My last article addressed how to map out a path to a better life.
In it, I recommended systematically going through every area of your life and analyzing each individually. Where are you right now in your financial life? Where do you want to go? Where are you in your relationship with your spouse? In your career? In your hobbies? In you physical health? Mental health and intellectual endeavors?
If you are trying to learn to be successful by looking at what people at the very top of their fields have done, my approach may seem counter-intuitive.
As someone who has read a lot of biographies of successful people, I have found that one of the defining factors of these characters is a singular focus and drive. They are obsessively focused on one aspect of their life and they use that focus to push them to the top.
I’m not going to tell you that that won’t work for you.
I’m going to tell you that it might, but you shouldn’t do it anyway. Continue reading “Successful Careers and Failed Relationships”
Today I want to explore a quick tool called an 80/20 analysis that can help you achieve better results in a shorter period of time.
The 80/20 analysis is based on the Pareto Principle. This principle was named for Vilfredo Pareto, who found in the late 1800s that 80% of land in Italy was owned by 20% of Italians in the same way that 80% of the peas produced in his garden came from 20% of the peapods. This finding was one of many analyzing inequality and examining how the few end up with so much in our economies.
From this and similar findings of the tilting of economic benefits, Pareto decided that democracy was an illusion and a ruling class would always emerge from the 20%.
In modern parlance, this extreme conclusion has been ignored and the Pareto Principle has become more of a rule of thumb applied to a wide range of areas.
While my interest in politics and economics would push me to examine the implications for modern income inequality and the policy proposals to address it, this blog is about providing tools and information that is helpful to individuals.
So instead, we’ll be looking at the modern version.
(Don’t worry. I’ve found other excuses to talk about bigger issues of politics and economics.)
Continue reading “Getting Better Results in Less Time”
I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and writing about happiness.
For years before I started writing here, I was just looking for ways to improve my own life. I wanted to understand why people who seemed like they had everything were still unhappy.
I wanted to find the traps that others fell into so that I could avoid them.
It is quite clear to me at this point that most people are not as happy as they could be.
And I believe that the main culprit is mistaking comfort for happiness.
Continue reading “Comfort is Not Happiness”
One fast track to a happy life is meaning.
Research repeatedly shows that individuals with a sense of meaning in their lives are happier than everybody else.
A sense of meaning or purpose gives us a feeling that we are part of something larger than ourselves. This, in turn, fuels self-worth, a sense of identity, and a feeling of community and belonging.
All of these are traits that boost happiness, so you can see how meaning can be a super booster.
So all we need to do is figure out the meaning of life.
Continue reading “Does the Meaning of Life Matter?”
When I was growing up, the consensus of the intellectual crowd was that video games were bad for you.
No good could come of sitting in front of a screen instead of going outside. Video games were going to turn our brains into mush.
In some more extreme cases, violent video games were blamed for school shootings.
Since then, however, there has been a quiet revolution. Continue reading “Make Your Life More Like a Video Game”
As I’ve noted before, I’ve done a lot of reading on happiness. One consistent finding of studies across the spectrum is that older people are happier than the rest of us.
Despite the declining health that accompanies old age, study after study finds that happiness increases into our senior years.
The freedom of childhood is less happy. The health of young adulthood doesn’t compare. The financial stability of middle age doesn’t do it for us.
So what is it about seniors that makes them happy? And what can we learn from them?
Continue reading “As Happy as an Old Person”
Over the last couple weeks I’ve run through a lot of my philosophy behind saving and investing. I discussed that I invest at least as much as I spend every month because I want to buy options for my life, because I see the value of labor declining over time, and because I don’t want to need to start a new career path if mine gets automated out of existence.
The big question for most people at this point is: “Is it worth it?” Continue reading “Is It Worth It? (Why I Save So Much, Part 4)”
On Tuesday I wrote about the recent death of my grandfather. I was planning to write and post that article earlier, but could not convince myself to write after that event was followed up a week later by the death of my other grandfather.
After going most of my life without having to deal with many deaths of loved ones, there have been quite a few packed into the last few years.
This has been hard. I continue to remind myself that death is what gives meaning to life. It is natural and necessary. It is important.
It still sucks. Continue reading “Lessons Learned from Lives Well-Lived”
My grandfather passed away recently. It has been a tough few years for my family, but we have felt a lot of love and support from each other as well as from our community and network of friends.
My cousin gave an excellent eulogy at the funeral. One thing that he noted is that Papa has been insisting that every encounter with him could be the last for years. For at least the last decade, he has insisted that he is almost out of time. Continue reading “Death and Happiness”
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”