5 Investments in Happiness
Your life is more than a gift.
It’s an opportunity.
Here are five investments in happiness that will have a profound effect on how you use this opportunity.
Of course, you have to apply them before they work.
Otherwise these investments are like paint.
And you must know that paint becomes color only when you put it on the wall.
If it stays in the can, it’s just paint.
Each of the 5 investments in happiness depends upon the following statement.
The above statement is the foundation for successful living.
Recognize that this applies both ways.
Good actions are investments. They lead to expanding richness in every aspect of life.
Bad actions are withdrawals. They lead to deepening poverty in every aspect of life.
By making small, consistent investments, we can accumulate happiness in every dimension of our lives.
Why Wealth Matters
Wealth gives you more choices and more control over your choices.
It gives you the freedom to live on your terms.
It gives you the power to influence others.
Anyone can be wealthy because true wealth is a matter of having enough.
For example, a farmer living in a third world country could be more wealthy than an executive living in a luxury condo.
The farmer has a modest amount of savings, eats healthy meals, lives with the family, feels good about life, and sleeps well at night.
The executive is in debt, skips meals, seldom sees the family, has more enemies than friends, and drinks to fall asleep.
So wealth is not about having a fortune. It’s about having enough.
And of course, this is an example created to show contrast. There are executives who live well, show compassion, and contribute to humanity.
✅ How to Invest in Wealth
1) Live within a realistic budget
The key to building wealth is: Spend less than you make. Then save the rest.
Plan your spending based on having Enough, instead of upon having Everything.
Include a realistic savings plan in your budget. When you start, put savings in a credit union because they often pay higher interest rates on savings accounts.
When possible, buy durable, high quality necessities because these last longer.
Avoid buying luxuries because these sell at inflated prices.
2) Work with a professional financial planner
Choose this wisely.
Select an established professional who has demonstrated a history of success.
Avoid financial planners who have no experience or who are working to increase their income (instead of your income). Avoid planners who offer plans that seem too good to be true. These may be scams.
If you prefer to manage your own investments, consider investing in popular (proven) index funds. In that case, conduct extensive research before investing.
3) Avoid Debt
Some debt is unavoidable, such as a home mortgage or auto loan.
Other forms of debt are terrible because they increase the cost of your purchases.
The worst form of debt is credit card debt. This can increase your costs by 25 to more than 30%.
Thus, buy things only when you can afford to pay for them.
And if you use credit cards, pay the entire bill each month.
Why People Matter
Every success depends upon other people.
We need others to obtain approvals, to receive support, and to feel connected with society.
✅ How to Invest in People
1) Build a vast network of relationships
Build relationships by having conversations. The key is to hold sincere, face-to-face conversations where you immerse yourself in exchanging ideas.
During these conversations:
a) Pay attention while the other person talks.
b) Let the other person be the star in your conversation.
c) Explore differences by asking questions and then listening to the answers.
d) Acknowledge achievements and feelings.
e) Accept others for who they are.
2) Build a foundation of trust
Trust grows from consistent good behavior.
Each encounter with someone shows that person what to expect from you in the future. If you are consistently kind, helpful, positive, and respectful, then people will trust you.
Recognize that even one negative outburst will cause others to wonder about what you’ll do next. And a few outbursts will cause people to protect themselves by leaving.
3) Build a legacy of kindness
Kindness comes from compassion.
So treat others the way they (and you) would want to be treated.
Strive to be the most emotionally mature person in every conversation.
Recognize that everyone is doing the best they can with what they believe to be true about themselves. So find and focus on what they do especially well.
Why You Matter
Your effectiveness depends upon how well you care for every dimension of yourself.
✅ How to Invest in Yourself
1) Care for your mind
Your thoughts become your choices and your choices become your life.
So fill your mind with positive, uplifting, constructive thoughts.
This matters because your beliefs about yourself will become your life.
For example, if you believe that you deserve to be successful, then you will act in ways that make you more successful.
Stay with positive people who like and support you. Spend your time with books, programs, and activities that nourish your mind.
Similarly, avoid negative people and organizations that teach fear. These poison your mind and lure you into making bad choices.
2) Build your self esteem
Your self esteem gives you the confidence to work at your best.
Do this by making choices that lift your sense of who you are.
For example, when you practice kindness, you feel good about yourself.
When you make ethical choices, you feel safe.
When you behave well, you feel valuable.
People who do otherwise, live in fear that others will treat them the way that they behave. They also expect others to retaliate for their history of meanness.
3) Continue learning
Knowledge makes you more valuable at work and more successful in life.
Thus, read books, attend seminars, take courses, join professional organizations.
4) Know yourself
You must know who you are.
Take the time to write your life mission, values, and long term goals. Then review and revise these periodically.
Make plans, which consist of actions that you can take to accomplish your goals.
Write in a journal. Use this to reflect on the big questions in your life.
5) Care for your health
Your health determines how well you think, interact with others, and perform.
Thus, eat wisely, exercise, and get enough sleep.
For example, each meal is an investment in your physical well being. So eat healthy foods that nourish your body.
Certainly, avoid toxins such as cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs. These ruin both your body and your self esteem.
For example, an autopsy technician once told me, “When we open a 40-year old smoker, we find an 80-year old person inside.”
6) Associate with successful people
We become the environment that we create for ourselves, which includes the society we choose to live in.
Spend time with people who have achieved what you hope to achieve some day.
Study what they do and how they live. Ask for their advice.
Why Your Career Matters
Your career determines the world that you live in.
Recognize that you are responsible for your career, which means you can make changes at any time.
Imagine that you are an independent contractor, even if you work as an employee. So think like an entrepreneur, which means that you accept responsibility for everything. This includes choosing your assignments, marketing your value, and improving your performance.
Of course, the key is to be logical and deliberate.
✅ How to Invest in Your Career
1) Excel where you are
Regardless of your current job, make the most of it while you are there.
If you want to change jobs, use your current job to learn skills and gain a good reputation.
2) Plan what you want
Write out a business plan for your career. This would include answers to:
a) What are your goals? (i.e., What do you want to do?)
b) What actions can you take to achieve these goals?
Note that plans are realistic actions that you will take to make progress to achieve goals.
Resource: See my business plan here: Business Plan
3) Ask for help
If appropriate, consult a career coach. These professionals can help you select a career and plan ways to obtain it.
Why your legacy matters.
Your legacy has two parts: a) How you feel about yourself, and 2) How others feel about you.
✅ How to Invest in your Legacy
1) Recognize that each day is an investment in your legacy.
So the guiding question for each day is: “What can I do so that I’ll feel proud of who I am?”
Thus, use each day to live an ethical, positive, respectful life. Be productive in useful endeavors.
So live so that you feel good about what you have done and who you are.
2) Make tough choices.
Specifically, make choices based on being honest, kind, and respectful.
Through this, you will leave a legacy of admiration and respect with others.
The next step is up to you.
I encourage you to find ideas in this article that fit your style. Start with easy actions, and then add others as you make progress.
By the way, did you notice that each of these investments involves making choices.
Thus, your life becomes the sum of the choices that you make.
Here’s an article that shows how to build relationships: