Last year we started a new family tradition for New Year’s Day, watching The Pursuit Of Happyness. This year as we watched the movie, I asked the boys to think about what makes them happy—what does happiness mean to them?
I was a bit underwhelmed (not unhappy though) with their answers but they are just 8 and 10, so I’m not sure why I expected deep answers 😀. Before I share my definition of happiness, here’s what my family had to say:
Silas: “Family.” I’m summarizing his answer…I asked him, “Silas, what makes you happy?” His answer, “You.” 😭 I followed up with, “Anything else?” “Mommy. Leo. Not Roman”. Lol. I know he didn’t mean that last one.
Leo: “Having a good family.”
Roman: “Being lucky with all of the things I have. Doing stuff I like. I’m most happy when I’m having fun.”
Ang: “Feeling loved and having people to love.”
Despite hoping for deep and introspective answers, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t smile when the boys talked about family and realizing how lucky they are to have the lives they have.
My Pursuit Of Happyness
Family- For me, happiness starts with Ang and the boys (and of course all of my family). Being with them brings me extreme happiness. I can sit back for hours and just watch them interact with each other and play—this includes when they are picking on each other and arguing—don’t get it twisted, we have the same battles in our household that all families do. But seeing them smile, hearing them laugh, and watching them accomplish new milestones makes me happy. Seeing Ang continue to have success with her business and seeing her grow as a businesswoman also makes me very happy.
The Pursuit Of Happyness for my family is to continue to provide opportunities for the boys to grow, to continue to be present with them, and to raise them to be good people. I also want to continue to be supportive of Ang’s pursuit of success professionally and be able to afford her the opportunity to put in the time at or for her store.
Beyond my family, happiness comes in the form of:
Health—I don’t take for granted the good health I’ve experienced to date in my life; that includes my family’s overall good health as well. Health by itself doesn’t make me happy, although maybe it should be good enough. It’s the process of trying to maintain good health that makes me happy. Working out makes me happy—it doesn’t matter what it is—weights, Peloton, yoga, or just being active outside–they all make me happy. There’s some science as to why—the release of endorphins post-workout is undeniable. I’ve also grown to enjoy exercise. Admittedly, I didn’t workout as much as I would have liked in 2020, which is why I have a personal goal of working out in some form every day in 2021. It’ll not only be good for my health, but it’ll ensure I make progress in my Pursuit of Happyness.
Freedom—Having the flexibility to pursue whatever my brain comes up with makes me extremely happy. Sometimes this leads to wasted time and money, but even those instances lead to learning something about myself, business, or the world. If I found myself in a situation where I could not pursue something I was interested in I know I would become unhappy—I realized this after leaving the last firm I worked at. I never knew I was unhappy with the constraints I had but once I experienced professional freedom I was able to reflect on the internal struggle I didn’t even know I was fighting.
This freedom includes being able to start and end my day whenever I want, not missing the boys’ sports and school activities, the flexibility to work from home to cover for Ang if she has to go into her store, and to only work with people I will enjoy being around. Whatever ventures I pursue in the future, maintaining my freedom will be non-negotiable.
Impact—Over the last year I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what I want out of life…what I want my legacy to be. I don’t have it all figured out but I have a clear vision of where I am supposed to be going for now. I’ve determined my purpose can be summarized in one word: impact.
Making an impact on other people brings me an immense amount of happiness, even if it is a small amount. I want to know I’ve made a positive impact on the lives of people I come across…whether it’s my family, RLS Wealth clients, members of The AGC™, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. I want to help people plan for the lives they want to live—find their happiness in life. I want to inspire others to pursue their passions. I want to help people live their life with a minimal amount of regret.
I love seeing other people succeed and I want to be a steward of bringing success to as many people as possible in any way I can.
People—I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years connecting with individuals from all over. Allocating a significant part of my calendar to Zooms, phone calls, and coffees has not only been good for business growth, but it has brought more happiness to my life. I love connecting with and being surrounded by ambitious and forward-thinking people. They inspire me. They give me new ideas. They make me happy.
I’ve had to make some changes to how often and how I continue to meet more great people, but rest assure, there will always be time on my calendar to connect with new people.
Personal Growth—I’ve begun doing some of the activities that many make fun of when the “successful” share their daily to-do lists. I worked with a personal coach for meditation and have implemented meditation as a part of my daily routine (on most days, I’m not hitting every day). I’ve begun journaling. I’m reading more outside of finance. I’ve come to the realization the reason so many CEOs and people society deem to be successful list these activities—it’s because they work. I’ll save you from reading all of the benefits I’ve seen from these activities and just say these new practices have increased my happiness and also help me along with my Pursuit Of Happyness.
What Brings You Happyness?
As we head into a new year, one that will hopefully be filled with travel, seeing friends and family in person again, connecting with peers at conferences, and all of the other activities we took for granted prior to 2020, be sure to align your time and money in a way that keeps you moving along YOUR Pursuit Of Happyness.
Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining to your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimers page.