An underlying theme to all my content is what I liked to call TRUE SUCCESS.
True success is having a life where you don’t have to worry about money and you are truly fulfilled, engaged, and happy with your work and lifestyle.
This is NOT about money in order to buy fancy cars or a second mansion.
It’s so important to my message because I see it as an epidemic problem with Western, and now Eastern, culture and society:
Tens of millions of people believe money, fame, reputation, awards, and women will make you feel successful, happy, remove depression, and fulfilled.
This is FALSE.
I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to delay your happiness until you achieve some materialistic goal because that goal won’t necessarily bring you happiness. It may bring temporarily pleasure and joy, but that feeling won’t last.
I’m going to even go as far as to claim that you don’t need a job that you love to be happy. I used to believe you needed a job that you’re passionate about to be happy, but my life experiences and encounters with others have taught me otherwise. Heck, most people aren’t thrilled with their jobs and they get by. (I’ll elaborate on my arguments later).
I hope this article will save you years of heartache. I wish my younger self would’ve read this since it would’ve saved him years of causing himself unhappiness because of a false belief that he needed to reach a certain level before he could be happy.
Tons of A-list celebrities and millionaires come out every year and say how they found that nothing changed even when they got their success.
As I write this, Justin Kan, founder of Twitch, recently released his own video about the same misperceptions and mistakes he’s made about happiness and wealth.
And yet this is lost in the wind because no one listens to this stuff.
I did a 40 minute lecture on this topic. There’s numerous clips of A-list, modern day, top of the pile celebrities who voice these opinions. This includes J. Cole, Jay Z, Russell Brand, Instagram model Essena o’Neil, and Cara Delevingne. Notable timestamps in the video include 3:05, 3:50, and 38:21.
Here are the some reasons why money and fame won’t guarantee a change in your happiness and why you can find happiness now rather than delay happiness.
Some Poor People are the Happiest People I Know
If you haven’t read this article, it’ll warm your heart: Little Girl Gives Her Hero Garbage Man A Cupcake, Melts All Our Hearts
The summary is that a 3-year old girl is delighted by his weekly garbage man’s visits. She waits outside every week and gives him a cupcake for his birthday. The garbage man is all smiles. He buys a bunch of toys for her the following week. They keep in touch. She creates a thank you sign for him when he comes around the following week.
I don’t know this man’s life or how happy he generally is on a daily basis. Let’s not focus on the details. The point I’m trying to bring up is that this is one of many examples of people I’ve encountered in my life who seemed very happy and so generous despite making a modest salary.
I remember working a food and dining waiter/busser job that was super monotonous. I hated the monotonous 8-hour shifts that were so mind-numbing at times. Yet there were some warm, magical moments. Some of my coworkers were just naturally happy people. Sure, they weren’t thrilled or excited about their work either, but we created moments of laughter, fun, and happiness on occasion.
So, if they can be happy now without all that wealth, why should I have to delay my happiness for X amount of decades at the chance that I may get rich one day, and only then, can I be happy?
Hedonic Adaptation Is Real
There’s a scientific concept called hedonic adaptation that has proven to appear across all ethnic groups in the world through hundreds of studies.
This is what it is:
The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.
What’s this mean in simple terms?
Things like a new sports car, a 2nd mansion, a gourmet meal, a bigger boat, or more hot women.. You will get used to them quickly and take them for granted.
This is why, on average, based on studies, people who win the lottery or lose their legs in an accident return to the same level of happiness a year later.
I say, on average, because there are people who stay happy or depressed.
Let’s speak the truth: money has some level of influence, but not in the way you think. Having the ability to pay for your rent, your food, and your family member when they are sick are incredibly better than starving or watching your mother die.
Developing Strong Relationships Works Better
I go into great detail in my other content on what you can do to actually increase long-term happiness, which will then ripple out into success in other areas of your life.
But here’s a page from the book Social by Matt Leiberman to show you how strong relationships work better than cars.
3. Happiness Causes Success, Rather Than The Other Way Around
“For most people, the assumption seems to be that the more money you have in the bank, the happier you’ll be – that success has some straightline correlation with happiness. While nobody is likely to argue that being penniless might not detract from one’s joie de vivre, according to recent research, happiness actually fuels success, not the other way around.” -Richard Branson, from the book The Virgin Way
There’s plenty of rich people who are still depressed.
Money alone cannot guarantee success.
I recommend reading 2 books both written by billionaires that assert this point (Ted Leonsis & Richard Branson): The Business of Happiness and The Virgin Way
Happiness Increases Every Area Of Life and Vice Versa
The book The Happiness Advantage examined 200 scientific studies on 275,000 people and found that happiness lead to success in every domain of life: marriage, health, creativity, cancer, friendship, business, and so on. They found that if you get happiness first, success will follow. Rather than the other way around.
If you want extensive detail on this, see my article The Cyclic Effect. It took me days to write.
I recommend reading the Happiness Advantage and The How of Happiness for extensive scientific evidence.
A Job You’re Passionate About Is a Privilege To Work For, Not A Right
I’ve struggled and worked to find a career I’m passionate about. Through those years, I’ve realized from my experience and others, that finding that job is a journey, a struggle, a privilege, and something you uncover through trial and error. A select few are lucky enough to find it early.
But others have to work hard to acquire the skills, test out what they think they like, and do their research and networking to figure out what they need to do to get there, even if it requires stepping stone jobs or jobs they thought they’d like but don’t.
The younger generation need to discard the idea of “a job I love should just fall in my lap because I deserve it.” By adopting the hustler’s mindset of “I don’t deserve anything. Let me earn it,” you’ll have a better shot at getting there.
But in the meantime, realize that many are still working towards getting there. And some, unfortunately, have given up or taken indefinite pauses because they have a family or livelihood they have to keep up, and they’re taking what they can get. The beauty is that some of these people are still happy despite not having a job they’re thrilled with. You don’t need to delay your happiness because you’re not there yet. I definitely made the mistake of doing so and caused myself unnecessary suffering because I believed I needed to find a job I’m passionate about, and until I did, I had to be miserable. Not true!