“…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed … with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
When Thomas Jefferson wrote that famous line in the Declaration of Independence, leaders and philosophers the world over all thought “WTF?”
This is b/c no official document had ever referenced “happiness,” and to this day, nobody really knows what he meant.
But, fortunately, Scott Galloway (NYU Professor and L2 Inc founder) did attempt to define “happiness” in this excellent ten-minute video: The Algebra of Happiness.
Galloway says that most people are generally happy as young adults when their interests are limited to “Han Solo, beer and unprotected sex…” 😊
But, as people age they need to consider other factors, and here are a few of Galloway’s tips:
- Spend more time sweating than watching. People who work out and play more than they watch (sports or other activities) are happier than those who don’t.
- Understand that a work/life balance is a myth for a person’s first ten to twenty years of employment. It is only hard work in one’s early years that leads to balance in one’s later years.
- Find the right life partner. Life partners need to be physically attracted to one another, and they need to share values and financial goals. They further need to fully support each other’s struggles and triumphs. Most people do not understand the importance of this.
- Live in the right zip code and get credentialed. Success is far more likely to come to those who have excellent credentials and who live in growing cities with likeminded people.
- Know that money can buy happiness, but only to an extent. Money does buy happiness to the extent of comfort and experiences. Beyond that though, it does not.
- Equity = wealth. Individuals do not get ahead with income alone. They need stocks, equity in a business, real estate and whatever else that will foster passive income. Build equity early.
- Understand compound interest. Start investing and saving as soon as possible, and be amazed by how much money you can grow.
- Find your gorilla. This is aimed primarily at men, and it is a reminder to appreciate one’s masculinity – being ripped and chasing women in one’s youth; being a business owner, a good citizen and a family man in one’s older years. (Reminder: This is Galloway’s advice, not mine; I know a lot of women, especially at JVM, who are gorillas in every sense of the word.)
- Prioritize experiences over things. This is a reminder we hear often. “Drive a Hyundai and take your kids to Africa.”
- Alcohol = unhappiness. Galloway cites a study that shows that people who drink too much are always less happy.
- Happiness comes from family. Happier people are often in monogamous relationships with kids.
- Success equals resilience over failure. Everyone will fail often. The key is learning how to mourn and move on quickly.
- Nothing in life is as bad as it seems or as good as it seems. This is something people in old age always realize when they look back.
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