Happiness Causes Success

Last week Cait Flanders wrote about how some people treated happiness as a general vibe that they exude and others pursued happiness as a destination. Thinking about this idea started me on a path that had me digging back through my notes on happiness research.

Our culture tends to treat happiness as a destination. Happiness is a goal for which you strive. And of course, the most surefire way to reach happiness is to be successful.

If we stop and think about this premise though, it falls apart. If success causes happiness, then we should be able to see the results. Continue reading “Happiness Causes Success”

Find Your Own Tribe

A lot of advice for succeeding involves being different. Avoiding blending in. Not following the crowd.

Just be yourself! Be weird! People will appreciate it!

And that may all be true. But it doesn’t make it easy.

Even if being different makes sense and is logical, our brains are not built for it.

We have an evolutionary need to fit in.

Continue reading “Find Your Own Tribe”

You Do Have Time

It has become a sign of success in the modern world to say that you’re busy.

Being busy signifies that you are a hard worker. You have plenty of opportunities. You are important. And everyone wants to be important!

So you will often hear “I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to have a weekend away with my family, but I don’t have time.”

“I’d love to take up skiing, but I just don’t have the time.”

“I wish I could read as much as you do, but I’m always so busy that I don’t have time.”

You do have the time, though. We all do. We’re just choosing not to use it on that particular activity. Continue reading “You Do Have Time”

Do More in Less Time

Have you ever wondered why a project that you have two weeks to complete ends up taking the whole two weeks, when you can finish a similar project with a shorter deadline in 48 hours?

Remember when you had a whole semester to complete a paper for class? We would always plan to get it done early so that we weren’t writing our paper while also taking final exams. And yet, how many of us ended up still writing the night before the paper was due?

Continue reading “Do More in Less Time”

How to Triple Your Investment Returns

I fully anticipate a steep drop in the stock market in the near future. If I were to guess, I would say it will come in 2017, but maybe it will be next year.

We’re overdue for a recession. Since World War 2, we’ve had a recession about every five years on average. The last one was in 2008. I’ll let you do the math on that.

We also have a president who has campaigned on threats of trade wars and a Congress who is looking to pass an import tax this year.

So what am I doing to prepare for the upcoming dip? Continue reading “How to Triple Your Investment Returns”

Politics and the Things We Can Control

Last week we talked about the Serenity Prayer and the importance of being able to let go of things that are outside of your control. Today, we’re going to talk about why this is not an excuse for tuning out politics.

It is quite popular in the personal finance community to argue that we should be disengaged from politics. That elections don’t really matter. That we shouldn’t be wasting our time investing in candidates or caring about elections.


This was an especially prevalent topic this past November. The whole world seemed to be hanging on every word out of the candidates’ mouths, and the personal finance blogosphere was having none of it.

Today I want to present a different view.

Elections matter. Government matters. Politics matters. And we need to do the things that are within our power to influence these things to the best of our ability.

Continue reading “Politics and the Things We Can Control”

Make a Plan! (Or Don’t)

Here at Optimize Your Life we’ve talked about the need for more focus in our lives.

One way to achieve that, which we have explored previously, is to avoid multitasking.

But multitasking is not the only force assaulting our focus. One other major distractor is unfinished tasks. Continue reading “Make a Plan! (Or Don’t)”

The Things We Cannot Change

There is often a great power in quotes.

When someone can distill an idea or a philosophy into a short, memorable collection of words, it can become a kind of mantra for people. It can be a reminder of how they want to live their life and how to be their best selves.

One example of this is the Serenity Prayer. Continue reading “The Things We Cannot Change”

Being More Productive By Doing Less (At Once)

In my last post I discussed multitasking as something to avoid. I pulled one quote and one experiment to show that multitasking was bad and then moved on with my point.

As a lawyer, I feel the need to double back and support my argument. While many of you agreed, I recognize that I have not actually done the work to convince you that multitasking is, in fact, bad for productivity.

Everyone does it these days. There is so much going on and so many different sources of media that you can’t always help it.

Plus, aren’t you getting more done by doing multiple things at once? Doesn’t squeezing more things into the same time slot mean that you can accomplish more?

Well, no. And here’s why: Continue reading “Being More Productive By Doing Less (At Once)”