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Someone Else Is Happy With Less Than What You Have

Have you ever met someone who owns far less than you but is quite rich and abundant in terms of happiness, inner peace, and serenity?

If you have and you wonder why that is the case, it’s mainly because that person acknowledges the many little and large blessings they have been blessed with. They also appreciate the many small milestones they achieve daily, which you, on the other hand, fail to recognize.

Working towards a big goal towards a better you is definitely great. However, if the pursuit of your huge, long-term goal is keeping you from living your present fully and happily and nurturing contentment for what you have, you are probably often going to feel unhappy and frustrated.

Often we become so involved in our goals and the pursuit of our big dreams that we fail to notice the many little pleasures surrounding us in the moment. Your son tugging at your shirt wanting you to play with him. The love of your life waiting for you to have dinner with her. Your kids trying to talk to you about their day at school. Your friends hoping to have lunch with you. There are lots of token of happiness to be found in our daily routine which if we hold on to, recognize and appreciate can really make us happy. Sadly, many of us fail to do that in the pursuit of something bigger, shinier and seemingly more amazing.

I am not saying dreaming big or setting big, meaningful goals is bad. You should strive to achieve them. However, while setting goals that you would love to cross off your bucket list, you must also focus on the little pleasures life has to offer because happiness does not just come from the life-altering and groundbreaking events. It is rooted in appreciating and enjoying each moment of your life and acknowledging the many tiny victories you meet on your journey to big success.

The ability to be happy with what you have is precisely the reason why you will find people earning far less than you that are more content. While we believe that being more educated, more financially successful and having a better professional career are indicators of happiness, recent research by Raj Raghunathan who works at The University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business proves otherwise.

According to his research, we measure happiness by the wrong yardsticks.

For instance, if you get a gigantic raise in your salary this month, you are likely to be happy for a month or two or even four. However, after that, you are likely to get used to that salary and are likely to want another jump. To keep increasing your happiness, you are likely to want one jump after another. The old hedonic treadmill strikes again. It seems that our present culture is programmed to seek more and more.

Unfortunately, achieving happiness does not work that way. The journey towards your goals takes time and is often accompanied by setbacks and unfortunate experiences too. If you keep measuring happiness by the fulfillment of a goal or the procurement of something, you are likely to feel depressed when things don’t go to plan. If you think this way, the next time you encounter a setback or when you find the journey to your goal becoming too long and laborious, you are likely to give up on it and feel upset in the process.

This won’t be the case if you nurture gratitude, contentment, and mindfulness. If you start living your life fully by enjoying each little victory and pleasure. If you appreciate the many amazing gifts you have been blessed with, you will find it easier to feel happy from within all the time. Your blessings will pull you towards your present and shift your focus from what you don’t have and are missing on to what you have and can enjoy. So even if you lose an important client, you will be happy that at least you have a loving family to support you. And even if you are unable to achieve a certain target on time, you will be thankful for having supportive friends to lean on.

A tale of two brothers

I personally know of two brothers who nurture different approaches towards money and happiness, and their approaches play quite a monumental role in shaping their emotional well-being.

The younger brother is settled in Canada. He has a flourishing business, a loving wife, and 3 beautiful children. He is a good husband and father but he often misses out on spending time with his family mainly because he is too busy working on expanding his business. From the many encounters that I have had with him and from what others tell me about him, he is quite frustrated from within and isn’t happy with his life. His life mainly revolves around his work, making more money and achieving his financial goals and that is the major reason why he feels agitated almost always. This man was unable to attend his father’s funeral on time mainly because he was too busy to attend that important phone call on time. He regretted being too busy later on and still cries thinking about the time he couldn’t make it to his beloved dad’s funeral.

The other brother is quite the opposite of his younger sibling. He lives in a less developed country, has a business that makes far less than his younger brother, and has a loving wife with 3 lovely children. Even though he is making far less than his brother, he is quite happy where he is. Why is that so? Because this man does not fail to acknowledge the many tiny victories and blessings he enjoys every single day. He spends time with his family, drops his daughter off to school, spends quality time with his ailing mother, and offers his gratitude for all that he has every single day. It is his attitude and approach towards life that has helped him manifest a happy life for himself.

Happiness is not at the end, it is in every step

If you feel frustrated, stressed and unhappy most of the time, analyze your attitude towards your life and your goal. Chances are you are either crazily devoted to fulfilling your big dream that you neglect everything else. Or you are finding it difficult to achieve what you aspire to have and that’s keeping you from being happy in the present. Either way, you are missing out on a lot that life has to offer you. You are missing out on friends, family, hugs, kisses, happy picnics, squeals of laughter, and stories of joy. You overlook the chance to just live in the moment and appreciate it.

Dreaming big and having huge goals is fantastic; there is no reason to abandon them but you should also make time for yourself so you can really appreciate the beauty of life. your goal is likely to seem less meaningful to you once you accomplish it. You will then find yourself running after something else and then something else after some time. This chase won’t stop but if you believe happiness is only to be found behind your next goalpost, chances are you will never find it. Happiness can be achieved and enjoyed by being content and grateful for what you have and all that you have.

Be grateful for the little things and pleasures you get to enjoy; those mini victories, the small gestures of appreciation, the fleeting moments of closeness with someone you love because that is life. Don’t let the vision of your big dream blind you towards what is in front of your face. If you start being happy in your present by nurturing gratitude for it, you will soon find yourself feeling more content and peaceful within. Not only will this make it easier for you to live your life but you will also draw more amazing experiences towards you. Like attracts like, so if your thoughts are abundant in happiness and positivity, you will only draw more of it towards you.

16 comments

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  1. fin$avvy panda @ finsavvypanda.com

    Hey Mr. DD! This is a wonderful post to read before heading to work on a Mobday morning lol! This was very well written and you make great points about happiness. I like how you mentioned the term hedonic treadmill — a boost of our happiness isn’t going to last because we become habitual to everything!

    A lot of us need to start finding happiness by appreciating our small victories that we’ve accomplished. And let’s not forget that we have a support system such as friends and family that are w/ is. This is a choice for every one!

    I’ll always remember about this link to a study on what ppl regret before their deaths. They regret that they worked too much, spent less time w/ family and friends, and not choosing to be happy.

    http://www.smallstarter.com/get-inspired/study-reveals-5-biggest-regrets-people-have-before-die/

    Again, well done here! This also makes an awesome post to read before thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays 😉
    fin$avvy panda @ finsavvypanda.com recently posted…Here’s a List of 15 Financial Goals – What’s Your Score?My Profile

    1. MrDD

      Thank you FSPanda. I remember that study. I’ve come to learn that happiness is indeed a personal choice. It is something that ancient philosophers figured out in the B.C. times, but you’ll find the majority of people will argue they can’t just choose to be happy.

      Oh well, all I can do is write my message here and see if it clicks with anyone.

  2. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    How true! I needed this nice reminder today. Perspective and comparison really can affect how satisfied and happy you are with your life. I just had a health scare and, although everything is fine, it’s made me much more aware of my blessings. Isn’t it funny how we become more grateful and happy once we realize things can be taken away?
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend! November 19My Profile

    1. MrDD

      It usually takes a significant event before people will stop and examine their lives.

      Glad your medical issue wasn’t a problem in the end.

  3. Cato @thedollarbuild.com

    So true! Most of us need a gentle reminder of what’s important sometimes; I know I do. It’s easy to become focused on financial goals and as soon we accomplish one, we’ll move onto whatever’s next on the list without stopping to appreciate that achievement or the journey that brought us there. Every now and then I feel like I’m living my life two weeks at a time, waiting for the paycheck to hit my bank account so I can wipe out student loans, contribute a little more to my investment accounts, and build up my savings. I definitely need to catch myself in those times and remember that there are more important things than constantly pursuing “just a little more.”
    Cato @thedollarbuild.com recently posted…The Case for Staying in the Stock MarketMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      The journey towards financial independence can be long, so be sure to enjoy life along the way. Be happy with all that you have, as you are doing really well in life.

  4. Mr Defined Sight

    Preach brother! I was just reminding my wife that we have no idea how good we really have it compared to some that are less fortunate. There is always somebody that would switch you jobs, houses, families, you name it. Sometimes I just have to take a step back and count the blessings. I always try to drop what I’m doing to play with my son. I know he won’t be little for very long and I will miss these days.
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Evolution Of My Money Priorities Through TimeMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      That’s great that you were already thinking about this. I’m happy where I am, but that doesn’t mean I don’t work towards more. I just have to make sure that I live for happiness instead of just wanting a little bit more.

  5. Dividend Diplomats

    Amazing post DD. This is so trough and something we all could probably use a nice reminder about and I fall guilty about this. There is so much more to life than a financial goal and it shouldn’t get in the way of living in the moment and making sure you are having fun along the way. It has been something I have thinking about more and more. I can give you a real life example from my year about where I put money first and where I put happiness first . My friend had a bachelor party in May. I had spent a lot that month, were getting ready to buy a car and a house, that I was more focused on saving and not spending than just having a good time. $50 extra wouldn’t have made a difference in the grand scheme of things and in hindsight it was definitely a road block to true happiness that weekend. It bothered me for months. So when I went to my friends bachelor parting out of town as well in August, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to think that way. I was going to go with the flow, relax, and just enjoy the weekend, the bars, and even the trip to the Casino for what it was. Sure I spent more than I did before and probably would have wanted to going into it But you know what, I was relaxed and had an amazing time. In hindsight, I am so happy that we have these memories together and it was an enjoyable experience.

    My example was about spending money, but yes, it doesn’t have to be about spending money. I loved your example because it talked about someone that was content making less and was much happier along the way. I’m sure I could easily find examples in my life of people that make less than me but are happier overall for a variety of reasons.

    I really could use reading an article like this every once and a while. And I also agree with Mr. DEeined Sight’s comments above. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this.

    Bert
    Dividend Diplomats recently posted…Bert’s November Dividend Stock Watch ListMy Profile

    1. MrDD

      Bert, thank you for your kind words. It’s important to realize how well-off you are right now. I know we are all striving to be better, and that is good. But never forget how far you have come and be grateful and happy with your life in the present. Because if you think happiness is only behind the next goal milestone or whatever, well you are just running in your own version of a hamster wheel.

  6. Damn Millennial

    Great post! It is important to practice gratitude on the journey to financial independence.

    1. MrDD

      That it is, thanks for stopping by DM 😀

  7. Aaron @liveyourwage

    Very well written. I’ve seen in those around me the stress and anxiety of using the same measuring stick of happiness that everyone around us uses. But it takes writing like this to help people understand that there isn’t only one measuring stick we all need to use. There are thousands upon thousands of measuring sticks we can use to evaluate our choices, our happiness, and our impact on the world. Opening people’s eyes to that is pure freedom.

    Thank you for posting this!

    1. MrDD

      The majority of people will just live life without stepping back to look at what they are really doing. To just stop and really think about what you are doing in life is a rare thing that can really change the rest of your life. One thing I have realized is that forever seeking more means that you never are happy with what you have. So while I want to better my situation, I never forget to be happy with how far I have come.

      Aaron, thanks for stopping by!

  8. Reverse The Crush

    Thanks for sharing the great message, Mr. DD! It’s super important to be grateful for the small things each day! And this definitely sounds like a post you would be inspired to write after traveling. It makes you thankful and causes you to appreciate the small things in life.

    Thanks for sharing the tale of the two brothers. It seems natural to me that the brother that has more time is happier. I used to think I wanted to be a business owner, but I realized over time that I’d be more content with dividend investing and blogging.

    I also really like your thoughts about maintaining an appreciation for each step. I definitely find myself feeling happier with I view each small thing I do as part of a bigger process. It’s sounds like the trip has impacted you positively. Have a great week man!

    1. MrDD

      Thank you so much, Graham. Some people get so caught up in ‘the work race’ that they never see what is really important.

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