“Making money isn’t hard in itself… What’s hard is to earn it doing something worth devoting one’s life to.”
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
In the past 12 months I have made well into 6-figures.
But this is still not good enough.
I’m not saying this to brag but instead I’m writing this to make a point. We all continually get worked up in the world of ‘money is everything‘.
Depending on your circumstances, you may feel that earning 6-figures is a lot of money and it would make you incredibly happy to be earning this much each year. On the other hand, you might be earning more than this and feel that 6-figures is not enough to allow you to achieve the things you want to do. Either way, it’s not actually about the money.
When you break down how my income was earned over the past 12 months, the majority of it was earned through salary or related work income. The other smaller portion has come from passive income through investments in shares and real estate.
How much money did I make from The Start of Happiness? A bit… We only started towards the end of last year (1st birthday coming up soon!) and I don’t intend from profiting from the cause, rather, I’m using this as a platform to help and connect people worldwide. Although the Change Your Life course has been a huge success, 100% of the profits have been put back into The Start of Happiness for making it bigger and better for you guys. I’ve even got videos coming your way and potentially some redesign elements. But more on that another time 🙂
So, does making money really lead to happiness?
The answer to that is really “well yes, and no”.
Does Money Lead to Happiness?
Money can lead to happiness.
We explored this in an earlier post titled Money Can’t Buy You Happiness, But Happiness Can Get You Money!
With money, you have more options. You have more choice in what you can do with your time and energy. When you are out for dinner, you can decide to go to the super-expensive restaurant and pick the most expensive meal without feeling guilty. When you are buying a new car, you are able to get the one that you have always dreamed of – brand new, in black and with all the bells and whistles you have ever dreamed of. When you need a break, why not go on that holiday to Fiji that you have always been dreaming? You have the money.
Does earning 6-figures per year enable me to do the above? Well, I could, however the opportunity cost of what else I could spend the money on is huge, so why would I? I still eat on the cheap, I bought a second-hand car and I often opt for shorter, cheaper ‘mini-holidays’.
Spending money on more expensive items now is simply a form of short-term, instant gratification. Longer-term, delayed gratification can result in greater happiness.
And do you remember our Happiness vs Income graph?
It’s a simple graph I developed in Excel, however it’s based on the work of Daniel Kahneman – a thought-leader in psychology.
Why Earning 6-Figures is Just Not Good Enough
We know that earning 6-figures a year has absolutely no difference on levels of happiness when compared to earning $60k a year. So even though it’s significantly higher, why is it just not good enough?
It’s not good enough because of the method of sourcing that income and the way that time is spent. As I mentioned up front, the majority of my income is through salary and other work related income. What comes with earning a salary and other work related income? A lot of office politics, paperwork and things that you generally do not want to do.
Now I’m lucky in that I actually do enjoy what I do. MOST of it. However as with all jobs, there are certain aspects that I do not enjoy. The main thing that bothers me is the time and effort I need to put in with a ‘static’ income. My role is not your typical 9 – 5 day-job with periods of down-time. I’m constantly going at 110% capacity, responsible for managing a magnitude of service providers, contracts and processes for training, learning and development as well as a tonne of other areas of HR across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands.
I’ve seen so many people reach such high and ridiculous incomes but look miserable on a daily basis. Is this what we really want in life?
The question is how can I spend more time doing just the things I love? And the second question is how can I get rewarded to the level of my output, rather than just having a static income?
Well, it all sounds a little entrepreneurial.
And it is…
Being an entrepreneur is about taking a risk. It’s the same as living your best life… it’s about taking a risk. It’s about taking that chance to make your dream a reality.
Time is the most valuable resource we have. If we’re not spending the majority of our time doing what we love then what are we really doing to ourselves?
If you’re not waking up each day energised and excited by what you do, then you need to ask yourself the question why?
Earning 6-figures can be amazing… but it’s only amazing if it’s earned by spending your time doing the things you love.
And that’s why earning 6-figures a year is just not good enough.
For the Comments
Do you get caught up in the trap of money is everything?
What do you do to overcome this?
To what extent would you trade off money for happiness?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
I agree with this. You need to find out what you really love and dedicate your life to it. Its about being happy while taking the journey. I know a few people who are not really excited about what they do but the pay is good. Does not make any sense to be a slave to a piece of paper. Napoleon Hill on the Law Of Success even states that you will do best doing what you love. Great post.
I was (still am) taking part in the quest for “Self-actualization”. The goal of that quest unfortunately – was never relieved to me. My dad was very rich when I as young and I figured the goal was quite as simple as the bumper stickers on many cars I had seen as a child – “He who dies with the most toys wins”. This however, this is so very untrue. I have a plethora of toys, a large home, and a decent salary. I still have not quite reached that “Self-actualization” that I had once believed was from riches. As a christian, I need to focus inward to find peace and replace my goal with more non tangible items such as family, friends, and love.
Great input… with so many millionaires and billionaires in the world, why don’t they retire? They don’t need the extra money. They do what they do because they are doing what they love and are serving society in some shape or form.
It’s this inner desire to what we love that makes us truly happy.
I wish you all the best on your journey of self-actualisation… I’m sure it’s going to happen! I’m still on mu path too 🙂
All very true. Been there, done that. I’ve made 6-figures from a business I wasn’t passionate about and it was miserable. In fact, sometimes the paycheck is really hard to walk away from and makes you even more miserable once you realize you’re hooked on it like a drug.
You’re totally right… sometimes you get ‘trapped’ because of the money.
The amount of people I have seen earning ridiculous sums… but hate what they do… is this really where you want to end up?
This is one of my favorite subjects Brendan! I was lucky enough to be involved in a research project a few years ago looking at the latest research into happiness and guess what? Money does NOT make people happy – but lack of money can certainly make us unhappy.
Lack of money – being in ‘survival’ mode for basics like food, shelter, essential freedoms etc. has a powerful negative impact on a person’s health and well-being. But once people reach a certain standard of income (around £40K pa) then happiness levels off. Anything earned above that has little impact on happiness – apart from whether the money is spent on experiences or material goods.
The lesson – spend your money on experiences with other people and don’t worry about getting the latest gadget, car or clothing. it’s the experiences and freedom money gives us that leads to a happiness boost.
Oh, and stop comparing your lifestyle with other people’s – the ‘keeping up with the Jones’ mindset leads to a feeling of lack and inadequacy.
That’s awesome that you did a research paper on this! It’s interesting that your research shows a similar level of income to maintain a level of happiness which covers the basic ‘needs’. It’s good to know that this is consistent!
I love your lesson… it’s about the experiences and the people that we share our lives with that make us truly happy.
I think we all get caught up in the ‘keeping up with the jones’ mindset… and in a way we kind of have to to stay up to date with the latest technologies and the way the world works…. or do we? 🙂
It seems that only when we stop focusing on just money but excellence and meaning instead, do we truly gain breakthrough in money making.
You got that right!
Money can be the root of all evil 🙂 When you follow your heart and your passion, the money will follow. But not only that, so will your happiness, success and your overall wellbeing.
I love hearing this! This is exactly what it’s about. .. congratulations for making the jump and giving yourself the chance to live your best life. As they say, if you do what you love the money will follow.
Agree 100%. I quit my decent-paying job earlier this month to focus on work I love–writing, editing, and other entrepreneurial endeavors. I knew that no amount of money the company could offer me would be enough to make me stay in that job. Now my finances are tight even with a (financially and emotionally) supportive husband, but I feel so much better already.