What is it that makes us happy? It could be a million different things. There’s no single answer. So much of it is in our mindset though. And, happiness seems to come easier to some people than others. But let’s try and narrow down what happiness really is and what it stems from. So, if you could only answer with a single word, what’s your one word definition of happiness?
A One Word Definition Of Happiness
Progress comes to my mind. Not the words money, health, success or even family. Just the word progress. You can have a wonderful loving family, but what if you have poor health? Are you still happy? The cancer patient who successfully conquers his disease is probably happier than any healthy person will ever be, at least for that moment in time. That’s progress.
The problem with progress is that it gets harder and harder to move forward with each progression. If you’re a publisher, take your Alexa ranking for example. When you first start off, each monthly improvement may be by 1 million. The next month’s jump slows to 100,000. Finally, your rate of improvement is only 1,000 until you start losing interest. Your ranking may not mean much. But, it’s fun to track and it will keep you motivated when you first start out.
Another example of a one word definition of happiness is work. The guy in the mail room who gets promoted to the front lines that week is happier than the woman who’s been head of the office for the last 10 years. For the next 10 years, I’ll take the junior guy’s work happiness over the established woman’s work happiness any day.
Happiness Is Progress
So what do we do once we hit a wall? In Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, he says,
“Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.”
I’m determined to scale that damn brick wall and find out what’s on the other side. Are you?
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Make More Money & Increase Your Happiness
If independence is your one word definition of happiness, focus on improving your personal finances this year. Here are some additional resources I’ve put together that will help you on your financial journey to earn more, save more, and hopefully double or triple your income!
- Take advantage of free online financial tools: Free Wealth Management
- Explore my top financial products recommendations
- Learn how much you should aim to have saved in your 401(k) by different ages. The numbers could surprise you.
- Look beyond your salary and start earning passive income. Here are the best passive income streams I recommend.
- That Sinking Feeling Of Falling Further Behind
- Make Time To Think Differently If You Want To Make More Money
- The Time When World Series MVP Ben Zobrist Was Almost My Tenant
- July 2020 Financial Samurai Recap: Dada!
- Zynga Rejected My Application So I Unleashed The FURY!
Readers, what’s your one word definition of happiness?
Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”
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Early Retirement Extreme says
In many cases people come to work harder and harder for less and less improvement in their situation. Yes, one of them will win a window for his office, but everybody will pay the price with their hard passionate work and is a window or a corner office really that much of an improvement if one still have to be there from 9-5 every day?
So, the thing to do once you hit a brick wall is to consider that maybe … the cake is a lie ;-)
ERE – It could be a lie, and that’s why in my example, folks don’t work hard b/c they are skeptical of the outcome, and are content to just take it easy!
I tell ya though, the journey is not that bad, but it if really was, more would work even hard so they can retire quicker! Thnx for your thoughts.
Great word Life Coach! Why didn’t I think of Kaizen?! lol. Don’t worry about coming here everyday at all. Esp, since I don’t post everyday for this exact reason. Who has time? :)
.-= admin´s last blog ..Everything Is Rational – The Answer To All Things Irrational =-.
One word – Kaizen!
It’s living with the mentality that there is no best only better. There is always room for improvement. This is not the same as innovation, not a big leap (like the biggest loser, 300lbs in 3 months). It’s a lifestyle where every day you are consciously trying to make small incremental improvements that, like compounding interest, add up over time.
I am truly sorry I cannot be here everyday. Like you the day job has priority!
.-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..Lower the Water and Expose the Rocks =-.
Ryan @ Planting Dollars says
In a word… “Journey”… Sounds really corny and I don’t mean the band, but always looking back I’m happiest when I’m on a journey whether it’s to get somewhere physically or mentally, it’s fun. Maybe that also ties into the words “challenge” or “purpose”
.-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Investing in What Matters Most… Your Belly =-.
Ryan – Journey isn’t corny at all. It’s often times the journey that’s more fun than the end goal i.e. working your way to saving your nut is probably more fun than once you get to your retirement nut imo.
Monevator – IC. So shouldn’t all banks either just pay out the bonuses in MAY to save several billion in taxation shekels? There’s gotta be some kinda loophole somewhere yeah?
It’s hard for me to stand rainy, grey, gloomy dates mate. That’s why I moved out west! :)
Bytta @151 Days Off says
Hi Sam, thanks for dropping by my site.
Anyway, i finally found the report page. It turns out, households with income $151k-250k (or more) need $625k to increase a percentage point of wellbeing (not happiness, sorry).
There are many other aspects of wellbeing discussed in the paper. I’m not sure if you folks have similar report in US. If you are interested to see the report (very enjoyable to read too), here’s the page:
.-= Bytta @151 Days Off´s last blog ..Is Frugality the New Superiority? =-.
Hey Bytta – Thanks for finding the report! I guess a percentage point of well being is somewhat subjective, but it does point out that money after 250K really doesn’t help much at all in the happiness front.
I believe this fully.
Original answer! You best marry her eventually then! :) I’ve got a controversial post in the pipeline for folks like your girlfriend to read. It actually was accepted by Wise Bread (topic and outline), and once I wrote it, they rejected it b/c it may be too controversial for the female readers! doh. Good thing I got my own site to do whatever I want! lol.
@Bytta @151 Days Off
Thanks for your kind words! Wow, a person who makes over 300K needs to double their income, or add another 600K to feel the same happiness point increase? That’s amazing, and it goes back to the beginning of my post about “hitting the brick wall.”
It is a moving goal post, and I do feel that it’s the journey, which his most fun, rather than the end. B/c when we reach the end, it’s sad. Let’s say you retire at 65, you might die in 13 years based on the median US life span. “That’s SAD! But the 40 year post college journey to get there, now that’s fun! Progress!
Bytta @151 Days Off says
I would say “authenticity.” It’s only when you’re true to yourself, set your own standards and not worry about other people’s expectations (while still appreciate them) you will reach true happiness. The usage of “you” clearly indicates that I’m not there yet.
About “progress”, i read similar notion in the Australian Happiness Index last year. Basically it said that people with lower income need $600 to increase 1 happiness point, the middle income earners will need a few thousand dollars while people who earn over $300k will need around $600k to add the happiness point (that’s just rough figures. I couldn’t find the web page…grrr…:)).
The issue with that thinking is it has a moving goal post and it’s never-ending; which brings us to this question, does happiness for you lie on the motion of progress or the results of progress?
Ps. Love your blog. I think it’s one of the most progressive pf blogs out there and thoroughly readable.
A one word definition of happiness? How about… ‘happiness’? ;) Alright, how’s this: Sondra, the name of my sweet, wonderful, beloved girl, and the one word (alright, technically name) that always brings a smile to my face.