Optimizing for happiness?

The following is a little exploration on the above, which, for me, boils down to a simple conscious choice – what’s more important, helping the people around you, or making money?

Counting the cost?

Some say when you have money you are in a better position to help people. Some say you should count the cost.

So, what is the cost of money? Or is this really a question of how we choose to make our money? And what are those choices?

  • Job (You have a job).
  • Freelance/Run a business (You own a job).
  • Own a business (Others work for you).
  • Invest in assets (Money works for you).
  • Build your own assets (Time works for you).

What is the cost, what is it that we have to invest?

  • Health – when being paid by someone else they’ll generally put their interests first, e.g. long hours, shared stress, market rates not value based pay.
  • Time – when someone else decides how we spend our time it is hard to help others, or work on ourself, or our own ideas.
  • Freedom – when someone else approves our time-off it is hard to take time to reflect if our activity is making us happy, or allowing us to explore new opportunities.

Which one of our money-making choices allows us to optimize for happiness?

To give a little perspective, here’s my philosophy:

  • Health before Wealth.
  • Money while we Exercise and Eat Fresh.
  • Pursue the interesting, Money will follow.

Optimising for finance?

I was once very focused on optimizing my finances, it wasn’t a bad thing, I was a pupil of Robert Kiyosaki and Jim Rohn, they provided great insight, JR said it’s important to set goals and measure progress, he said at least your financial position is easy to quantify, it is one way, your bank balance is a number. RK taught me about assets and liabilities, i.e. what credits or debits that bank balance.

My flow chart capturing insight from Rich Dad, Poor Dad (Robert Kiyosaki)

Measuring happiness?

I’m now asking, is there a better way? To optimize for happiness.

To optimize, we still need a measure, so how do we measure happiness?

Happiness is a feeling not a number, right? How do we measure a feeling? Do we simply have to listen to ourselves?

I recently began following the work of Simon Sinek, the idea being – a feeling of fulfilment is what makes us happier, which he states, as human-beings, we get from helping the people around us. This is what provides a true feeling of self-worth. 

If you don’t understand people, you don’t understand business.  (Simon Sinek)

For me it has been a moment of enlightenment, an epiphany. Shifting my focus, to find ways to help those around me. For the sake of my family, I also need to balance the risk to my finances.

How do we measure how much we’re helping others? I’m not sure yet, somehow we need to track our progress. This article is both an activity, an exploration and a measure. I made a conscious effort to share, I hope it helps someone.

Optimizing for happiness.

Here’s how I intend to optimize for happiness:

To use my skills to market, build and sell our own digital assets, which will require minimum effort to scale or replicate, therefore giving our future selves the gift of time and money.

I will be a part-time best selling coder, spending the rest of my time helping the people around me.

I will listen to myself:

I made a healthy income as corporate consultant, it helped me buy assets and liabilities, it did not make me happy. I can make good income as a contract software developer, producing assets for others, it makes me happier. My wife runs a successful community, she asked for my help to grow and monetize this using technology. I don’t know what income we will make helping my partner as technology support, it is however, making me the happiest. Simple choice, right?

 

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