If You Are Happy, Are You Successful?

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Economists propose ~$75k is the yearly max income for happiness. I would bump this up to ~$250k per year for coastal city residents to account for higher living expenses. Since a lower to middle-class income in San Francisco is equivalent to an upper-class income in middle America or most Sun Belt states, this is a financial precaution to follow.

Whatever the golden target may be, it has to work for you and not become obsessive, rather just a goal. After your basic needs are met and you feel secure, happy, loved, and supported, your happiness will slowly plateau after every materialistic item you buy.

Impossible to believe when you haven’t reached that point yet, but once you get there, it hits you in the head like a brick.

While on the other hand, your internal happiness can grow as high as you dream but you must put in the work for it to last. No one will make you happy and you can’t rely on some car, boyfriend, or GPA to feel satisfied for long.

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Too Much of Everything

I’m sure you can think of successful billionaires or talented artists that have everything but are miserable inside. I can’t even imagine the number of divorces, addictions, suicides, you name it that happens in Hollywood and amongst A-listers each year.

It’s easy to believe with more bling, more ease and as a society, we are still somehow convinced that the grass is greener on the other side despite hearing about the other side through the media all the time.

As a personal finance blogger, this belief about more money = more happiness bugs me more than ever. The truth is, you don’t believe it until you are in it. As a child of immigrants, I have been fortunate enough to live a comfortable lifestyle all my life and have a strong circle of self-made business owners, influencers, and leaders I can look up to for advice. What strikes me most about them isn’t their tenacity, work ethic, soft skills, or ventures, although incredibly impressive, it’s that they are continuously in search of something beyond the net-worth scale since truthfully, it becomes boring after a while to only focus on the dollars. They are the ones that preserve the stealth wealth lifestyle the best and aren’t in search of anything besides more work.

If all you think about is making more, you become warped up in your own disillusioned reality and cannot enjoy life. Out of my circle of acquaintances, mentors, colleagues, neighbors, and advisors, those who I would consider incredibly brilliant, exceptional, and certainly ‘made it’ is never convinced they actually did since they compare themselves to someone better and are in their own bubble. We are all in our own bubble unable to appreciate what we’ve already endured and had when reaching higher. There’s always someone with more and that feeling is only amplified to the max and hardest to break free from at that level.

Once they made ends meet in their early founding days, their goal has always been bigger and beyond the dollar which has also led them to never be satisfied and feel enough losing happiness in the process. They want to mark their legacy and genuinely make the world a better place but along with this drive comes relentlessness, extreme perseverance, at times emptiness, and a lack of satisfaction which can lead to burnout and forgotten happiness. They are battling a battle against themselves and beyond a 9-figure net-worth, they still believe they are not enough despite having everything anyone could dream of.

Possibly too much grit and accomplishment can act as the wrong type of fuel?

Is this true happiness? Perhaps, but for some, it seems like it never came or can come since there is always another milestone to hit. This is a dangerous cycle to be in. As humans, it can be difficult to feel content and enough when we always know in the back of our minds there is always more to do and discover.

Whether or not you would prefer to be in this top 1% situation of never feeling enough and consistently trying to outperform and compete against your past self to the point where it becomes exhausting and or have fewer resources but be more at ease and content is a difficult and arguably impossible choice to make.

We can’t just choose to have more because it always comes with camouflaged downsides and implications that proliferate inside.

That made me wonder why is it so difficult to feel satisfied?

As a student, I have been trained to never feel satisfied and always reach higher. No matter where I go in life I don’t think I’ll ever feel satisfied. I never feel enough anyways due to the comparison game I play with myself. I can and should be happier but the goals I set out for myself are blocking me from reflecting back on the small wins at times. Happiness should come every day, in the small moments not just when I feel satisfied or so-called ‘make it’ since there’s always more I can do.

We should believe we are enough and if we don’t prioritize bliss today, it will only disappear.

It’s easy to believe the ‘make it’ moment will come and life will finally feel settled after a point but it seems to rarely be the case especially at the top.

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Come and Go

Anything that feels nascent and serendipitous will likely make you feel on top of the world at the moment but soon after, possibly a few hours to days later, that feeling of pure happiness will plateau and life will have to move on. One of the greatest annoyances that proliferate in this 21st-century comparison, online shopping, and consumeristic culture is that once one attains something, they will always want more. It’s in your power to accept what you have and be grateful for it today, not succumb to more junk the Joneses across the street flaunt.

Our lives are finite. We only have a short time on earth to achieve and see our capabilities come alive. Wouldn’t you much rather spend this time being happy instead of miserable, irritable, jealous, or obsessed with the latest gadgets that won’t matter tomorrow nor make your life easier in substantial ways? We derive little benefit from the things we frequently purchase and in bulk.

Feed your mind what it deserves. It starts with what you consume mentally and physically. The best gift that pays dividends for a lifetime is investing in yourself and your health. Money is a drug if it replaces the most precious in things in life that don’t have a price tag.

To The Max

Did you know the brain cannot differentiate the reality versus your future? You could be living your best life now and your powerhouse would believe it. Our brains are easily fooled so fool it in the right way by envisioning your ultimate lifestyle today and manifesting what you want.

This process of envisioning your future starts with being grateful for what cannot be replaced and valuing less = more.

Sure the more wealth one has, the more assets, tangibles, properties, gadgets, and stuff they collect but that doesn’t breed more happiness. It leads to more annoyances, staff, responsibilities, taxes, privacy breaches, and hassle. At the end of the day, no one can buy happiness and a less fortunate individual can be easily happier than the richest person alive.

Success is defined by you. For ultimate fulfillment and bliss, I wouldn’t suggest equating success to a net-worth limit in order to stay grounded, sane and humble. If you refuse, good luck.

Realizing earlier than later that happiness is a journey never a destination will keep you sound and never greedy. You won’t automatically become a better person or happier with a higher bank account. You will certainly feel motivated to continue working since something has worked for you to get to this point but rarely satisfied, entrenched in this battle between yourself. In accordance with this, you will also have more pressure on your shoulders to seek past the max happiness income level.

Being happy takes courage, grit, and patience. Those who avoid it, believe it comes from superficial tangibles and not from the small things in life. If you haven’t uncovered this yet, happiness doesn’t come naturally for most people, and being happy 24/7 is unrealistic. But once you can make the best out of every day and train yourself to be appreciative, you will be happy forever.

Gratefulness leads to happiness, not the opposite. Being happy is a choice and will propel your career if you want it to. EQ> IQ is such a vital step in this process as we can choose to devote our energy to ‘fake’ happiness pleasures or the real gifts by practicing activities such as socializing, becoming curious, attempting to understand the other POV, constantly exploring, and staying emotionally stable and self-aware. People want to be around those that make them feel good. We remember people for how they make us feel, not their positions, salary, title, etc. all those external factors that make no difference in the end.

You’ll rarely regret having a smile on your face.

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Your Way

Happiness does not have a one size fits all definition. It may be a fluffed-up term that doesn’t mean anything to some. To me it means being genuine, embracing my emotions, flaws, staying humble, down to earth, and striving to make the best out of every moment of each day.

Don’t take everything so personally or seriously to find lasting happiness. This is just life and money is attracted to those who aren’t replicas of someone else or short-cut addicts.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

And trust me, people don’t remember what you did as much as you want them to . We are all warped up in our own bubbles with the spotlight on us. We’re all just trying to survive and not go into debt with hyperinflation so the least you can do for yourself is to be present, grateful, and prioritize your health at all times.

Whenever I’m feeling down or have some sparks of jealousy, I think back to the saying that “healthy people have a thousand dilemmas and problems, those who are sick have 1 problem.”

Shift your mindset to propel your earnings. It will come if you take care of yourself and look beyond the dollar amount. The quality of your mind is your life.

Act like a sponge, be interested in everything, do not compare or be self-absorbed. Focus on what you can control starting with your mindset and approach to life to allow your earnings to do the hard work behind the scenes.

Hard life = Easy Choices, Easy Choices = Hard Life.

You choose where your happiness comes from and how long it lasts. It’s already inside of you.

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