What I Learned in 2020
3 of 3: Happiness
And now, the long-awaited finale to my three-part series of what I learned in 2020. (Go ahead and insert a joke, as some may say I’ve learned nothing, ha). For those who missed part 1 on health or part 2 on wealth, give them a read if you’d like. In today’s conclusion, I’ll shift my attention to what I learned about happiness in 2020.
For whatever reason, this past year was a real soul-searching one for me, could be my soul was the only place I could travel. Personally, I grappled with the notion of what happiness is all about. I’ve attained most of, if not all, my personal goals in life, and still, I felt something missing. Professionally, I have a fantastic company doing good things for a lot of great people. But deep down, I knew there was more I/we can do for those with who we’re honored to work. At the end of the day, I wanted it to be a mission or purpose, and not simply a thing or a service.
I guess what I’m trying to articulate is my personal and professional ‘why.’ Why do I/we exist? What good can I provide to the universe that will make my mom (on earth) and my dad (in heaven) proud?
It all came together for me somewhere around mid-year. I knew the ‘what’ I did for people, but couldn’t distill down the ‘why.’ For me, the why is to help people uncover and achieve their life goals in order to bring true happiness to as many people’s lives as possible. It felt good to actually put my finger on it and realize my personal and professional purpose. Financial planning just happens to be my unique gift, or platform, to deliver this message. Much like other professions, what we do is a skill. Therefore, I can repurpose my personal strengths and assets to my newfound mission.
If you ask most doctors why they’re doctors, I’d like to believe their answer isn’t to make a lot of money. It may be the cause and effect of their unique skills, but the purpose is much greater. I share my backstory not to suggest that my why has to be your why, but only to give context on where we’re going and what I learned about happiness. Clearly, the first thing I learned in 2020 was that bringing happiness to others (and myself) is my and my company’s why. But what else did I happen to learn on this journey?
I learned that happiness is a tangible thing, but hard to describe. When you work with hundreds of unique individuals every single year, one garners a unique perspective. Although you can’t actually touch happiness (although if you met our new Covid-pup, Matzah Ball Rosen, you may disagree), you certainly can feel it. If I asked you to describe love, for instance, you most likely couldn’t do it (or at least I can’t). It’s the same thing when it comes to happiness. You simply know it when you see it, and you can most certainly feel it when it’s present.
I Learned in 2020 that Happiness is Contagious
That would be my second thought on happiness, that it’s contagious. When I hang up the phone or leave a meeting with a couple that has found true happiness, it instantly changes my outlook for the rest of the day and I have an extra skip in my step (because you know, I do a lot of skipping).
The next thing I learned is happiness takes work, and I mean a lot of work. I believe we’re all born somewhere on the happiness scale. Naturally, some people’s happiness comes more easily, and for others, it takes more work. However, for all of us, happiness isn’t something you attain and stop. It’s like reaching your ultimate health or desired weight, getting there is just the first part. The next part is maintaining it through constant work. This was a huge revelation for me. First, I had to work on all the things I needed to do intuitively and non-intuitively to make me as happy as I could be. Then I had to give myself the best environment to achieve this happiness. This is why health and wealth are such important cogs of the happiness machine. We have to be our optimal selves to achieve our happiness.
A State of Mind
Happiness is a state of mind and isn’t any one thing. It’s almost a lifestyle. Happiness can’t be contingent on any one item, especially a material thing. If all I do is equate happiness to money or objects, not only am I missing the point of happiness, but it’s in real jeopardy of all being taken away at some point. This isn’t to say things can’t enhance, enable, or even bring us happiness. They just simply can’t be the core to our happiness. I, my partners, and my company excel at handling people’s wealth and giving guidance. If through our partnership we can help associate the wealth side of things with the why or happiness side of things, we can all have a seismic shift in our purpose of working together.
Next, I learned in 2020 that there are certainly some baseline consistencies in people’s happiness. Such as being mentally and physically healthy, and having a good relationship with money. However, these things merely setup the optimal canvas to paint your ideal happiness. The real fun is that everyone has their own things that bring them calm and happiness. Once you have the ideal canvas, it’s up to you to paint it. For me, it’s about family, friends, helping others on their mission, and playing some good classic rock while sipping delicious red wine, to name a few. I’m still painting my canvas, but the good work I’ve done on my health and wealth have really given me the ability to focus on this passion.
Finally, the last thing I really figured out is that happiness is a powerful drug. Those that have it in abundance are cruising through life and are a magnet for great things. Those that lack it have a much harder time. The good news is there’s hope for us all, as there are some common starting points in the happiness formula. Remember my earlier statement that it takes work? Well, is it worth it? For me the answer was simple. Yes.
Sorry for the long blog post, but I thought this topic warranted this necessary conclusion. I want happiness for every single one of us out there. I’ve seen the transformation in many lives (including my own life), and it’s wonderful to watch as they slowly achieve their true happiness.
As always stay wealthy, stay healthy, and get happy!