There are countless stories out there about how no matter how much money you make, you will not be happy just because you’re making more money. So many in fact, that we can often just dismiss it as a fairytale.
“Are you kidding? If I had $10 million in the bank, I guarantee I would be happy!”
Much to many people’s dismay, after making this claim they find themselves being as rich as they could ask for, but unhappy and bored.
When I think about this in my own life, I realize this to be true. I have, on many occasions, been absolutely torn to shreds by people driving really nice cars on the road through road rage, even when it was their fault. And I’m not saying that happy people don’t have road rage, but not to the level that these people had it. You could tell there was something seriously wrong.
If money was the source of happiness, these people would be driving blissfully along all day everyday.
So why is it that if we are unhappy, it does not matter how much money we make, we cannot find happiness unless we change other aspects of our lives.
And more importantly, how can we become truly happy if we have realized this too late?
Then Why Do People Focus So Much Time on Making Money?
That’s a great question and has a somewhat complicated answer. Here’s what entrepreneur.com found—happiness levels have a correlation to income up until the $75,000 mark. So what does this mean?
Take this example; if someone is making $18,000 a year, living in Manhattan with a kid to support, she will likely run into a lot of money problems throughout the year. They probably barely make enough money to cover just their rent, and this would most likely cause a considerable level of unhappiness.
If this person finds a new job, making $36,000 a year, she will of course be happier. They, at the very least, can now afford the basic necessities for them and their child.
In the above example, their happiness was tied to making more money. As they doubled their income, they also became happier (as they could pay the bills, go out to eat, etc.). What Entrepreneur’s article makes references to is that this relationship exists up until the $75,000/year point.
After making $75,000, you likely have enough money to pay all of your bills on time, not owe any ungodly amounts of money to anyone, and be able to treat you and your family once in a while.
Anything past $75,000 is considered “extra” and may not add to your happiness, but will add to your overall life satisfaction. This is why, when we come into an inheritance, for example, we generally don’t have higher levels of happiness.
I am Rich but Unhappy
There are a few reasons why you could be rich, yet very unhappy. There are 4 important “pillars” when constructing a good life; health, happiness, money, and relationships.
Take a minute to consider these 4 pillars—do you feel as though you are lacking in any of these areas?
Do you have true friends? Not necessarily a lot of friends, but do you have true friends which you know are a positive effect on your life?
What about a loving family, or a loving spouse? Remember that you can find happiness even if you are split up from your wife, husband, or significant other. But, we are social humans, and we need relationships in our lives (not necessarily only romantic).
If you’re thinking; “I am rich but unhappy”, then the money pillar is likely not an issue. You have more than enough money to comfortably pay your rent, put food on the table, and treat yourself to whatever you think makes you happy once in a while.
There are many ways to get your exercise in every day, just be creative and do a bit of digging. I promise that once you’re into an exercise routine, it will lead to more overall happiness.
The happiness pillar is sort of the sum of the rest of the pillars, there are of course many factors that lead to people’s overall happiness, but the first 3 pillars can summarize them somewhat nicely.
I am Rich but Bored
Boredom can be completely different from unhappiness. Boredom is a very normal thing that most people will go through throughout their life. It only starts to become an issue when you have perpetual boredom—you are seemingly always bored.
But of course, there are many ways to relieve boredom. We have even already discussed some of them, take up a new form of exercise like going to the gym or doing yoga.
This will serve several purposes, especially if you can find an exercise that incorporates a sense of community into your exercise. That way, you will be building relationships at the same time as getting your daily exercise.
4 Ways to Be Happier for Rich People
#1. Stop Buying Things, Invest in Experiences
Think about the last time you spent a considerable amount of money. Was it on a brand new fast car? Or a new yacht to keep at your lakehouse?
Buying new things has its time and place. You’ve worked hard to get where you are today, you should treat yourself to something that you really want once in a while.
But it can also be harmful to your brain and body. When you buy something new and exciting, your brain is flooded with dopamine, which is a chemical that makes you feel pleasure.
This feeling of synthetic happiness does not last very long. Think about the last time you bought a new car, how long were you super excited about it? Maybe a few weeks at most?
Once these few weeks are up, you’re back to where you started. Bored and unhappy, you feel as though nothing good as happened in your life for a while. So what do you do? You make another purchase, and you’re back to where you started.
Your brain is firing on all cylinders with “happiness”. But this time, it lasts an even shorter amount of time. And the cycle goes on.
And besides, buying a new car hurts your wallet in the long run too. You’re paying money for insurance and it depreciates in value, but we’ll discuss that more soon.
So why are experiences different? Good question. This “levelling” of your happiness to pre-purchase is not so strong when buying experiences.
Take, for example, that you bought a new MacBook Pro. Do you think, no matter how much you love it, that you feel that it is apart from you? Nope. No matter how much we use or love our possessions, we don’t have the sense that they are apart of our identity, they are just things that we own.
However, if you took a trip to Mexico and parasailed off of a 1,000 foot mountain, would you have the sense that that experience is apart of you? Definitely more than the MacBook. As people, we are the sum of our experiences, so this exciting act will follow you forever.
#2. Limit the Stresses in Your Life
This will go hand in hand if you stop buying experiences. That brand new car you just bought, you’re now paying insurance for another car, you need to expand your garage to fit it, the car is instantly going to be worth less than when you bought it.
And there are more issues; anyone even remotely close to you just assumes that they will get to take it for their grad day, and a host of other issues arise.
Buying fewer things in your life will especially contribute to your happiness if you ever run into the smallest inkling of financial trouble. Many wealthy people have trouble sleeping if they don’t have $X amount of money in the bank.
Buying, buying, buying will not lead to more money in your bank account. So, if you are ever really needing to pay the bills, this frivolous spending will catch up to you.
Just look at some of the lottery winners who have gone broke. There are countless stories of people winning millions of dollars, and declaring bankruptcy due to their spending habits.
And more importantly, many lottery winners end up committing suicide. If that doesn’t prove that money alone will not make you happy, I don’t know what will.
#3. Mend Relationships in Your Life or Cultivate New Ones
Do you have relationships in your life that have gone astray? Maybe with a sibling, one or both of your parents, your ex-spouse, or even one of your kids?
Carrying around resentment and bitterness in your day-to-day life because of a situation like this will lead to negative thoughts, a bad mood, and a less than ideal headspace.
Reach out to them. Let them know that you are sorry for what you did (even if you don’t know what you did) and that you forgive them for what they did, if applicable. You don’t need to rekindle that relationship for you to be happy, but holding negative and bitter thoughts surrounding them will not lead to your happiness.
If you can mend that relationship, then great. If not, work on building new relationships in your life. Be it a romantic relationship, new friendships, or finding a new mentor.
If you’re looking to make new friends, one of the best ways is by joining clubs or communities, like we briefly mentioned earlier. If you are into tennis, try to join a local tennis club. If you are into squash, try to join a local squash club.
If you live in a large city, there’s a good chance that whatever you’re into, there are others that are too. You just need to do some digging.
This will help you check off your exercise and relationships checkboxes. In order to do this, just Google whatever you’re into + your city. So if you live in Los Angeles and are into tennis, just type in “Los Angeles Tennis Clubs”.
And boom! There’s a bunch of different tennis clubs that you could potentially join, with hundreds of people that are into tennis in your surrounding area. Go out, play tennis, and just talk to people. You’ll know pretty quickly whether or not you make a connection.
#4. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
If you are a self-made wealthy person, you likely know about the comfort zone all too well.
Maybe you quit your secure, 6-figure job to pursue a business venture you’ve always thought about. That sure felt uncomfortable!
So the next step, is to step outside of your comfort zone in as many other aspects of life as we can. Don’t be afraid to chat people up on the street. Take 2 weeks and travel the outskirts of some exotic country. Go skydiving.
Whatever you think, even if only in the back of your mind, that you would enjoy; do.
This, again, goes along with buying experiences rather than items. Going out and buying a car is not uncomfortable. Jumping out of a plane is very uncomfortable. But, we must remember that when we are within our comfort zone, we are not growing.
Discomfort embodies new experiences, which embodies learning. And we should all be on a lifelong journey of learning.
Start by watching some of Yes Theory’s videos on YouTube. They are experts of leaving their comfort zone, nearly every video is centered around this principle.
You may be an expert hedge fund manager, but that doesn’t mean that you are an expert human. You’re just that—an expert hedge fund manager, who is in the learning process of everything else.
If you are rich and bored, this is the key to breaking out of boredom. By going out, experiencing new things, and pushing your comfort zone, boredom will be a thing of the past. Whatever exciting adventures pique your interest, go out and do it without fear of others’ view of you.
Rich, Unhappy, and Bored—No Longer
So there you have it. don’t tell me “I am rich but unhappy and bored”, tell me “I am going to go experience what this world has to offer!
We’ve discussed 4 ways that you can stop living a boring and unhappy life, and start discovering what we were put on this Earth to do—experience it.
If you need a quick recap;
Don’t buy materialistic items on impulse, but invest. in different experiences that excite you.
Eliminate stresses, and quit buying stress producing things in your life.
Reach out to people that you aren’t on good terms with anymore, and create new relationships.
Don’t be so inside of your head, starting today, live your life outside of your comfort zone.