing of this “free education” situation. Someone had to pay for the roof over my head. Someone had to pay for me to go there. Someone had to pay for my food. Someone had to pay for books, and someone had to pay for all the application procedures. And we couldn’t afford it. Not even temporary, until I would get a job.


I went on to study in my home country, at one of the best universities… I took the second-best road… Or maybe it was the best road in my circumstances?


My point is… The world is big, and of course, there is all kind of possibilities. All the while, we forget that to go anywhere, we must start from somewhere and do the best with what we have, where we are.


“Dream big, but be realistic”, I say to my clients.


Not everyone will or can become a millionaire.

Not everyone will or can become a model.

Not everyone will or can run their own business and be terribly successful at it.

Not everyone will or can have the perfect family.


But because social media shows us only the put-together people, because of books titled “How you can become a millionaire just like me” (just follow these steps and be willing to put in about 3-5 years of work and you should be set!) or because of other carefully curated trends, most of us end up feeling like we live life wrong. Or there’s something wrong with us if we do not aim so high!


Better go small and slow but steady.

So many times I used to wonder what would have happened if I were to somehow find ways of getting into a Scandinavian university… Did I give up too early? Did I lack ambition? Should I have fought harder for this? Think of this in the context in which, at that time, studying abroad and being OK with even the most miserable conditions was admirable, was The thing, as long as you could say that you lived and studied abroad.


I felt immense gratitude towards Jen Sincero, an excellent writer who talked about mindset, and in her book, “You are a badass at making money”, right in the first chapter, she made it clear: rich means what you want it to mean.


If we take our time to put a definition near these often used but terribly neglected words, we might actually reach our goals… without feeling that we must breathe, eat and dream them.


What does a good life mean to you?

What does a good education mean to you?

When will you consider yourself rich?

What does a good relationship mean to you?


I want you to know that there are no opportunities and goals you must reach.

There are only goals that you set and are your goals, and opportunities relevant to you in the context of the life you live right now.


Better go small and slow but steady than big and go straight towards a wall of disappointment or frustration… or burnout. And this is valid in all areas of life, not only money.


There are only goals that you set and are your goals, and opportunities relevant to you in the context of the life you live right now.

Here is a short list of books I think do the right thing for the reader: they do not promise success, wealth and peace of mind, but they challenge you to think about what success, wealth and peace of mind mean to you and how you might be able to reach that:

  • Jen Sincero, You are a badass at making money

  • Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  • Marie Forleo, Everything is figureoutable

So… what does a good life mean to you?