When I wrote this back in December, 2012 I had a lot less money than I do now. I lived on the floor of a 300 square foot apartment, and didn’t even have a savings account. That said, I was pretty darn happy. I loved going to work every day and that positive attitude is what set me up for much greater financial success later.
When you’re happy and well-adjusted, you make better decisions and you’re more open to opportunities which later lead to more money. For more on that chain of events, check out The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman.
One of the funniest things I’ve noticed in our society is the disconnect between happiness and material wealth. The common myth states that by making more money, one can become happier. By making more money, one won’t worry about physical health. By making more money, one will be able to buy the things he wants. By making more money, one’s fears will simply melt away.
That’s a Lie, and Even Though We Know It, We Ignore It
Modern society tells us that money = happiness. “I’d be happy if I were as rich as Paris Hilton,” or “I’d be happy if I had Anthony Bourdain’s job,” or “I’d be happy if I were as successful as Warren Buffet,” are some of the most common excuses I hear from those who sulk to their job every day, casually looking for an excuse to get out.
I’ve got news though; none of those pursuits will make you happy alone. Anyone who’s done 10 minutes of research on what makes people truly happy, will find that money doesn’t make a bit of difference. Once your basic needs are met, any excess income goes towards a shallow desire to accumulate more stuff.
This is the first step in a never-ending treadmill of mediocrity. Great people didn’t achieve greatness purely because they sought a higher salary; they pursued something that they loved to do. In other words, even if you had more stuff than every other person in the world, you still might not be happy, and let’s be honest, how unrealistic is it that you will become the wealthiest person in the world?
Pursue What You Love; Pursue Happiness
People across the world inadvertently live lives full of happiness without ever thinking about the kinds of material wealth that we have in America. Look at the happiest countries in the world, and you’ll see that the people are making a solid living, but they also don’t attribute their satisfaction to a need for more wealth. In fact, the richest in most of those countries give much of their money up in taxes to help others in their community. The truth is that people with the time to balance the work they have to do with the things they want to do are the happiest.
Pursue a field or way of life that allows you to meet your minimum basic needs for survival while doing something that you are truly passionate about. Going for the highest paying job in the best market with the best training will keep you on the treadmill of “what’s next?” but making your life revolve around your passion will allow you a chance to really thrive.