Days of Happiness: Day Nineteen | Part Two

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…Q&A Continued from Part One

Day of Happiness Celebrations: Q&A | Part Two


Q&A TWELVE | The Naughty Investor

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

That’s a tough question. Happiness has so many different levels. We can be happy with our family life but unhappy with our jobs; we might be happy hanging out with friends but unhappy to come to an empty house. I think it comes down to satisfaction and contentment. We need to find a balance that works for us within all facets of our lives. If something is out of balance it’s difficult to be truly happy.

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

Both. But I read somewhere that we are all born with a certain level of happiness and between times of elation or sorrow we return to our own equilibrium. Not sure if there’s any truth in it but it might explain why some people are always bubbly and others constantly complaining.

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Happiness is very important to me. Since becoming a mum, it’s become even more important as I want to teach my son that you will be happy if you make the right choices through life, forgive yourself, be kind to others and follow your dreams.

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

We are our own barriers to happiness. There’s so much pressure to keep up these days that we forget about what really makes us happy. If we stop looking at what everyone else is doing and focus on our own values, needs and wants then we will all be much happier. Also, stop thinking that getting to a certain destination will make you happy. No. It won’t, not for long at least. You need enjoy the journey too.

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Regardless of what people say money does buy happiness – to an extent. We can’t survive without money. Food, shelter, health care. That all costs money. Even if you get it for free, it’s at a cost to someone.
Having money means having freedom and the ability to make choices based on what you like and don’t like. Wealth and money are quite important to my own happiness but alongside other things like good friends, family, and having time to do activities I enjoy.

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Health and wellness are even more important than money when it comes to happiness. If you don’t have health and wellness it makes things much harder to be happy.

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

Probably giving birth to my son. I’m also extremely happy when I’m on holiday, regardless of the destination.

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

My ultimate dream and what would make me happy is to be a full time author. This year my aim is to write and publish 3-4 books to help me reach that goal.

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

I’d like to find a charity that I can support with my time rather than financially. I think it’s important to help those who are less fortunate. It’s our duty as humans to help each other rather than fight with each other. Helping is so much easier than fighting. Helping others can really bring a lot of happiness.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

Don’t wait for permission to be happy.

Follow your passions alongside your responsibilities.

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

In Pursuit of Happiness (book/movie)

The Happiness Project (book)

I Will Teach You To Be Rich (website/book)

I’ve found all three helpful to lead me towards living purposefully and following my dreams.

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

The Naughty Investor www.thenaughtyinvestor.com
Balancing health, wealth and happiness with the B.S


Q&A THIRTEEN | Penny deSaver

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

I look at happiness in 2 different forms. In the shorter term, it’s a mix of emotions as a result of my environment. For example, when a combination of things come together, say a beautiful day, I feel relaxed and I’m with someone who is special to me, etc., it creates a sense of joy for me. Long term, it has to do more with an overall sense of contentment with all the things I’m grateful for. Basically, it’s how all aspects of my life come together and create an overall sense of comfort and satisfaction.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

More a state of mind. And it can require constant mental training. By that, I mean focusing on the positive. Most things in life have a negative side, and it can be easy to focus on that. So it’s important to try and catch yourself when you have a negative thought, mentally regroup and make yourself change the thought to a positive one. I realize this probably seems a bit hokey, but it really works. It takes effort, but it works.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Of course! Happiness is a contributor to well-being. And I really like feeling great 🙂

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Outlook. Going back to happiness being a state of mind that is dependent on positive thoughts, negativity is the biggest barrier to happiness. Both good and bad things will happen to all of us, so it’s important to make an effort to not dwell on the negative and instead focus on the positive.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Mildly important. Money certainly does not buy happiness, but it provides a sense of security. Setting money aside and knowing that with it we can afford to handle a financial emergency lets us sleep better at night. Life can be stressful and that stress can come from many different directions – demands at work, family, medical things and so on. Setting money aside can help eliminate some of that stress. For example, I recently had to buy new tires for my car. Having the money set aside to do so made the difference between having been annoyed to make the purchase or stressing over having to come up with the money.

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Very! Endorphins are amazing! And not that happiness is necessarily a cure, but when I feel stressed or depressed, it definitely takes a toll on me mentally and physically. Happiness definitely helps me feel better.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I don’t really have one. I know that sounds terrible, but at least a few times each month I find myself announcing that “today is the best day ever!” I often joke that I lead an amazing, magical life – so that makes most days amazing.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would you share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

This year my life goal is pretty open ended. This is intentional. Our family situation has been changing over the last few months and my husband and I think it would be better for me to stay home where I can have a more flexible schedule. However, I like to keep busy and so my goal is really to balance both home life and potential independent work. Because this is really so new for me, I don’t feel I’m at a point to create specific goals around it. So for this year, the goal is to try different things and see where life takes me.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Absolutely. I regularly donate money, goods and my time to various charities. It’s fulfilling to do so. We all need help from time to time and if I can do something to help improve the world just a little, then I consider that a win. Which makes me feel good.

 

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

Happiness is a process that needs to be continuously worked on. Not to be repetitive, but it’s critical to focus on positivity. If you do it enough, you’ll eventually see that it works. And also to help others do the same. I’ve caught friends, coworkers, and family, making negative comments about themselves or a situation. When I hear this, I’ll suggest a different way of looking at whatever they were being negative about. Sometimes people just need a nudge.

 

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

Other than your site, of course, I really like Values.com. They’re all about feel-good, positive stories. I also get their daily inspirational quote. It comes early in the morning and it’s such a great start to the day! As far as books, I don’t necessarily read books on happiness, per se, but I like books that cause me to smile. Obviously not for everyone, but my favorite book genre is chick lit. There’s always an inspirational character and a happy ending. Currently, my favorite chick lit author is Sophie Kinsella. It may seem contradictory that a personal finance blogger loves Becky, the Shopaholic, but Kinsella has shaped her to be incredibly kind and helpful to everyone she comes across. Plus, she does it all with great style 🙂

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

I blog at www.PennydeSaver.com. I’m a huge believer that saving money can be life changing. And I don’t mean via buying a bigger house or fancy car, which I’m not against if it’s within budget, but as far as creating security. When you’re not worried about money, whether it be for an emergency that just came up or what you’ll live off of one day when you can’t work, you can free your mind to enjoy life more. My hope is that by sharing different saving tactics and inspirational messages I’m able to help my readers find ways to save more of their money and ultimately make a positive impact in their lives.


Q&A FOURTEEN | The First Habit

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

I agree with Aristotle.  Happiness is flourishing, i.e. to thrive or to rise up and meet your full potential.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

It’s both. There are times when I feel happy in the moment because of what I am doing. There are other times where I have an overall contentment with the various components in my life, which is more of a state of mind.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Yes. It’s a state of well-being.  If I am not happy, it is because there is probably something I should fix.

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Recently I’ve been learning more about mindfulness.  I think if I am not careful, I tend to experience life on autopilot.  Once I began to notice this, it felt like taking the wrapper off the candy in my mouth—so much more flavor.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Money is only a tool, but it can buy freedom, and for me freedom is highly correlated with flourishing (happiness).  However, after a certain point, more wealth does not contribute much additional happiness.

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Health is one of those foundational components.  If you don’t have health, it can limit your ability to do and experience, which may reduce potential happiness.  That being said, I know that sometimes there is a paradox, where challenges and limitations open up windows into experiences we would never had otherwise.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I honestly can’t choose one. Some of the most memorable involve significant events with people I care deeply about: wedding day, births of each of my children, travel with my wife.  Also there are moments of achievement: receiving a scholarship to college, getting admitted to medical school, landing a dream job.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

As someone in his forties, it feels like a time to reconnect with who I want to/can be. I want to explore my written voice and connect with people on a larger scale.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

An inordinate focus on self can be the very seeds of unhappiness. Service to others is a magical paradox that returns more than you gave.

 

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?
  1. Small investments in health, wealth, and wisdom daily will build a solid foundation for all the rest of the goodness in your life.
  2. Notice interesting things and share them with others.

 

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin – it will reorient your thinking about the purpose of money.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey – it is a framework for structuring your personal growth.
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – In masterful prose and storytelling, Dickens teaches much about the human spirit and where true happiness comes from.

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Thefirsthabit.com


Q&A FIFTEEN | Millennial Money

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

Happiness is being at peace with yourself and being in the moment.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

I think it’s neither – I think it’s an energy. Sometimes it takes you over without you seeking it, or it surprises you, other times you really have to hunt it down or its elusive.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Of course – when you are happy it means you are full, you are in the right moment, it’s a energy that consumes you. Happiness is healthy.

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Negativity. A lot of bad vibes out there.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Money can’t make you happy, but it can make you happier and your life richer. But you have to be happy at your core. Money can’t fix you, but it can amplify your happiness and your opportunities. Check out my podcast on this topic: http://podcast.millennialmoney.com/e/money-and-happiness-1484541399/

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

They are essential. The open you up to the energy of happiness.

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

Everyday. My wedding for one moment.

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

I want to disconnect more and open up to random opportunities. I am so focused on being efficient and productive, that I rarely let myself just be. I also want 2017 to be about helping others first, not myself. Those two resolutions directly related to my pursuit of happiness.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

For sure. I love having a positive impact on people’s lives. That makes me really happy.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

Don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t forget to breathe. Stop. Take it in. This is your life.

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

Best money book: Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin

Best mindful blog: Zenhabits

Best website: Calm

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Millennial Money

Theme: Gratitude


Q&A SIXTEEN | Reverse the Crush

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

“But what is happiness, it’s a moment before you need more happiness.” – That’s one of my favorite quotes ever from AMC’s Mad Men. It describes my thoughts on happiness better than I ever could.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

It’s a bit of both actually, because if you make all the right decisions, you will put yourself in a better position to experience more moments of happiness.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Yes. It’s important to have things in your life that are fulfilling to you personally. I think it’s equally important to have enjoyment in your life.

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Not having enough time to work on my own interests.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

I think having a goal to work towards is the most important to your happiness. Wealth is important only in the sense that it will free up more time to work on my interests. My long term plan is to build income streams through dividend investing, blogging, and freelance until they provide enough cash flow to support myself full time. To me, being able to support myself financially while doing those 3 things full time is like winning the lottery. Additionally, the extra freedom would allow me to travel more and have more of opportunity to be creative.

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Health and wellness are extremely important to happiness! Simply put, you’re not going to be happy without good health. It’s limiting in terms of travel, and it can take your energy away leaving you helpless.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

It was probably my trip to Costa Rica in 2014. I was traveling and life was beautiful back then. I thought I had everything figured out. Although, there were a few weeks during my year off that I’ll never forget.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

Everything I’m doing right now is done with my long term goal in mind—to be a financially independent dividend investor, blogger, and freelance. So, with that goal in mind, I am saving money to invest more in dividend paying equities, and I’m side hustlin’ on the blog as a creative outlet.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

I do consider charitable work an important part of my pursuit. Eventually, I want to be able to give back where I can when it comes to mental health. I think it’s important for people to realize how serious of an issue it can be.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?
  1. Enjoy the process of your pursuit to happiness. Try to live in the moment and not too far ahead in to the future.
  2. Be prepared for ups and downs.

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?
  1. The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald because it’s some of the best writing I’ve ever read.
  2. The Intelligent Investor by Ben Graham so you know how to invest.
  3. Post Office by Charles Bukowski because it’s a hilarious read.

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Reverse the crush started as a journal to document my year off, and has since become a personal development blog. I blog about goal-setting, blog numbers & statistics, and investing. Check the site out at http://www.reversethecrush.com.


Q&A SEVENTEEN | Money Under The Cushions

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

I like to think of happiness as an addiction, a healthy one that leads to feeling good about life, myself, my family, and where I am at this moment. It means being able to access this feeling even when there is chaos. It’s not the same thing as being blind to, ignorant of, or in denial about the bad that happens, but being careful to remember the good and intentional about that being the primary influence.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

Like many people, I think it’s both.  The state of mind, or as I like to say, a state of being happy is calm, peace, satisfaction, optimism, creativity, etc. When I think of happiness as an emotion I think about synapses firing and waves of wonderful feelings so strong they can overwhelm. It’s a whirring in my ears when something spectacular happens, a moment in time so intense and blissful I think I could stay in it forever.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

For me it’s a primary reason for being. I’m not talking hedonism. There was a time in my life where I lived with a work induced nervous stomach twenty-four hours a day which culminated in a shingles outbreak. I was in a vice presidential position at the time.  It was a step on the rung of my career. Though I knew that anything at that level or higher would be equally as or more stressful, I worked at it with pride, as if it was the most important thing in the world, as if nothing else mattered. I achieved a lot. But happiness eluded me. I realized I could not carve out happiness during the few days of vacation I allowed myself because I was stressed about leaving it behind, stressed about coming back to work, and never thought about anything else. Is that life? Is that happiness? It may be for some. I didn’t find any of it fun anymore. A completely one dimensional life, which is what mine became is not happy. Though it was difficult, I left. I changed. My life is less complicated and infinitely fuller with things that I enjoy.

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Myself. Interestingly enough, though most people would see me as a happy, optimistic person, that is not my natural slant. Whether it’s nature, nurture or both, I have to work harder at being happy than someone with a naturally sunny disposition. I’m very much a comedian at heart and like many comedians, find humor in light and dark and the juxtaposition of the two.  Sometimes the dark is an easier place to go, and get stuck in.  So I’ve made the conscious decision to work at being happy. Every day. And because of that I am happy. I feel happy, and I am that happy person that people assume I am from the outside looking in.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

I am one of those people who would wear the tee shirt that says, “I Know Money Can’t Buy Happiness, but I’d Like a Chance to Prove It.” See, the comedic side. The reality, my truth is that done right, “money,” or more accurately, what you do with it and how it is managed, can decrease stress because you don’t have to worry about necessities like food, shelter, and clothing. The degrees between “having money,” and “being wealthy?” That’s something else all together. My husband and I like to travel, we like our comfortable home, we like having the ability to host friends and family. We’re not wealthy. If we never had more than we have today, we could, we would be happy. Our money goal is to retire and be able to maintain our current level (and win at least ten million dollars. Just kidding. I couldn’t resist).

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

I would say that “wellness” is more important to happiness than health. Yes, they all go hand in hand, and in my mind it would be hard to feel happy if you’re not feeling good, strong, peaceful, etc. With that said, sometimes health is not always in our control, but with wellness (mind and spirit) one can achieve happiness…and in turn, sometimes regain health.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I was going to be cliche and say it was the day my husband and I got married because we were surrounded by light and love that was palpable. We still talk about it. And while that is true, what ranks right up there is the moment my husband found my engagement ring in a bag of frozen shrimp two weeks after I lost it when it came off off without my knowledge. I was so distraught. I cried oodles of tears every day…and I’m not a crier. Sure, we had insurance, but I didn’t want a new ring. I wanted MY ring. The one my then fiance presented me with during the sweetest proposal. It got so bad I couldn’t wear my wedding band by itself, because it brought back my heartbreak. As what tends to happen when you start to let things go, I asked my husband to get the frozen shrimp from the fridge for me, which I never do. I doubt I would have even seen the ring, which is why I believe he was meant to find it…and present it to me all over again. #Happiness.

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

This question is ironic to me and terribly difficult to answer. My last blog post of 2016 was about resolutions for the new year. My suggestion was just to work at being happy. For me that involves many small and large things with none taking the ultimate spot on the hierarchy. Tonight it means finishing off the last fifty pages of the suspense novel I started last week.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Interestingly, I do not see giving to others or charity work as part my own pursuit of happiness, and really never have. I do both and yes, feeling good is definitely a byproduct. However, I consider it to simply be apart of being a good person and trying to add that to the collective.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

Some say that happiness is in the journey, and not the destination. I haven’t found that to be true in my life. I have been wildly happy when reaching a destination. It’s just that I never think of it as being a final destination because there is always something that comes next, so yeah:

  1. There will always, always, ALWAYS be a “next” but;
  2. Stay in your current destination long enough to truly enjoy it. Milk it for all it’s worth so the memory is as sweet and vivid as it can be.

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

Favorite Website: Food.com -I find the site relaxing. Plus it’s food so yum. Yum leads to a satisfied sigh at the end. Satisfied sigh is a form of happiness. I’m a fan of new dishes. It used to be that I’d search for the name of a dish and scroll through the results. More than 9 out of 10 times I’d use a recipe posted by Food.com and I’ve rarely been led wrong. So now I just start there. It’s simple, to the point and the comments are very useful.

Favorite Article:  Jon Morrow’s (2011), “How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise, and Get Paid to Change the World.

https://problogger.com/how-to-quit-your-job-move-to-paradise-and-get-paid-to-change-the-world/  It’s probably one of the most motivating pieces I’ve read about overcoming obstacles and never giving up.

Favorite Book: “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch – A book of simple life lessons and the power of persistence in achieving your dreams by a man who had pancreatic cancer and was fighting for his life.

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Money Under the Cushions: http://moneyunderthecushions.com/

Tag Line: Make More. Save More. Be Happy.

I’ll be adding the, “Be Happy,” component of the blog this year. Money Under the Cushions is young and I’ve been populating it with thoughts and ideas from the first two themes. That’s not very difficult to do as they are so closely related. “Be Happy,” is everything else. It’s not an extension of making and saving money. It’s about food, and fun, and travel, etc. So I’m looking forward to that this year.


Q&A EIGHTEEN | Two Cup House

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

For me, happiness is satisfaction with and gratitude for what I have.  I say I am the luckiest person in the world because I have everything I could possibly need and then some.  How could I not be happy?!

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

Happiness is both.  I choose happiness, so it’s a state of mind.  But I also feel happy, like when I’m enjoying a hot cup of tea.  For years, I thought happiness was simply a fleeting emotion, but I worked the last couple of years to change my perspective and embrace a happy state of mind.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Absolutely.  Being a generally happy person is important because of the influence it has on all aspects of my life.  I can bring happiness to a situation and have a positive impact or I can bring something else and maybe not have a positive impact.  With that, I’d rather bring happiness and increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Me.  I can be a force for good or I can be a barrier.  I am the fundamental barrier to happiness in my life.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

This month, we’ll be debt free.  I can’t tell you how freeing it is to have such a huge weight lifted from our shoulders.  Debt contributed some anxiety, so being nearly debt free and seeing the positive impact it’s having, I would say that money influences our financial security, which influences our happiness.

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Health is paramount to happiness!  When I’m sick, I am not a happy person.  Ha!  I think it’s right up there with financial security.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

Garrett and I getting married… 🙂  But our debt freedom date will be a close second.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?
  1. Take bigger risks.  We want to travel the US, so we need to take bigger risks to grow our businesses to support our goals.
  2. Focus on health.  We’re striving to be in the best shape of our lives so that we have a better foundation on which to build the rest of our lives.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Absolutely.  One of our pillars is conservation, so making contributions to organizations that promote conservation is an important part of our pursuit.

 

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?
  1. Happiness is a state of mind.
  2. I underestimated the anxiety that having debt caused–it undermined my happiness more often than I anticipated.

 

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

The Alchemist, to recognize and embrace your personal legend

The Slight Edge, to start taking the small steps in the direction of your personal legend

The 4-Hour Workweek, to create other ways to earn money to support the pursuit of your personal legend

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Our theme for the year over at Two Cup House is “back to basics.”  Getting back to the basics on our life and money so that we’re focusing on that which is most important to our goals.


Q&A NINETEEN | The Budget Awakens

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

To me, happiness is the level of gratitude I feel for my life, health, loved ones and nature. I believe we all can tap into an abundance of joy if we simply change the way we view our situations.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

Both! Happiness is a state of mind that generates positive emotions. To be happy is to live a life of joy, love, gratitude and inspiration. One of my favorite quotes is, “You cannot be grateful and unhappy at the same time.”

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

It seems like happiness is what we are all striving for. But coming from a feeling of lack, that we need to achieve this state of mind, opens us to failure. I believe happiness is already available to us all. Right here, right now! I struggled with depression when I was younger and know how tormenting negative self-talk can be. Today, I make a conscious decision to be happy with whatever life throws my way. I look at setbacks as opportunities for growth. My life has become one big classroom and I show up every day ready to learn!

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Perfectionism. I used to put off so many of my goals and dreams because I wanted to have all the best tools and knowledge beforehand. Starting a blog, my clothing company and even youtube channel would have never happened if I waited for the perfect opportunity. Perfect doesn’t exist! And to be honest, I learn the most through action. Mistakes and embarrassment aren’t fun but they’re essential in becoming better than we were before.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Well, the reason I am on a financial journey is because I used to believe money bought happiness. I used to buy clothes, records, concerts and travel by borrowing money that wasn’t mine. I didn’t know any better back then. Today, I am just as happy digging myself out of this hole as I was swiping credit cards.

My purpose and desire to become debt free is so fulfilling to me. Connecting with this community and encouraging others on their journey helps me stay focused and motivated. I’m excited to build wealth for my future family and housing goals. So technically I don’t have wealth in dollars yet but I am rich in love, family, friends and health. It will only get better from here 🙂

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Health is incredibly important to me! I eat a plant-based, organic diet and do my best to avoid sugars. I started doing this because of digestion problems and quickly noticed the benefits it had on my mental health. I no longer got headaches or panic attacks and emotional outbursts became a thing of the past. Things like meditation are just as important as physical exercise.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

The happiest moment of my life was in 2005 when my niece was born. She has taught me so much about unconditional love. I believe children are our greatest teachers and I’m so excited to have a family of my own.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017? If so, would you share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

My goal for 2017 is to reach financial freedom! Money has always weighed me down emotionally. To be free of that burden will be a dream come true! I also have a goal of posting a year of youtube videos. I am incredibly shy and this challenge has already improved my shyness. I’m hoping with more practice I will gain confidence and improve my communication skills.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Volunteering has always been a huge part of my life. I believe it’s important to help others less fortunate. One of the charities I help with provides shoes to low income children. It’s humbling to see the joy we bring them by gifting such a common item. Some of the children are wearing the same pair of shoes we gifted them the year before. Torn and falling apart. What’s common to us is scares in the eyes of others.

 

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

Minimalism! I became a minimalist over the last few years because of lessons I’ve learned, such as volunteering with the shoe charity. I gave up mindless purchases and a HUGE weight was lifted from my shoulders. I am always looking for ways to reduce and donate. I have also learned the power of self-love. After my depression diagnosis, I had to retrain my thoughts. Things like self-doubt and negative self-talk kept me a prisoner in my own mind. I spent almost two years doing mirror work and writing love letters to myself. It was an insane process but I am an entirely different person now. I am AWAKE and living life to its fullest!

 

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay – This book was extremely helpful in my recovery. I still revisit it often to remember to be kind to myself. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle – I love rereading this book! It keeps me aware and living in the present moment. I recommend this guide to everyone interested in simplifying and releasing unnecessary stress. As far as business, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill introduced me to the idea of owning my own company. We all have so much to offer and deserve to share our passions.

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

www.TheBudgetAwakens.com

I created the Budget Awakens to document my financial journey and share tips and lessons I’ve learned about minimalism and living with less. I believe having a budget will not only help you to build wealth but it will awaken your lifestyle! As it did mine. Plus, I’m a big Star Wars fan and writing with a Star Wars theme is so much fun!! Thanks for the opportunity to share and I wish you all so much joy and laughter you don’t know what to do with it 🙂


Q&A TWENTY | Valuist

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

As a philosophy student in college, I learned that happiness is incredible hard to quantify but I think it has something to do with being able to meet your necessary living expenses (food/clothing/shelter) while striving to appreciate people/things in life that bring you joy and improve your quality of life. Can you be happy without food and shelter? Maybe, but not for long.

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind

Emotions are a state of mind, therefore happiness and your emotional state are intrinsically tied.

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Yes, because that’s what is essentially important to everyone. If you’re not happy you’re not enjoying life. I don’t mean to suggest that you should always be happy, just that you should always be doing things that are in the interest of your long-term happiness.

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

For me, the fundamental barrier to happiness has been anxiety, a focus on the future and past, rather than the present and over inflating minor issues.

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Wealth is important to the extent that it improves one’s quality of life. However, there is a limit to how much wealth/money plays into one’s happiness I think. For me, I need an emergency fund, a modest car a place to live, food, retirement savings and some level of entertainment to be happy because without these things I know my future self will be unhappy.

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

I think health and wellness is incredibly important to happiness because one’s emotional state is typically tied to their health and diet and the amount of exercise they get.

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I don’t tend to think in terms of ‘most happy moments’ ‘favorite songs/movies’ so happy moments to me are all about the same. Getting married was a happy occasion, but not as happy as the everyday happiness I get from being.

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017? If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

My list this year includes improving in another instrument (guitar), increasing my investments by contributing to my wife’s Roth IRA. I think the former goal will make me immediately happy and the latter will make me happy throughout the year. For me, security and freedom are essential to my happiness. If I lose my job tomorrow I need to know I can survive without a change of my quality of live for at least 12 months.

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

I think truly helping people significantly plays into personal happiness. I don’t believe that most charities connect people with a cause closely enough. But when I find causes that I believe will definitely help someone, I always feel better by contributing. That being said, I don’t feel obligated to give charity, buy girl scout cookies (which is certainly not a charity) etc.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

Care less: About things you can’t control

Care more: About people and activities you love.

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017? 

www.valuist.com


Q&A TWENTY-ONE | Mindfully Investing

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

I approach the whole notion of happiness from the perspective of mindfulness, which is originates from ancient Buddhist ideas.  I tweet and blog about this quite a bit at www.mindfullyinvesting.com .  In a nutshell:

  • Great suffering is caused by the western notion of happiness as some ideal state that can be pursued and harnessed.
  • Because of this notion, we tend to judge each event and each moment, asking ourselves, “Does this make me happy or unhappy?”
  • In contrast, the practice of mindfulness reveals that the real window to “happiness” is to be fully aware of the present moment (now).
  • “Happiness” is always around us like air, we only need to be open to the moment to breath it in.

“There is no path to happiness.  Happiness is the path.” – Gautama Buddha

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

I would say both.  That is, emotions impact and contribute to our state of mind at any moment.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Not really.  I believe that happiness is the result of a healthy and appropriate perspective on life, but happiness is not the goal.  Many people find themselves most fulfilled through intense work, effort, and even pain, like entrepreneurs and the elite athletes.  At many given moments, these people may report minimal happiness in the classic sense of the word.  But their effort and toil over time creates a greater and greater sense of a fulfilled life that likely far exceeds the adrenaline rush “happiness” caused by, for example, purchasing a new car.

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

The fundamental barrier for me, and many people in our society, is constantly judging situations as good or bad.  The barrier to happiness is not the situation itself.  Rather, the window to any happiness is closed when we judge a situation as “bad”.  On my website, I use the example of barking dogs and tweeting birds.  Most of us judge most bird songs as beautiful “music” but dog barks as annoying noise.  In reality, they are both just animal sounds.

Similarly, what if your car breaks down, and you must walk on a muddy, slippery path through the pouring cold rain to get help?  (Let’s also say your cell phone is dead for the sake of argument.)  That’s a story of terrible hardship you will probably be telling your friends for weeks.  But when you are walking through the cold rain, what makes it so bad?  It’s your internal dialogue telling you “This is the worst experience ever!”, “I can’t believe how cold I am!”, and one of my favorites, “I don’t deserve this!”  Yet a multitude of people enjoy a nearly identical experience in the form of extreme obstacle course races.  These people pay entrance fees and find pleasure in navigating obstacles of icy water, mud, barbed wire, fire, and live electrical wires to the point of exhaustion and possible injury.  The key difference is they judge those experiences as “fun” instead of as a “hardship”.  When you are mindful to the present moment, a barking dog can sound like beautiful music!  Buddhism is full of such paradoxes.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

I would like to think I am wise enough to say, “not much”.  However, I think the truth is that we all need a minimal level of money to be healthy and happy in the traditional sense.  If that minimal level is not met, then it’s truly difficult to face issues like homelessness or hunger with any sense of happiness.  A key to life is to drive that minimal level lower and lower as you mature emotionally.  Ask yourself, what is the minimal level of income I need to be happy?  Then try to maintain that sense of happiness on slightly less income than that minimal level.  If you can achieve that sense of happiness over time, there is nothing stopping you from trying to reduce your monetary “needs” even more.  And of course, we all recognize that money can create unhappiness as well.  In that sense, at some point, more money may make you unhappy.  We probably all know people who make a lot of money, but they always seem distressed by the very lifestyle they pursue.

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

As I noted in the previous answer, for most people health is more essential to happiness than money.  Another key to life is to be open to happiness even when our health is less than ideal.  I think many people who are relatively unhealthy can be just as happy as very healthy people, if they allow themselves to fully access those happy feelings.

This is not a theoretical or mystical exercise.  As an example, Jon Kabat-Zinn founded the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  The center uses Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) to obtain “consistent, reliable, and reproducible demonstrations of major and clinically relevant reductions in medical and psychological symptoms across a wide range of medical diagnoses, including many different chronic pain conditions, other medical diagnoses and in medical patients with a secondary diagnosis of anxiety and/or panic.”  Patients undergoing this type of meditation therapy are better able to manage significant chronic pain and lead more productive and happy lives.  The therapy does not make the patient’s pain go away, but it reduces the impact of the pain on emotional well-being and life in general.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I think the question has a false premise.  The question assumes that one happy moment can be quantitatively compared to another happy moment to determine which is “better”.  This is just another form of judgement that denigrates happiness you may be feeling now, as “not as good as” the happiness you had “yesterday” or some other time.  By comparing today’s happiness to past happiness, we are dwelling in the past and missing the happiness we might feel at that moment.  It’s like saying which is more sweet: the teaspoon of sugar in my coffee today or the teaspoon of sugar in my coffee yesterday?  They both have just the same amount of sweetness, unless you start to try to judge one as less sweet.

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?

If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?  I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions.  In general, I am striving to be more empathetic with others and with myself.  Increased daily empathy and compassion makes me feel happy.  Many wise philosophers have concluded the same, so I won’t try to convince you this is true.  Try it for yourself, and see what happens.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Yes, charity is one form of empathy and compassion that we can all explore.  I think it generates happiness for the reason I noted above.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

I think I’ve already covered this, but in summary: Don’t pursue happiness like a hunter after its prey.  Happiness is all around you if you are open to the moment and avoid too much worrying about the future and dwelling in the past.

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

My name is Karl Steiner and you can find me at www.mindfullyinvesting.com  My theme is using many aspects of mindfulness to guide more effective and less stressful investing.  Mindful investors are better investors.


Q&A TWENTY-TWO | Daily Grind Free

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

Happiness to me is worry free life.

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

State of mind.

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Yes! Happiness is a worry free, stress free, relaxed state of mind.

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Any kind of worry and/or stressful situation.

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Wealth is important because it takes some of the worry away.

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

It is the most important aspect to lifelong happiness.

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

Seeing my children born healthy.

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

I don’t believe in making resolutions but I have a big goal this year. We are buckling down and getting serious on our journey to financial independence. The other goal I am working on is not letting the things I can not control bother me.

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Yes I do. When I am able to make some one else happy it provides me with happiness.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?
  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  2. Don’t worry about the things that you cannot control.
If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

The books that I have enjoyed the most:

Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

Essentialism:Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Our blog is mostly about our journey to financial independence.

www.dailygrindfree.com


Q&A Twenty-Three | Wallet Whisperer

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

Happiness means security, opportunity, purposefulness, and acceptance. Feeling like I can truly be myself without judgment, and having opportunities to follow my passions and dreams. It is also important to have a purpose, and feel like I am making some sort of a positive change.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

It is both. We experience ups and downs throughout the day, but true happiness, or joy, is a state of mind!

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Yes it is very important. We only live one life, so why choose to be miserable? Even if I am delusional in my optimism, at least I am happy!

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

I am the fundamental barrier to my happiness! I have to work on changing negative thoughts into positive ones every single day. The reality is, we should never let our circumstances get in the way of our happiness! So many people think “if I only had this, or lived there, then I would be happy”. The reality is, moving or getting what you want will not make you happy. You have to find happiness and peace within yourself.

Living far away from family and close friends has also been very difficult. I have a very close relationship with my family and it has been very difficult being so far away from them. I make the best of the time I do get to see them, and am working towards eventually moving closer. In the meantime I try to be happy and content with where I am.

Debt has also been a barrier to happiness. Although we are making strides and getting it under control, we still have student loan debt that drains our wallets every months. Every loan I pay off completely does make me a little happier!

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Honestly, wealth is only important because it allows me to pursue my dreams and passions. Wealth itself does not create happiness. Some of the most miserable people in the world are the richest. Money is simply a tool to gain security and opportunities, it is not the answer!

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Health and wellness is very important. Having a balanced lifestyle is so important.

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I have had so many wonderful moments. Some of my happiest times was when I was in college with my husband. We were broke, but we had the opportunity to spend four months in Europe. Traveling and experiencing the world ignited a flame inside of me, and I learned so much.

I am also really happy right now. I used to struggle with depression and negative emotions, but I have really learned to choose to be happy. It takes a long time to train yourself to be optimistic, but once you do life is a lot better!

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

One of my goals is to do some traveling. I love traveling and always feel more alive after a great trip.

Another important goal is to pay off more debt. In the last month we (my husband and I) were able to pay off 3 student loans which equaled over 5,000. I want to continue to tackle student loan debt so we can become debt free.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Yes, as I mentioned earlier having a purpose really helps contribute to happiness. It feels really good to feel needed and appreciated. Also, knowing you have the ability to make someone’s life just a little better is really rewarding.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

1) Do not try to conform to others expectations of what you “should” be. Create your own path and follow it. Don’t pay attention to their judgments, it is you that has to live with yourself!

2.) Always be kind, forgiving, and patient with others and YOURSELF!

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

Book: “The Millionaire Next Door” I love this book because it gives a realistic overview of how the truly wealthy live. Most millionaires aren’t in Beverly Hills spending thousands of dollars on diamonds. They are driving used cars living in suburbia!

Podcast: “Listen Money Matters!”. I have learned a lot from this podcast. I have also discovered other books, blogs, and speakers.

Website: “http://www.feedthepig.org” This website has a lot of financial tools that can help you reach your financial goals!

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

My blog is www.walletwhisperer.com

My theme in 2017 is being able to creatively manage your finances. I want to teach people how to “think out of the box” when trying to solve financial problems. I also want to show people that personal finance can be fun and exciting!


Q&A Twenty-Four | Corporate Monkey CPA

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

First, let me say that I’m certainly a layman on this subject – my ideas are my own.

 

I generally think of two separate types of happiness:  a short-term happiness and a long-term happiness.  You get short-term happiness when you have a nice conversation, hang out with friends, or buy something you really want.  While short-term happiness is real and valid, it also is very fleeting, often lasting only a few minutes or less than a day.  Some people pursue it like a drug, and may get into financial or other trouble because of it.

 

Long-term happiness is more dependent on your personality and your situation in life.  If you have solid long-term relationships, a loving family, a good job, and the basics: shelter, food, health – you can achieve long-term happiness.

 

Two things I find very interesting about the two types of happiness:  First, the short-term happiness is very relative to your own past experiences and the people you surround yourself with – while the long-term happiness is less relative, and more absolute to the human condition.  Second, the short-term happiness sometimes comes at the cost of the long-term happiness.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

The short-term happiness is an emotion, almost by definition.  While the long-term happiness is a state of mind or personality, a more permanent condition.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

I view the long-term happiness as critically important to me.  I believe everything we do to work hard and succeed in life ultimately should be so that we can achieve and maintain long-term happiness.   We should pursue this above all else.

 

The short-term happiness is a more complicated matter.  It is definitely something we all enjoy and should pursue in moderation, but it can also be harmful in excess.  If you pursue short-term emotional happiness at all costs, you may actually sacrifice your long-term happiness.  For example, someone who enjoys BMWs, and buys a new model every couple of years, may indulge in the temporary joy of a new car (short-term happiness), but would likely be sacrificing their future financial stability.  This can result in future sacrifices that impair your long-term happiness.

 

So the trick about short-term happiness is finding a balance.  Everyone needs to find their own balance between indulging in short-term pleasure, which often requires spending money, and pursuing their long-term happiness goals – which I believe requires saving money.

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

What a great question!  I’m a little afraid of what my answer will be.

Again referring to the two types of happiness: short-term and long-term, I think I’ve really achieved the long-term happiness.  I have everything that I can really want or need – my health, a loving family, community, purpose, etc.  But, with respect to the short-term happiness, I’m certainly not always in a happy mood.

 

What prevents me from achieving more short-term happiness?  For one, I am often afraid to indulge.  I would always rather save money – thus I don’t use it for short-term pleasures.  My wife thinks this is a bad thing.  I am too focused on the future and not on the present.  If I could indulge more, without worrying about spending money, I could have more pleasures in life, and achieve more short-term happiness.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Wealth is a fundamental tool for achieving long-term happiness, but only because it allows you to have and maintain the things that really matter.  You do not have to be “wealthy”, but you do need some money.

 

Here’s what I consider necessary to achieving long-term happiness:

 

1.   Good Health

2.   A Reliable Source of Good Food

3.   Shelter

4.   A Purpose

5.   A Few Close Relationships

6.   Be A Valued Part Of A Community

7.   Access to the Great Outdoors

8.   Some Physical Activity

 

While you can have most of these things without much money at all, having some degree of wealth provides us with more of an assurance that we can keep and maintain these things.  Wealth is thus a tool that can be used to achieve and maintain happiness.

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

Good health is unique because it is critical to both short-term and long-term happiness.  If you’re temporarily sick, you definitely sacrifice your short-term happiness.  If you have a more chronic health condition, you sacrifice your long-term happiness.

 

People who are young and healthy don’t often realize how difficult things become when your health declines.  If you are healthy, you should be very happy about it.

 

Like money, good health is often sacrificed in pursuit of short-term emotional happiness.  For example, people may indulge in a donut because it makes them feel good for a few minutes.  Another example is exercise: it is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and even painful for a lot of people, and so they avoid exercise.  Yet, a poor diet and lack of exercise lead to chronic health problems in the future, which will inevitably impair your long-term happiness.

 

So, again, excessive pursuit of short-term emotional happiness may sacrifice your long-term happiness.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

That’s a tough one.  It’s funny because I can easily think of the saddest or most tragic moments of my life, but the happiest ones don’t really stand out for me.  It’s easy to say something like my wedding day, or the day my first son was born, but those days don’t really feel like major achievements for me – they are just events – significant events, yes, but not something I really struggled to achieve.

 

I think working hard toward a goal and achieving something difficult results in a much happier moment.   One example of this I can think of was passing the CPA exam.   I had studied for a couple of years on the bus every day while commuting to work, and passing the exam was really meaningful to me.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

Yes, big time.  My goals are:  1) Quit my job 2) Kick ass!…  I’m taking the family on a “Family Gap Year” to South America.  It’s going to be a big year.  This has everything to do with our pursuit of happiness.  It’s a chance to spend time with our kids while they still think I’m cool.  It’s a chance to explore the world, and act like I’m 20 again.  It’s a chance to make some memories that will really last, both for me and for my kids.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Another fascinating question.  Actually, my wife and I are very turned off by charities or other organizations that seek donations.  We’ve seen too much corruption and ulterior motives that we cannot trust charities.  On the other hand, we do give to family and friends in need – if we know them personally, and we see a true need.  My wife is from Bolivia, and this is how giving & donations generally work in Latin America – through direct personal relationships.  We see it as our responsibility to support our community.

 

I suppose this does have something to do with our pursuit of happiness because it is an insurance policy of sorts against future problems.   We give to our community today because someday the tables may be turned, and we may need help ourselves.  So we pay it forward.

 

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

How about just one thing.  It’s probably the biggest idea that guides my own pursuit of happiness:  I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in South America in the late 1990s.  I lived in a small village in the Andes mountains – about 1,000 people in a farming community in the middle of nowhere.  There was one telephone in the village that worked for a few hours a day.  Electricity had only been installed a few years earlier, but it often wasn’t working.  Running water only happened at night.  There was no TV (worth watching), no radio, very few cars.  Life had really not changed much there in the last couple thousand years.

 

After living there for a few years, I came to the realization that these people were no less happy (on average) than people I knew in the United States.  Most of them had the “necessities” covered – health, food, shelter, a community, a purpose, etc.  I learned that once you have those things, whether or not you are happy depends on who you are as an individual.  Everything else is fluff.

 

Even now, twenty years later, whenever I start feeling sorry for myself that I don’t have something that someone else has – perhaps a neighbor, a colleague – I think of the people in that village…. and I ask someone to slap me straight.

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Corporate Monkey, CPA:  A Beacon of Financial Freedom for Freedom Lovers   http://www.corporatemonkeycpa.com


Q&A Twenty-Five | Make Smarter Decisions

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

I guess I’ve never really tried to define my own happiness! I’m happy helping a child who is having a difficult day at school. I’m happy after finishing a hard work-out. I’m also happy sitting at the dinner table with my family or enjoying a drink with friends. What is happiness to me? Being present, finding value from what I am doing, and being content with who I am spending time with.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

I see happiness as a state of mind and being happy as an emotion. In a given day, I can experience a number of different emotions – including being happy. Achieving happiness – or that state of being more content over longer periods of time, requires more energy and not just reacting to the day’s events. Even as a “glass half full” person, achieving (and maintaining) happiness requires work and attention to my life, health, and relationships.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

I certainly prefer to be happy, but I don’t think that it is realistic to think that I’ll be happy 100% of the time. I’ve had to work hard to recognize things that don’t make me happy and then act to reduce or eliminate those things from my life. I suffer from being a “people pleaser” – and often worry about others’ happiness over mine.

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

I’d have to say that the barrier I am facing right now is a lack of time. I chose to go back to work this year (temporarily), even though I am financially independent and things I really enjoy doing have taken a “back seat” to my work. I do find happiness from some parts of my work, but the lack of freedom in my daily life is certainly a barrier to happiness at times.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

Having enough money to meet our needs and some of our wants is the key to our happiness. We are not big spenders, so our happiness isn’t tied to having more or better things. I find a great deal of happiness from our experiences, but I also try to find happiness from being with and helping others – and that doesn’t have to cost anything!

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

As a really active person, much of my happiness comes from what I choose to do and activities I do with others. Without good health and wellness, I think I would have to work really hard to have a positive outlook. This is where I would depend more on my relationships with others as a way to try to continue to be happy – no matter my circumstances.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I think the births of my two children would have to be two of the happiest moments of my life. Watching them both “leave the nest” this fall to be productive and engaged citizens will be incredibly hard, but it will make me happy to see them take the next steps in their lives too!

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

I’ve never been one to write out goals or create New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I’ve chosen to focus on building habits. One of the habits I am focusing on is helping others. Another aligns well with this blog and interview series – choosing happiness and having fun!

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

I do consider it incredibly important, but also an area where I have let myself down. I try to be gentle on myself and realize that as an educator, I try to give to others every single day. My hope is that during my early retirement, I will be able to both do more and give more to help others. My guess is that I will continue to focus on causes that support children – our most precious resource.

 

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?
  • It’s not your job to help make someone else happy.
  • Realize that everyone’s “happiness meter” measures differently. Communication is key to prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

I would definitely read Stephen Covey’s, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Whenever something in my life seems out of alignment, I go back to that book. Whether I need to “seek first to understand” or “sharpen my saw” – a quick review of the habits helps me to refocus. I would also do some binge reading of Sam’s posts at Financial Samurai and posts from Trent and his team at The Simple Dollar.

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

I created my blog, Make Smarter Decisions in May of 2016. I wanted to give back to others by sharing some of the amazing things I’ve learned throughout the years, including what I learned in my doctoral program. My blog’s theme for this year is change. I’ll have two kids off to different colleges in the fall and we are planning on selling our house. We’ll be downsizing into a rental I bought 25 years ago and we’ll be snowbirds for the first time! I also am planning on leaving full-time work at the end of June (as things stand right now!)


Q&A Twenty-Six | Femme Frugality

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

To me, happiness means having a positive and meaningful perspective on your engagement with the world around you. I believe this is easier to do with more money as you tend to have more options, but you can definitely struggle with it if you’ve got mad cash and don’t prioritize your values, or ace it even with no income if you have a strong sense of those values.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

I believe it’s a state of mind that is heavily impacted by our emotions. I think that’s a huge reason that even as adults, we should keep ourselves in check and make sure we’re constantly practicing emotional maturity. Get help doing this if you need to—there’s no shame in getting help so that you can get to this point. But without practicing that maturity, it’s going to be extremely difficult to control your state of mind.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Yes, I do consider happiness to be an important part of my life. It means that I’m living in line with my values and am being true to myself.

That being said, I’ve definitely gone through times of struggle. I’m grateful for some of those, too. Without them, I couldn’t appreciate those occurrences of happiness. Some of the bad times I could have done without, though.

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

I’m a pretty empathetic person. Largely, I think that’s a good thing. Compassion is a positive value.

But at times in my life, I’ve allowed myself to enter other people’s world so completely that I’ve lost sight of myself. Not that the people I’ve associated with have been bad people—I think it takes a lot to truly get to that “bad” level.

But they weren’t me, and when I start being true to others’ struggles and life situations to the point where I ignore my own, I start to feel a little lost and therefore unhappy. You can’t help others if you haven’t already taken care of your own inner peace.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

One of my mantras is, “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but poverty sure can rain on your parade.”

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

I think it makes it a lot easier to regulate our emotions when we have more options and endure less stress. Health problems and lack of money can lessen those options and up our stress levels.

There are people who can achieve happiness in extraordinary situations. We turn them into the heroes of our stories, as their abilities give us hope in dark times. But I don’t think people are any better or worse humans if they aren’t able to cope with a lack of options and stress. We need to let people know that there is help out there, and be there to offer that help when they need it. Ultimately, a happy society is better for everyone involved—whether or not we’re on the short end of the stick.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

I’m trying to diversify my income streams in 2017. Particularly to expand into the realm of analog side hustles. Had I not had this whole blogging gig as a side hustle when the floor fell through in my last industry, I would have had a lot of rebuilding to do which, as we’ve discussed, adds stress and makes it more difficult to regulate those emotions to stay in a good state of mind. While I’m confident with what I’m doing now, I always like to have something on the backburner just in case.

 

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

Absolutely. Living in line with your values includes charity for most people, whether it be of the heart or the pocketbook. If you have time, give it. If you have money, give it. It’s good to get outside yourself and exercise all those values that you think you’ve internalized.

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

I’ve learned that I’m happiest when I’m connecting with other people on a genuine level rather than devoting all of my energy to my job or the pursuit of financial goals. While those things make being happy easier, they are not happiness itself. We need to remember to devote time to things that don’t necessarily increase our net worth.

The other lesson I’ve learned is that life is never static. That’s both good and bad news. While it means that the good times don’t last forever, it also means that the bad ones will end.

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

One of my favorite introspective bloggers is Corinne from Everyday Gyaan. Her posts always make me think and encourage me to recalibrate.

A movie on the topic of happiness that I recommend is happy. It’s a little discouraging—a large portion of our base happiness levels are determined by genetics, but the science behind the remaining portion of our happiness is terribly interesting.

Finally, for anyone struggling with the current political climate I want to pass on a fantastic article that my good friend shared with me from The Coffeelicious. It can definitely help reduce your stress, which we’ve already established leads to higher happiness levels.

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Femme Frugality: http://femmefrugality.com

My theme: Women’s Money


Q&A Twenty-Seven | Money Bacon

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you?

Happiness, to me, is being able to explore opportunities with support from people that I care about. Nothing happens in a vacuum. I work really hard to include people that are important  to me in my goals. I also help them with their goals. The best example of this is in my marriage. My wife and I have good communication and well defined goals. We derive a great deal of happiness is working together toward our goals.

 

Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

I look at my happiness as a state of mind. I take into account the things I have influence over and the things that I cannot change. There are many things that I cannot change but I’m not discouraged by them. I have the most influence over my state of mind. When I care for myself first, I have happiness.

 

Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Happiness is extremely important to me. It’s hard to define why happiness is important to me. Like many people my work provides me with a purpose. I’ve been in the same career field since I graduated college thirteen years ago; aviation. When I began I told myself that if I wasn’t happy I would walk away. Fortunately when I walked away, twice, I walked toward an employer that was better, both times. My pursuit of happiness guided me to a better place. Although many factors influenced my decision to change employers, happiness (or lack of) was my main motivation.

 

What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

Debt was my greatest barrier to happiness for many years. Can you imagine working for an airline but being nearly to broke to travel, even when flights are free? I did travel extensively while I was in debt but decisions were guided by costs. Today, things are much different. Debt no longer influences my decisions. Cost may be a problem but budgeting is the solution. With the barrier of debt behind me I can make choices that make me happiest. More often than not I am happiest when I am helping others. Generosity makes for happy moments.

 

How important is wealth and money to your own happiness?

As I discussed, debt was a huge barrier to happiness. Debt kept my happiness suppressed for many years. Wealth and money do contribute to my happiness in some ways today but the relationship is complicated. Even before I was debt free I became happy with money when I understood how money worked. The moment I began to see focused progress toward paying down debt and created a spending plan for my remaining money I became happy. Today my net worth is increasing exponentially. The money itself isn’t generating my happiness. My happiness is a result of my discipline which creates results. Every time I say no to wasteful decisions I empower myself to direct my money where it will do the most for me. That makes me happy.

 

How important is health and wellness to happiness?

I have many vices. Today I purchased two pounds of hormel fully cooked bacon. Yesterday I was looking at all the booze on the top shelf of my pantry. I can’t help but think how blessed I am to own these wonderful things that I don’t really need. Usually I make good choices that lead to a long life. Good decisions aren’t always reflected in my spending. Today I didn’t eat any of the bacon or drink any alcohol. What I did today was donate whole blood to the local blood bank then work an eight hour day. I made healthy decisions. My decisions made me happy. Health and wellness goes hand in hand with happiness for me. Vices are usually deferred for special occasions.

 

What has been the happiest moment in your life?

June 17, 2014 the day I married my wife. The day itself was pretty great for obvious reasons. What stands out in my mind is the trajectory of my life from that date forward. From that moment till today I feel like every day has been better then the day before. Which makes today the best day of my life. Kinda reverse from the movie Office Space (1999) where Peter Gibbons days are getting worse and worse.

 

Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

I’ve got two specific goals for 2017. First, is to finalize my last will and testament. It’s a bit morbid but I feel that as an adult it’s a top priority that if I pass I do not pass difficult decisions to others. Second, I’d like to obtain a net worth of $200K. Two hundred thousand dollars is a goal that seems a little out of reach. For those reasons I feel like it’s a great goal. There isn’t really anything sexy about my goals but I’m pretty confident that I will be highly satisfied if I can reach these two goals by the end of 2017.

Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

For a long time I did not make giving or charity work a priority. Something changed inside me this year. In mid March I will have participated in a community event to expand a community garden. I’m also setting a goal to volunteer 40-80 hours at local non profit organizations. A few years ago i wouldn’t do anything unless I was paid for it. I guess I’ve come to understand that giving back to the community goes far beyond the money. The value of being generous with my time and money can’t be measured but does have value.

 

What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

Declutter your life and become laser focused on what’s important to you. You may need to have a yard sale and let go of stuff. Perhaps a change of scenery is needed. Moving for a job helped me focus on my career and let me accelerate my income. By reducing vices that cost me money and time I was able to determine what I valued most and obtain my goals one at a time. Focused intensity toward one thing is more effective then the making everybody happy approach. By focusing on what I needed for a few years I am now in a place in my life that I can help others. Declutter. Become laser focused on your goals.

 

If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

The first book I recommend is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. If you don’t like to read then listen to the audiobook.

Then listen to it again and again. The money mistakes and financial advice that Dave Ramsey provides are sound advice. The second fundamental skill I recommend is to understand how to set SMART goals. I print out a easy to understand guide that helps me when I am writing down a SMART goal. Check out this website http://www.cod.edu/people/faculty/osulliva/phys1554/WeightMatters/plan.html The third tool in my tools box is a zero based budget. You can make one out of binder paper. You can use a numbers spread sheet like I do. Or you can use a fancy app. Assigning every dollar of income is powerful. Learn how to manage your money with a zero based budget. http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-make-a-zero-based-budget

 

What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

I’ve got a financial blog http://www.moneybacon.com the day I became debt free I was pondering what are the things that make me happiest. The answer was money and bacon. That’s where my alter ego emerged “Money Bacon Guy”! I have also started a hobby website at www.growmilkweedplants.com  where I’m working to save the monarch butterflies. It’s a passion project. I encourage you to learn about all the reasons to grow milkweed plants.


Interview  | Under the Tiki Hut

Thank you, Wes, for inviting me to participate in this special International Day of Happiness blog post.

You asked if I believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind.

My answer: Both.

The emotion of happiness is just that. Laughter that bursts out at something funny. How you feel seeing someone you love. Hearing children laugh. Your favorite comfort food. Or a field of bluebonnets. Those things and many more bring happiness.

I live life from a happy state of mind. I’m a happy person—positive and optimistic. The glass is half full and refillable. Roadblocks are surmountable. There is another way to accomplish almost every task. Nothing is too small to ignore or too large to attempt.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t get down from time to time. I have bad days just like everyone else, but I bounce back quickly.

I laugh at myself, probably as much or more than all other things combined. Not a day passes that I don’t do something silly, dumb, or even embarrassing. Laughter comes in handy. It’s healing.

I’m also grateful—for my life, my family, my friends, and so much more. My belief is gratefulness and happiness are BFFs that do everything together.

There is a lot of sorrow in this world. We can let it beat us down, or we can face it head-on, smile, and tell it to move out of the way. How we react when life beats us down is the difference.

I’ve read it takes 21 days to build a new habit. If you want to live your life from a happier place, start today. Wake up in the morning and say, “Today I will be happy.”

Dance to music, even if it’s only in your head. Smile at people you see during the day. You’ll be surprised how many smile back. Perform a random act of kindness every once in a while. You’ll be amazed by how great that feels.

Look for the good in all people, yourself included. Focus on the positive, not the negative, in all things.

21 Days to a New You!

 

Carol Kilgore

Crime Fiction with a Kiss

Blog: Under the Tiki Hut

http://www.underthetikihut.blogspot.com


Thank you everyone who participated in the International Day of Happiness Celebrations today! We still have 11 more posts and Q&A Features in our month-long Days of Happiness Celebrations so keep checking back every day this month!


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Days of Happiness: Day Twenty-Six ...
Celebrate with Us!
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Days of Happiness: Day Twenty-Five ...
Celebrate with Us!
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Days of Happiness: Day Twenty-Four ...
Celebrate with Us!
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Days of Happiness: Day Twenty-Three ...
Celebrate with Us!
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Days of Happiness: Day Twenty-Two ...
Celebrate with Us!

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6 thoughts on “Days of Happiness: Day Nineteen | Part Two”

  1. Thank you for this and allowing me to be included. I enjoyed each one and really loved that though the topics of the blogs differed, many of the ideas around happiness were very similar. A lovely read on the first day of Spring! – Kim

  2. Good stuff Wes! Thank you for doing this. It was fun for me because these questions made me think about some ideas I would not otherwise have considered. I hope you had a very happy international day happiness.

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