Change Your Perspective To Increase Your Happiness

Joy and Happiness

If you want to increase your happiness, you must change your perspective. Let me share with you a simple example of how a change in perspective immediately boosted my happiness.

When an ambulance zooms by, sirens blazing, do you feel happy or sad? For the longest time, I felt sad. I’d imagine someone convulsing on their rickety living room floor due to a heart attack. I shared my feelings with my girlfriend at the time over brunch and she told me she actually felt happy hearing the sirens! WTF! No wonder why we broke up!

She explained, “Instead of thinking about someone suffering every time you hear an ambulance, think about how awesome it is someone is about to get help.

Ah, so wise. Nowadays, every time I hear a firetruck or ambulance, I’m thinking, “go baby, go!” I feel proud of the service women and men who’ve dedicated their lives to helping others.

Examples Of How You Can Change Your Perspective For Greater Happiness

1) What’s Left Of These Old Fingers

It occurred to me as I reach mid-life crisis mode that I’m not sure how many articles are left in these slowly ossifying fingers. So far they’ve produced 1,278 articles. Perhaps they’ve got a thousand left to go before they completely shut down. My hope is that by the time I can no longer type, they’ll have created voice dictation software so great that speaking will work just as well as typing.

Although it’s sad to think my writing career is more than half over, I'm glad that when that day comes, I’ll be able to spend days reading through the archives and reminiscing about a life gone by. Further, these posts will forever be archived on the internet, potentially helping people achieve financial freedom sooner for decades and beyond.

Although thinking about how much energy I have left is a little sad, I've changed my perspective after having kids in 2017 and 2019. Now, I'm super-motivated to keep on writing for their sake just in case I die young. I want my kids to know me better and know how hard I tried for them.

In 2024, I've now written 2,270+ posts and over 980 pages. Let's rock!

2) Coming Back From A Trip

The anticipation of going on a trip is often just as exciting as the trip itself. When you’re finally on your trip, especially if the trip is amazing, you start counting down the days until you must leave.

Back to the salt mines!” I often joke on the last day. But before heading back to San Francisco from my trip to Hawaii in July, I changed my perspective.

There are no salt mines in San Francisco. Instead, San Francisco is a place where millions of people go to visit every year due to its natural beauty, temperate weather, amazing food, and rich culture. San Francisco is where Hawaiians go to vacation!

I told my business partner on our last evening walk on the beach, “I’m excited to go on an extended vacation back to San Francisco. Maybe this time we’ll stay for a couple months before heading up to Lake Tahoe for our next business retreat.

Related: Why Start A Business? To Create A Better Life Of Course!

3) This Old Car

While in Hawaii, I drove around in my father's 1998 Toyota Avalon. It doesn't have a sound system, Bluetooth, USB chargers, back up cameras, tinted windows, or paddle shifters. But it worked just fine. The engine climbed up the hills with ease. The seats were wide. And it was nice not having to worry about it getting scratched.

1998 Toyota Avalon parked outside a potential dream house in Kahala.
1998 Toyota Avalon parked outside a potential dream house in Kahala. Such a stealthy facade! Perfect.

When I got back to San Francisco, I realized how awesome my 2015 Honda Fit truly is. It has a beefier steering wheel, tinted windows, double cameras, Bluetooth, USB chargers, and more. It even still rocks the new car smell.

Screw buying a fancy car before my lease is up in September 2017. I was reminded that I'm already driving my dream city car.

Change your perspective. If you do, you'll boost your happiness and appreciate more of the things you have.


The 1/10th Rule For Car Buying Folks Should Follow

A Race Against Time: Looking For The Hawaiian Dream House With My Parents

4) Traffic Jams

About once a week, I play tennis with a buddy of mine at 8:30am before he has to go to work. It's the worst time possible because every knuckle head is on the road then. My drive to the club, which normally only takes 12-15 minutes, goes up to 25-30 minutes.

I used to get pissed off sitting in traffic wondering why people act like sheep and subject themselves to torture. Why not just get to work by 7am and leave by 4pm or get to work at 10am and leave later instead? So much easier! It's the same idea as going to lunch at 11am or 1:30pm to avoid the crazy lines.

Then I had a change of perspective.

Now every time I'm stuck in traffic I think to myself, this is so awesome! More traffic means more employed people. More employed people means more corporate profits. Higher corporate profits means higher dividends and higher earnings, both of which are wonderful for investors. Given I'm also a landlord, more people is also great for occupancy and rent.

Very few things feel better than having your money work for you so you don't have to. Experiencing traffic jams for 30 minutes a week helps give me confidence the local economy is strong.

Related: Investment Strategies For Retirement Based On Modern Portfolio Theory

5) The PITA Contractor

Seven months after putting down my initial $500 deposit to build a deck, throw up a retaining wall, and install a new sliding door, my project is finally done! There were so many times I wanted to curse at him for disappearing for weeks on end. But after talking to more people about my project and publishing the post, Practice Taking Profits To Pay For A Better Life, so many people told me they couldn't even find a contractor! Instead of being annoyed, I should be thankful for just having one due to the massive demand.

Getting ignored no longer bothered me as much anymore. Instead of writing something nasty to my contractor, I started writing in a more friendly and encouraging tone. I then baked a giant carrot cake by telling him that if he did a good job with my project, I'd introduce him to other people with much larger projects. My contractor started getting more responsive as a result.

Not only is my project done, my contractor also said he'd “take care of me” if one of my referrals came through, whatever that means. I don't want his money. I just want him to do things to my house I cannot do in a timely manner. I'm excited to publish a new post with my finished deck!

Related: Why Home Remodeling Always Takes Longer And Costs More Than You Think

6) Not Getting Paid Or Promoted

After being a Director for four years (one up from VP in finance) I was hoping to get promoted to Managing Director. I was a strong revenue generator and loyal soldier for 10 years already. But due to corporate politics and a difficult economic environment back in 2011, I didn't ascend. The equities division needed to subsidize the money-losing fixed income division.

Although disappointed, I used the lack of a promotion as a signal to CHANGE MY LIFE. Logically I thought, if I was so amazing, I would have been promoted. Therefore, I'm not that amazing so it's time to move on! I was bored of doing the same thing for so many years. I had already started questioning whether this was all there was to life. Instead of being delusional about my abilities as a corporate employee, I found a way to leave with a severance package the very next year to go on a new adventure.

There's not one day that goes by where I wish I had stayed in the finance industry. If I got promoted to MD, I'd still be doing the same old thing today. I would never be able to break free and fully exercise my dream of being an entrepreneur.

Related posts:

Money Never Sleeps, Why Should You?

Develop A Strong Money Mindset To Get Rich

Solving The Happiness Conundrum In Five Moves Or Less

Increase Happiness

Feeling sorry for our first world problems isn't going to bring us any happiness. There's always a positive in every negative situation. Go find it. Change your perspective to things in a more positive light.

And if you really can't find the positive just remember we've got endless food to eat while nearly 800 million people in the world go hungry every night. Maybe then, we'll stop taking our good fortune for granted.

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About The Author

65 thoughts on “Change Your Perspective To Increase Your Happiness”

  1. I have coached high school students from asian families who were rebelling against there family by doing track. Crazy! One girl’s parents refused to buy her properly fitted shoes so we bought some for her.

    While being well off financially by becoming a professional athlete is a long shot for most people don’t forget that being an athlete can pay for college! My spouse came from a single/teen mom family. Mom paying for college was not an option. But by being a talented athlete he was able to pay for college and living expenses at a good university. And being realistic/wise used this great opportunity to major in engineering.

  2. Perspective is everything! I recently spent a few hundred dollars more than normal on healthcare. Most of the tests turned out negative. I still have to pay for them, naturally. I’m excited that we have ruled out some possibilities. I’m also excited that I am finally financially fit enough that I am seeking out the medical answers. It is taking some money away from debt reduction, but pain reduction is a worthy goal and I’m excited that some of the steps are working.

    1. Nothing is more important than our health. I’m glad whatever it is you tested for is negative. Once our health is gone, life is so much worse. Even spraining an ankle badly for me last week was very sobering. No more hikes, no more tennis. Just pushups and situps and typing all day long.

  3. This is really great perspective. I think too often we look internally at our immediate needs/wants and can’t see the bigger picture.

    It took my wife and I 18 months to get pregnant, however this was a blessing in disguise. We were able to travel all around the world during our first three years of marriage and now that we have a child, we know we wouldn’t be able to have that type of freedom to travel again.

    1. That’s a great outlook! And I’m very happy for you two! There’s a lot of benefits of being an older parent. It might even be better, especially if you know it you will live longer. Maybe less divorce, and less stress Since finances are better settled and we’re more mature.

  4. Graham @ Reverse The Crush

    This is a great reminder!
    Perspective is really important because being happy is more about building habits and having the right attitude. And to be honest, I should be a lot more grateful. As long as you have health, food, and shelter there’s really nothing to complain about. When my own (first world personal struggles) get in the way, I try to remind myself that some people don’t even have shelter to go home to. Some are ill with a life threatening disease. There are so many worse things in life than the petty things most of us worry about.

    Also, I found it funny that you’re already thinking of voice dictation software because I’ve thought about that too. I more recently started to experience some wrist pain from using my laptop too much and had to start using a mouse. That alone made me realize that one day I’m not going to be able to do this. I’m only 30 and still got a long way to go, but the idea has crossed my mind.

    Thanks for sharing the reminder, Sam. It’s a great way to start off the week.

  5. Ms. Conviviality

    I work in a small office with 11 co-workers. It used to bother me that everyone else in my office lived on the wealthier northwest side of town while I was the only one living in the poor southeast side of town. It wasn’t until my co-workers started to complain about rush hour traffic, higher property taxes, and association fees that I began to appreciate living where I do. Since most people on my side of town don’t commute into the city for work I don’t have traffic issues and I live in a house on 3.5 acres surrounded by beautiful oak trees in an area I feel safe in. I feel like I’ve stumbled on the town’s best kept secret.

  6. Middle Class Millionaire

    Great article on perspective! There are always more than 1 way to look at things, and often we actually do have things a lot better off than we think. Similar to the glass half empty or half full saying.

    “..When I got back to San Francisco, I realized how awesome my 2015 Honda Fit truly is. It has a beefier steering wheel, tinted windows, double cameras, Bluetooth, USB chargers, and more. It even still rocks the new car smell…”

    I drive a 2013 Toyota Prius C and I absolutely love it! Although not the fastest car, it does feel quite sporty. I only have to fill up once every two weeks or so and when I do it’s only like $25. I am totally with you on that Sam!

  7. The things you own eventually begin to own you. No attachments, total freedom.

    If you can live without all of your assets, and still be happy, you’re free.

    This isn’t to say you can’t have nice things. This is to say your happiness should not depend on them.


    If happiness is generated outside you, that means an external force controls your happiness. More control in your life, the better. Look at entrepreneurship. it’s more control where in a job, you have less.

    Manage your feelings internally. Never be negative, or pessimistic. These things matter.

  8. I was walking to work last week tired and stressed about the day ahead. My work is on the Embarcadero by the Bay Bridge. When I walked right by the bridge, I smiled when I realized that I live in a city where people travel all around the world to visit. It always helps me to take a step back and appreciate the life I have and the city I live in.

    Love all your articles, thanks for posting!


  9. Absolutely agree Sam!
    Here in the USA we are much more fortunate than most around the rest of the world, but some are struggling here too and that will change for the better :) (positive thinking) .
    To all…Some days can be better than others and some can suck, but one thing to remember is that if you woke up today it’s already a great day. Stay positive and spread love to all. We all will become stronger.

    PS Sam
    I am working on a website and brand motivated by your articles on starting a website/brand/business. I am in the process of creating it and will let you know when I launch. It’s not crazy, but its a passion of mine and it makes me happy. So why not! Yeah buddy!

    One Love,

  10. Permian Buyer

    This week I had a conversation with a wealthy, wise 85 year old client who told me he had five things he thought a person needed for optimal happiness and success:

    1) Religion.

    2) Being Married and picking a good spouse.

    3) Passion for accomplishing your goals.

    4) Education.

    5) Community Involvement.

    I thought it was a decent list and seemed to work for him. Perspective is everything though.

  11. robert clayton

    Another great article. I was reminded this week while doing interviews for a open position. Except for a couple of breaks and a good boss I could be sitting in that seat looking for a better job instead of interviewing that person. Many of these people have the same education and years of experience, but haven’t been able to move up. There have been times I have been disappointed in not get a promotion, but when I look at my income and the type of work I do I have a good life.

  12. Great post Sam!

    I worked at a place that had very abrasive management/labor relations. One day, a worker came into my office yelling, screaming, and swearing at why I was doing such a bad job and making bad decisions-right in front of my boss and coworkers. I told my boss I wanted to write him up for bad behavior and I received a horrible glare with a resounding, “No, you can’t do that!.”

    Was I mad at the worker? A little. I was furious with my boss because he tacitly approved of the screaming. I got angry, I got resentful, but I didn’t create any unnecessary conflict with the boss. Instead, I spent the next week after work in coffee shops updating my resume and sending it out to as many companies as possible. Within a month, I received an interview from a prominent company in the industry for an almost dream job. Taking the job resulted in almost a 30% increase in total compensation, increased and diversified my skill set, and brought me closer to home for my friends and family. Plus, the travel associated with the job allowed me to explore the East coast and central Mexico all on the company dime:)

    On my last day at work at the hostile job, I shook the hand of the rude worker and told him I owed my success to him:)

    1. Awesome! Success is the best revenge. I wonder how he reacted?

      One of the VPs in my office made fun of me with an “air keyboard” gesture when I told him I was going to try and build a blog after leaving. His poking gave me GREAT motivation to succeed, especially since he was junior in age and title.

      Not only was my severance much more than he made that year while I only worked 3 months, he’s still stuck at his same old job while the industry contracts, making less money.

      So fun!

      Related: How I Use Rejection To Motivate Me Every Single Day

      1. I think the VP who made fun of you had to belittle the idea of blogging otherwise his whole career path bubble would have burst. Everyone likes to believe they are choosing the best path and even if they aren’t, will be in denial. The conventional wisdom is ingrained into society and that much more so at large companies with strict career paths. He worked hard to get there, I’m sure, and didn’t want to believe anyone else could succeed at something different.

        The worker took it rather well when I shook his hand and congratulated me quite genuinely on my new job. Honestly, although he was a jerk especially to me, I think the system turned him into one.

        This was a strong union facility and the management took a cowardly attitude and pretty much gave the union workers a free pass to do anything. A worker attacked his boss with a forklift and received no consequences. A worker pulled down the pants of another worker and received only a slap on the wrist. A worker sexually harassed a female contractor and received effectively only a warning. A worker used racial slurs and received only a stern warning. When the racial slur was reported, HR seemed more interested in attacking the credibility of his direct supervisor in order to hush things up. I’d like to mention, these were only the incidents I saw directly during my 2.5 years. When you see all that mayhem going unpunished, why wouldn’t you think it’s ok to scream at a manager?

  13. Hi Sam,

    I love this post. I’m a first generation American and constantly get frustrated that so many people my age born in this country “have it all” and how if I had half those opportunities, I could have been so much more better off.

    After reading this, I feel like post, I feel like those disadvantages have actually helped me accomplish great things and served as a way of motivating me.

    Thanks for yet another interesting post Sam.


  14. Cool you were an EMT in college! I met a couple others during college and they said they really appreciated the experience. Of to the rescue! How good of a feeling is that?

  15. That’s a great way to live. We should take a little time to reflect and remind ourselves how lucky we are. Sure, life could be better, but my life is so easy compare to my parents. My cheap Mazda 5 is so much nicer than our old Chevy Astro. Life is good.
    Oh, when I was in college there was an apartment where older people live. There’d be an ambulance parked out front once in a while and we used to say there goes another one. I still don’t like ambulances. They are bad news..

  16. You could think of waiting in line at the grocery store as giving you time to think and appreciate the marketing strategies that companies use to get you to grab that last extra item to put in your cart. Then the waiting doesnt have to suck so bad

    1. Haha, good idea. I never go to the grocery store when busy. I hate the wait. I’m also an express checkout type of person when I go 75% of the time.

      The same strategy can be said when surfing other websites. They’ve all spent money and thought of the best ways to construct their site. Why not do a little learning and mimicking?

  17. The Green Swan

    Great things to keep in mind and in perspective. I really look forward to seeing your monthly newsletter also!

  18. Dictation software? Try Dragon Dictation with a powermic ii and you will thank me , try it and you might even invite me to your Lake Tahoe pad!!

  19. Sam,

    Bingo. You got the point. By changing our paradigm we can respond with compassion or understanding instead of frustration or anger. If we do it enough it becomes a habit and we become happier naturally. Unfortunately it’s easy to forget so I’m sure writing this article and teaching and sharing with others will make you practice it more, and thus increase your own happiness!

    Well done.


  20. The Professor

    Nice article. This week my water heater started leaking from the bottom. Yikes. Instead of getting all bent out of shape I decided to learn how to replace one since I’ve never done that before.
    The cost of a new one didn’t thrill me either. I found the old manual and warranty and found out it had a 12 year limited warranty. It had been about 10-11 years since that one was installed. I called the company about the warranty fully expecting them to deny it somehow. They said bring it in where it was purchased and we will credit you that amount. Really? That simple? What’s the catch I thought.
    Turns out there wasn’t any. I got almost a $500 credit and used it towards buying a new one. Just fired it up this evening and waiting for the water to get hot now so I can do dishes, laundry, etc..(take a shower even?)
    Realize how lucky we are that in some countries they’d be happy to have regular water running to a house never mind getting hot water.
    Had I not been FI I would also have had to go to work and pay someone else to come over and take care of all this. I worked on it in between taking the kids to school and activities over the past couple of days and learned some things.
    All a matter of how you look at things.

    1. Glad you got that water heater covered under warranty! Mine exploded and flooded my renter’s room. That sucked. Felt bad. Got a new one, and helped him w/ some expenses. He was moving out too!

  21. FIRECracker

    Love this article! Perspective changes everything. The happiest and most successful people are the ones who can turn a negative into a positive.

    As we get older, our perspective changes. We no longer care about the minor irritants and instead focus on the bigger picture.

  22. For a different perspective and some possible insight on dictation software for old ossified fingers, checkout the website of the “old bed guy.” I have no relationship to him or the blog, other than asking for his free free advice when I last bought a mattress.

  23. I agree with you Sam, change your perspective for a happier life :)

    You should look into Nuance’s Dragon dictation software, it’s pretty good already.

    And I totally agree with you – traffic is a good sign. Plus, you’re not sitting IN traffic, you ARE traffic – don’t forget that :)


    1. Will do! I hope it’s better than the voice dictation on the iPhone! I use that to respond to many comments when I’m on the move.

      Thanks for the traffic tip! That is a good one!

  24. Apathy Ends

    I am with ya on all of these except sitting in traffic, but when I am in the bus driving by everyone on the shoulder I will be happy that everyone is working.

    A huge perception change for me revolves around food, thinking that their are people going hungry while so much food is wasted or when people make a comment that work didn’t order dessert with lunch.

    Great post – as usual

    1. Traffic is terrible. I don’t know what it is that makes my so unhappy. The shift in thinking about people going to work to make investors wealthy has really helped.

      There’s no way I will ever let myself go after living in developing countries for 13 years and visiting India and other very poor countries. I can’t help but feel that overeating is a great disrespect and an FU to the hundreds of malnourished people out there. Once you see, you cannot unsee the poverty.

      Related: A Weight Loss Tip To Die For

  25. The Alchemist

    If you lack either the funding or the desire to travel to a third world country, a fantastic way to gain perspective on just how good we have it is Robert Gordon’s book, “The Rise and Fall of American Growth – The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War”.

    It’s a helluva tome, but should be required reading for all high school kids. They need to understand just how easy life is for modern Americans, compared to what it was little more than a hundred years ago.

    We so take for granted indoor plumbing. And the fact that we walk into a room, flip a switch, and voila! There is light! And municipal water and sewer works. And plentiful, safe food. That can be stored safely for long periods in refrigerators. And easily resupplied from supermarkets.

    It’s the silly little details of life that we never make a fuss over because they seem so trivial, but that make such a HUGE difference in the day to day reality of our lives. Keeps you humble, and keeps you grateful.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! Will check it out.

      I went on the Hapsburg trail this summer, reading about how the royals governed and lived in Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. We live so much better than them now. It’s amazing.

      In door plumbing FTW! Now we spend absurd amount of money and time building luxury master bathrooms. I for one dig it.

  26. Fulltimefinance

    Fantastic post, its always great to sit back and remember what we have. Too often the human condition is simply to feel that the grass is greener and look for the complaint. The reality is almost every one of us lives like a aristocrat did 200 years ago. Words to live by: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and ultimately it’s almost all small stuff.

  27. Jim @ Route To Retire

    Love the “glass half full” attitude! It’s funny how over time a lot of people around us and the media start to make a lot of us feel the world is just a bad place.

    But there are some people that have that gift (like your old girlfriend) to be able to see the positive in things. It’s amazing that some people are able to do that, but it sounds like some of it rubbed off on you!

    — Jim

    1. I’m proud to say a lot of good things from other people rub off on me. It’s nice to be adaptable to new ways of thinking and doing. Growing up internationally attending international schools always made you learn new customs.

  28. Ironic, I just wrote about the same thing this week. My “perception change”: I’m living in a small apt near my office for 3 nights / week since we sold our “big house in the city” and moved to our “cabin in the mountains” as a downsizing move for retirement. Unfortunately, I still have to work 2 years, hence the apartment. I was frustrated about “no TV”, but changed my attitude to develop it into a personal challenge to use every free “apartment hour” in a productive way. My blog has exploded as a result, and I’m loving the challenge. It’s awesome, and it’s a personal choice. Choose optimism, choose happiness.

      1. Sam – thanks for the link, great article and relevant for my situation. Ironically, I’ve been writing/building for 18 months on my site with no focus on monetization, either. It pleases me to think you were once on a similar portion of this runway.

  29. Thanks for the great article. You are 100% right, and for me your traffic example Was particularly insightful.

    I think my biggest challenge is catching myself in the moment, so I can be aware and try to consciously improve my perspective. That situational awareness is an ongoing undertaking; but as you undoubtedly know, it’s worth it.

    Thanks again!

    1. Traffic really makes me unhappy. Driving during rush hour when I don’t have to makes me even more unhappy. It’s funny once you’ve left Corporate America or have an internet based business, you become MORE annoyed at the mundane b/c you don’t have to subject yourself anymore.

      I remember SF clearly in 2001/2008/2009. Restaurants were EMPTY. Traffic was light. Kind of eery. I’d rather see things robust. We can always escape.

      Let’s be self-aware and mindful of our surroundings indeed!

  30. Fiscally Free

    I agree that we should take charge of our attitudes and take responsibility for our happiness.
    I don’t usually make up narratives to put a positive spin on things, but I do force myself to be positive.
    When I was younger and in a bad mood, my dad would often tell me, “Change your attitude.” I thought that was crazy and would continue sulking. I now realize it is completely reasonable. We can control our emotions (or we should be able to), and being in an unpleasant mood is almost always optional. I’ve realized being mad or unhappy is not at all productive, so I choose not to be. It’s that simple.

  31. Simple Money Man (SMM)

    “More traffic means more employed people”……great way to think. Similar to this I work in the suburbs and have later hours so my office lot is pretty much full when I get there and have to park far from the main door. I used to be annoyed but one day thought to myself at least the building is fully occupied which means lots of business tenants, more jobs, and ultimately a stronger economy in my town. Viewing the glass as half full is a cliche but it truly works!

  32. Many people don’t understand what they have, until it is taken away. Take health for example, you can have all the money in the world, successful career and anything else you want, but if you get diagnosed with cancer or hit by the car tomorrow, it means nothing.

    So appreciate what you ve got, sure try to achieve more, but be thankful for what you have. When you travel the world and see in what kind of conditions people are living, it changes your perspective.

    1. I just badly twisted my ankle last night walking home from an event. So random b/c there was a tree trunk stub I rolled over. Hurts like hell. Swollen. I can’t play tennis. I can’t walk properly. I can’t hike, walk, do nothing.

      BUT, at least I can type. I’m using this time to be grateful that I CAN normally walk and play. And to be mindful of the suffering of others. Need to always make best use of what we have.

  33. Financial Panther

    This is definitely right and good to keep things in perspective. Even a completely middle class lifestyle in the US puts you in the top 1% in the world for wealth (and probably in the richest ever over the history of the world). Don’t forget, kings and pharaohs literally pooped in buckets. If you were born in the US or any other developed country, thank your lucky stars. You have the change to make your life almost anything you want, if you put your mind to it. Not everyone gets to be so lucky.

  34. Jack Catchem

    One of the most dramatic perspective changes in my my life is how I remember cannon fire. I have friends that still shudder at the memories, but I think back to several firefights where that same 25mm Chaingun fire saved my life. Some associate that solid “Boom. Boom. Boom.” with the fear of death and dismemberment. I view it like the thump of Nike’s wings and instead of PTSD, I actively love the sound.

    I’m also glad to hear you appreciate sirens! Many are disgusted by the noise. It’s always been the “Call of the Pack” to me. Nothing like hearing the wails go up around the City when someone is squaring against you. It feels like “Check!” Not a win, but a significant step. I also love a fight I don’t have to win, only survive.

    1. Hmmmm, that is pretty powerful imagery. I just watched the movie, the 13th Hour last night about the Benghazi incident. Highly recommend folks watch.

      You’ve got such interesting stories. I hope you tell one through a guest post one day!

  35. Think positive, be thankful for what I have, yet still be passionate/aggressive towards the better future is what I learned from this post. Perfect timing for me at least, to remind myself that the problems and stress I have is only a first world problem and can easily be gone if I change my perspective. Thanks Sam.

  36. I have plenty of friends in their early thirties. I put myself in their shoes for a day and all of a sudden, a boring desk job doesn’t sound so bad after all.

    It’s amazing how the human mind will always get into a funk no matter how good it has it! I guess somehow many of us inherited a spoiled millennial brain and we always have to fight with the little entitlement gnome in there.

  37. Great post Sam. We are really lucky to be living in a developed country, having things readily available to us. Your perspective really changes if you were to visit a poor developing country and seeing what people have in those countries. Yet most of the time these people are happy with their lives.

  38. Happiness is all about perspective. I still remember back in 1994, I was living in Louisiville, KY working for GE. I was right out of undergrad and living someplace that it snowed for the first time in my life. I did not know how to drive in ice or snow.

    It was around 7pm, dark, and we were in the middle of an ice storm. I was cruising down the road in a rented Grand Marquis (rear wheel drive) in cruise control at about 70mpg. I was heading to a warehouse where we had meetings first thing the next morning. You can see where this is heading.

    I hit a section of road that was coated in about 1/2″ of solid ice. I hit the brakes, of course, and went flying off the road at 70mpg into the swale which was the only thing between me and oncoming traffic.

    To make a long story short, I came within a hair’s width of actually flying across the swale and into the oncoming traffic. The impact would have been at well over 100mph since the other traffic was heading in my direction. Luckily, the swale contained the car and it came to a stop after several hundred yards.

    I think back to that day often and think that every day since then has been a bonus since I should have been dead that night.

    That keeps me from ever getting too depressed and people complain that I am too happy all the time!

    1. Wow, that is some scary stuff Jon! I’m glad you made it! Holy moly. If that happened to me, I would be so thankful and display so much gratitude every single day.

      I had a second chance moment in my late teens as well which I might talk about someday. It’s the reason why I try and take nothing for granted.

  39. Perspective makes such a huge difference! Great examples in your post. For me, there have been times when I get so frustrated that my parents have been so bad with money their whole lives. But when I change my perspective and look on the bright side it really helps – if they hadn’t been so bad with their finances, I might not have tried as hard as I have so far to become financially independent and build my own wealth. And now I also have the means to help them, although it can still get frustrating ;)

    I also didn’t get a promotion I really wanted several years ago. I was so upset about it, but the great thing is that my emotions eventually boiled over and I was able to fight to get promoted in the next round, got a raise, and then engineered my layoff a year or so after that and changed my entire career around for the better.

    1. Very interesting perspective. I wonder how many kids from upper middle class to wealthy families become completely unmotivated in their lives b/c they see they don’t have to try.

      It’s something I’ve touched on in the post, No Wonder Why Millennials Don’t Give A Damn About Money!

      I’m glad you’ve become an independent woman and can take care of your parents now. It is a daughter or son’s GREATEST HONOR imo!

    2. The MAD Consultant

      Untemplater your comments really hit home with me. Despite having hard working parents, mine too made some bad decisions that are now really catching up with them in their older years. Not always easy to deal with when it’s your parents, and it’s a real learning experience no matter how well versed you are with handling personal financial matters. I do think your upbringing has a big impact on your motivation too. The poorer you are the bigger your hunger. Now I don’t want to discount all the hard working individuals from higher income families. There are definitely plenty of them too. I just think that hunger manifests itself in a different form.

      I dealt with the same issues regarding a promotion I wanted badly too. Except my outcome is different. I actually asked ahead of time if I was going to be considered, and other possible scenarios. When I found out I wasn’t “in the running yet”, to me that was the writing on the wall clear as can be. I took off a couple months afterwards once I got myself setup for an exit. It definitely lights a fire inside. Congrats on your achievements.

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