Sorry… money won’t make you happy
Have you ever caught yourself thinking that everything will be so much better “if I get that pay rise”?
Or “if I land that job with the bigger pay cheque”.
Or “when I have a net worth of X”?
Honestly, most of us have at one point or another. We’re wired that way, to believe that if we were slimmer, more attractive, had more money, had a nicer house or a nicer car, that life would so much better for us than it is presently.
The problem with this thinking is that it is complete B.S.
Happiness starts and ends within.
Money itself is meaningless.
Where we’re reading this right now wouldn’t change if a bunch of zeros were added onto our bank balance. The only thing that would change is that number on the screen. (And yes, we could go out and buy a bunch of sh*t. But is that really going to change our level of internal happiness and state of mind? No.).
Money, and even ‘stuff’ for the most part isn’t what brings us happiness. Having money and building wealth for the sake of it certainly isn’t what brings us happiness. Money is meaningless until we spend the time to dig deep and put meaning behind it.
There are three keys ways we can put meaning behind our money, and ensure that as our wealth does incrementally grow, our sense of fulfilment and happiness increases alongside it.
1. Develop a grateful mindset
Letting go of the fact that we are not in control of what happens to us, only the way in which we respond to what happens to us, is one of the most personally powerful discoveries we can make as humans.
Everyday bad things happen (ranging from small frustrations and annoyances to serious abuse or loss). This is an inevitable fact of life. Likewise, everyday good things happen too. Even on the worst of worst days, we can find solace and gratitude in a sunrise, a simple cup of tea or a warm hug.
Practicing gratitude is not about being happy all the time. It’s about anchoring ourselves in a place of gratitude and appreciation that helps us to move through the ups and downs of life in a more fluid way.
It also does make us happier.
I have been writing down my daily gratitude for years. I have several friends I share it with each day over a text or Facebook message. It keeps us all doing it regularly. What I have noticed though is that my default mindset now is a more positive one, and I don’t moan, complain or bitch like I once did.
In fact, I rarely do. It feels foreign and uncomfortable now when I am around people who engage in that kind of conversation. I also feel very content. My life is a blessing and I spend time thinking about that fact every single day! But most of the things I love about my life are simple things that would exist irrespective of my financial position.
2. Live in alignment with our values
Our core values are at the heart of who we are as people. They are not aspirational or who we want to be at some stage in the future… They are who we are now.
Going through the process of identifying our core values gives us a deep sense of who we really are and how we want to live our lives. They can be used then to help us make decisions with confidence. They help move us toward and away from situations or people based on the alignment with our own values.
In our Goals and Values session for new WE members, we spend significant time exploring, identifying and framing up our member’s core values. Our values become the framework for identifying our goals and purpose in life, and how we need to build our wealth in order to match that. Oftentimes we can set goals or head in a direction in life because it’s what everyone else is doing.
As a society, there is a lot of pressure to do what other people are doing. However, identifying our personal values before setting our life goals and purpose ensure that the goals we set are for us, and will provide us with fulfilment and happiness.
3. Build wealth for our goals
With our list of core values on hand, thinking about what we want our lives to look like becomes easier.
Forgetting about what we ‘should‘ be doing, we can start to list out how we want our lives to be down the track when we want each of these goals and, (most importantly) what financial resources we will need available in order to fulfil these goals.
For example, one of my core values is ‘travel and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
I get enormous satisfaction and fulfilment from discovering places, people and events that are different to me and my life. As you can imagine I have certain goals in this area that I save for. Over the long term I want to build a passive income base that allows me to spend a fixed amount of money each year on these kinds of adventures. I also value flexibility, freedom and change. I’ve lived in a different house (in various cities the world over) every year since I left home at 18.
Society says by my age I should ‘settle down’ with a house I’m paying off and a couple of kids. If I did this, I would be miserable because I get bored staying in the same place for too long. Likewise, someone whose value might be stability and homeliness or similar, would HATE my life!
One thing I reflect upon and appreciate every single day is that as millennials growing up in Australia we have been raised in (probably) the best time in human history. Irrespective, and certainly not dismissive of personal challenges we may have faced growing up, by and large we have been blessed to grow up in an abundant time. We have food and shelter, and safety and opportunity. Our basic needs are met. Most of our wants and desires are met. We have space to actually think about how we can evolve and be happier, better people, and push ourselves to get the most out of ourselves and our lives.
That alone is a reason to be happy.
TAKE SOME ACTION!
I was inspired to write this article after reading What Happy People Know by Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth which I highly recommend you read.
Also, if you’re interested in exploring WE membership, and learning more about our Goals & Values process, book in for a FREE 1 hour Financial Possibilities session either online, or with one of our qualified Financial Coaches in Melbourne or Sydney.
Disclaimer: all information contained within this article is of a general nature. Do not rely upon it when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.