Do You Want The Thing, or How You Believe The Thing Will Make You Feel?

Craig Stanland
3 min readMar 7

“He who knows he has enough is rich.”

Lao Tzu

There’s nothing outside of you that will make you feel whole.


A job won’t make you whole.

A partner won’t make you whole.

That shiny new thing won’t make you whole.

Even if you believe one of these, or something else, makes you feel whole — the belief that it makes you whole comes from within.

It’s not the thing. It’s your belief about the thing.

And this is where it gets tricky.

What happens when the thing changes?

You lose your job to a pandemic?

Your partner leaves you. They cheat.

What happens when the shiny new thing is no longer shiny?

When you tie your self-worth and sense of being enough to something outside yourself, you’re outsourcing two of the most important truths you have to something outside your control.

You’re relinquishing your self-image to externals.

I did it in a spectacularly colossal way.

Cars, watches, Michelin-starred restaurants, outrageous wine. Jimmy Choos and Christian Louboutins for my now ex-wife.

After the FBI arrested me, I lost my ability to buy any more of those things, and I lost some of the things themselves.

I lost who I thought I was. I had no worth without those things.

It’s ok to like nice things. I’m not against nice things. Hell, I have a passion for cars; I can’t wait to own a Porsche RS America.

It’s when you allow those things, that job, that spouse, to define who YOU are, when you attach your sense of self to them.

Because when you do that — you’re sending a message to your brain that you’re not enough as is without those things.

True Self-Worth and knowing you’re Enough is an inside job.

They are two components of your inner foundation, and they are cultivated by going within.

Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.