If you have read some of my blog or heard me speak, you probably already know I am a huge Gary Vee fan. I love his authenticity, his unique style, and most of all his message. He is a very successful entrepreneur who is using his platform to help redefine what we are striving for. He is very clear about his thoughts on chasing the dollar bills, and the sacrifice many make with the assumption that they will “make it” at some point and be happy.
The reality is that many people will never make it to millionaire status, or create a successful business, and that is just fine. The goal should be HAPPINESS not money. The example he refers to frequently is having a friend that makes $47K a year, plays in two soccer leagues, goes on a family vacation once a year, and they are extremely happy. The flip side of that are some of the people he knows from his Silicon Valley days that have a hundred million in the bank and are lonely and miserable. Being rich buys you better toys, but it does not fill the void that an absence of happiness has in your life. Too many people get stuck on the treadmill of “more and bigger and better” and the purchases they make, large or small, continue to trap them in the vortex they are already caught in. But I think the more people you ask and get an honest answer from, the more you would hear that there is just very little correlation between money and happiness.
As much as I love my day job, it does not define me as a person. It is something I do. If I was going to identify with a job that really encapsulates who I am and what I have to offer, it would be my “job” of Head Racquetball Coach at ASU. I put “job” in quotes because I do not get paid for this, but it is a weekly commitment as far as the University is concerned. I am available to my team basically 24/7, although rarely do I get a call from someone at two in the morning. That “job” has been the most personally rewarding thing I have done in my life, far more than my own career as a Pro Racquetball Player, and certainly head and shoulders above any day job I have had. Depending on which measuring stick you use, I am “rich” beyond belief from this “job”.
Yes, a certain amount of money does make a big difference in your life. A study from Princeton University pegged the tipping point at $75,000 household income to be the sweet spot where the bill collectors are kept at bay, you have a decent home and car, and you can provide afford a few niceties like a family vacation. One thing that seemed to be clear in that study was the fact that making $150,000 did not by any means double your happiness level. When you think about it, the real thing most people want out of making more money is actually the freedom that they assume comes with it. However, taking a position farther up the food chain at your company usually means MORE time, MORE responsibility, MORE hours, MORE stress and not less of all four like was the intended goal. It is is counterproductive to chase the dollars if what you are really seeking is freedom.
Tim Ferriss, who I am also a big fan of, really hit the radar for many people with his book entitled The Four Hour Work Week. It was a best seller for many, many weeks and was for him the catalyst to super stardom, at least in some circles. His whole book premise was built around this same idea to a degree. He learned this the hard way, as he was running a company that he built up to be a global distributor for a nootropic product. By global, I mean 16 hours a day, seven days a week kind of workload. On the verge of collapse, he finally was almost forced to take a vacation out of sheer necessity. Long story short, he took a week off with the intent of recovering, even at the expense of clients and sales. What he found was that by making a few simple changes, and empowering one person to solve problems that could be fixed for less than $500 without consulting him, he relieved himself of an ENORMOUS amount of time, stress, hours and responsibility. What started out as a week long trip turned into 18 MONTHS(!) of time on the road, traveling around the world. I highly encourage you to learn more about his incredible story, and follow at least a small portion of his lead.
I have always been willing to trade time for money, and maybe to a fault by some definitions. I was a racquetball bum until I was 30 before I ever got a “real job”. When I did, I worked in a job that I really loved, but it didn’t pay well enough. I moved on to medical sales, and got lucky to get into this field through a racquetball connection. While this job was really cool, I was working 70+ hours a week and basically did nothing else. There was no balance at all. Now I am working in a job that that does offer both good pay and a lot of flexibility and free time. Due to the COVID19 situation, I have been able to really fine tune the work/life balance, or dare I say LIFE / WORK Balance. I love the idea of work from ANYWHERE and plan to really push that to the limits that my employer will allow. To strengthen my case, I have been fortunate to have closed two huge deals in the recent months, so clearly my current approach to work is proving to be very effective.
The takeaways from this post would be as follows:
–Don’t chase money…chase HAPPINESS
–Find a job you that allows you to live a life and pay your bills
–Redefine what you find important when needed. Is a bigger house needed, or just
wanted? Would you be better off traveling more and staying in the same home?
–You are not entering uncharted waters. Others have laid a trail of breadcrumbs for you
to follow, and you can learn a lot from those who have already blazed this trail.