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Better Yet, Empowerment and Fulfillment!

You can have both happiness and wealth—living a rich (fulfilling) life and a wealthy life!

The idiom that money can’t buy happiness is at best a poor representation of reality and, at worse, completely false. Money and happiness are related. Multiple surveys have found a direct relationship between money and happiness.

The question of what you would rather have, wealth or happiness, does not need to be asked; our brains, our minds, can and will seek them both. Being wealthy is a good predictor of joy—the more money you make, the happier you become. Money provides people resources to maintain their happiness, security, and lifelong satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, wealth is one of the key ingredients to happiness and well-being. You do not have to choose between wealth and happiness. You can have them both—the rich life and the wealthy life!

Our brains are wired to pursue both wealth and happiness. The natural tendency is to seek anything and everything that will enhance our well-being, health, finances, social standing, and relations. The poorest person in the world wants more wealth and happiness, and so does the wealthiest person—but it may be for different reasons.

I am reminded of a story about Warren Buffet, one of, if not the wealthiest person in the world. One day he was riding in an elevator with several young executives. A young man standing next to Warren noticed a penny on the elevator floor. The elevator ride continues, and the young man began to wonder whether Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, would bend over to pick up the penny.

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Better Yet, Empowerment and Fulfillment!

You can have both happiness and wealth—living a rich (fulfilling) life and a wealthy life!

The idiom that money can’t buy happiness is at best a poor representation of reality and, at worse, completely false. Money and happiness are related. Multiple surveys have found a direct relationship between money and happiness.

The question of what you would rather have, wealth or happiness, does not need to be asked; our brains, our minds, can and will seek them both. Being wealthy is a good predictor of joy—the more money you make, the happier you become. Money provides people resources to maintain their happiness, security, and lifelong satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, wealth is one of the key ingredients to happiness and well-being. You do not have to choose between wealth and happiness. You can have them both—the rich life and the wealthy life!

Our brains are wired to pursue both wealth and happiness. The natural tendency is to seek anything and everything that will enhance our well-being, health, finances, social standing, and relations. The poorest person in the world wants more wealth and happiness, and so does the wealthiest person—but it may be for different reasons.

I am reminded of a story about Warren Buffet, one of, if not the wealthiest person in the world. One day he was riding in an elevator with several young executives. A young man standing next to Warren noticed a penny on the elevator floor. The elevator ride continues, and the young man began to wonder whether Warren Buffet, the richest man in the world, would bend over to pick up the penny.

 

As each floor passed, the young man became more curious about the penny and its ultimate destiny. Finally, when they reached Warren’s floor, Warren stepped off the elevator, turned around to face the remaining passengers, bent down, picked up the penny, and, holding the penny up with a large grin, he announced to the young executives, “The start of my next billion!”

 

For Warren Buffet and many other ultrawealthy, the making of money may be its own reward—the satisfaction of accomplishing yet another goal. To others, it may mean more financial security, financial independence, or even financial freedom, allowing you the ability to do even greater good in the world.

No matter what meaning you bring to it, most of us want it. Society as a whole is wealthier than ever, but happiness seems to be elusive. Although we have many nice things, our expectations often exceed reality, thus causing dissatisfaction. The evidence suggests that having more money, making more money, and spending more money in meaningful ways are the best ways to achieve deep and lasting satisfaction—more happiness. The key is the deep meaning that it can bring. The genuine good that you feel a part of, is what brings fulfillment.

Love, relations, happiness, and finances—all of these are emotionally charged areas of life, and all require and deserve a healthy, empowering strategy.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago conducted a 38-year study. They found that the percentage of those individuals who were “Very Happy” increased with increasing income; the level of individuals “Not Too Happy” decreased with increasing income. The following chart summarizes their findings.

Family Income Very Happy Pretty Happy Not Too Happy
<$12,500 (bottom 10%) 21% 53% 26%
$12,500 – $49,999 25% 61% 13%
$50,000 – $150,000 40% 54% 6%
>$150,000 (top 10%) 53% 45% 2%

(Source: Waldman, Mark. NeuroWisdom: The New Brain Science of Money, Happiness, and Success, 2017)

Interestingly, a Wharton Business School study published in 2012 found no evidence of a satisfaaction level. In other words, the more money you make, the more happiness you experience. According to Professor Frank from Cornell University, increasing yearly income is the most significant way to increase happiness. This relationship is consistent for almost every country where happiness and money were studied.

Now that we realize that money plays a role in our happiness, we must discover what other ingredients go into living a rich life. Which begs the question: How do you define happiness? And is happiness the same as fulfillment?

Each individual brings their own meaning to money and happiness. It may even be a combination of various feelings—pleasure, contentment, joy, bliss, pride, serenity, hope, faith, trust, confidence, optimism, significance, connectedness, growth, and contribution. The list could go on based on each individual’s personal definition. Your experiences, desires, and expectations play a large role in the meaning you bring to money in your life and how it affects your happiness. And what it means to you has profound physiological effects.

Your Brain on Drugs (Chemicals)

Every organism is neurologically programmed to seek pleasurable experiences and avoid painful ones because they increase the chances of survival. The physiological aspect of this is apparent in the activation of some regions of our brains and the secretion of certain chemicals. In our society, in our culture, obtaining and having money is pleasurable. It provides security, status, relationships, and the ability to make more significant contributions to our world.

The root cause of what makes us happy is simple—survival. Your brain is not designed to make you happy—it is designed to help you survive, and, in general terms, surviving makes you happy. So, anything that improves your ability to survive and increases your chance of survival should make you happy.

 

Physiologically we feel happy when certain chemicals are either activated or restricted in our brains. These brain chemicals are part of the happiness equation: dopamine, endorphins, serotonin, oxytocin—all essential factors in making us happy.

 

Space does not allow us a detailed discussion of how these chemicals interact and what activates them in our brain. Still, Mark Waldman’s book NeuroWisdom and his other writing in this area offer great info on this topic. I highly recommend you reach out to him for more information.

What is your definition of happiness? What exactly does it mean to be happy? In the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that we all have the unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And, a certain level of happiness is in the journey, the pursuit. Most evidence of happiness levels related to the attainment of success finds that happiness is fleeting—a temporary feeling. My point here is to let you know you can have both happiness and money—the rich life and the wealthy life—and it is up to you to define what that means to you. More importantly, include in your definition what brings you longer-term fulfillment.

What meaning can you bring to your new level of wealth and happiness?

Happiness is also shaped by how you make your money, what you do with your wealth, and how you spend it. The pleasure you receive through the activity of making and spending is key to activating those pleasure circuits in your brain. The difficult pill for some folks to swallow is that measurements of happiness rise as your income rises. In addition to increased happiness, your sense of well-being and satisfaction also grow.

Not only are wealthy folks happier, but a report from the Urban Institute on the link between wealth and longevity, published in April of 2013, also found that those making more money, who are happier, even live longer. The repercussions of this are literally life-enhancing.

Making money increases happiness; however, the way you spend it can predict long-term fulfillment. Research shows that lottery winners return to their previous state of happiness about one year after winning the lottery. Oddly enough, this is also true for individuals who have suffered severe long-term injuries like paralysis. It appears to me that our happiness level is wired into our blueprint, just like our comfort level with income, so changing your happiness blueprint—what makes you happy—might be an area you want to devote some time and attention.

 “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

A warning here: don’t allow others to define your happiness. The lessons from the tragic ending of Robin Williams and John Belushi are hard ones to swallow. These individuals dedicated their lives to making everyone else happy, but not themselves—a terrible tragedy when they took their own lives, but a real lesson for us all.

Money, as a universal symbol representing anything of value, remains one of the most powerful motivating factors in our lives. But there is also a dark side to money—this is the side that Billy Graham alluded to earlier. Graham warned about money possessing us, and research shows that wealth strengthens narcissism and feelings of entitlement. And when people become obsessed with money, their relationships often deteriorate. Relationships are a significant factor in the happiness equation.

A major study conducted by Harvard University published some insightful conclusions. This 75-year study identified some keys to a fulfilling life.

The study, known as the Harvard Grant Study, provides a glimpse into a happy, fulfilling life. The study followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates from the classes of 1938­–1940 (now well into their 90s) for 75 years, collecting data on various aspects of their lives at regular intervals.  These are worthy topics to apply to your pursuit of a happier and more meaningful life.

Five lessons from the Grant Study

  1. Love matters.
  2. It’s about more than money and power.
  3. We can all become happier.
  4. Connections are crucial.
  5. Challenges (and the perspective they give you) can make you happier.

Happiness is a state. Finding meaning in life and belonging to and serving something greater than yourself are key components. Psychologist Iris Mauss, Ph.D., at UC Berkeley, found that people who focus on the pursuit of happiness tend to focus on personal gains, damaging connections with other people.  Doing things that improve your state results in joy and in developing the best you possible. Another look into long-term meaning in life identified the following.

Four Pillars to a Meaningful Life

  1. Belonging: bonding to groups that you value and that value you
  2. Purpose: discovering what you can give and using your strength to serve others
  3. Transcendence: valuing something bigger than yourself; not being self-centered
  4. Storytelling: describing events in life that have meaning defines our identity

 

Happiness can be fleeting—it comes and goes. Finding meaning in life gives us something to hold on to, a more profound reason.  It provides us longer-term feelings of fulfillment.

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Dave Razo

Author – Speaker – Leader - Investor

Dave spent a long and distinguished career as a pilot and leader in the United States Air Force. Along the way, he managed to obtain three graduate degrees.  As an investor in the stock market for more than 37 years, Dave has seen his share of ups and downs.  When Dave retired as a Colonel in 2006, he founded Razor Sharp Investments. Subsequently, he worked with an investment education company, teaching new investors how to handle their money, and then two brokerage firms doing the same thing.  In 2012, Dave founded his own investment firm.  Dave has always been fascinated by the question, Why do people do the things that they do?  On his discovery journey, he encountered Tony Robbins. He worked with his event staff to eventually progresss through the Institute for Strategic Intervention as a coach, making him ideally suited to tackle the most formidable challenges in a relationship.  Dave continues to be committed to a life of service, mainly serving those struggling in their relationships over money.  

WeBuildABetterU.com

Dave.Razo@gmail.com

Work Toll-Free (888) 360-6064 or (478) 293-1344

 

Founder and Managing Partner

Your Best Option Investment Group, LLC

Dave is dedicated to the values of

Integrity First  -- Service Before Self – Excellence in All We Do.

Author: Rich Life, Wealthy Life

From Successful Investing to Happy Empowered Living

RichLifeWealthyLifeBook.com