Issue of happiness often comes up in peers at events and discussions with employees during quarterly reviews. As company owners we have to pay attention to people around us – if you need people, you’re in the people business.
Some people are workaholics – they need to be taught when to stop working. Some people are slackers, they need to be told how to motivate themselves to get the job done.
This post is about neither.
It’s about the motivation for happiness and whether that motivation is realistic or just a hopeless optimistic dream – the best case scenario that rarely pans out.
Money or Happiness?
Taken to the extreme, it’s a polar issue.
You can work yourself to death and have money to buy happiness. Don’t listen to broke people, money can buy you happiness. Beatles said money can’t buy you love. Notorious BIG said “Mo money, mo problems.” – which is true, everyone has problems. But with money, many problems can go away – fast.
The question isn’t really whether money can buy you happiness, it’s how much money do you need to buy said happiness and just how deferred it may be.
There is nothing wrong with sacrifice. But you don’t need a Ferrari or millions of dollars to be happy.
There is plenty wrong driving a Kia while waiting for your company to become the next big .com.
Ever wonder why plumbers, painters and every other handyman occupation demands on seeing the job before they offer you a quote, even when it’s something simple? It’s not because they can’t figure out how much it will cost to paint a 10×10 room with an 8 foot ceiling. It’s because they want to see what kind of house you live in and what kind of a car you drive.
So how is it that these uneducated laborers are smarter than your typical dreamer employees?
Mostly because employers are really good liars. Think Dilbert’s pointy haired boss times a thousand. Think you’re going to get a massive payout when your company gets bought? Ask Skype guys how that worked for them. It’s typical – but rarely discussed. Because it’s easier to let everyone think they will get a really big payoff at the end if they just break themselves in the process. It’s almost like an afterlife proposition – for your career. Yet it rarely works out. Which at times leads to Dilbert apathy:
You see, most companies I deal with are multimillion dollar businesses that are on the brink of being taken over for 2000x their value. Yet their CEO typically drives a Yugo or a pickup truck. I guess they are too busy to shop for a car. Or someone is full of crap.
Belief towards a supernatural corporate acquisition better be fueled by some real life corporate miracles – like Christmas bonuses, paid days off, vacations and your boss actually liking you enough to take you out for drinks outside of business hours. If you aren’t seeing one, what makes you think you’ll see another.
What you’re willing to buy, I suppose, is up to you.
Here is my advice
Having driven a Honda Civic HX for nearly quarter million miles, until it got towed away because I left it on the street without a license plate (that I moved to a more expensive car) I know a lot about sacrifice. So I will admit, I was wrong – you need to enjoy some of your hard earned money.
Life is a lot nicer with nice cars, nice vacations and nice clothes. Millions will come eventually.
But if you push 20 hour days, you may not be around to see that day.
If you push 2 hour days while in the office for 8 hours, you definitely won’t see that day.
The difference is slight but it’s a matter of motivation. Allow yourself to be happy and little annoying things in your life will become a lot easier to tolerate or ignore. Refresh, refocus, reengage.
You only have one life and only 24 hours in a day. No, you can’t fill them all with what makes you happy because you probably gain some level of happiness from not being homeless – so being good at work is a must. But you can’t fill them with everything you hate either – because that will make even the stuff you do like less enjoyable.
Again, personal experience.. I don’t do balance. I don’t know where it is, I don’t know how to achieve it and I’m pretty sure if I could I would only kick myself in the ass for not striking it perfectly which pretty much nobody can do. You’re always screwing someone.
So you know what… work hard.. play hard. Take it to 11, take a nap, get back to work on Monday.
Have a great Monday folks, and work on your happiness too.
For bosses and monkeys alike. We all want that bannana. Mine comes in Rosso Corsa DS 302. What color is your banana?*
* (Title of a self help book I promise I will never write)