The Rational Pursuit of Happiness

Money Doesn't Bring HappinessThis morning as I was skipping through my inbox looking for lists to unsubscribe from, I ran across my Monday Morning Memo from Alan Weiss.  I enjoy Alan’s “no b.s.” approach, so I took a minute to read what was on his mind this morning.  I’m glad I did – it was a good reminder – and I wanted to share it.

“Our goal should be to build and sustain the kind of lifestyle we cherish, not to merely make as much money as we can….  TIAABB:  There is Always a Bigger Boat – don’t allow “yacht envy” to rule your life.

“Getting comfortable in your own skin” doesn’t mean the constant pursuit of money.  but rather the rational pursuit of happiness.  That differs for all of us, but for none of us is it merely a large bank account.  I’ve met quite a few rich,  unhappy people.”

I’ve lived on both sides of that fence:  with very little and way too many bills at the end of my month, and then with relative plenty and the ability to fulfill all of my needs and many, many of my wants (although admittedly, a yacht has never been on that list).   Aside from the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when I was unable to pay my bills on time, happiness could be found on both sides of that fence.  I had only to focus on all the things I had to be thankful for.  And there are many, many things on that list – most of which have nothing to do with money.

If you haven’t seen the Happy movie, I highly recommend it.  The director takes a look at what happiness means – and what causes it – in a variety of living situations from around the world and from a variety of happiness researchers.  One of the ironies that stuck with me from that movie was the fact that so many people interviewed professed to believe that happiness comes from money.  Yet, research had shown that as long as you had “enough” money for the basic necessities in life such as food, housing, and clothing, happiness did not increase proportionately with the size of your bank account.  (of course, I’m paraphrasing – it’s been some time since I watched the movie, but I know you will recognize it when you see it yourself).

So why am I rambling about money and lifestyle this morning?  I think it’s an important consideration in your outsourcing strategy.  I don’t believe that happiness is to be found by outsourcing everything that you can, only to continue to work long hours in the pursuit of more money.  It’s my hope that your outsourcing strategy will build in some of the freedom and time that allows you to rationally pursue real happiness, too:  time spent with loved ones, enjoying the outdoors, traveling, reading a book (for fun), or just simply doing nothing at all…

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