This problem of our modern world eventually leads to the cliched existential crisis of middle age where we wonder what our efforts have really been worth and then buy a sports car anyway.
Now I'm not here to say that we should all down tools or switch to a minimalist way of living (although you should probably try it for a bit), I still think that if we work hard and achieve success that we should be able to enjoy the trappings of this. My argument instead is that we shouldn't be working for these things.
What I'm suggesting is that we connect with something bigger than us, something that will really last. A legacy.
Ask yourself now this question from Xprize founder Peter Diamandis: 'what are you working on that would see you remembered in 200 years?' The answer for most of us is nothing. Nothing, yet.
Whilst thinking about something this big seems overwhelming at first it is a conundrum worth stewing on. The rat race is easy but nothing gets remembered there. You wouldn't be reading this if you weren't interested in pushing beyond that in some way, so take a step back and consider what skills you bring to the table, what are your passions, what are the problems in the world you'd like to see solved? When you can answer these questions you can start to see what your legacy could be.
The simple fact is that we will all leave something when we're gone. We now need to decide what that will be. A body of work that can be built on? An inspiring story? A solution to a problem? Or a second hand car and some bags?