Discovering Happiness Through Culture

When searching for happiness, look no further than the culture of the world around you

June 26, 2011

One of my favorite music artists is Lowen & Navarro. They write and perform inspiring and emotionally charged music. In their song, “Learning to Fall” they sing “I have been rich as a king and had nothing at all.” The same is true for me. I grew up with very little and have been fortunate to have achieved some success in business.

That being said, some of the happiest times I can remember were when I had the least amount of money. Conversely some of the unhappiest times I have had occurred when I had the most money. That isn’t true for all people but it is a lesson that money doesn’t equal happiness but happiness can equal financial security.

The irony to that statement is perception is a matter of perspective. If you haven’t experienced both sides of the story there is no way to know what having money or not having it feels like. Those who have experienced having money and not having money have a unique experience upon which to draw. Money can mask painful areas of our lives, but it cannot buy the happiness we all seek from within ourselves.

“Money can mask painful areas of our lives, but it cannot buy the happiness we all seek from within ourselves.”

Money affords us the things we “want” and the freedom to do what we want to do. What it cannot buy is happiness with our selves. I know a lot of wealthy people who are unhappy, sad, depressed, angry, and/or unfulfilled. Money and what money can buy can serve as a Band-Aid for some of our pain, but at some point we are forced to face ourselves and do the hard work.

That includes reading books about why we think and feel the way we do as well as open and honest communication with our friends and loved ones about our feelings, likes and dislikes, therapy, self-awareness training. Taking an honest look at our thoughts and feelings can be painful and difficult. But becoming more self-aware and understanding why we think and feel the way we do can be the key that unlocks the happiness we have searched a lifetime for.

A study of these areas is required to become aware of the root of the things that cause us pain and how we can become more aware and maybe even grow through and eventually past it. Wisdom can be found in something as benign as an Alanis Morissette lyric: “The only way out is through.” We must face the truth of our thoughts and feelings and WHY we think and feel the way we do in order to find the happiness we are seeking. The “why” is necessary to understanding and thus being able to move forward with a happy life.

I have had over 1,000 employees in my career. I can say unequivocally that the most productive employees I have had have also been the people who experienced happy lives. When I hire employees, I am interviewing them to determine their technical aptitude but am also looking to learn if they are happy. Happy employees are often hard-working and loyal employees.

“I have had over 1,000 employees in my career. I can say unequivocally that the most productive employees I have had have also been the people who experienced happy lives.”

Happiness comes from inside of each one of us and not from the “stuff” we have. It is built through grace, love, friendship, mental, and physical health and by surrounding ourselves with people who believe in us and our vision. I refer to those people as ambassadors of hope. For the majority of us, happiness comes from the people we surround ourselves with – not money and material possessions.

That being said, if we can achieve inner peace and be able to focus clearly on our careers, then we have the foundation in our lives to help us to maximize our financial potential.

Finally, we cannot chase money in hopes of finding happiness. Instead focus on the people and things that bring you joy, and success will follow. Find something you love doing and do it with commitment, hard work, consistency, passion, and love. If you are fortunate, you will never have to “work” a day in your life. Do what you love doing and money will follow.

In the end, money doesn’t equate to happiness. But finding happiness can equate to earning a lot of money.

Good luck on your journey!

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