I believe it’s true that money can’t buy you happiness. But in this article, I’m going to discuss what I call the “jealously guarded millionaire secret to happiness”: the one thing money can buy you that will boost your enjoyment of life. You see, while money can’t really buy you happiness, it can buy you freedom; and freedom, if used properly, can result in happiness. There’s no guarantee that it will, but freedom gives you the ability to increase your enjoyment of life.
You might say, “Okay, but what does this have to do with marketing?” I think it has everything to do with marketing, and everything to do with why you’re reading this article. One of the things I usually do when I’m speaking at a seminar is tell the attendees, “You’re not here to learn about making money.” Of course everybody looks aghast, confused, unsure of what I mean. I then go on to say, “Look: if I gave you a million dollars, it wouldn’t necessarily make you happy, would it?” And people are confused and frustrated by that statement, too.
But what I say then is, “What if I were to hand you a million dollars, but at the exact same time the United States Government said, ‘Money is no longer worth anything. We’re going to something else,'” what would its value be then? Maybe the new currency would be gold bullion or ducks, and here you are, stuck with a pile of worthless greenbacks. All of a sudden that money doesn’t mean anything; it has no value anymore.
Let’s take it a little bit further. If you don’t want money, if money itself isn’t going to make you happy, what is? It might be the things you can buy with money-a house and a car and vacation. Well, that’s great, but what does that give you? A sense of peace, enjoyment, or happiness. Bingo! That’s ultimately what you want. You want the good feelings, you want the sensation of the monkey off your back, you want some peace and calm. In your mind, you’ve connected that those feelings with having money.
Money can do good, but it also can do evil; but neither comes from the money itself. Money isn’t the root of all evil; it’s the love of money that is. Says so right in the Bible. How money is used comes from the person who uses it. Now, I’m not telling you to avoid money. In fact, I want people to have as much money as they want, because it gives you the freedom to make choices and decisions that can give you the happiness you want to enjoy — though it can also give you great pain if you don’t know how to use that freedom correctly.
That’s why you’ll see people who are incredibly wealthy who are very happy in their lives, very centered, very balanced and enjoying themselves-while you’ll see people with the exact same amount of money who are hooked on drugs, who are very depressed, who just don’t know what to do with their lives. Again, it’s not the money. The money gives you the freedom, and the freedom gives you more choices than you had before.
For example, if you’re dealing with a situation where you’ve got a lot of credit card debt or you’ve got creditors calling you, or you’re living paycheck to paycheck, there will constantly be stress at the back of your mind. If you had enough money, you could pay off all those debts and get the stress out of your mind. Then you’d have the freedom to enjoy the life you want. Money gives you the freedom to do more things, to go on more vacations, to have the things you want to have.
Money gives you the freedom to choose to be happy, to create a life of happiness. To get there, I’d recommend you start working on two things right now. First, find ways to make more money. Seriously research what other people are doing to make more money, because the money will be the vehicle for the life you want to live. Second, decide on the life you want to live. Decide what you’ll need to make you happy, or focus on the things that make you happy right now, and then try to live that type of life right now (within your means, of course). As you get more money, ramp up the life that you want to live. I believe that you can enjoy your life right now.
I know people who have said, “I’m going to postpone my happiness until I’m out of debt, or until I’m living in the perfect house, or until I’m able to take the perfect vacation,” and so they put off enjoying their lives until they’ve got a certain amount of money. I believe that’s putting your life on hold — and if you need ten million or a hundred million dollars, well, I’d hate for you to wait to make that kind of money before you start enjoying your life. You might not make it.
What I recommend is that you build up the tools, right now, to enjoy your life as it is. Because what money usually does is this: it magnifies whatever you’re living right now. So if somebody has very little money but they do have a drug problem, then what usually happens when they come into a lot of money is that they get a huge drug problem. Money doesn’t make the drug problem go away; it magnifies it. Now, suppose somebody feels a little depressed when they have a little bit of money, and they think that more money will cure their depression. Well, guess what? It doesn’t. They realize being rich doesn’t cure their depression, and they become more depressed!
On the flipside, if someone is charitable, if they’re finding ways to enjoy their life with the little money they have, once they get more money they’re able to give more and enjoy their life even more. So determine what makes you happy now. Create happiness in your life today. Work to make more money so that you can have more freedom. That’s going to increase the amount of happiness you have a hundredfold.
Problems are a part of life, and business is life amplified. You get more problems with business, not fewer. So build your business around your lifestyle, and try to find things that you love — or try to fall in love with the things that make you the most money. Make a game out of it, and you won’t be disappointed. Sure, some games can be a real struggle; they can be a lot of work, and generate a lot of stress, and certainly there’s a lot of challenge. And yet, they’re also very fulfilling. I think you should view everything as if it’s a great challenge.
Money itself is not going to make you happier. It’s not going to do anything except maybe pay off some bills. It can provide you with some toys, though, because business really is a game. It’s hard to think that way when you’re drowning in debt, struggling just to find the money to pay your rent, or to put food on the table. It’s hard to see the game when you’re struggling. But if you can maintain that perspective, and if you can learn to be content with life outside of business and the specific financial situation you’re in, then when things do turn around for you you’ll remain happy.
If happiness was just about the money, you wouldn’t have people in Hollywood committing suicide, you wouldn’t have people in Hollywood or on Wall Street strung out on drugs, living horrible lives. They’re out there making money hand over fist, and yet a lot of them are just struggling to be happy. But if you can learn to be content wherever you are right now, then when you do finally become successful you can retain that happiness and it won’t be tied to money — so money can remain just a game for you. It can be something you use to keep score, and then you can use that money to do good things and to help people and to buy the toys that you want.
Business is just a fun game, and we all play to win — and have fun at the same time. Remember that rule, and apply it to your life!