Everyone thinks they know what they need to be happy. During my college years I was convinced the solution would be making A LOT of money. I had visions of yachts and flying to different cities just to grab lunch. I’m not sure why I was so focused on money. It just seemed like at that age, money was an easy answer to most problems.
Bored? Buy something.
Want respect? Money can bring that.
Meeting girls? Money can’t hurt.
Because of that, I based my early career decisions only on opportunities that could end up making A LOT of money. Some of those choices led me to be incredibly depressed, because I hated the work I was doing, but the lure of money kept me there.
During one job I finally hit a breaking point where I decided that no amount of money was worth feeling this way, and it was one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned.
From then on I focused on being happy first and making money second.
So what has actually brought me happiness?
Loving my Work
This one seems obvious, but I still had to mention it. When something goes wrong, or extra work gets thrown on my plate, I’m happy to take it on. Many time’s I’m actually the one adding more work to my already full plate. I’ll work early in the morning until 10pm at night with a grin on my face the whole time. I know it’s a cliche, but it is really true that if you love the work you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Have Freedom of When and Where I Work
This one was less obvious to me, but it has a massive impact on my happiness. By being able to work whenever and wherever I want means I can work during the times in the day when I’m most productive and take breaks whenever I’m mentally worn out. Being able to adjust your work flow to how you’re feeling means you can fit work into your life much more seamlessly.
I’ll take off weekdays to go play with my son, and I also regularly work through the weekend. It takes away the whole work/play separation, and in my experience, that’s been a good thing.
Once I had kids, this became even more important. Being able to spend time with my kids during the day has made our bond that much stronger and me that much happier.
Working with My Wife
I’m sure there are plenty of people who have had a different experience, but I love working with my wife. We’re not always working on the same projects, but simply being around each other so much has made us so much closer. There’s not a lot to talk about when dinner comes around considering we barely leave each others side, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So What’s the Key to Happiness?
There are so many different types of jobs and too often people weigh them against each other based primarily on the money each pays. When it comes to money, you often need a lot less than you think to be happy. If you truly want to be happy, there are so many more factors that play a much bigger role. Figure out what’s important to you and stop at nothing to make it happen! It’s worth it.
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